You are here:

Violin/Caspar Sa Salo violin

Advertisement wrote at 2013-02-20 04:42:10
Hi Jim,

John here again,   

Just to update you on my previous questions and this instrument.    Have taken it to my Lutherian.   He confirms your suspicion that this a Maggini design as he has recently completed building one himself.   He also confirms that if this was in fact a Trade produced instrument that it have been very finely made and has graded it as above intermediate.  He updated me on where it was made. According to this gentleman, who has been at the trade for many decades, the purfering on the Maggini can give away the country of manufacture.   Thing double purfering is generally indicative of German Made instruments,  thick from France and a middle of the road balanced double perfuming is indicative of Italian made.   I believe that there were Trade violins made in all three countries.    He puts this as being Italian made.   

Only thing that seems a little confusing is the label and the scroll.  The scroll is more like Da Saloís as it has the single twist.   The label indicated that it was a Caspar Da Salo and we have already spoken about the error in spelling with that.   So we have a body and overall neck size and shape of a Maggini, the scroll of a Da Salo and the purfering which imitates Da Salo and a Label that claims it is a Da Salo when we know itís a Maggini.   No there markings inside and a comprehensive investigation has been done there other than a K in blue pencil on the notch where the neck meets the top of the body.   Itís as if someone has taken out the plans for a Maggini and mistaken them for a Da Salo and have added the finishing touches of one master (The Bull) to his pupilís design.   Was this common?

Kindest Regards

John from down under.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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 makersí 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 Dubť, 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.

©2017 All rights reserved.