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Sep 15, 2021 - 11:42:18 AM
39 posts since 12/16/2016

Recently acquired this unlabeled fiddle with this set of mechanical tuners. What can you tell me about them, and what might that allude to the age and source of the fiddle? I’ve attached one photo. Thanks, Steve


Sep 15, 2021 - 12:15:13 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

814 posts since 6/22/2016

I have pretty much the same pegs on my fiddle - can't tell you a thing about them, though! Can't tell you anything about the fiddle either, other than that it too is unlabeled, and it came from a pawn shop.

Sep 17, 2021 - 10:18:03 AM

39 posts since 12/16/2016

Thanks Old Scratch for your reply, thought I would add pictures of the face and back sides of my fiddle as comparison to your fiddle with similar tuners. Note that this one has a single piece back plate. Steve


Sep 17, 2021 - 2:18:14 PM
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9409 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by stevo-msla

Thanks Old Scratch for your reply, thought I would add pictures of the face and back sides of my fiddle as comparison to your fiddle with similar tuners. Note that this one has a single piece back plate. Steve


That fiddle back looks a LOT like the fiddle I bought in 1963.. Mine has an inner tag that says it was made in Japan...and it is an excellent instrument.. As I was told ( and I'm usually wrong) there was only a short time that the Japanese made backs like that.. and it was estimated that my fiddle was made in 1933.. All hearsay, of course.. Very nice looking instrument..Imo.

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/17/2021 14:20:27

Sep 18, 2021 - 10:52:24 AM

39 posts since 12/16/2016

Interesting to hear that my unlabeled fiddle with apparently unique mechanical tuning pegs is very similar to fiddles owned by Old Scratch and TuneWeaver. And that it might have been built in Japan around 1933.
I’ve attached a picture of the tail piece which is longer than most at 5 and 1/8 inches (4 and 3/4 inches from tail to bridge side of nut). And it was made even longer by the addition of fine tuners from “Western Germany”, as indicated by the stamped printing on the top side. As a result, the bridge was badly warped towards the fingerboard. I’ve installed a new bridge and a composite tail piece with integral fine tuners. The shorter tail piece with integral fine tuners has restored the recommended over length string distance between the bridge and tail piece nut.


Sep 18, 2021 - 11:06:07 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

814 posts since 6/22/2016

Hard to tell if my tailpiece is the same or not ..... I'd have posted some photos by now, except that I don't use my phone/camera for the internet, and it's a bit of a process getting photos from phone to pc ... I might get around to it, though .... In the meantime, the fiddle I'm talking about is the one in the photo with my user id, in the left-hand corner - if you want to be bothered, you can open the image in a separate tab and enlarge it for a blurry image ... !

Sep 18, 2021 - 11:45:43 AM
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16 posts since 3/8/2018

The pegs are Becker patent pegs from the 1880's thru maybe the 20's. The fiddle is Japanese. Before ww2 it would be, if it had a label, made in nippon. After ww2, made in Japan.

Sep 18, 2021 - 8:54:06 PM
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530 posts since 3/1/2020

Agreed, definitely looks like a Nippon violin. The Japanese maple they used looks unlike any other maple.

When the Japanese became interested in lutherie, they brought in German makers to teach them the trade. As a result, they learned to make in the German style and to a high level of proficiency. They used domestic maple to save money in production, but the wood was actually good tonewood, and many of these violins can be good players. There were two varnishes they commonly used: an orange amber like the OP's and a greenish yellow with a dark brown over the top. 

After the Second World War, production values dropped, a problem that can be seen in every country, but one that ultimately hurt Japan’s Violin making industry more.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 09/18/2021 20:59:21

Sep 19, 2021 - 7:16:50 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

814 posts since 6/22/2016

Thanks for that background info, Rich. I'm wondering now if mine is the darker version .....

Sep 19, 2021 - 8:39:56 AM

39 posts since 12/16/2016

Greatly appreciate the additional information from luthier65 and The Violin Beautiful revealing the manufacturer of the mechanical fine tuners as well as the origin of the fiddle, source wood, and stain. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I’ve learned a great deal.

And, from responses from TuneWeaver and Old Scratch, we know there’s at least two more of these fiddles still out there.

I’ll definitely be looking further into these tuners and violin maker. And I’ll continue to enjoy playing this instrument.

Steve

Sep 19, 2021 - 8:47:39 AM
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DougD

USA

10290 posts since 12/2/2007

BTW, according to local lore, GB Grayson played "a little brown Japanese fiddle," and I assume that's what you can hear on his recordings with Henry Whitter.

Sep 19, 2021 - 9:52:37 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

814 posts since 6/22/2016

Yes, thanks luthier65 as well!

Sep 19, 2021 - 12:18:01 PM
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9409 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by stevo-msla

Greatly appreciate the additional information from luthier65 and The Violin Beautiful revealing the manufacturer of the mechanical fine tuners as well as the origin of the fiddle, source wood, and stain. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I’ve learned a great deal.

And, from responses from TuneWeaver and Old Scratch, we know there’s at least two more of these fiddles still out there.

I’ll definitely be looking further into these tuners and violin maker. And I’ll continue to enjoy playing this instrument.

Steve


I want to add that when I saw the photos you posted, I though maybe you had stolen my fiddle... The resemblance to mine  is remarkable..

Sep 19, 2021 - 12:46:42 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

814 posts since 6/22/2016

Re: GB Grayson. I just had a look for a photo that clearly showed his tuning pegs - couldn't find one - but got to listen to some great fiddling!

Sep 20, 2021 - 7:19:25 AM

39 posts since 12/16/2016

Thanks DougD for the GB Grayson reference. Like Old Scratch, I’ll be looking at photos of his fiddle, while enjoying the great music of Grayson and Whittier. Steve

Sep 20, 2021 - 8:27:54 AM

39 posts since 12/16/2016

quote:
Originally posted by stevo-msla

Thanks DougD for the GB Grayson reference. Like Old Scratch, I’ll be looking at photos of his fiddle, while enjoying the great music of Grayson and Whitter (corrected spelling).  Steve


Edited by - stevo-msla on 09/20/2021 08:29:29

Sep 20, 2021 - 12:54:44 PM

16 posts since 3/8/2018

Steve,

There are more than a couple of those out there, because I have a bunch.

Anyone want Nippon Fiddles? I have them. I agree with Rich, fundamentally good work, although I will say that the interior work reminds me much more of Mirecourt than Schonbach.

Sep 20, 2021 - 1:12:57 PM

DougD

USA

10290 posts since 12/2/2007

@luthier95 - Do Nippon fiddles commonly have that type of peg, or is this just a coincidence?

Edited by - DougD on 09/20/2021 13:14:23

Sep 21, 2021 - 12:58:01 PM

16 posts since 3/8/2018

just a coincidence. I've never seen one come with the Becker pegs, only regular friction pegs and 2 on-a-plate geared tuners, the latter being only on occasion.

Sep 21, 2021 - 1:20:17 PM

DougD

USA

10290 posts since 12/2/2007

Thanks, that what I suspected. Sorry I got your number wrong!

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