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Worth repairing or not?
Stainer Project
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
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AquaDoc
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January 24, 2021 - 3:12 pm
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133357104_696802157672297_1275707209448393949_o.jpgImage Enlarger132592512_696802144338965_3236258572058128794_o.jpgImage Enlarger133070432_696802137672299_8811368234889242382_o.jpgImage Enlarger132443892_696802111005635_8845788815293954497_o.jpgImage Enlarger132262902_696802107672302_8776974927610401799_o.jpgImage Enlarger132349857_696802131005633_6348937460716813445_o.jpgImage EnlargerI acquired this violin for my teenage daughter who has been playing a school assigned violin. And I should have joined and read before buying but it is what it is now. It was not expensive but I do not want to drop the money on having it cleaned, refurbished, tuned, etc. if the money would be better spent on a different instrument.  This was one of my not infrequent compulsive, snap decisions.  As long as it will play well, I will have the work done and not look back.

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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stringy
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January 24, 2021 - 3:39 pm
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iI would just put new strings on it and see how it sounds, sometimes these german copies can sound pretty good, or so I am told, how much did you pay for it? doesnt need cleaning or anything like that. You could take it to a local luthier if you have one and get it set up pro, a luthier could value it as well,there are a lot of these on ebay for a couple of hundred pounds, not sure if thats a crack on the g tuning peg hole photos are not great. looks like it was made in mittenwald, with the long thin f holes, as fo tuning get a cheap electronic, or even a free app for your phone, shewill have to learn how to tune by ear anyway. could you post a few good photos of the bow, especially the frog.

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Mouse
January 24, 2021 - 3:59 pm
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Well, I am no expert by any means, but it looks like the bridge is a little high, but I am not sure and that can be adjusted. They are not permanently attached.

I don't think the fingerboard is Ebony. It looks faded in spots, like painted wood? If the fingerboard is not ebony and is just painted black, for me, that would be a deal breaker to putting more money into it. You would not put anything less than ebony on a semi-good instrument, as far as I am concerned, again, I could be completely wrong. Hopefully, @Fiddlerman will see this and be able to guve his opinion. It could be the photo that is giving me the feeling that it is not ebony.

I do not know how much you would intend to spend to put into this, but, if you are going to sink a few hundred, call Fiddlershop first. I know, I sound like a broken record, but it is true. They are the best from student and up with bowed string instruments. Their prices cover a large range. 

They have excellent customer service and they sell quality items covered by warranty. I do not believe the Cecilio they sell is covered, though. Check on all of this in case I have something wrong, I am not an employee, I just love the store and have purchased a viola and violin from them. They ship ready to play out of the box. They package so everything arrives safely and intact. I was amazed both times.

Again, I don't know how much more you intend to sink into this, so check Fiddlershop first if you intend to sink a dew hundred. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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AquaDoc
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January 24, 2021 - 4:28 pm
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Stringy, I paid $100USD. It seemed like a reasonable risk.

Mouse, thank you for the advice.  I asked if there was paint on any parts and was told that there is paint on the violin and if the seller knew about any new varnish, etc.  I also asked about plastic parts.  I am fairly naive to this but I figured that those 2 things are important.  

Will have better photos this week. 

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stringy
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January 24, 2021 - 4:44 pm
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Mouse could be right about the fingerboard, cant tell from those images, for 100 dollars I would at least try new strings on it, post an image on maestronet and ask them, they will tell you exactly what it is where it was made and how much its worth, make sure you post a good image of the bow, you never know, tell them you bought it for your daughter to learn. there are guidlines on there on what yaou need to photograph, its a free site, make sure yaour daughter joins here for advice🤓

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GregW
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January 24, 2021 - 5:24 pm
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the ultimate descision will be your daughter playing it with her bow and new strings.  the wood looks good from pictures.  

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Mouse
January 24, 2021 - 5:44 pm
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Excellent point, GregW!

The Bumblebee Flies!

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AquaDoc
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January 24, 2021 - 5:52 pm
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One more thing, the seller answered my question about the wood and paint...said the wood is black.  There is a small chip, about 1/8th" by 1/8th" that is solid black underneath.  He has both the chip and where it came off on the edge. Sees no paint.  Did say that wood needs cleaning and is rather dusty in areas.  I will know Tuesday morning when I pick it up.  

Thanks everyone for the help.

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GregW
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January 24, 2021 - 5:56 pm
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more than likely a German trade violin made in the 20s 30s..mass produced.  Theres a gentleman in Florida, U.S. that takes instruments like that and works them up like a bench luthier would have if given time back then.  You never kniw..you could have a jewel there or could be equivelent to an amazon special of today..It just "looks" like it has the making of a decent instrument.  The one similar to that I have from that time sounds great but was made a little wider from back to front so it feels different compared to others.  google Geramn trade violins and I believe that will give you something to read that explains where it may have came from and what you have.   If she likes it, a visit to a violin shop would be my next mive to make sure everything is ok or could be made better.  I like how it looks.  it wouldve caught my eye if i saw it in a shop.  ESPECIALLY for the price.

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stringy
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January 24, 2021 - 5:59 pm
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if you look underneath athe fingerboard, were it comes over the violin body you will see that if its ebony it will be slightly lighter in colour but still black. Like I said if its mittenwald you can sometimes drop on good sounding violins, my friend had one it had great tone even though it was a trade violin. good luck, and dont throw it away whatever you do. bythe way if you do clean it yourself dont use any kind of polish on it, look up cleaning violins ont he net, personally I would just give it a wipe with a clean cloth.

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Mouse
January 24, 2021 - 6:14 pm
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Actually, I like the look of it. I like a look of a used violin. If it is sound (no pun intended), I would leave it as is and just get new strings and have a luthier set it up properly. Make sure she can turn the pegs properly. I would think most of the questions about aesthetics, would be up to your daughter. I would also think that she would also know if the pegs were operating correctly. They can be an easy fix, though. 

Make sure the bow hairs are in good shape and the bow is not warped. That is something your daughter would be able to help you with, also. 

Many older violins sound lovely. I would get your daughter into any decisions. I think this violin has character. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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AquaDoc
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January 24, 2021 - 8:13 pm
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I will let her talk with a luthier so that they can work out her preferences are.  Thank you to everyone for the advice and help.  I will follow up with better photos.

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ELCBK
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January 25, 2021 - 6:11 am
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@AquaDoc 

Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

Very interesting! 

For me, sound and ease of playing (many factors) is everything - but can't overlook antique value. 

I can only add that the label in the case only has to do with the case - not the violin. 

Is there a label inside the violin?  I have read that typed "Stainer" labels are not as valuable. 

Btw, welcome to the forum! 

https://www.lanesboro.lib.mn.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/cat_fiddle.jpg

 

- Emily

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Unfretted
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January 26, 2021 - 12:08 pm
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Hi AquaDoc,

Calm down, I think you’ve probably made a good purchase. 🙂 I’m speaking from personal experience here.  Decades ago, when I transitioned from my elementary school rent-to-buy 3/4 size beginner violin to a fullsize 4/4, my mom (accompanied by my knowledgeable violin teacher who played in the state symphony orchestra) bought me an old, used “Stainer”.  It served me well, all the way through junior and senior high school.  I still own it, although I now play a Fiddlerman “Master”.  Mine also has the mark “Stainer” burned into the back.

You may already know, but Jacobus Stainer was an accomplished 17th century master violin maker from, more or less, Austria.  For the next few centuries, other violin makers and violin manufacturers sold reproduction “Stainers” modeled after Stainer’s very desirable designs.  These were not fakes; they were reproductions, just as today the newly-made “Strads” and “Amatis” are popular.

If I were in your place, I would first gently shake the violin.  If there is a rattle inside of it,    then the sound post probably needs to be reset— that’s simple and routine. (I’ve done my own, but unless you work with wood and have a gentle touch, it’s best left to a luthier.) If the sound post is loose, I’d go straight to a luthier, get estimates, and have the sound post reset, plus get it looked over and new strings installed.  Also check for splits in the body, particularly the top plate.  The pictures don’t obviously show any. Splits would definitely need to be repaired.  If that gets too costly, go to plan Fiddlershop.

If the sound post is intact, let your daughter try it out- it will probably sound bad without new strings- but she should focus on how it FEELS to play it.  Is it comfortable to press the strings down, or does the action feel too high?  If the action feels too high, in other words if it takes too much pressure to press down the strings, then go to a luthier.  This, too, is a simple, routine adjustment.

If the sound post and action are good, I’d just put new strings on it— either Fiddlerman strings, about $32, or regular Visions, about $54.  If you’re not used to changing the strings (it takes a tiny bit of finesse), then see if her teacher will help her with this.  Whatever you do, DON’T remove all of the strings at once.  They need to be changed one at a time with careful attention to the position of the bridge.

Good luck with this instrument. It should bridge the gap until you and your daughter are ready for something else.   Fiddlershop definitely has great instruments that your daughter can aspire to.  If she does progress to something else, this “Stainer” can still serve as her “festival fiddle” or camping/traveling violin when she just wants to have fun playing outside.

My “Stainer” is estimated to be about 120 years old.  It is light as a feather compared to any mass-produced instrument made today. The neck is fine, comfortable, and a little thinner than the new instruments I own.  It has a decent tone overall, very mellow, with a lovely bass, and it doesn’t fall out in the upper registers.  Mine has several cracks in the top plate that I will repair eventually and they are affecting the tone.  My Fiddlerman Master, right now, has better tone and the Master resonates magnificently on every single note I play.

A lot depends on how your daughter progresses and how her interest holds, as well as your budget.  By age 12, my musical passion switched to guitar and the budget eventually went to a Martin which I have played for a lifetime.  I continued to play violin in school, but after high school graduation, I rarely played violin again until a few years ago.  The Stainer slept in a closet for more than four decades but it again served me well as I figured out whether I could remember anything about violin playing at all and if I indeed wanted to take up playing again.  Well, coming full circle, violin is now my passion and all those childhood  years on the Stainer are suddenly and surprisingly paying off in ways I never could have imagined.

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