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A Very Old(?) Fiddle, label "Repaired by E. T. Root & Sons May 1912

Apr 29, 2023 - 11:37:22 AM
9 posts since 4/25/2023

I found this forum while searching for info on a fiddle I'm restoring, which has a label 'E.T Root & Sons Chicago and handwritten May 1912.' I will put a few pictures up here, and would love to talk shop about these old 'wrecks' and how to identify where they came from and when. The mystery for this one is it has a old square shape and a slightly smaller body, seems like the mid-1600's and the Amati school circa 1660. The body is VERY high arched, a "zeppelin" model, and it's odd some one making a later copy would choose this old antique looking type. The bridge impressions tell me it is a 7/8 size, or "Ladies violin", so maybe the extra tall top was to make up for the slightly smaller volume. Body is the regular 355mm long, and upper to lower bouts is 157, 114, 200mm. A standard such as The Guarneri - Il Cannon ex Paggannini measures 167, 111, 206 and 354 long. With an FEV, French shellac with deep color, little pyramid shaped cleats all along the back seam, and the inside of the pegbox not painted black like Germans did, this looks to be an early example of a great master built inst. from the French Miracore(?) school, right? I'm guessing late 1700's, and does anyone here know about dendrochronology, a way to know for sure, and possibly want to find a way to do it ourselves? {oops, not able to drag and drop pics in, yet}

Apr 29, 2023 - 1:43:54 PM

DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007

The easiest way to include photos in a post here is to upload them to your FHO homepage, and then use the "Attachments" function. Not sure if you have to make a few posts first or not.

Apr 29, 2023 - 2:26:42 PM
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5823 posts since 7/1/2007

It's pretty easy to tell whether it's interesting from a few well-lit and focused photographs. Full-on front, back, and side, (square on), with a good look into the throat of the scroll, at the bottom rib, and at a couple of rib corners would tell a lot. After dealing in instruments for 30 years, one can tell pretty quickly what's worth a second look.

Apr 30, 2023 - 12:50:22 AM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

We’ll have to see photos. The description is all over the place and doesn’t make any sense. If the body length is 355, it’s not a 7/8. The bridge width does not determine the size of the instrument.

I would never describe an Amati as square. That sounds a lot more like a description for a rough Stainer copy from the late 19th century with an exaggerated barrel-shaped arch.

I can’t make any sense of the connection between the description of the violin and late 18th century Mirecourt, nor can I understand why it’s being compared to a Guarneri del Gesu with which it would have nothing in common.

Dendrochronology is useful for establishing the rough age of the wood in a plate. It doesn’t determine the age of the instrument, since a maker could use old wood, but it at least narrows things down by eliminating all the possible years of construction before the wood was cut. Peter Ratcliff is the authority, and it’s becoming more and more standard practice to get a dendro report on violins over the $100k range. Getting one is useful as some extra peace of mind, but it does not identify a maker. For that you need a certificate from an appropriate expert.

Ratcliff's webpage:

https://violin-dendrochronology.com/

Looking forward to seeing pictures to try to start piecing together this very odd puzzle.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 04/30/2023 00:53:22

May 2, 2023 - 6:36:13 AM

886 posts since 1/25/2008

Good photos are a must! Front body, back body, side views (including closeups of pegbox/scroll, and rib corners), front of scroll, back of scroll. The label is probably from a distributor, so it probably doesn't mean anything. Most likely a Markneukirchen area cottage industry instrument from 1900ish.

May 2, 2023 - 8:43:34 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

Sorry if that posting sounded rushed, hard to cram all this into a post, without it becoming too too long. Also after decades of using super toxic finishes, like nitro-cellulose laquer, I now use pure ethanol(everclear) and shellac {and inhaling a lot of Everclear can really scatter a brain!} ahem... I had meant to start at the start - when i got this from the e bay and unwrapped it last week, first thing that was easy to see is that the neck had been replaced, with a modern 'machined' neck - of the modern size. It had obviously been antiqued to match the body, and the first 'offense ' I did was to wash the dark, black shellac, off the headstock to see the oil finish under there.SO I have to look at the body seperately, and wonder why someone would make a copy of such an old style - much like the early 1600's - certainly pre- Stradivari and his regular form. The woods make this project worth it - with SUPER deep flame all down the back, sides obscured by dark, dark brown, nearly black in the pre- 1600 style - and the front - is not book matched but the treble side super close grain spruce while the bass side begins tight and then has a wider grain out toward the edges. Much the way most modern builders strive for, wider grain tends, tends I say, to give more bass response. When I was building instruments, of all types, the hardest part was finding woods like this, and I don't think this type of Old Growth flame maple can be found anymore, at any price. Can it? IS Luthier's Mercantile of CA still operating? We are whistling in the dark here until I find a way to upload pictures I took, with a whole new computer, working on this. To answer the question about why this must be French, probably, Is the German factories always used a sober brown oil varnish, while many French builders, up to J. B. Vuilaume, used brightly colored and 'antiqued' shellac finishes with part of the color washed off, with an oil finish over this, {or not on the many cheaper latter copies). A big difference between the 'Painted Ladies' they made , and the German.

May 2, 2023 - 9:43:45 AM
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5823 posts since 7/1/2007

The easiest way to identify the origin of instruments is by key features of workmanship. Saxon guilds did things one way, Mittenwalders another, French yet another, Italians quite differently, etc. Wide or narrow grain doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. Most German "Factory " instruments were cottage industry and hardly from a factory setting at all, and rarely used oil varnish, since spirit varnishes dried so much faster. Oil varnishes were pretty much reserved for "Kunstgeigenmacher." The only factory settings I recall seeing were in and around Mirecourt in the 19th Century, Until the very end of the 19th Century in Markneukirchen and possibly Leipzig.

As Rich alluded to, nobody can tell anything without pictures, but so far it sound like you are describing a "bathtub Steiner" from Schoenbach in Bohemia in the Late 1800s - early 1900s. but that's just a guess, because they are so common.

Pictures aren't hard to upload if you can get your photos transformed to .jpg files on your computer. Can probably upload them directly from your camera, but I  haven't done that yet, myself.

Edited by - KCFiddles on 05/02/2023 09:50:37

May 2, 2023 - 10:55:29 AM
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1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

Sorry if that posting sounded rushed, hard to cram all this into a post, without it becoming too too long. Also after decades of using super toxic finishes, like nitro-cellulose laquer, I now use pure ethanol(everclear) and shellac {and inhaling a lot of Everclear can really scatter a brain!} ahem... I had meant to start at the start - when i got this from the e bay and unwrapped it last week, first thing that was easy to see is that the neck had been replaced, with a modern 'machined' neck - of the modern size. It had obviously been antiqued to match the body, and the first 'offense ' I did was to wash the dark, black shellac, off the headstock to see the oil finish under there.SO I have to look at the body seperately, and wonder why someone would make a copy of such an old style - much like the early 1600's - certainly pre- Stradivari and his regular form. The woods make this project worth it - with SUPER deep flame all down the back, sides obscured by dark, dark brown, nearly black in the pre- 1600 style - and the front - is not book matched but the treble side super close grain spruce while the bass side begins tight and then has a wider grain out toward the edges. Much the way most modern builders strive for, wider grain tends, tends I say, to give more bass response. When I was building instruments, of all types, the hardest part was finding woods like this, and I don't think this type of Old Growth flame maple can be found anymore, at any price. Can it? IS Luthier's Mercantile of CA still operating? We are whistling in the dark here until I find a way to upload pictures I took, with a whole new computer, working on this. To answer the question about why this must be French, probably, Is the German factories always used a sober brown oil varnish, while many French builders, up to J. B. Vuilaume, used brightly colored and 'antiqued' shellac finishes with part of the color washed off, with an oil finish over this, {or not on the many cheaper latter copies). A big difference between the 'Painted Ladies' they made , and the German.


Where are you getting your information? Your descriptions of various makers and making practices of national schools don't make any sense. I think you're jumping to conclusions about your violin based on very bad sources of information. Pictures will help to make some sense of what you have. 

May 2, 2023 - 1:50 PM
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886 posts since 1/25/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

Sorry if that posting sounded rushed, hard to cram all this into a post, without it becoming too too long. Also after decades of using super toxic finishes, like nitro-cellulose laquer, I now use pure ethanol(everclear) and shellac {and inhaling a lot of Everclear can really scatter a brain!} ahem... I had meant to start at the start - when i got this from the e bay and unwrapped it last week, first thing that was easy to see is that the neck had been replaced, with a modern 'machined' neck - of the modern size. It had obviously been antiqued to match the body, and the first 'offense ' I did was to wash the dark, black shellac, off the headstock to see the oil finish under there.SO I have to look at the body seperately, and wonder why someone would make a copy of such an old style - much like the early 1600's - certainly pre- Stradivari and his regular form. The woods make this project worth it - with SUPER deep flame all down the back, sides obscured by dark, dark brown, nearly black in the pre- 1600 style - and the front - is not book matched but the treble side super close grain spruce while the bass side begins tight and then has a wider grain out toward the edges. Much the way most modern builders strive for, wider grain tends, tends I say, to give more bass response. When I was building instruments, of all types, the hardest part was finding woods like this, and I don't think this type of Old Growth flame maple can be found anymore, at any price. Can it? IS Luthier's Mercantile of CA still operating? We are whistling in the dark here until I find a way to upload pictures I took, with a whole new computer, working on this. To answer the question about why this must be French, probably, Is the German factories always used a sober brown oil varnish, while many French builders, up to J. B. Vuilaume, used brightly colored and 'antiqued' shellac finishes with part of the color washed off, with an oil finish over this, {or not on the many cheaper latter copies). A big difference between the 'Painted Ladies' they made , and the German.


Where are you getting your information? Your descriptions of various makers and making practices of national schools don't make any sense. I think you're jumping to conclusions about your violin based on very bad sources of information. Pictures will help to make some sense of what you have. 


I was thinking the same thing. How much experience do you have restoring violins? Let's see the pictures, and we'll let you know if we agree with your conclusions.

May 4, 2023 - 7:19:30 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

Sorry if that posting sounded rushed, hard to cram all this into a post, without it becoming too too long. Also after decades of using super toxic finishes, like nitro-cellulose laquer, I now use pure ethanol(everclear) and shellac {and inhaling a lot of Everclear can really scatter a brain!} ahem... I had meant to start at the start - when i got this from the e bay and unwrapped it last week, first thing that was easy to see is that the neck had been replaced, with a modern 'machined' neck - of the modern size. It had obviously been antiqued to match the body, and the first 'offense ' I did was to wash the dark, black shellac, off the headstock to see the oil finish under there.SO I have to look at the body seperately, and wonder why someone would make a copy of such an old style - much like the early 1600's - certainly pre- Stradivari and his regular form. The woods make this project worth it - with SUPER deep flame all down the back, sides obscured by dark, dark brown, nearly black in the pre- 1600 style - and the front - is not book matched but the treble side super close grain spruce while the bass side begins tight and then has a wider grain out toward the edges. Much the way most modern builders strive for, wider grain tends, tends I say, to give more bass response. When I was building instruments, of all types, the hardest part was finding woods like this, and I don't think this type of Old Growth flame maple can be found anymore, at any price. Can it? IS Luthier's Mercantile of CA still operating? We are whistling in the dark here until I find a way to upload pictures I took, with a whole new computer, working on this. To answer the question about why this must be French, probably, Is the German factories always used a sober brown oil varnish, while many French builders, up to J. B. Vuilaume, used brightly colored and 'antiqued' shellac finishes with part of the color washed off, with an oil finish over this, {or not on the many cheaper latter copies). A big difference between the 'Painted Ladies' they made , and the German.


Where are you getting your information? Your descriptions of various makers and making practices of national schools don't make any sense. I think you're jumping to conclusions about your violin based on very bad sources of information. Pictures will help to make some sense of what you have. 


May 4, 2023 - 7:30:10 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

Most of my information comes from the two books by Hill Hill & Hill - 'The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762)' and the one about Antonio Stradivari. Yesterday I compared the f-holes on my little violin being restored to all the detail pictures, also in a reff. book 'European & American Instruments by A. Baines - which shows pictures of viols and violins all thru the ages. So the sound holes on this one are very clearly direct copies of the Strad ones, do not match Steiner, Amati or early Andrea Guarneri. -So a well made 'fake' or exact copy form back before 1800 when the modern longer necks became the norm. BUT being at least 200 years old and so well made - it is going to have to have an exceptional tone when I string it up next week. I find what you say most unhelpfull, do not want to waste time explaining ALL my 55 years of work - I seem to be "feeding the trolls" which is one reason I was targeted and now dye in poverty, alone. WATCH for a new post, dropping the NEW info bomb, The "Secret" of Stradivari has been discovered by scientific researchers, and as one man working in his shop hinted long ago "The secret is not in the varnish, it is something like a varnish but not the varnish." - and now we know what this riddle meant!

May 4, 2023 - 7:45:08 AM
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DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007

Why don't you just post pictures? You are not "feeding the trolls." Some quite knowledgeable people here are trying to be helpful, but you apparently don't want it.

May 4, 2023 - 10:37:14 AM
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1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

Most of my information comes from the two books by Hill Hill & Hill - 'The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762)' and the one about Antonio Stradivari. Yesterday I compared the f-holes on my little violin being restored to all the detail pictures, also in a reff. book 'European & American Instruments by A. Baines - which shows pictures of viols and violins all thru the ages. So the sound holes on this one are very clearly direct copies of the Strad ones, do not match Steiner, Amati or early Andrea Guarneri. -So a well made 'fake' or exact copy form back before 1800 when the modern longer necks became the norm. BUT being at least 200 years old and so well made - it is going to have to have an exceptional tone when I string it up next week. I find what you say most unhelpfull, do not want to waste time explaining ALL my 55 years of work - I seem to be "feeding the trolls" which is one reason I was targeted and now dye in poverty, alone. WATCH for a new post, dropping the NEW info bomb, The "Secret" of Stradivari has been discovered by scientific researchers, and as one man working in his shop hinted long ago "The secret is not in the varnish, it is something like a varnish but not the varnish." - and now we know what this riddle meant!


The Hills were world authorities on the finest instruments in their day and they were quite knowledgeable. Some of the things they wrote in their books about the history of the makers and especially the working methods  have been disproven with more understanding and wider access to information and examples of various instruments. But that's not the issue here; the things you're mentioning aren't in line with the Hills either. 
 

There is a lot of good information available, and I would recommend finding it. The Hill books have some very good information in them as well. 
 

There's no trolling here. You've posted a lot of wildly contradictory or plainly inaccurate information about different makers and regional styles and have asked for help in identifying a violin without providing any pictures. Please show some detailed pictures of the violin and you will likely get some answers about its probable origins. It seems a little odd that you're saying you need help to identify an instrument but you are at the same time so certain that you can identify so many defining features. Are you looking for an identification or just a validation of your opinions?

I hope you are just being facetious about the "secret of Stradivari" and are well aware of just how many "secrets" have been discovered over the last few centuries. After all, that's why Sacconi titled his book the way he did--to poke fun at all the supposed discoveries. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 05/04/2023 10:43:22

May 4, 2023 - 1:57:27 PM
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5823 posts since 7/1/2007

quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

Most of my information comes from the two books by Hill Hill & Hill - 'The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762)' and the one about Antonio Stradivari. Yesterday I compared the f-holes on my little violin being restored to all the detail pictures, also in a reff. book 'European & American Instruments by A. Baines - which shows pictures of viols and violins all thru the ages. So the sound holes on this one are very clearly direct copies of the Strad ones, do not match Steiner, Amati or early Andrea Guarneri. -So a well made 'fake' or exact copy form back before 1800 when the modern longer necks became the norm. BUT being at least 200 years old and so well made - it is going to have to have an exceptional tone when I string it up next week. I find what you say most unhelpfull, do not want to waste time explaining ALL my 55 years of work - I seem to be "feeding the trolls" which is one reason I was targeted and now dye in poverty, alone. WATCH for a new post, dropping the NEW info bomb, The "Secret" of Stradivari has been discovered by scientific researchers, and as one man working in his shop hinted long ago "The secret is not in the varnish, it is something like a varnish but not the varnish." - and now we know what this riddle meant!


It's pretty clear from your posts that you don't actually work in the trade, at least not professionally, as several of your respondents do. If you were active in the trade, you'd know that many modern makers create instruments that rival and even surpass old Italians in blind tests. The current level of scholarship on Cremonese makers is pretty impressive - far beyond Hills - and you might do well to try to catch up with the last 30  years of publications. What have you been doing in your "55 years of work"? Ignoring the world around you?

The best way to get a productive response might be to just post some pictures instead of going on about stuff that's neither here nor there.

May 12, 2023 - 12:57:09 PM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

I was writing a reply last week WITH the newly discovered "secret" and it suddenly disappeared. Hard to type with fingers crippled by frostbite and hurting from too much tool and sandpaper use, yet here goes - A year ago a student of mine asked about the legendary 'Secret of Stradivari' fiddles and I told him the regular reply - There is not really a secret - he just did every little thing a certain way, and perfected the shape and form of violins - to a point all others had to copy his work for the next 300 years or so. Then as if called forth an article appeared, from university researchers in Tokyo that chemically analyzed the woods he used - AND found that because of a big problem with 'wood worm' eating the fiddles from inside, they began using wood preservative, PREASURE TREATED the woods. Impregnating the maple, those bugs prefer to Spruce, with minerals like alum, lime, salt - a whole range of them Al,Ca,CU, Na, Zn, and even K. This was begun in the Amati workshop in the mid-1600, we do not yet know when _- A great opportunity to expand this research by luthiers with background in Chemistry like me (but not me). So while many builders focus on making instruments thin, light and therefore more resonant - He made a stronger structure, with Willow corner block that have tiny channels to hold the sidings down, and more dense woods, so the plates could be carved very, very, thin - AND still last for hundreds of years! One reff. says his plates are 2.0 -2.8mm, Guarneri, who used Pine blocks and lighter wood preservatives were 2.2 - 2.9, and most all modern violins often with NO corner blocks are over 3.1 mm.
So now we know - this IS the reason Antonio's work has lasted and is still playable 300 years later, while many of the copies made just as thin cracked and fell apart in less than 100. {and the old 'Early Colonial black shellac' fiddle now on my bench, gotta do some Dendro dating since the top plate is 2,2mm thin!} Actually I was shown by a teacher how the supposedly old, antiqued, fiddle I brought to him open could clearly be seen - they sprayed a dark stain inside, to mimic the dark woods that had been impregnated with minerals; one way a real smart Pro used to be able to tell the old work from the new - the dark mineral impregnated woods. Companies like YAMAHA have already begun using such time consuming process on some instruments and charging ten times more for them!

May 13, 2023 - 11:25:16 AM
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1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by T Gordon Anderson

I was writing a reply last week WITH the newly discovered "secret" and it suddenly disappeared. Hard to type with fingers crippled by frostbite and hurting from too much tool and sandpaper use, yet here goes - A year ago a student of mine asked about the legendary 'Secret of Stradivari' fiddles and I told him the regular reply - There is not really a secret - he just did every little thing a certain way, and perfected the shape and form of violins - to a point all others had to copy his work for the next 300 years or so. Then as if called forth an article appeared, from university researchers in Tokyo that chemically analyzed the woods he used - AND found that because of a big problem with 'wood worm' eating the fiddles from inside, they began using wood preservative, PREASURE TREATED the woods. Impregnating the maple, those bugs prefer to Spruce, with minerals like alum, lime, salt - a whole range of them Al,Ca,CU, Na, Zn, and even K. This was begun in the Amati workshop in the mid-1600, we do not yet know when _- A great opportunity to expand this research by luthiers with background in Chemistry like me (but not me). So while many builders focus on making instruments thin, light and therefore more resonant - He made a stronger structure, with Willow corner block that have tiny channels to hold the sidings down, and more dense woods, so the plates could be carved very, very, thin - AND still last for hundreds of years! One reff. says his plates are 2.0 -2.8mm, Guarneri, who used Pine blocks and lighter wood preservatives were 2.2 - 2.9, and most all modern violins often with NO corner blocks are over 3.1 mm.
So now we know - this IS the reason Antonio's work has lasted and is still playable 300 years later, while many of the copies made just as thin cracked and fell apart in less than 100. {and the old 'Early Colonial black shellac' fiddle now on my bench, gotta do some Dendro dating since the top plate is 2,2mm thin!} Actually I was shown by a teacher how the supposedly old, antiqued, fiddle I brought to him open could clearly be seen - they sprayed a dark stain inside, to mimic the dark woods that had been impregnated with minerals; one way a real smart Pro used to be able to tell the old work from the new - the dark mineral impregnated woods. Companies like YAMAHA have already begun using such time consuming process on some instruments and charging ten times more for them!


This "secret" has been promoted by a few people for years. Isn't it rather curious, then, that not one of them has managed to make a violin even remotely like a Strad in all that time?

When I was growing up there was a scientist in town who had also discovered the "secret of Stradivari" and claimed that, not only could he make ANY violin sound like a Strad, you could pick ANY Strad (or Guarneri) and he could make ANY violin sound exactly like it using carefully placed bits of beeswax to modulate sound until the result was achieved and then making it permanent by replacing the beeswax with UV-curing resin. My father and I had him over once to see one of these miraculous violins, but what should happen but that he didn't have one ready when he came over. Instead of showing us anything, he just made grandiose claims and asked to look at our violins. I have yet to hear one of his violins, and I think the rest of the world has similarly missed out on this astonishing discovery. After all, this man was a Scientist, so how could his findings be doubted?

There are all kinds of scientific studies out there (many of them really more pseudoscience than proper science) making very bold claims about discovering secrets. Savart and Chanot did a lot of research and made some violins that are now valuable as curiosities but not good players' instruments. There have been all kinds of stories made up about Stradivari, like those about him wandering around in forests with a golden hammer to listen to trees as he tapped them and listening to the sound of the logs banging into each other as they floated down mountain streams. There's even the myth that he worked all alone making over one thousand instruments during his career. He was the richest maker in Cremona in his time because he had royal patrons, and there's more and more evidence to suggest that he had a full workshop of apprentices to assist him. There's really no question that two of his own sons were involved in making the instruments. In addition to making violins, the shop was making guitars, harps, and cases. That kind of operation necessitated a lot of hands.

It's simply not true that "everyone copied Stradivari" for 300 years. His model became the most popular one when the maker was rediscovered in the 1800s after fading into obscurity for almost a century. Their obscurity was what made it possible for Tarisio to go around buying so many fine Strads for almost nothing from dusty corners of abbeys and wealthy families that had kept them but didn't use them. The market for rediscovered Strads in Paris, along with Viotti's choice of them for his concertizing, are the things that led to the overwhelming popularity of Strad's violins. From there, his Golden Period examples became the most popular to copy. However, at no time did other makers give up on their own models. Guarneri certainly had his own, and so did many other makers like the Guadagnini family, the Testore family, the Bergonzis, and many other fine makers of Strad's era and after. For much of Stradivari's own life, he was using a form that was directly influenced by Amati patterns.

The idea that "most modern makers use no corner blocks" is just ridiculous. If you've worked on any of them, you must know this. The absence of corner blocks is a feature often found among German violins of a certain type and is not a modern construction practice, unless it's among the cheapest of the cheap VSOs that are made at the lowest standards.

Your description of thickness patterns is inaccurate and only seems to take into account the middle of the instrument. For example, it's been well known for some time that Guarneri left his instruments generally much thicker than what you mention. Many of the violins were later regraduated and are much different in their thicknessing than they were when they left his bench. The most pristine surviving examples are surprisingly thick (take the Cannon, for example). 

We don't really know if Strad even made varnish on his own. There were guilds for just about everything in Cremona at that time, and varnish making was one of them. Did Strad pre-treat the wood with salts and metals? Maybe, but we don't really know, and it's fair to say that his understanding of chemistry would have been quite limited, as even the leading scientists of the day were still making discoveries of things we consider basic chemistry today.

Also, I don't think any violin actual expert has ever claimed that mineral-impregnated wood is a determining factor in an identification. 

May 14, 2023 - 6:17:26 AM

5823 posts since 7/1/2007

I got about halfway through this guy's misguided and malinformed screed before I gave up. Nagyvary was wrong, but at least he could show us some violins! This guy has nothing but blather. Until he can demonstrate something concrete, a waste of all our time.

May 14, 2023 - 11:25:29 AM
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1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by KCFiddles

I got about halfway through this guy's misguided and malinformed screed before I gave up. Nagyvary was wrong, but at least he could show us some violins! This guy has nothing but blather. Until he can demonstrate something concrete, a waste of all our time.


I take your point, but whenever I see a lot of bad information being posted, especially about something I live and breathe, I feel duty-bound to try to set the record straight for everyone else who's reading if I think there's an opportunity.

A long time ago Nagyvary got in touch with my father and asked if he'd be willing to try one of his violins and write about it. The violin would be my father's to keep if he agreed, but he declined politely and very quickly.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 05/14/2023 11:26:24

May 17, 2023 - 8:41:55 PM

931 posts since 1/25/2008

I think ET Root is a keeper; it was mentioned by Christeson I believe.

May 18, 2023 - 6:15:54 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

So sad to not see any real reply to what i wrote, with the new chemical analysers available, that can test the violin woods with just a tiny bit, and see when and how the Cremona masters used wood preserv. treatment to stop bugs from eating them and make the wood denser and stronger - therefore carved thinner and longer lasting too. So hard for me to type with crippled hands and CBT. So I will look into selling my violin tools here, I out them in a old steel toolbox, ready to go if anyone is interested, or maybe ebay if I can't upload pictures here. I go back to just working on sitars and guitars, mandos, bass {in poverty and no possible way to continue building my own advanced instruments, all designs can be had for free to anyone, CCChina already selling copies of my headless electric, but they got it all wrong and mine still sound vastly better}. ahem... OH the 'Early Colonial' black shellac 7/8 fiddle that E.T.Root restored and "improved" with a modern neck in May 1912, she is strung up and sounds FANTAASTIC - nearly brings tears to peoples eyes. Rich, deep, more mellow than loud, it just sounds old. NO WAY to put a price on it, until I can date the wood on the top, see if it is what it looks like, a very early Amati, or good copy from (I'm guessing) France, Miracort in the late 1700's.

May 18, 2023 - 6:34:27 PM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

The most in- depth analysis of chemicals present in Cremonese violins is the Brandmair/Greiner book, according to which the wood was sealed with a protein ground with an added stain for color. There was no evidence of impregnating the wood with metals or salts, much to Nagyvary’s chagrin. The findings suggested that the materials Stradivari and other great Cremonese makers used were quite simple ones that did not differ from those used by other makers since.

Even with the addition of this book to the literature on Cremonese varnish and wood finishing, there still remains a lot of uncertainty. Brandmair and Greiner contributed some useful information, but it is not intended as the final word or an exhaustive explanation of the Cremonese varnishing process. What’s most interesting is all the things they didn’t find in the chemical analysis.

May 22, 2023 - 5:23:30 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

You all really need to see some pictures of this fiddle, a 7/8 Strad 'fake' (or is it?)- yet with a new computer system and new to this site, well even when it says I have uploaded pictures, they are not really there to see. Since this would not be something a person would want to show up at an orchestra with, I will try to list it here, for a fiddle it is stunning! I showed it to a pro on a zoom call yesterday and he was blown away. I also have a few 'painted ladies', commonly mass produced in the 1900-1927 period, with the bright red or orange varnish - half off making them mostly blond. Yet I put these old ones back together for players, not collectors who drive the big money market, (which is going strong at Tarisio) - the market among players is slow to non-exisitant, since the Virus hit us all {and I now have no mony for food sad to say}. IF I was a real violin shop, not just an amateur, I would have invested in a HP Chemical Analyzer AND the dendrochronology programs - so that you and I could verify the age and treatment of woods, quickly and cheaply, and rise up out of the dark ages of speculation and seemingly endless argument. My Health is crashing and can only work for 5 minutes and have to lay down - so time to go to selling mode. {oh wait, is THIS old fiddle with a Strad label really the same one I just saw in a 100 year old Lyon & Healy catalogue??? I have to see, since it still has the original neck joined straight into the body - will open it and look to see if it has - the 3 or 4 small square nails still holding the neck on!!! To the ebay! got her.} ahem - Did Antonio Stradivari ever carve a head with a lion head on it? Recent articles say he made about 1000 violins in his long working life, about 1200 instruments overall - and 650 authentic ones are known to exist now - so about half his work is still out there, probably in pieces and in need of neck resets, made longer with a plug, or a new modern neck, to make them playable again.

Edited by - T Gordon Anderson on 05/22/2023 05:25:46

May 31, 2023 - 7:58:49 AM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

So sorry about that outburst - yet before I explain it here is another one -
OH - MY - GODDESS!
'The Plum Violin' appears to be - the one listed in this 1913 Lyon & Healy cat.
I bought as - "Carlo Tonini 1701 Item No. 3968"
As they said back in the good old days - "Among the most noteworthy violins purchased by our connoiseur (sic) in Europe this season is this one, in point of musical quality, ranks with the greatest masters we have ever shown. - The varnish is of a rich plum color, very lusterous. - It is a solo violin of high order. Price $4,000."
The wood grain matches a verified Strad - all looks right - waiting to hear from L&H about if they have a picture and dimensions of the one they sold in 1913.
I thought I was repairing the finish on a early French copy, with the colorful shellac, until I HEARD THIS! I found the details too beautifully made to open it up - and need to get a fiber optic camera to look for the full corner blocks and inside marks.

So I also bought another L&H fiddle listed second to last as "Old German work Tiger head, dark orange varnish" BECASUE the neck is not 'modernized', built into the body, top 'uncut' and this solves my mystery about how violins before 1800, give or take 50 years, were built like Spanish classical guitars with the neck heel going into the body sides glued to it. Look up a rare Strad at Tarisio which is the only one seen with the top "uncut" and without the new neck block and joint we all know so well. So now maybe I can calm down and learn how to drag pictures onto this forum... tp explain it all. exciting work, yet i can no longer type and may.. you know dying of a brain tumor, as we found out with my father in '99, is totally painless! {buy it now price is 65,000}

Jun 28, 2023 - 3:46:10 PM

9 posts since 4/25/2023

I 'm still alive, not doing well at all- Will try one more time to upload pictures here -nope, I uploaded them but - not here t see, phoen calls beign stopped, I see emails disapear before i can open them - SOMEONE is tryign to reach me... all is lost, can nto compete with "them' - pure evil. bye now.


Jul 22, 2023 - 7:40:08 PM

11476 posts since 3/19/2009

I sure hope ALL of the photos arrive soon.. I've really enjoyed this conversation..

Jul 23, 2023 - 9:42:35 AM

886 posts since 1/25/2008

Hate to tell you this, but that picture is too poor to make any reasonable identification. It looks like it has pinched corners, so best guess, based on minimal information, is that it looks like a German cottage industry fiddle.

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