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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jackson-Guldan Violin

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DustyElmer - Posted - 07/11/2007:  20:49:10

i have my great-grandfathers Jackson-Guldan violin, made in Columbus Ohio. i'm sure it's not worth much monetarily, but i'm looking for expert advice on whether or not i should bother fixing it up and how old it might be? he was playing from the 20's through til he died in the early 60's. i'd like to get a really good fiddle, but i'd like to have this one more for sentimental reasons. i've already named it "Ol' Red", as that was gramps nickname. it's missing it's bridge, but other than that it's all together. no cracks or anything. everything else appears to be in decent shape. the tailpiece has 1 fine tuner and is marked "GERMANY" underneath. the bow needs to be rehaired. and i have the original aligator case. i'll post pics if that will help. but i really just need to know if it's even worth it.

M-D - Posted - 07/11/2007:  22:59:15

Are you wanting to set it up to play, or just for looks?

Here's some info I found on another forum.

For those interested in Jackson Guldan violins, I have been told that in the decade before WWI Jackson Guldan took advantage of a then newly patented process for using machines as a labor saving device for carving the tops (and perhaps the backs)of violins. The germans too started using that machinery, but when WWI and a generation later WWII severely disrupted trade with Germany, Jackson Guldan had its most success.

I understand that they were America's only large volume violin manufacturer. While the US had its community of violin makers and small shops, just as in the present day, most violins in the US were manufacturered abroad and imported by distributors. Jackson Guldan tried to be an exception to the rule.

After WWII Jackson Guldan could not economically compete with the then lower wage german manufacturers especially in the student priced market. In the late 1950s they sought a tariff on low priced german violins, but were unsuccessful (the teachers associations went ballistic at the thought of raising the price of german imports).

In terms of quality I can only judge by a Jackson Guldan I recently bought very used. While it sounds sweet in a melancholy way, it is a very odd instrument. It looks nice from a few feet away, but a close look can be daunting. The f holes were cut very sloppily and the bass side F hole was carved 1/16th of an inch closer to the purfling than the treble side. The back showed nicely flamed maple, but the ribs are as plain as a mud fence. The edges of the ribs where they meet at the c bouts were not thinned down to a fine edge at the joints, but just glued together and cut off square. So the joints are thicker then we would generally expect (still its only a little bit less than an 1/8th inch thick).

Viewed from the inside I see no lining where the ribs meet the back. I have no idea what to make of that.

The thickness of the top at the f holes is noticeably thicker than your average violin.

The neck angle is somewhat shallow so the bridge is quite short. The finger board was pear or maple (I had it replaced with ebony). The neck wood was a nicely flamed maple and was carved fairly well.

The finish is a nicely shaded translucent dark brown.

All that said the instrument plays easily and well and cost only $375 (plus another $195 for the ebony finger board and new bridge and set up). It is loud and sounds nice in a sweet but melancholy way, so I am happy.



Music is found in the space between the notes -- in the silence between the chords. Get your spaces right, and you've got it. ~ Albert Greenfield

DustyElmer - Posted - 07/11/2007:  23:37:20

thanks for that information. i was looking to set it up to play. i don't know a whole lot about fiddles at this point, and if i could set that up to play i'd be just as happy as if i had a $2,000 German fiddle. he pretty much described what i've got. nice from far away and kind of ugly up close. good to know his sounded nice, hopefully mine will too!

M-D - Posted - 07/12/2007:  01:22:49

Get 'er set up, and have fun!



Music is found in the space between the notes -- in the silence between the chords. Get your spaces right, and you've got it. ~ Albert Greenfield

whit - Posted - 07/12/2007:  10:06:56

I have one. Its marked "The Guldan".
I payed around 250 for it w/decent bow back 10-15 yrs ago.
from a distance its pretty, up close, a luthier's nightmare.
It looks as its been apart and refinished, poorly. put back together really slopply.
Neck was reset steeper, then fingerboard shimmed back in the other direction.
Has one small top crack under the arm rest, but has not grown over the years, seems ok.
Despite the amateurish repairs, its holding together just fine.
Has some pretty flame on the back.
It sounds great.
Dark and loud.
I had a good old time fiddler play several inexpensive fiddles the day I bought it and picked it over the others purely on the basis of the sound. I sure woudnt have touch it if I'd have known enough to look it over carefully, I would have been scared away.
It stayed put away mostly until a year or 2 ago, when I had a new bridge and strings, pegs refitted & the bow rehaired and started playing regularly.
I've been offered 300 to 400 for it several times. It reall is a nice sounding old fiddle.
If I was you I'd for sure get it set up and give it a go.

Midwest_Fiddler - Posted - 07/12/2007:  11:10:34

I have one that I got at an antique store in Vandalia, IL some years back. It cost me $125. The case that it was in also had a Pfretschner (sp?) bow it it too. It turned out tha the bow was worth ~$400, but I digress. The fiddle is not unlike what has been described so far. I like the sound alright. I usually use it in tunings, such as, GDAD and such. All in all it was a good deal- the fiddle required no work and there was a decent bow in th case too.

uncledelphi - Posted - 07/12/2007:  11:18:25

A Jackson-Guldan fiddle recently passed through my hands. It matched the description posted by M-D in everything except the varnish, which was yellowish with a brown overspray. I did some minor setup on it, adjusting the bridge, adding fine-tuners to the tailpiece, and changing out the strings. My impression was that it was rather heavy with a thick top. It had no cracks or seam separations, and was a nice player.

It had a decent, moderately loud tone. The A and E strings tended to sound a little strident. Different strings would probably have sorted that out, but all I had to put on it were some Sweedish strings similar to Prims.

I sold this fiddle for $200, and do not regret it. I bought it because it was American made, but sadly it could not rival some of my German jewels.

DustyElmer - Posted - 07/12/2007:  12:51:31

thanks for all the replies. does anyone know where a good place to start looking for parts would be? i see it takes a shorter bridge. i'd like to get some geared tuning pegs for it also. good idea you think?

whit - Posted - 07/12/2007:  13:08:04

Just take it to a set up man, somebody who routinly does it. Nix on the geared pegs. Just get some properly fitted regular pegs. Do make sure you have some decent fine tuners at the tailpiece end.
You need pegs, bridge, tailpiece, strings, and soundpost all properly fitted and put togher by someone who knows what hes doing. Also make sure you bow is decent. Doing it yourself will require lots of trial and error and cost your more in the long run. You'll most likly just wind up with a mess 1st time you try anything. Chances are it'll all be less than 100 bucks, maybe way less.
Get your fiddle set up right and start playing.
Learning about putting them together/setting them up is a long term project, dont let it get in the way of getting started playing.

OTJunky - Posted - 07/12/2007:  13:15:13

whit wrote:
Learning about putting them together/setting them up is a long term project, dont let it get in the way of getting started playing.

I totally agree with this and heartily second it.

Fiddling and learning violin repair/setup are two different things. You can make a career out of either of them and - with either of them - it takes a long time to learn to do it well.

"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

seanfidheall - Posted - 07/12/2007:  17:18:15

The first fiddle I ever played was a Guldan. My attraction to them is more nostalgia than anything else. I've had several and presently own five. I see them pass through Elderly Instruments at around $400 to $500 these days. I'm told they often have odd dimensions and are notorious for low neck set.

bosco - Posted - 07/12/2007:  19:44:48

There were "Gibson" violins during/after WWII. Some of them have very fancy wood like quilted maple and blonde finish. They look like Gibson arch top guitars more than violins. Some one said they were made by Jackson-Guldan. Does anybody know if it's true?


Konnichiwa, arigato, sayonara

MikeB14 - Posted - 07/14/2007:  18:51:41

I also have my grand fathers Guldan violin/fiddle he bought back in the late 30's early 40's. I had taken it to a store about 7 yrs ago and they told me it wouldn't be worth setting up, to just put it on the wall.Haha
Glad I got it out last month as I am now starting to learn to play it. Grandpa passed back in 1961 when I was 3 so never got to know him. It wil not leave the family for sentimental reasons.

Paul Hostetter - Posted - 07/23/2007:  00:23:35

Gibson and Jackson-Guldan were separate outfits. Jackson-Guldans were pressed (flat sheets of wood heat-pressed into shape) while Gibsons were machine carved much as their production mandolins and guitars were. Neither was a particularly high-end instrument.

Paul Hostetter, luthier
Santa Cruz, California

bosco - Posted - 07/23/2007:  01:50:50

So, Gibson fiddles were really made by Gibosn? I've also seen a Gibson bow, which was made from aluminum.

Konnichiwa, arigato, sayonara

Paul Hostetter - Posted - 07/23/2007:  02:09:19

A few companies around the Great Lakes made aluminum bows: Heddon and Grumman come to mind right now. I have never seen an aluminum bow by Gibson, but it would not be a huge surprise. The aluminum bow era coincided with the Gibson violin bubble.

Paul Hostetter, luthier
Santa Cruz, California

G-string - Posted - 07/23/2007:  14:38:41

Hey Paul ---- good to see you over here!!!! Lp --- aka JLP

M-D - Posted - 07/28/2007:  18:44:01

As this thread was running its course, I had a fiddle come in, but hadn't looked at it other than to assess its needs. Turns out it was a J-G instrument. Everything said here applied. LOL The lower-bout of the back had been re-glued at some point. Looked as though they used Elmer's. LOL

The owner had taken it to several violin shops in California (where she's currently working) but no one wanted to work on it, which I suspect was due to the cost of doing so being worth more than the fiddle . . . or maybe they just didn't want to mess with it. So, I ended up with it, and dang if it didn't come out to be a quite decent-sounding OT fiddle. I played on it for days, having fun with it.

This particular instrument had been played a lot in its life, but the pegs were still the original pegs, with the original holes, all still small-sized. What they'd done was to just trim the peg down, and push it further into the hole. When the string-hole got too close to the peg-box wall, someone drilled a new hole, and re-sized the peg to fit. There was 4mm or less between the collars and the outside of peg-box, of each of the pegs.

I cut a new bridge for it (the one on it was an abomination) and fit a new sound-post (the one it had was worse than an abomination); adjusted the after-length as much as I could (it had a Thomastik style knock-off tail-piece), put a set of Prims on it, and was pleasantly surprised at what a good sound it had. I took some of the brightness out of it, warming the whole thing up, but left quite a bit of sustain and response in it. It really surprised me that it would turn out so well.



Music is found in the space between the notes -- in the silence between the chords. Get your spaces right, and you've got it. ~ Albert Greenfield

David Slocum - Posted - 12/18/2008:  12:52:16

I just want to put in my 2 cents worth. I repair and restore violins, and bought a Jackson Guldan fixer-upper, years ago, and started the repairs, mainly cracks in the top. After doing some reading up on them, I put it aside for a few years, but this past week decided to fix it up as a Christmas present wall hanger for my brother. The neck angle was good, the body symetrical, f-holes nicely carved and evenly spaced, original ebony fingerboard, moderately flamed maple, not a bad looking violin, even up close, though somewhat odd. Today I got the strings on it, and was totally surprised how good it sounds. It is very bright and loud, with an underlying warmth, great balance, just a great sounding fiddle. Now I'm having second thoughts about the wall hanger part. It certainly deserves to be played.

hypnotist - Posted - 12/26/2008:  10:59:21

i too have a jackson guldan fiddle I picked up at a garage sale for $75. cleaned it up set it up and it is quite nice, The case that it was i has a US stamped in the top, I agree with all that I have read here it is ugly up close but so what am i... and it sounds better than I do ... so all of you owners just hang on to them.. At least they are American made !!!

troutabout - Posted - 12/29/2008:  19:21:30

Like many factory brand fiddles, JG made different levels of quality. Many of the machine made low end models were made with sycamore ribs and backs. And the ribs were a one piece garland complete with corners and were bent around a form. The result was an affordable fiddle that weighed too much to compete with real quality. Necks had no taper. The best descripton I've read is that "they sound better than they should".

COOP - Posted - 05/09/2009:  20:11:17

[You see to be verry knowlageable and was wondering if you could assist me in some reserch. I resently aqured a Violin that still had the tags with it. There are two names on the tag and i am having a herd time figuring out (1) WHO MADE IT (2) WHAT IT IS WORTH (3) HOW OLD IT REALLY IS.

This is what i have.....

Tag says BOTH Jackson-guldan inc. and Mathias Hierolzer.
The serial number is 0208
The Purchas date on the tag is July 16 1958
Case has a tag that says Ess & Ess Quality Case Brooklyn New York
Case is Aligator Skin out Side and Red Velvet Inside
The Violin is in GREAT SHAPE. All in needs is restringed.

giannaviolins - Posted - 05/10/2009:  04:04:57

Pictures will tell whether JG or not.
Friendsville, TN

Don Stackhouse - Posted - 05/10/2009:  05:19:40

I've worked on a number of these, including a complete refinish. The ones I encountered were all from the early 20's, so I'm not sure if the later ones were built the same.

If Henry Ford had redesigned the violin to suit mechanized mass-production, the result would have been a Jackson-Guldan.

As a previous post described, the ribs were one long strip of wood, routed out with four peaks on the outer surface that would become the corners after the strip was heat-formed into the shape of the rib garland. The smooth inside surface served the function of corner blocks. The middle of the width of the rib strip was routed out to a bit more than the normal thickness of ribs along its length, but ridges were left along the top and bottom edges that served as linings.

There was a thickened area in the ribs at the bottom block location, although the ones I worked on also had a conventional bottom block. There was no top block. Instead, the heel of the neck had notches routed out on both sides, and the top ends of the rib strip were glued into these notches.

The tops and backs were smooth inside and out, with uniform graduations, probably press-formed from sheet wood (but NOT plywood!) rather than carved. The top wood was harder than normal, to the point that it did not appear to be spruce, in fact it looked similar to the wood used for the back and ribs. They had separate bass bars, rather crude and blocky. However, these were far nicer in those aspects than the hideous hack jobs of graduations and carved-in bass bars that I typically see in turn-of-the-century German trade fiddles.

Dimensions, neck angle, bridge height, etc., were all normal. If you find one that needs a shorter bridge, it's because the neck has sunk, not because it was built that way.

In general they were heavy (400-450 grams if I recall), built like tanks, suitable for use as chairs, Little League baseball bats, etc., which is probably appropriate for something that was obviously intended for absolute beginners in a typical school orchestra setting. In a hand-to-hand duel with a trumpet, I can guarantee one of these would be the winner, and even against something more solid like a flute, I think they would probably give as good as they got; I expect that probably the flute would subsequently be able to play around a corner. Despite this, I was consistently able to get significantly better sound quality and volume from them than I expected. I attribute this to the importance of good setup and soundpost/bridge voicing techniques. I strongly doubt that the original instruments with a stock factory setup sounded anywhere near that good.

My best guess, in decent, playable condition, with a decent setup, one of these might be worth several hundred, with adequate playability for most beginners. Without a decent setup, maybe one or two hundred at most, about like a typical German trade fiddle in that condition. As far as a family heirloom with a long family history behind it, modest commercial value, but inestimable sentimental value.

Edited by - Don Stackhouse on 05/10/2009 05:27:10

D.Fenestrate - Posted - 05/10/2009:  14:56:29

So are all the fiddles with the "first national institute Violin" sticker in the button area Jackson-Guldans?

OlympicStrings - Posted - 05/10/2009:  18:48:14

I'm a total noob to this board, so apologies in advance if I cross any lines. :-) The first Jackson-Guldan violins that were turned out in the 1920's were actually handmade along the same lines as most German fiddles coming out of the Mittenwald region and work was overseen by a maker that emigrated from Germany (name escapes me at this point). This continued until such time as they went to the mechanized output outlined in the previous posts.

The mechanized versions were indeed made of sycamore (cuz it was a domestic wood that was plentiful at the time in the Midwest), had a one piece garland of ribs, painted on purfling for most models, thick plates, etc. They were built to compete with the entry level Medio Fino violins by JTL in France, The Maidstone violins from England, and other similar fiddle. FYI...the First National Institute violins varied in quality and were typically imported instruments private labled for FNI...whose wares were sold door-to-door along with packages of lessons. Some are decent German fiddles made in Berlin with good plate graduation, ebony crowned buttons, etc.

Even J-G started private labeling eventually (one that pops up now and then was made for a violin house in Detroit and marketed under the "Golden Strad" label, using a golden yellow varnish instead of the shaded red sunburst colored J-G fiddles).

If you've got one of the early ones, they're generally worth about the same as a decent German fiddle from the 1920's. The mass produced ones have more sentimental than actual value. Hope this helps!


“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” –Albert Schweitzer

violinista - Posted - 05/22/2009:  05:47:36

i have one here in the philippines. it really sounds good!

cj - Posted - 06/11/2009:  19:28:50

I came across this forum regarding Jackson-Guldan Violin's so want to ask the question if this company was in business before the 1920's? I have an old violin that has a paper label for the Jackson-Guldan Violin Co; but the date on the label is written "Readjusted 1901" and a name of I assume the Luthier who made the adjustments to it, but I cannot make out the name written. I had someone tell me they think the violin is hand-made and probably in the 1880's or so. It is a nice looking violin and a great sounding one except the plain steel strings on it are terrible. I will be changing them out to better strings and think I will be happy with it then. The violin has a scrolling design pattern of mother-of-pearl inlay on the top end of the ebony finger board. I have owned the violin for over twenty years and believe it is mostly all original except for the bridge I have replaced and at some time someone added tuners to the tailpiece for all 4 strings. Not sure if the label is original to the violin or if is possible? Any thoughts?

giannaviolins - Posted - 06/12/2009:  05:15:00

By my recollection, the company started in 1923. Certainly in the 1920s, not before. From my remembering of Henley's, which I do not own. I wouldn't place too much emphasis on labels. I've not seen one with an inlaid finger board.
Friendsville, TN

fordraiders - Posted - 06/12/2009:  07:26:47

Definitely, would not go by lables totally, I have 2 J-G. 1/2 AND 4/4
The 1/2 is "First International" , beautiful finish...and sound, and the 4/4 is Mis-labeled Strad.. The measurements did not add up.
It clearly is a Guinari model .. I had taken it to my local Luthier..AND confirmed this.
But, Alas, It is one of my best sounding instruments. It was in great shape...just needed strings and a new bridge.
I also use it for "EAEA" tunings..It just sounds better in this mode...Great finish..! Darker Tone..just like I like em...


sawfiddle - Posted - 06/18/2009:  15:05:39

I had a JG "The Guldan". It was a fine fiddle for intermediate use! It was plenty loud and had a deep dark tone and was pretty well balanced. It was tobacco brown with golden highlights. I've heard some horror stories with the JGs but mine was a good box. First fiddle I ever owned was given to me it was a "First National" couldn't have picked a better learner!

cj - Posted - 06/18/2009:  20:09:50

Thanks for the information. So, either the label has been replaced with a JG one and old information written in, or, it really is a JG with incorrect information and a replaced fingerboard. I suppose it could go either way, but I'm betting it's a JG made later than the label says. Curious why the original production date wouldn't be on it if it is an original label.

Unfortunately, it needs some repair work (humidity damage opened up a seam, ugh!) and I took it to a local Luthier who told me he wasn't interested in working on it. I guess he works on a higher class of instruments so it would be beneath him to work on my poor fiddle. Too bad, it really is a decent sounding instrument and I'm happy with it for the little bit of playing I do. Fortunately, I found a real nice Luthier willing to work on it for a reasonable price and so it's going to get a little bit of TLC to fix the open seam, some set-up work, new strings, and a re-haired bow, and I will be happy to play it, even if it is a JG. I guess in the end it does not really matter, as long as I get my fiddle back in decent playing condition. After all, why have an instrument if not to play it!

bj - Posted - 06/26/2009:  22:21:21

As of today I own three JG fiddles. I was able to get one strung up and playing right away. Wow. If OlympicStrings is right, this is an earlier German made fiddle with the "Guldan" label put inside it. It sure looks like it could be the case, since it's real purfling, stunning tiger maple, and overall a pretty decent fiddle. I just played it for two hours and it's opening up very nicely. I'll be playing it at a jam all day tomorrow, so it'll be getting a good workout. Before I got it, it was stuck in a closet since the early 1960's with three other fiddles. I bought all four, and three were JGs.

I planned on reselling it, but . . . geez, I didn't expect it would sound so good! And it needs a better bridge and a soundpost tweak still . . .

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

Edited by - bj on 06/26/2009 22:22:21

bj - Posted - 07/31/2009:  13:41:57

I just got that early Jackson Guldan fiddle back from the luthier. Wow. Dark, rich, deep, LOUD and resonant! He's now got the other two to set up, and thinks they should come out sounding just as good.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

sdallen - Posted - 09/02/2009:  20:25:53

Hi all,

I am brand new but know a few things about violins so here goes.

I have built more than a few violins from scratch as well as guitars but my heart is in that strange 24in instrument with 4 strings.

I recently aquired a Jackson Guldan violin for $140US. The flamed back, neck and tight grained faceplate drew me to it. It had been stripped of all fittings and varnish. When it arrived I was amazed to find it was fully lined and blocked, dismayed to see several open seams along the garland. I fixed all the flaws, faced the fingerboard and refinished the instrument with several light coats of hand rubbed tung oil topped with a finish coat of burlap polished carnuba wax. I still have to fit the soundpost, saddle, nut, bridge, etc, but the chin rest, pegs and tail piece are very nice boxwood.

I have read that these violins can look nasty close up but this one is nicely made (although the purfling is 1/8in closer to the F-hole on one side)...charachter...right? The tap tone is extremely good and I should have it playable in the next week. I will post pictures of course! Music is where we find it and sometimes found in odd places.


bj - Posted - 09/02/2009:  20:37:04

Two of the three I bought were fully lined and blocked, the third not. I think this construction was typical of the earlier ones, which also had some pretty wonderful wood, and real purfling. All three are good sounding fiddles though, even the one with the inked on "purfling". I wouldn't hesitate to buy another of these if the opportunity arose. Two have found good homes (both with members here!) and the other I may keep if it sounds good when it comes back from the luthier.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

giannaviolins - Posted - 09/03/2009:  04:31:14

Necks tend to get loose. Neck angle often low. Widely varied performance. Sound better than they should!
Friendsville, TN

bj - Posted - 09/03/2009:  04:52:49

Sound better than they should!

LOL! Yeah, I've had two luthiers say those exact words to me, and it's been said on this forum more than once. Jim actually LIKES these fiddles, and, according to him, has managed to get good sound out of every one he's worked on. I guess I was lucky, re the necks, though he said on the one he has now that the space at the neck block between the fiddle face and the back of the fingerboard was actually too high, and he had to do "the opposite of a shim" and take it down a bit. He said the neck seems solid in the block. The other two were just fine, and solid.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

sdallen - Posted - 09/17/2009:  16:48:30

Hey bj,

You commented that you had some pics of your Guldan's...if you have the chance could you send them? I really want to see how they originally looked. Mine was fully stripped so I have no idea.


Originally posted by bj

Two of the three I bought were fully lined and blocked, the third not. I think this construction was typical of the earlier ones, which also had some pretty wonderful wood, and real purfling. All three are good sounding fiddles though, even the one with the inked on "purfling". I wouldn't hesitate to buy another of these if the opportunity arose. Two have found good homes (both with members here!) and the other I may keep if it sounds good when it comes back from the luthier.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

bj - Posted - 09/17/2009:  16:58:00

PM me and I'll send.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

djgeiger - Posted - 09/21/2009:  04:22:20

I found this place by searching "Guldan" . I found a violin marked "GULDAN" not Jackson Guldan , 'It may have it in there , I didn't have my reading glasses ",in a pawn shop with the D string missing .Even I could tell that the top was thick at the f hole. I found the bridge , put it on, pulled tension , drew the no rosin bow , and heard a rich chocolate that made me buy it on the spot . I don't Know hoe good it's going to sound , but my A.R Seidel can't deliver on the G string like that. This Guldan also had a flamed maple tailpiece and origional ebony tuning pegs that looked like new and held and moved wonderfully. I hope to get it set up soon.

bj - Posted - 09/21/2009:  13:22:48

Good luck with it, djgeiger! Two of the ones I bought were simply marked "Guldan". They were made by the Jackson Guldan Company, which is most likely in the fine print on the label, if you can get some light in there. It is on the one I have here.

So many tunes. So little time!

Me on the Web --
My inspiration:

N2 Horses - Posted - 09/30/2009:  06:31:42

I was always under the impression that they were handmade from 1890 to 1920 and the mass production began sometime in the 1920's. I have one that several people including a couple pros have asked if I would sell it, but again this one is flamed maple back sides and neck, real purfling, not painted and fully lined and blocked. When I bought it the bridge was in pretty bad shaped so my hubby fitted a new bridge and went over it real good looking for any potential problems. I had been using it as a backup to my Olaf but I play it quite a bit on stage now. I think I paid either $200 or $220 I cant remember for sure, the guy was asking $250 but hubby talked him down a little due to the bridge but for the money I am pleased


Jeremiah 6:16
Romans 3:23 6:23 5:8 10:9 10:13 1st John 5:10-13

indiana fiddler - Posted - 10/02/2009:  20:08:54

Just found this site while digging around trying to find info on what I think is a Jackson Guldan I just bought for $47.00. It has a strad copy sticker but on the left side is the Jackson Guldan trademark. It had an open seam I had to have glued, new strings and set up. The first thing my luthier said when I started playing "that thing shouldn't be sounding that good" I have 4 other fiddles, including a John Silakowski and all I've been playing for the last week is a $47. fiddle.
Does anyone know if Jackson Guldan used this sticker on the fiddles they made or did they import them ?


djgeiger - Posted - 10/05/2009:  00:04:22

Ditto. I can't stop playing mine either. With new pro arte' mediums I started playing and the tone was good and this thing wasn't played. Now it's starting to warm up and really come to life. I rued selling the A.R Seidel in favor of this interloper but no more. Yeah, My tech. looked it over and basically gave me a lowdown as to why it was no good ( f-holes ,etc. ) but he didn't play it. Why are they such snobs? I guess 'cause they want to sell you something else .


giannaviolins - Posted - 10/05/2009:  05:22:44

JG violins are generally ugly clunky, often machine made, the necks come out, and they're painted funny. That's why luthiers tend not to like them.

On the other hand, they often make nice fiddles. I've owned perhaps 30 of them and always found them good homes.

Even the bottom end ones work out OK, and the better ones generally sound much much better than they should based on appearance.
Friendsville, TN

cj - Posted - 10/05/2009:  10:11:30

So, I had my instrument worked on. Sounds much better and am happily playing it. Only problem is now all of a sudden when I'm playing, the D string starts sounding like it's hitting somewhere and the sound becomes unclear and starts almost screeching. It doesn't seem to do it all the time and is fine for a while when I start playing and the longer I play the worse it gets. The bridge doesn't seem too low, and I can't see anywhere that could be a problem. And I don't think it's me being that far out of practice! :-) The D string seems to be the big problem. I'm not sure if it needs an additional adjustment. Any thoughts? By the way, all the comments regarding the JG's being not very pretty looking. Makes me wonder what to look for exactly, cause when I look at mine, I'm not seeing some of those things. (That's it in my profile picture.) Tell me, does this one fit the description of the funky F holes and all those things? Maybe you can't tell from this picture though.

Auldviolin - Posted - 09/15/2010:  01:28:44

Hi all,
I have a what seems to be a very nice example of a JG which I picked up in Santa Barbara for $200.00 I just had my luthier set it up with a new bridge, tail piece and strings. He to had his doubts but upon hearing it seemed to agree that it has a nice dark sound, more fiddle than violin for sure.

All the above mentioned things in this thread seem to apply to this JG as well...Low neck angle (which my luthier said would limit the attack and volume) as well as a thick top, etc. etc.

Would it be advisable to remove the top, lift the base bar and give it a thorough scraping/planing out in hopes of getting a better sound?

Mandogryl - Posted - 09/15/2010:  04:04:32

If you and your luthier agree that it has a "...nice dark sound..." and if you are satisfied with that, you may want to leave it as is. Sounds very expensive to do this work. Sometimes these things are best left as is. I do mess with them, but only as a learning experience.

giannaviolins - Posted - 09/15/2010:  04:25:42

I wouldn't mess with one of these either. I tend to find other things I don't like along the way. Have one with the neck out now and I'm going to have to both fill the mortise and build up the sides of the tenon to get a decent fit. The work was horrible.

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