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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: R&L Special Modell Carlo Bergonzi


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/54466

indianajones - Posted - 12/29/2020:  09:18:07


Have an old violin a friend gave me. Going to try to repair the top. Curious if anyone knows anything of the R&L insignia on the label and who made this fiddle. I suppose it could be L&R. I've provided some pics of the violin and the label. Looked up the Carlo Bergonzi so I assume it is a factory made copy of the famous Italian maker. Kind of curious about the spelling of Special Modell on the label because the internet says it is a German spelling. It also has double purfling that I thought was characteristic of Maginni violins?


Astrang - Posted - 12/30/2020:  14:15:42


I don’t know anything about R&L but I have one, and it looks just like yours. It’s the one I play most of the time. It was born in 1911 and has been handed down to different family members through the years. It had never been played very much, mostly children playing with it as a toy. Kind of pitiful in tone but it has a good feel to it and I like to keep it going. The first and middle name on the label are unreadable to me, it’s just scribble, but the last name appears to be Kelerin. It’s not noted as being a special model; it does have double purfling though. I hope it comes together for you.

indianajones - Posted - 12/30/2020:  14:47:12


Thanks Randy, I am still curious about the label and the spelling of Special Modell. If Modell is the German spelling for model, why not the German word for "Special"? Was the label maker just a bad speller? And what makes it "special"?

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 12/30/2020:  16:31:01


R & L is probably Roth and Lederer. They mass produced violins in Germany for a time. Violins with that label are not to be confused with Ernst Heinrich Roth violins, which were at a much higher level of quality.



The model isn't really Bergonzi. Many of the factory instruments were just labeled with whatever labels were at hand. It's also possible that the label isn't the original one. 


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 12/30/2020 16:33:16

Astrang - Posted - 12/31/2020:  05:40:01


Our label logos correctly match. Mine is numbered 1977.

Thanks Rich for the good information.

DougD - Posted - 12/31/2020:  07:47:08


I think in this context the German word would be "Spezial." Maybe they just didn't want to boher. I think that phrase is just there to give a little extra sales oomph to what apears to be a pretty ordinary instrument.
I'm curious - is the double purfling inlaid or just painted on?
Good you're rescuing it - let us know how it turns out.

indianajones - Posted - 12/31/2020:  09:09:34


Rich - Thanks for the Roth and Lederer info. Sounds like he started a company in US around 1902. I could not see anything that matched the label monogram like mine. I saw an ebay model asking $3,800 and another auction site that sold one for $75. I just don't want my maiden top repair attempt to be on a possibly more valuable instrument than I assume.

Randy - What do you mean our label logos correctly match? Is 1977 a date?

Doug - Why would a German company put the German word for model but not special? Maybe it was made in US? I think you are right about "special" being marketing but I figured if it were in a catalog someplace they might advertise what was special even if it were not that special. Its not important, just curious. I think the purfling is inlaid. If you look at the full picture I provided, you can see where the wood has broken off the top edge near the tail piece and the channeling in the wood that weakened it.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is a very fine fiddler and has experience with repairing violins who is going to guide me. I'll let you know how it turns out.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 12/31/2020:  10:03:21


indianajones ,

Where is the double purfling? I don’t see it in your photos.

indianajones - Posted - 12/31/2020:  10:10:11


By double purfling, I mean 2 lines. Maybe it is not double purfling.

DougD - Posted - 12/31/2020:  10:23:57


No it isn't. Purfling is usually three lines - dark, light, dark. Double purfling would have another set of three.
As far as the label - who knows? Carelessness? Maybe they meant to write in English, and the extra "l" just slipped in - that happens sometimes. I'm a little surprised it doesn't say "Made in Germany" somewhere. I doubt it was made in the US.

indianajones - Posted - 12/31/2020:  10:55:01


"Special Modell" will likely remain a mystery. Do think it was inlaid or painted?

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 12/31/2020:  12:18:27


Here is a Maggini copy violin with double purfling.



I've seen that kind of label before. It doesn't really have that much meaning. Spelling and grammar eccentricities are common on labels. Some people use them to be quaint. 



Your violin appears to have inlaid purfling. 


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 12/31/2020 12:22:23


Astrang - Posted - 12/31/2020:  12:31:10


I just meant that our label logos of R&L look identical. At the bottom right side of the label it is dated 1911. At the top left side it is numbered 1977. I think that’s right, but I’m not sure, and I’m not sure what that means. As to the double purfling, I also meant two lines.

My fiddle has all the characteristics of a very good fiddle, beautiful wood for the back and sides, a perfect neck, and a very, very fine grain top. The purple varnish hides the beauty of it. I do draw some good tone out of it once in a while, it just never happens when I’m recording. I’m sure it’s just a two dollar fiddle though.

indianajones - Posted - 12/31/2020:  14:30:15


Randy - Ok, so my fiddle sounds like it is very similar to yours and of same origin. I think the wood and the finish are very nice. It appears to be well constructed. I have high hopes that it will sound good when I get done. I may try to put some of those geared tuners on it. I'm now a little more educated about the purfling.

Thanks all and Happy New Year!

DougD - Posted - 12/31/2020:  14:40:52


indianajones - Its a little hard to tell from your photos, but if you can see the channel where its broken, then its inlaid. The bold black lines that made you describe it as "double" also made me wonder if it was painted.
Thanks to Rich you can look up Roth and Lederer (and find some conflicting Internet information)! Some of them seem to be pretty nice. Hope yours turns out to be too.

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