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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Old Amati copy


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/54731

kragerin - Posted - 02/13/2021:  21:19:44


I have an old fiddle that I've had for 30 years or so. After a few years I took it to the luthier in a music store to check it out. When he looked it over he called in a friend to look at it. I heard him say, "This is what they look like". I took that with a grain of salt. But the fiddle does have a lot of tiny dings like specks on both the front and back plates. It has a repaired crack from the bridge toward the tailpiece. There is a discernible kerf line at the nut where the scroll may have been replaced when and if the neck was lengthened. I am well aware after reading of the fakes that are out there. When I first got it of course I looked at the maker's stamp inside. It was barely discernible, but I know it said Amati but some of it was missing. (Of course, it's a copy no matter it's age), anyway the old fellow that was teaching me insisted one night of putting a rattlesnake rattle inside it. By the time I got home and removed the rattle the Amati was gone. Probably floating around somewhere in the body. All that's left are some tiny indeciferable figures at the bottom of what's left. I have no idea of the age of this fiddle but I am curious. I've looked with a magnifying glass at the scroll graft and the grain is interrupted. At some point someone put a glossy varnish on the back which is unfortunate. I'm not foolish enough to think it is an Amati, but perhaps a talented maker from long ago....or a clever forgery? My daughter lives in Kansas City and says there is a violin shop there that might have some information. If I am able I will try to send some pics in the future.

DougBrock - Posted - 02/14/2021:  06:31:27


Which violin shop in KC? KC Strings, Allen Wyatt, and Dan Lawrence are all good possibilities.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 02/14/2021:  07:53:11


Amati copies were made by many workshops in the 19th and early 20th century. Markneukirchen was the biggest mass producer and exporter of violins at that time, so your violin is most likely one of these. The label was probably made with cheap paper, so it could have become extremely brittle. The rattle was probably abrading the surface.

Post your pictures and it’ll be easier to tell.

farmerjones - Posted - 02/14/2021:  08:51:16


Help us out Rich. Weren't the early Amati's mid to late 1400's? I love their looks. Love Guerrnari's too. You're an aficionado of the Il Cannon. What was it's origin, again?

kragerin - Posted - 02/14/2021:  09:28:24


Yes, KC Strings. Thanks for the replies everyone.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 02/14/2021:  11:07:02


quote:

Originally posted by farmerjones

Help us out Rich. Weren't the early Amati's mid to late 1400's? I love their looks. Love Guerrnari's too. You're an aficionado of the Il Cannon. What was it's origin, again?






Andrea Amati made the first violins in the mid-1500s. There were many violin-like instruments throughout history, but Andrea Amati's design was the first that bore all the characteristics of what we know as the violin.



Guarneri del Gesu made one of his most famous violins in 1743. Nicolo Paganini owned that violin (among many other incredible instruments). Paganini gambled frequently and lost the Amati violin he had been playing. Upon hearing of this, a friend and amateur player gave this Guarneri violin to him so he'd have something good to perform with. It became his violin of choice because it had such incredible power. As a result he nicknamed it il Cannone, or "the cannon." Paganini bequeathed il Cannone to his hometown of Genoa. It has been there ever since. It has been restored a couple times and is still played regularly. Getting to play it is an honor only awarded to a select few players. 

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 02/14/2021:  18:51:38


The Markneukirchen copy I have is larger than the other patterns (Strad, Guarneri). I haven't measured how much, but I have to let out the shoulder rest. This seems to verify with what I've read about the Amati pattern. Larger.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 02/14/2021:  19:05:37


quote:

Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

The Markneukirchen copy I have is larger than the other patterns (Strad, Guarneri). I haven't measured how much, but I have to let out the shoulder rest. This seems to verify with what I've read about the Amati pattern. Larger.






Amati instruments are more petite, often 352 or 353 for Andrea Amati or Brothers Amati. Nicolo Amati made some at 354 and 355. Apparently there is one outlier that has a back length of 358, but that's still below 14."



Many German instruments have back lengths over 360, but that does not reflect a careful study of actual measurements, and it also partly explains why those copies don't sound anything like an Amati. They can work well for fiddlers and jazz players, though. 

DougD - Posted - 02/15/2021:  02:23:07


Scott, if you want to see and study some of these original instruments, the National Music Museum has a nice collection, especially from the Amati family: nmmusd.org
No Guarneris though, but other interesting stuff too. The website is not too user friendly, but you should be able to figure it out.

DougD - Posted - 02/15/2021:  02:32:55


PS - The work of the Amatis also influenced the instruments of Jacob Stainer, who supposedly studied in Cremona. Here's one of his violins actually for sale: brobstviolinshop.com/instrumen...view=grid
The body is given as 355 mm.

kragerin - Posted - 02/19/2021:  20:50:18


I'm not all that knowledgeable about the various makers, but weren't the Stainer violins notable for having a more pronounced breast than other makes?

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 02/20/2021:  18:43:24


quote:

Originally posted by kragerin

I'm not all that knowledgeable about the various makers, but weren't the Stainer violins notable for having a more pronounced breast than other makes?






Stainer's instruments had a fuller arch than what you see commonly today, although many of the German makers who "copied" his instruments tended to exaggerate the high arch.



The Amati family tended to make instruments with a somewhat higher arch as well. One of Stradivari's key contributions to the craft was the development of a flatter arch that gave the instrument more projecting power. 

KCFiddles - Posted - 03/05/2021:  18:46:45


Everybody in KC is still on restricted hours. Need to check web sites before you go. I worked at K C Strings and ran an affiliated business for 14 years before I semi-retired, but I'm still buying and selling and doing repairs and restoration. PM me if you're gonna be near Shawnee, KS, and I'll give you my number and you can come by my house / shop and I'll fill you in on your fiddle. Anything you have that says Amati is 99.99% gonna be a trade fiddle from one of several areas, most of which are pretty easy to identify. but not all. German "copies" were mostly hardly copies at all, beyond the superficial outline and f-hole shape. violin making was largely a guild business, and they generally made stuff according to guild custom, rather than original methods. Who made it and in what town generally makes a lot more difference than what's on the label, IME. I know that's kind of broad, but it sums up my experience.

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