A new weird violin, the start of a second strange adventure in the world of Fiddles ...

RouseTheBoroughs

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So Beethoven is having a long day in prague, the year is 1796 ... he's working on Sonatina for Mandolin or Harpsichord in C or D minor, and that's when it happens, he drops his violin and upon picking it up can hear the rattle of a loose soundpost.

So where does he go ? Where does one go when you're in Prague and your violin is broken ... in the late 18th century ?



Not a difficult question to answer if you ask around, the 3 violins that adorn the top of the Edlinger house is the destination. Who are the Edlingers ? First and foremost they are the founders of the Prague school of violin making, luthiers so good that the instruments they make are indistinguishable from their Cremonese ancestors (Stradivarius), The Edlingers are also a family that goes back a few generations to the Italian Amati school of violin making.

So why am I telling you about all this ? Who cares about some Czech violin makers whose only modern legacy is a fancy store sign over what is nowadays a small café for students ( the shop closed in the late 19th Century when Steiner patterned violins went out of style due to their louder italian counterparts)

Because I just purchased a very strange violin. It could be an original Edlinger, it could be a German Edlinger copy, It could be an old Steiner repaired by Edlinger. I am going to figure this out with you guys !

But it's connection to the TGP is in this fact, 100 years before Panormo made the first 6 string guitar that we know, Edlinger luthiers were hard at work figuring out the formula as well. The 13 course Lute which sounds like a 12 string guitar with Nylon strings.



So back to my new violin, when I saw it, it looked an absolute wreck ... no label, format was classic Czech or German which means huge, the violin cost me close to nothing, I liked the Ebony appointments which my Szymanski Maggini does not have (Rosewood instead) and ebony tuning pegs. clearly needed a lot of work, the bottom violin is my Szymanski Maggini, the top is our find.

Notice the wideness of the top one.



The Szymanski's two piece back is gorgeous BUT the one piece of the other one is varnished with a glassy feel the Szymanski does not have.



Hidden from the elements I finally find a label recessed on a rib, it's incredibly difficult to see but with Photoshop's help and tons of brightening via a layer isolation process on the specific area it is located (it meshes more with the violin's inner color before the brightening).



What does it mean ? Well simply put, repaired by Joachim Edlinger in 1732. I'm off to Montreal's 'La Maison du Violon' for a setup and tons of repairs. Will keep you guys posted
 

RouseTheBoroughs

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So a little update ...

Took a trip to the 'House of Violins' in Montreal where the very patient Maude had a long look at another weird fiddle courtesy of yours truly.



Insert the LED strip into the wild yonder



And here it is just chilling ... waiting to be covered in Luthier Hands



So what is it ? Well ... In all probability an off the shelf 19th Century Saxon violin shaped into a 'Techler' shape as much as we can figure. This is of course all speculation at this point but no TGP, I have not found the golden ticket yet ... YET !!! So no ... not an old school 18th century gem ... probably a weird copy of something, it also does not have 'Corner Blocks' which probably means it's either made with an insane amount of confidence by a genius luthier, or is a factory pounded out cheapo fiddle.

A Part of me realizes that it's probably worthless, but the other sees the wear on it and countless repairs and thinks ... why would anyone put so much money across a century into a worthless violin, the fact that through countless repairs no one thought of installing corner blocks is also a bit strange ... The repair label, what's the deal with it ? Why would anyone put it there ?

The violin has ebony appointments including tuning pegs, an expensive tailpiece (not pictured) and other nice details on the purfling. SO WTF ... I have no clue, waiting for a few call backs from my luthier for the analysis and appraisal ...

Will keep those interested in the loop

more pics !




 

Jayyj

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8,236
From the photos I think your luthier has it right, late 19th Century German. I wouldn't say worthless though - I sell a lot of these and with a good set up they're usually good sounding violins that are ideal for students.

The violin trade has always had its fair share of rogues, and labels should be taken with a pinch of salt. I don't think anyone ever intended those mass produced Strad label violins to be mistaken for the real thing, but there have been many, many attempts to misrepresent instruments as something more valuable than they actually are. A popular trick was to find names of people registered as instrument makers in 18th Century censuses and make up labels with that name: my own violin is one of these, a German made instrument with an Italian label that can be traced to a more or less unknown Italian luthier 80 years before its likely birth date. It's a fine violin but not what it wants me to think it is!

A repair label that appears to date the instrument to be older then it actually is would have a similar effect to the census trick - to sound alarm bells for the buyer that the instrument is more than just a mass produced factory instrument.
 

Hari Seldon

Member
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2,459
I have four fine ones of them, too. Some are indeed fine for students or busking or the like. If the labels of mine were true, I were a rich man.
The possible quality ranges from trash to advanced student, but it's important to get pro advice before investing. The last one I discovered wasn't even worth the costs of a decent setup. Now it hangs nicely on the wall.

Good luck to the op.
 

RouseTheBoroughs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,656
From the photos I think your luthier has it right, late 19th Century German. I wouldn't say worthless though - I sell a lot of these and with a good set up they're usually good sounding violins that are ideal for students.

The violin trade has always had its fair share of rogues, and labels should be taken with a pinch of salt. I don't think anyone ever intended those mass produced Strad label violins to be mistaken for the real thing, but there have been many, many attempts to misrepresent instruments as something more valuable than they actually are. A popular trick was to find names of people registered as instrument makers in 18th Century censuses and make up labels with that name: my own violin is one of these, a German made instrument with an Italian label that can be traced to a more or less unknown Italian luthier 80 years before its likely birth date. It's a fine violin but not what it wants me to think it is!

A repair label that appears to date the instrument to be older then it actually is would have a similar effect to the census trick - to sound alarm bells for the buyer that the instrument is more than just a mass produced factory instrument.
Awesome post, there is still so much checking up to do by my luthier and I am in standby before we start any work.
 

ripple

To keep fresh, keep capped & cold.
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That fiddle looks like Hendrix played it at Monterey Pop...



What a cool and interesting story! Thanks for sharing and keep us posted on developments.
 

derekd

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I love threads like this, please keep us updated.
I agree.

Fascinating stuff. Looking forward to the next installment.

My wife is a fiddle player, so the dulcet sounds of the violin echo around our house daily. :D
 

RouseTheBoroughs

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2,656
A little update for those following up. well ... not as worthless as I thought, the violin came back with a visual estimate (they'll charge you for a written one) of about 3000$

The luthier made a complete overview of the instrument, it was fascinating to see how they do this which involves a fair bit of research and checks on the woods used, quality of construction and things like 'Purfling" which is the that binding on the body. Purfling is a difficult thing to do and violins almost always have it drawn on instead of put in which is a work intensive process. So the Luthier showed me the checklist, the quality of the varnish resonance and other things which allow him to put a read date on the Violin.

All this to confirm what we believed which was a Saxon violin, albeit a very good one, that ... had a lot of work to be done on it, the estimate came back at about 600$ to make it solid and functional.

Where did we go from there ? I'm probably going to sell it to get another one, I was thinking of getting a GOFUNDME to repair it and donate it but thought a less worn down violin would make for cooler and awesomer adventures in the weird world of fiddles.

More pics of the violin's special wear and tear, that dark stuff is called a Mustache and was really trendy a century and a half ago :



Both violins at home


An old desk and an old violin
 




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