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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jackson-Guldan violin

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/40383

RaleighRobert - Posted - 01/28/2015:  11:35:53

My neighbor has two Jackson-Guldan violins. It was his understanding that the Jackson-Guldans were made with a one-piece side/rib rather than two pieces. One of these violins has two side/rib pieces. The one in the first photo has the one piece; the one in the second photo has the two pieces. He said that the Jackson-Guldan with the two pieces was bought new for his father in 1929. My neighbor purchased the other a few years ago and it was supposedly made around 1920; at least that was what he was told by the seller. The one in the third photo is the 1920?. They both bear the Jackson-Guldan paper label without "Columbus, Ohio" being noted on the label.

Any opinions on the approximate ages and why they are different with respect to the sides? He and I are just curious. Thanks for any help.

Addie - Posted - 01/28/2015:  12:08:23

You'll find J-Gs with solid ribs, and with standard ribs.  No linings.  Some have painted purfling, some have real.  With these, the more flame to the maple, the better the quality.  A far as I know, the tops are all cedar.  

I worked on one that had standard ribs, and Columbus Ohio on the label.  It was c. 1950(?).  The cedar gave it a warm, wonderful tone, but it always sounded strange under the ear.

KCFiddles - Posted - 01/28/2015:  12:21:11

Jackson-Guldan existed in Columbus from the 1920s through the 1950s. They were known for the one-piece rib garland, but as pointed out, many variations were offered over the years.  Pretty random, as far as I can see, as the company tried different things to survive.  They weren't around all that long, anyway.  (I have socks that have been around longer than they were.)  Some of their instruments sounded surprisingly good, but I never could warm up to them.

Interesting to note that J-G tried to get a prohibitive duty placed on German violins in the 50s or early 60s, presumably because J-G couldn't compete.

Edited by - KCFiddles on 01/28/2015 12:21:44

wilhelm - Posted - 01/28/2015:  13:39:49

The Jackson-Guldan Violin Co. was incorporated in 1915 and according to an article in the Columbus Dispatch sold at auction in 1971. (I believe the phrase used was that they went out of business for the "5th and final" time.) Pictures of the factory show a sign painted on the side of the building that says "The Guldan Violin Co." so I believe that George Guldan was making violins with his luthier, E. M. Fitzwater, prior to 1915. I don't believe they had been in business long prior to the Jacksons buying into the company since Guldan's son was born in Sandusky Ohio in 1911. I have seen one violin made by Guldan Violin Co. and it also used the manufacturing techniques of the Jackson-Guldans. I have not found a Fitzwater yet but I'm led to believe they were a pretty good violin.

Copies of the 1920 catalogue show a range of violins from $7.50 to $100. The lower prices ones seem to always have "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonenfis Faciebat Anno 17" as the label. There are three others labeled as "The Guldan" and they were $30. The top of the line was labeled as "The Guldan Special" and cost $100. Another model included in the catalogue was The Fitzwater Violin which sold for $250.

George Guldan left the company in 1925 to pursue a new venture, making ukuleles. Guldan was not listed as an officer of the corporation so I am assuming his agreement was to stay on for 10 years after the Jackson's bought the company.

I was born just outside of Columbus so I've taken an interest in them. I've seen a couple good ones but the reason the Eisenhower administration didn't impose a tariff on foreign made violins is because violin teachers responded that Jackson Guldans weren't fit to play.



Edited by - wilhelm on 01/28/2015 13:42:28

EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 01/28/2015:  14:50:07

How does it sound and play?

royce - Posted - 01/28/2015:  14:56:40

I've also heard that the Jackson Guldan company also made some violins for the Gibson Company. Gibson was too busy making Guitars, Banjos and Mandolins I guess. I've owned a couple of Gibson Violins and they look the part of some of the better Jackson Guldan violins.

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