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Violin/Gaspar Da Salo Violin

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Question
I have a violin that has a very old label inside the body which reads, Copie de Gaspar Da Salo in Brescia. It is a very small violin, in need of restoration. How do I know for sure, if it is a Gaspar Da Salo Violin, and if it is worth having it restored?

Answer
Hi Dennis,

Thanks for your question.  You're situation is a common one, and, fortunately, in this case I can give you a clear and simple answer.  The violin you have is not a da Salo.  It is customary for instruments to bear such labels.  But, this does not indicate the maker, but rather the instrument from which this violin was copied.  In this case, the label is telling you that this instrument was modeled on the violins of Gasparo da Salo (Gasparo di Bertolotti), a 16th century maker of some renown and historical importance.  It is unlikely that this violin is a true copy, as da Salo instruments are quite rare, though he did make some small violins.  However, that is what the label purports.  

It is most likely a factory instrument, made in-mass, for export to the U.S. or elsewhere, intended for student players who are not old enough for full sized violins.  The "Copie de" would lead me to believe that it was produced in France or Romania, assuming that the label is genuine, and original to the instrument.

However, it may be worth restoring.  The only way to determine that, however, is to take it to a reputable violin shop and have it evaluated.  Factory instruments of this type range widely in price and quality.  The current value will depend upon the original quality of the violin and the extent of the damage.  If the damage is substantial, then it is probably not worth the cost of repair.  Particularly, as it is a small instrument.  But, most shops will give you an estimate for repair and a rough appraisal without obligation or fee, so it's certainly worth having it looked over.  (Old wood always sounds better than new!)  If you're lucky, and it is in reasonably good condition, and of a good quality to begin with, it could be worth several thousand; though, it is more likely to be worth in the neighborhood of $200 - $600, after repairs.  

Best of luck with it.

Regards,
Jim Fisher

Violin

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James S. Fisher

Expertise

Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.

Experience

I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins, www.fisherviolins.com.

Organizations
NAAM, ASTA

Education/Credentials
I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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