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Teaching Pawny, My Pawnshop Violin, To Sing Again
I mentioned a few weeks ago that my husband and I could not get an old beat up violin we saw at a pawnshop a few months earlier out of our minds. She was not in the best of shape. She had repairs done her. She had no bridge or strings or tuning pegs. What she had was character, and somewhere in her, a story she wants to tell. She wanted a home. We could not get her out of our minds, and, I guess, our hearts.
A few weeks ago, we went back to the pawnshop to see if she was still there. She was. We looked at her and realized she really belonged with us. The pawnshop owner was waiting on us and when asked how much he wanted, he said to make an offer. We did and he accepted. Pawnshop violin went home with us. I posted photos of her on another thread somewhere.
Shortly after we got her home I wiped her down with a soft polishing cloth. She cleaned up nicely. Her inlaid purfling really shows off now. We borrowed a bridge, tuning pegs and strings from an inexpensive test violin. We brought her to the music shop so their luthier could ream her and fir her to the pegs.
When we got her home from the music shop, my husband fit the bridge to her and we strung her. She still has her old chinrest, that is quite comfortable. She sounded lovely. She was a little weak. Someone along her long journey had put a coating of something on her. We figured that would muffle her, we were not sure if it would make her unplayable. But we did not buy her with the idea she would be able to be played. We were like her retirement home. We had no expectations of ever playing her.
Pawny has a label inside saying she was repaired by Verne Vincent from Canastota, NY on Dec 12, 1946. There was work done on the F holes. I really doubt Verne put the coating of whatever on her. A luthier who actually puts his labels inside when repairing would not do something like that to a violin and, basically, suffocate her. Canastota is not too far from me, a drive, but not too far. That was a bonus. Pawny had some ties to our area. Could not find any record of any Vincents in Canastota when I Googled. Family must have moved on over the generations.
Anyway, Pawny did play from the moment we strung her. She has a unique sweet sound, is easy to play, but not much projection. I play her everyday for a little while, as I do all my instruments. I have noticed a change in Pawny. Pawny is opening up. She has more projection. Her sweet unique voice is more defined and clear. She is simply lovely. She allows me to play her so easily and seems to want to sing.
This morning I was testing my different bows on all my violins. I found a bow that Pawny absolutely loves, a Fiddlerman wood bow, thank you for making that bow, Fiddlerman. She sang so beautifully.
Would she be fit for a professional to play? No. Would Pawny be good enough for an audition to a music school? No. Would Pawny satisfy the very advanced student? Probably not. But for me, my $50 pawnshop violin is worth all the money in the world. I don’t know Pawny’s story and never will. The only label is Verne Vincent for his repairs. Pawny seems happy hanging on my wall. I am happy to have her there.
Pawny is coming out of her shell and singing more than she did at first, and continues to mature in her sound. I don’t know when she will reach her matured singing voice, but I will love watching and hearing her grow. Sometimes, it is not the monetary value that makes the quality. Sometimes, it is the story. I don’t know Pawny’s story, and never will, but she has a new story now. Hopefully, even if my grandchildren do not take up violin, one of them will take Pawny and give her a spot on their wall.
@Fiddlerman It turns out I had grabbed my Fiddlerman wood Viola bow for playing Pawny! It says, “Holstein YS” by the curved frog. I might have to get a violin bow of that style. Will check on it in October. I noticed yesterday, then I remembered buying it for the viola.
I need to move that bow up on my wall rack so it is between my viola and Rudy, and move the rest of the bows down a hook.
Pawny did come with two bows. One is a Glasser and the other is not (LOL). They both seem nice. I think the one that is not Glasser is wood. They are downstairs waiting for a new hairdo. Jer is rehairing them. I am ordering hair from your store with my next order.
She also came with the old fashioned little hard case in faux black alligator. It is in pretty good shape. Shows her age. We glued down the edge of the faux alligator that was coming up and vacuumed her out really good. Then we left her open in the sun in case there were little critters. We saw no signs of any, but better to be safe than sorry.
We cleaned off the outside really good. It is is great shape, except, as I stated, shows her age. Character like Pawny.