Violin/violin maker


QUESTION: Hi my name is Robert I asked a question the other day about my violins signature unfortunately you could not read the name. I have finally figured it out . I come up with F.A.Glass.du  the du could be de its very small and hard to read. This was owned by my wife's grandfather when he was a boy which would have been around 1900 as my wife is 60. Any info? Is it worth fixing? It has a one piece very curly back.  Thank you Robert Jarrel

ANSWER: Hi Robert,

Thanks for your question.  Friedrich August Glass II was a well-respected German maker of the mid 19th century.  Instruments actually made by him sell in the low thousands, depending on the original quality of the instrument (he made a wide range) and the current condition.  However, there were many instruments produced in his shop that bear his label, but were not made by him.  These are worth less, although many of them are still fine instruments.  

There are also instruments bearing his name on the label that are simply cheap factory copies. From the little I can see from the picture, I'm inclined to think that yours is one of these.  The quality of the wood and varnish, along with the unusual decoration at the edges, leads me to think that this is a factory instrument.

However, I really can't tell you much for certain without having the instrument in my hands.  I would recommend that you make an appointment at a respected violin shop in your area to have its value and condition appraised.  If possible, try to find someone with experience appraising older violins.  

Best of luck!

Jim Fisher  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the information just a quick question when you say label, would that be the same as just having the name either wrote in or stamped.  As their is only his name in the violin. Thank you again Robert

Hi Robert,

My apologies for the late reply.  Your message was not forwarded to me, as usual, and I wasn't aware of your followup question.  (It must have been lost in cyberspace.)

Anyway . . .

It is typical to see an actual label, handwritten on paper, in genuine instruments of this time period.  A signature on the wood itself, without a label, is odd and is more typical of amateur makers and fakes.

Here is a bit I found on the Smithsonian website that you might find useful . . .

Friedrick August Glass, I, was working at Klingenthal in 1790, and Friedrick August Glass, II, worked there from 1830-60. The workmanship of both is quite good and somewhat above the "commercial" class. The latter followed a Stradivarius model, slightly modified in the Tyrolese manner. He also produced some violins influenced by Jacob Stainer models.

         Specimen labels: Fried. Aug. Glass
         Verfertigte nach Antonius Stradivarius Fies
         Faciebat in Cremona Anno 1736
         (i.e., made in the manner of Stradivarius)

         Fried. Aug. Glass verfertigt
         nach Jacobus Stainer in Absam
         prope Oenipontum 18__
         (i.e., near Innsbruck)  


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James S. Fisher


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.


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,


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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