FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
my stradivarius copy - thoughts?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 20, 2012 - 5:48 pm
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

played my friends violin for the first time on Tuesday at band practice (we are a bluegrass/newgrass band and I am the upright bassist) and fell in love immediately.  me and fiddle "clicked" very quickly and I immediately started looking to pick up a violin.  there are a couple at the luthier I take my bass to that I was interested in and when I told my mother about my intentions to purchase one she said don't do anything rash.  

today my stepfather brings me his grandmother's violin(!) 

she passed away several years ago... his mother played it when she was young as well but otherwise it has sat unloved for a long time.  

so instead of purchasing one new I will be bringing this to my luthier Saturday for an examination and hopefully the necessary repairs to make this a playable instrument again!  I'm extremely excited.

 

my best guess is that it's around 100 years old but it is only that, a guess.  the fingerboard appears to be ebony as well as the tailpiece and there is one gut string still clinging to life.  the cord around the tail looks like gut as well.  the purfling appears to be inlaid, not painted.    

anyone want to give their opinion on where this came from and how old it could be and what kind of reaction/repair bill I should expect from the luthier?  the bridge looks like it needs work and of course strings will be needed. 1.jpgImage Enlarger2.jpgImage Enlarger3.jpgImage Enlarger4.jpgImage Enlarger

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments
Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
December 20, 2012 - 7:35 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Sure looks nice.  I wouldn't even clean it up until your luthier sees it. 

Myself, I'd probably string it up and see what it sounds like and then see if any problems show that need repair.  But I am a bit rash, generally. LOL

On the conservative side, I'd really suggest trying that bridge as-is before having it repaired or replaced.  For that matter, even if you have it replaced, I'd keep the old one.  The string notches and arch look a bit unusual, and there may be some good reasons why it is done the way it is.  At the least, keep it in case you want to study it later, maybe years down the road.  

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
Members

Regulars
December 20, 2012 - 8:30 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1774
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The only thing I noticed was the feet of the bridge don't conform well to the curve of the body so I suspect that may not be the right bridge or if it is, it was poorly mfg and set up but anyway, I'd take it to a luthier first and get a clean bill of health and perhaps ask him (or her) to refit the bridge and then get some new strings on it and play it like it is.

Looks like an awesome find and it has "FAMILY HISTORY" for you as well, that makes it priceless!thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Avatar
ozmous
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
December 20, 2012 - 10:58 pm
Member Since: July 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 328
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

that looks very beautiful! and looks like it's playable, just re-string 'em up and try it....anyways, good luck with it amuse

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 20, 2012 - 11:31 pm
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

thanks everyone.  I would've run to the nearest city and grabbed some strings to give it a whirl today if the bow hairs weren't completely detached.  so the violin shop visit is necessary and he has been very good to me in regards to when I purchased my bass (inspected it for me for free even though it was a private party sale which he made nothing off of) so I owe him some business but he doesn't have regular hours, only by appointment.  

I will see him Saturday morning and hopefully learn a lot more about the instrument.  

the bridge was on backwards and was about 2cm closer to the fingerboard when it arrived in my hands and I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture but there are multiple notches for the A string.  it's definitely the weak point imo.  

the violin I played earlier this week had fine tuners on every string.  is that a necessity?  it certainly made it much easier to tune and I think I would like to invest in those as well as long as there are no drawbacks.  

I also need to do my homework on what kind of strings I would like...   after going through three sets of strings in my first month of upright bass ownership I understand I might need to find the right strings for the instrument but I hope I can at least make the first purchase an informed one.  

Avatar
AdverseD
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
December 20, 2012 - 11:43 pm
Member Since: June 24, 2012
Forum Posts: 110
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I would definitely encourage some synthetic core strings like perlon... (zyex are awesome!)

They make things sound a million times better in my opinion! 

A question I have, does the sound post look like it is fallen?

Avatar
ozmous
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
December 20, 2012 - 11:48 pm
Member Since: July 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 328
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

it's not really necessary to have finetuners, many violins only use fine tuners on E string, some are on A and E, since they are hard to tune using pegs alone, but for me, i don't use any finetuners on any strings at all, they kinda annoy me, but i can still tune them accurately using only pegs.

 

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 21, 2012 - 12:56 am
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I was also thinking synthetic core.  I have been very happy with synthetic strings that give the sound of gut but none of the hassles on my bass and was hoping there would be a similar sort of thing for the violin.  being way cheaper than gut doesn't hurt either

the soundpost is in place but the f-hole on that side does look sort of funny.  as in the little horn pointing toward the fingerboard is not as flat as the other side and sticks up a bit.  

 

good info about the fine tuners, thanks

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
December 21, 2012 - 4:00 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, a nice thing about fine tuners is that not only can they be put on, but they can be taken off again.  So it is not a change you are locked in forever if you change your mind, whichever way you decide to go at first.

 

@cdennyb: Maybe you're right and I'm just getting thrown off by the camera angle.  But it seemed to me that the top of the bridge didn't look like a simple 42 mm curve, and I'd kinda wonder if those extra notches for the A string were something accidental or something the previous player actually used for some songs.

But looking at the feet and the thickness of the bridge, one has to wonder if the feet were actually fitted or if the bridge was thinned. 

Call it a perverse sense of curiosity, but if I ran across a violin/fiddle like that, I'd want to play it with only the bare minimum of fixes first, to see what she sounds like.  To try and get some indication of how it may have sounded when it was last played.  I'm weird that way, though.  LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
December 21, 2012 - 4:32 am
Member Since: October 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 550
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Nice one you got there, chopsy. Congrats.

You got already advise from the two best members here, cdennyb and DanielB, and they are right about the bridge feet and the curve.

My personal (limited) opinion/observation is that violin is a beauty, assuming there is no crack or seam separation, it should sound very sweet as that top plate is a high quality spruce. My guess is it was from Europe, Eastern maybe, Romania or Czech as the top plate arch is fairly high, low neck angle for a Strad copy. About the "horn" sticking up, maybe the sound post is a bit too far north (closer to the fingerboard).

Let us know how it turn out for you. Should be a beauty.

 

Avatar
cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
Members

Regulars
December 21, 2012 - 4:37 am
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1774
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'd really love it if the OP would post a sound bite as soon as it was playable, before any major cleanup or modifications took place.

I think a before and after analysis of the sound trace would be a valuable addition to my library of data.

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 21, 2012 - 8:07 am
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

DanielB said
Call it a perverse sense of curiosity, but if I ran across a violin/fiddle like that, I'd want to play it with only the bare minimum of fixes first, to see what she sounds like.  To try and get some indication of how it may have sounded when it was last played.  I'm weird that way, though.  LOL

no, this makes lots of sense...   as a complete beginner it might not be smart to just bring it to him and say "set it up!" because a good setup should probably take into consideration personal preference for string height and how I want the instrument to play.    

with this in mind I will probably buy a bow, strings, fine tuners and a spare bridge that I can try fitting myself when I go Saturday and then bring it back to him once I can actually give him an informed idea of what I want.  I had to do a lot of "amateur luthier" work on the bass so I'm not afraid to tinker and it will help me get to know the instrument better.  

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 21, 2012 - 8:33 am
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

also thanks for the informed guess, ratvn.  Europe is quite probably correct..  I don't know if Frances, my "step-great-grandmother" was the original owner or if she inherited it herself, but she was born in Switzerland and came to America at age 5, in 1925.  the violin may have made the trip with her on the RMS Mauretania.   the history of this instrument is hazy but definitely something I will continue to ask family and friends of hers about.  

Avatar
Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
King
Members

Regulars
December 21, 2012 - 9:46 am
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@ chopsy...... Look's like a nice hand me down you have there.

A few observation's I've noticed.

1. The length of the fingerboard:  Normal violin fingerboard's measure around 270mm long. The fingerboard on your instrument appear's considerably shorter, from the picture it appear's to be even or short of the corner's on the upper bout,  which is a good indication of a Baroque style violin.

2. The shape of the bridge:  Baroque style bridge's aren't arched as much as on the modern day violin, they aren't quite as high on the G string side. Also they tend to be a bit thicker, which give's a kinda dull sound when played. cdennyb's first observation was correct, the bridge doesn't conform to the contour of the top, probably has been replaced and duplicated to the old bridge, by a amatuer.  It also need's to be moved back closer to the nitche's in the F hole's. In other word's a string playing length of 328 mm / 32.8 cm from the nut to the bridge.

3. The tailpiece:  The tailpiece look's as though it should be moved back to being more flush with the end of the violin.

If the violin is as old as you say it is, I would definately replace the tailgut, it's more than likely crystalized from age.

The lack of fine tuner's, especially on the E string is another Baroque indication. Gut string's were used more in those day's and would tolerate string streatching using only the peg's to tune them. Replacing with new string's will be a definate need for a fine tuner on the E string, IMO, although there will be some argument that they are not needed. Keep breaking the E string and you'll soon find out.

As far as the horn being higher than the top, most likely the sound post is too long or as "ratvn" said, improper placement. In which case, it is what it is, there's no fixing that now. I have a 130 year old fiddle with the same horn problem.

 

To sum thing's up,,, I think she's a real treasure, it look's to be in great condition.  Enjoy it as other's before you did.

A real nice Christmas gift.  

 

 santa3  christmaswreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 21, 2012 - 11:47 am
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

thank you very much for your comments, Fiddlestix.  

you have a great eye for this to be able to tell so much just from pictures, even moreso since these are cell phone pics and some are at a funny angle!

the fingerboard measures 260mm and the bridge was indeed still a bit short of 328mm even after me moving it from what I knew was a very wrong 300mm.  there is some wear at that point consistent with the bad fitting bridge...  this is probably from when Frances' daughter, Linda, was playing it although I'm not sure who helped her set it up then.  

she has told me candidly her efforts at playing it did not go well.  I'll speak to her more about it and probably bring the violin with me for a Christmas Eve family gathering unless it ends up staying at the luthier.  hopefully she can tell me more about it.   Frances' great-grandchildren will also be there so I would love to be able to play this for them, despite my current lack of skills.  

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 21, 2012 - 2:56 pm
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

chopsy said
also thanks for the informed guess, ratvn.  Europe is quite probably correct..  I don't know if Frances, my "step-great-grandmother" was the original owner or if she inherited it herself, but she was born in Switzerland and came to America at age 5, in 1925.  the violin may have made the trip with her on the RMS Mauretania.   the history of this instrument is hazy but definitely something I will continue to ask family and friends of hers about.  

hazier than I could've imagined, apparently!  Linda just clued me in that Frances was fond of fibbing.  apparently Frances never played it and the instrument actually originally belonged to her husband.  I'll keep digging lol

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 22, 2012 - 2:54 pm
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

there was a significant crack hidden underneath the tailpiece.  that, along with some other tweaks, will be performed.  she should be back in my hands soon after christmas, but he gave me a loaner so I can start practicing now!  awesome day

Avatar
ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
December 22, 2012 - 8:37 pm
Member Since: October 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 550
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

That is very good to know. Did he give you any insight about the violin?

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 23, 2012 - 9:44 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Will it be costly to fix?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Avatar
chopsy
Utica, NY
Member
Members
December 24, 2012 - 2:47 am
Member Since: December 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 15
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ratvn said 

That is very good to know. Did he give you any insight about the violin?

he was pretty up front about being no historian, he just fixes 'em lol.  he said there are plenty of clues that it's around 100 years old and european but nothing more specific.

Fiddlerman said 

Will it be costly to fix?

$300 is getting me the crack repaired, soundpost shortened and repositioned (it's too long and too close to the fingerboard, that's what was causing the funny bulge in the f-hole on that side), a new tailpiece with built in fine tuners, re-glueing the nut (it fell off as soon as the strings were removed), possibly re-gluing the fingerboard (he said if the nut fell off that possibly wouldn't be far behind [scary!]), some new strings and a bow.  oh and the bridge is something he can work with, but that also needs re-shaping.  very reasonable for the amount of work he has to perform, I think, and well worth it. 

I feel very fortunate to have him less than an hour away!  I don't live near any big cities so he is a local treasure, in my opinion. 

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: yellowdresses, Charles
35 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3562

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80405

Newest Members:

EKBanjo, charlieD, Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo, sexymom04

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651