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Thread: about antique violin that we cant identify

  1. #1
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    Default about antique violin that we cant identify

    Hello this is Göktan, i am living at İstanbul Turkey.We have a very old violin.It came from my third generation grandmother.My 4/5 generation grandfather was Aleppo governor and his wife was one of egypt princess.This violin was belong to their granddoughter.Violin has no brand mark on it.Only G letter behind it and also bridge which is dresden.But we cant identify violin's brand maybe its handmade ? We really dont know.I am trying to find brand and value of this violin and dont know which way should i go ?

    Pictures of Violin ;

    Please share your ideas and comments.
    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Welcome, Göktan!

    Violins are usually handcrafted by very small companies, 1 master, optionally few apprentices and employees. Series production with machines is a "recent" (40 years) development, more common is China.

    Brands are rare on violins. If at all, a paper tag or writings is within the body, observable through the F-holes. "Stradivarius" there means "cheap Chinese", but your instrument is too old for that.

    "Dresden" on the bridge can be the name of the bridge's manufacturer. Presently, raw bridges are made by specialized companies, the luthier gives them the final thinness. I ignore what was usual then. Dresden is a German city that possibly gave the name to the company.

    I don't believe the luthier would have put a "G" at that place, which I've never seen before, and far less by scratching the varnish. This suggests careless handling of the instrument, not by the luthier. Other locations show traces of careless handling, though they won't impair the instrument's quality.

    From pictures, we can say the instrument is from the Romantic era or younger, and its box was never opened. Apparently, the two halves of the bottom are not from the same wood piece, surprisingly. A fingerboard with clearer parts is unexpected. That's about all.

    Put together, I don't see any means to tell who made the instrument. Probably a workshop long closed and forgotten.


    What can be done, but not at distance on a forum through pictures, is to let value the instrument. A good violinist can give a first opinion for little or no money, so you don't waste a fortune at an expert if the instrument is bad or destroyed. The expert won't tell who made the instrument, but how much money it's worth. Many luthiers can make an opinion, though it's not exactly the same job nor qualities.


    The "tailpiece" is at the wrong place, probably because the "tailgut" that holds it at the "endspin" is broken or elongated.
    This explains why the bridge is at the wrong place and tilted. It also explains why the varnish is scratched under the bridge. I hope the strings are slackened, because the bridge pushing against the top plate at the wrong place can permanently deform it. From the pictures of the F-holes, I don't see any deformation of the top plate.

    Do not stretch the strings with the bridge at that position. If they are stretched (apparently the D string isn't), slacken them. Any violinist can put the bridge at its proper position, aligned with the inner notches of the F-holes. The tailgut may need to be replaced, which isn't usually done by the violinist. The bridge is much thicker than usual, which degrades the sound a bit, and is damaged. It's easily replaced by a luthier. This needs adjustment work that a violinist can't normally do. The present bridge may not be the original one, and could even be a makeshift by a non-professional. The wood seems badly chosen (I'm unsure) and the string spacing is wrong. Maybe you can risk this investment, together with the tailgut, before a violinist or luthier gives his opinion. The luthier could adjust the soundpost's position if needed. New strings may help make an opinion but they cost a bit. The E string is irregular and thinner than I expected, it must be painful to play, maybe it's not a violin string. Possibly an impecunious musician owned the instrument last.

    The scratches on the pictures show bad handling, not age. If the instrument has a value, the luthier can repair or replace the varnish. Easy, (relatively) cheap. It has little influence on the sound and can be done later.

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