Violin/willis manning gault


QUESTION: I  like to have Mr. Lashof to answer this if possible  I have some items of his would LIKE to kmow if there is a musuem for his work i have the first violin he made at 8 years old  and a paintng made for him by j. peterson in oils violn has his name and date 1916 by hand mr lashof , said you new him and worked with him  any thing you can tell me would so appreciate I can send a picture after your answer if you are interested  thank you sooooo much for your information  I have other items

Much of Willis's shop went to the National Music Museum in Vermilion SD. I don't know if they would be interested but that is whete I would start. If I was still in business I would have been intetested.

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QUESTION: I like your answer if I were to sell these items how  I go about it His son passed away 3 years ago he died with no money so said it didnt have to be this way the estate didnt have ednough to pa for the date on his stone  i would appreciate any info maybe you know of some  one who would be interested  Thank you for your answer

Did you happen to make an instrument with Willis, there was a Rose listed in the Peter Adams biography of Willis.

As far as selling the violin, it may not have much if any actual dollar value. His first instrument was made using non traditional violin wood and without the aid of any training, he didn't study violin making (with Strobel) for a number of years.  At the peak of his career, he rarely sold one of his instruments for more than $500, the most that one has sold for at auction was around $2000. I feel that the people that might be interested, besides the museum, would be past students of his, especially those that were close.

Was the son that passed, Mark? I met him when I was dealing with Willis's estate (clearing out his house in Greenbelt) after his passing. From my memory he would have only been in his 50's or 60's now.


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David Lashof


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.)


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.

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

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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