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Violin/Opinion required please

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Violin
Violin  

Violin 1
Violin 1  
I just bought this violin found in an old estate lot. I felt so sorry for it, reminded me of my dad who played for 70 years. I just had to rescue it. Poor thing is pretty neglected. From the rope strings, it looks like it could even have been used as a child's toy.  Anyways, it looks like it's been around for a while and was probably a beautiful violin at one time. It does have a lable inside that's all written in Latin with the model number 1690 and a manufactuers stamp.  Not sure if this is the factory stamp or what, but I think it must have been imported as we dont use latin here in the US.  My grand-daughter plays the recorder and I though this would make a violin she could start out on once it's been restrung and tuned in by a professional? Or shall I just put it among my other little bits of antique goodies and get her a newer one? Could you also please let me what I need to know when when speaking to someone who can restring it and bring it back to life for me?  Thank you :-)

Answer
Hi Maria

The violin you have is a commercially made German violin from the late 1800's to early 1900's. There is no way to know what factory made it as there were literally millions of these instruments produced mostly for export to the US market. Yours probably is from the earlier period as anything later would have been required to have stated the country of origin. The instrument was modeled after an Antonius Stradivarius from 1690 but in actuality bears little resemblance to a real one. It looks like it might need some considerable work, so I would advise taking it to a violin shop to get an estimate of the costs involved to make it into playable condition. This could easily run several hundred dollars.  I can't see it well enough to evaluate value, but these typically range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, the violin shop will also be able to tell you that information.  

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David Lashof

Expertise

I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)

Experience

I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Organizations
Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

Education/Credentials
I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

Awards and Honors
2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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