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May 11, 2021 - 4:58:04 AM
11 posts since 2/23/2018

I posted some sound samples I made of the E. Martin violin I have listed in the classifieds. Recorded on my iPhone using Voicememo app in my living room, so nothing fancy and no effects.

It's a nice fiddle and a lot of fun to play.


Edited by - GeorgeH on 05/11/2021 05:10:25

May 15, 2021 - 3:22:43 AM

ehoard

USA

12 posts since 7/15/2017

Great fiddle in great shape. I have an E Martin Violin from the same time frame and they look almost identical. Mine has a big sweet tone that is good for any type of music.

Good luck with your sale. Definitely worth your asking price.

Edited by - ehoard on 05/15/2021 03:23:26

May 17, 2021 - 6:28:09 AM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

Hi Eddie,

Good to hear from another E. Martin violin player! I discovered these fiddles when my son was looking for a vintage instrument to replace his Yita violin. He tried about 20 fiddles, and fell in love with the E. Martin. It is a great player, and he used it in orchestra, fiddle contests, and his bluegrass/old-timey band.

I think that Bruno and Son did well to establish the reputation of these violins back in the early 1900s when people bought violins by catalog and mail-order. The top models were pretty expensive at the time, so they had to be good. This particular one is in exceptionally good condition, and sounds great. I'll post some more old-timey tunes later this week

Jam on!

May 17, 2021 - 7:26:26 AM

411 posts since 3/1/2020

Read this discussion on Maestronet about this violin:
maestronet.com/forum/index.php...d-labels/

May 17, 2021 - 8:08:59 AM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

Actually, that is more a discussion about violin labels, using this violin's label as an example.

Fake labels in violins are sometimes deliberately torn around the edges to give the appearance of being old.

So while this kind of damage can be an indication of a fake label or even an authentic label that has been removed and then restored after repairs to the back, it can also be a sign of authentic deterioration for various reasons. For example, violins and bows left unattended for long periods of time in dark cases are subject to attack by insects such as silver fish that eat paper or carpet beetles that attack bow hair.

The label on this violin is absolutely genuine and substantiated by the brands on the back, but the label shows signs degradation likely due to attacks by silverfish at some point in its 100 plus year history, but they are long gone now.

Edited by - GeorgeH on 05/17/2021 08:10:50

May 18, 2021 - 1:50:57 PM

411 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by GeorgeH


The label on this violin is absolutely genuine


You don't actually know this. Your assumption is that it is genuine because the violin has brands in the usua spots. The label may be genuine, but it certainly looks like it's been removed before, which means the violin has most likely been monkeyed with. The discussion points out the problems with credibility of that label's condition. The story about bugs eating it was not particularly convincing. People who are knowledgeable about violins brought this up, but you chose to ignore it.

Caveat emptor, I suppose. 

May 18, 2021 - 2:36:02 PM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

Hi Rich,

Besides just the brands, there is no evidence that the top has ever been removed. The seams between the ribs and the plates are pristine. There is no evidence of any work or repairs or modifications inside this violin. There are no cracks or repaired cracks. There is no evidence that the label is a facsimile or a later addition.

I have also seen plenty of labels in other violins that are fake, modified, or have been steamed off. This is not one of them.

There is lots of evidence that the label has been deteriorated by bugs. You can see the glue marks underneath where the label was eaten above it. Plus, silverfish do not just eat from the edges, they also eat from the top surface, and you can see where the paper is thinned in places on the surface.

We know that wood is attacked by worms and bow hair is attacked by beetles. We also know that paper is attacked by silverfish, and that violin labels are paper, and old violins have often been stored for long periods (decades even) in dark "coffin cases" in ideal places for insects to invade them, like attics and basements.

There is no reason whatsoever to think that paper violin labels are somehow magically immune from insect damage, and none has been offered.

Edited by - GeorgeH on 05/18/2021 14:44:21

May 18, 2021 - 6:14:04 PM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

quote:
Originally posted by GeorgeH

Hi Rich,

Besides just the brands, there is no evidence that the top has ever been removed. The seams between the ribs and the plates are pristine. There is no evidence of any work or repairs or modifications inside this violin. There are no cracks or repaired cracks. There is no evidence that the label is a facsimile or a later addition.

I have also seen plenty of labels in other violins that are fake, modified, or have been steamed off. This is not one of them.

There is lots of evidence that the label has been deteriorated by bugs. You can see the glue marks underneath where the label was eaten above it. Plus, silverfish do not just eat from the edges, they also eat from the top surface, and you can see where the paper is thinned in places on the surface.

We know that wood is attacked by worms and bow hair is attacked by beetles. We also know that paper is attacked by silverfish, and that violin labels are paper, and old violins have often been stored for long periods (decades even) in dark "coffin cases" in ideal places for insects to invade them, like attics and basements.

There is no reason whatsoever to think that paper violin labels are somehow magically immune from insect damage, and none have been offered.


May 19, 2021 - 1:15:07 AM

411 posts since 3/1/2020

As David Burgess said, “I am much less certain of things than you.”

Just as labels can be removed and replaced, tops can be removed skillfully enough that you wouldn’t be able to tell. Again, it’s not absolutely certain, but something seems odd. Bug damage is much harder to argue when the interior of the instrument appears so clean and there is no other sign of infestation.

Paper labels can become uneven when they’re removed from bits of paper coming off. You can look at plenty of E. Martin Sachsen violin labels and see better condition, even where the body is not so pristine, so to see this violin with almost no damage but a chewed up label and surgically clean interior, it raises questions.

May 19, 2021 - 7:27:44 AM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

It isn't all that unusual to find violins that have been stored in cases for decades or have been well taken care of that have very clean interiors. I recently found an authentic French violin c. 1895 that had been in a case untouched and unplayed for decades. It had been put away with the strings under tension so the neck had pulled up and the rosin left on the outside had badly blackened the top, but the interior was spotless and the corners and edges virtually unworn. The back looked almost brand new. I had it professionally cleaned and restored, and it is gorgeous.

Several fine violins made in the late 1800s and early 1900s that I have owned for over 40 years also have virtually spotless interiors.

In this violin, the wood in the interior is beautiful and clean, but it also has the characteristic darkening that comes with aging. (The photography makes it look lighter than it is.) It is not fresh wood. There are no signs of any work such as re-graduating having been performed inside.

Occam's razor says the simplest explanation for a phenomena is the usually correct explanation. All the evidence shows that damage by silverfish is the simplest and most-likely correct explanation for the condition of the label.

Interested readers are encouraged to Google "silverfish damage to paper" to learn more about this, see example images, and decide for themselves.

This violin is an authentic E. Martin top-grade violin in superb condition as described and photographed. Peter Zaret has a collection of these instruments of different grades and models on his website (Google "Peter Zaret martin violins"), and readers are also welcome to compare this one with those and decide for themselves.

Edited by - GeorgeH on 05/19/2021 07:30:01

May 19, 2021 - 9:03:56 AM

411 posts since 3/1/2020

The issue is not so much with the interior being clean at its age— it’s about the interior being so clean if there’s bug damage.

We get 100 year old violins from Paris at the shop regularly. They are almost always pristine and without any cracks or dirt inside. But the labels are invariably clean as a whistle. Just in case there’s any question, we don’t buy anything without a certificate from a real expert. That way, there’s no need to invent stories to explain away issues.

May 19, 2021 - 9:34:30 AM

5152 posts since 9/26/2008

George, FYI, Rich is, what at least 3rd? generation luthier. He's seen his share of violin interiors.

May 19, 2021 - 9:55:07 AM

GeorgeH

USA

11 posts since 2/23/2018

I am not "inventing stories to explain away issues" There is no issue. The evidence is quite clear. The label and violin are original and authentic. The violin is in excellent original condition. People can see and judge for themselves. The fact that the label is frayed around the edges has nothing to do with authenticity or performance or value of this instrument.

What is very unseemly is a dealer (you) with competing listings in Fiddlehangout for two expensive new "Chinese workshop" violins trying disparage and "raise questions" this violin (and me) without disclosing your own conflict of interest. That is simply wrong.

My listing has pictures of 20 different views of this violin, both interior and exterior. I have described it accurately and posted sound clips. I have a 7-day return policy. It is very competitively priced. I opened this discussion thread. I am completely transparent about this. I have +9 feedback rating.

I stand by everything I have written here and in my listing and am happy to answer any questions. If somebody chooses not to buy it because the label is frayed around the edges, that is fine. What I do know is that whoever ultimately buys this violin is going to be a very happy fiddler.

Edited by - GeorgeH on 05/19/2021 10:03:13

May 19, 2021 - 8:52:54 PM

5577 posts since 7/1/2007

I don't have a pony in this race, and I flat don't care who's right, but I myself have been working on violins since the eighties, and doing "fine" woodwork since the 1950s. Some of that time has been spent working in a big shop with experienced restorers and makers, and I have seen the insides of instruments from 16th Century Violas da Gamba to 18th Century cellos to Chinese instruments new as yesterday. I've also seen and owned a few E Martins, and have at least one in my basement right now. I have some experience with how wood ages. I also do pro photography and shot my own furniture catalog photos for print publications for years, and got painful education on how hard it is to get accurate photos of wood and wood products.

To summarize, I'll say that in my experience that violin screams "E Martin" to me, and if I were in the market, I would accept it as exactly what it is represented to be. I've seen enough of them to recognize them as I would my own brother. And I've seen enough old instruments and know enough about light and time and its effects to have no problems with that fiddle. Of course, I could be wrong, (I was wrong once before ;P) But if it were my money, I'd put it on "Martin."

May 20, 2021 - 5:57:11 AM

411 posts since 3/1/2020

The violin in question does appear to be an E. Martin. I haven’t been questioning its authenticity.

The reason I’ve been commenting is that this very violin was discussed on another forum because its label had been damaged. There was a lot of reason to think something had been done to it and the label had been removed.

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