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Violin/Wood Bridge Vivace Violin Origin


WB Vivace Violin
WB Vivace Violin  
Dear Mr. Lashof,

I recently acquired a used violin to learn. The last owner told me it was at least 10-20 years old, made in London and of maple wood. Not knowing much about violin I bought it. It is very light (just over 1 lbs). I was curious about the origin of this violin and tracked down the shop in Ellicott City, Maryland. Given the serial number, the shop told me differently that it was handmade in 2008 and of spruce and maple wood.

I have attached the label for you. It looks old, hand written and antique. Could this be older than 5 years and made else where? Do you know much about this shop and the history of the violin? Just curious who is right... Thank you!

Hi Tom

Without seeing the violin itself it is impossible to say anything about the instrument. Labels are easily inserted in violins in a matter of moments and there are more violins out there with false labels than with real labels.  With that said, Wood Bridge Music which as you say is in Ellicott City MD, inserted this label. The Woodbridge violins of London, is a completely different company. Most likely this is a shop model which originated in China and is the instrument model that they rent out. Without actually seeing the instrument, not the label, it is impossible to say for sure, but this is a standard music store practice. If they told you it is 5 years old, they would know best because of the serial number.  It is easy to make a violin look older than it is but 10-20 years old as compared to 5 years is really of little importance, but my guess is that it is probably the 5 year old as reported by Wood Bridge Music. Labels are also easy to make look old, and this does not look really old, but again 20 years is not old and certainly not antique - that would require it to be over 100 years for that status. Also, the violin will be made from Spruce and Maple as no instrument is just Maple as that would have a simply awful sound. Assuming I am correct, again without seeing the instrument I am at a loss, a value in the $200-500 range would be normal for a standard rental quality instrument that was made in China and sold/rented through a violin shop. Some shops also rent out Romanian originated instruments, but the value range would be the same. An in person evaluation would be able to tell this distinction.

I would take the violin to a violin shop (not Wood Bridge) for an evaluation. This way they can see the instrument as the label is irrelevant. Again, there is no importance as to the violin being 5 or 20 years old.  Neither puts any extra or less value on its current state.

Wood Bridge Music is a relatively new violin company, I don't know exactly when they started in business. I do know that one of their violin repairman went to the Chicago School of Violin Making which is the same school I attended.

Additional Info
I found out some more info on Wood Bridge Music. The violin can't be 20 years old unless the label was inserted in a used violin to begin with because the company is less than 10 years old. My old shop (after 2007) actually did their repairs for a few years when Wood Bridge music was starting out. They were actually in Woodbridge VA then.


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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.

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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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