Violin/Glass violin


I have a violin and the label reads as follows: Fried. Aug. Glass verfertigte nady Altoniuous Heirongmas et Amati Cremonen Andrese (with a symbol) and the date 1676.  All of the information that I have found on Glass violins show them as being modeled after Stradavari or Stainer not Amati.  I have been told that the violin came to America in 1849 or 50 with my great-great grandfather from Tyrol. Can you shed any more light on this?  Thank you.

Hi Rob

The date of 1676 has to do with the Amati model the instrument was designed after as none of the three Friedrich August Glass makers lived in the 1600's.   Since all of the makers were from the late 1700's to 1906, the lore that the instrument came to America in the middle 1800's is certainly credible. The third and most recent of the makers used a dark greenish brown varnish that was typically stamped GLASS by the heel of the neck on the back. Glass 1 typically used a thin amber or red brown colored varnish, the work was often crude sometimes having odd shaped f holes and drawn on purfling.  Based on the shear number of instruments bearing the Glass name, I can tell you that boundless copies exist or many were made in a factory setting.  There is no reason why one of the factory or actual Glass makers couldn't have produced an Amati copy. I also don't have any evidence that Amati copies were made, but the printed catalogs that list Glass instruments don't list them by model. You should also be aware that none of the Glass makers were considered to be very good makers and the typical value of these instruments is a few hundred dollars up to around $4000.   

I would take the instrument to a violin shop or musical instrument auction house to have it looked at in person, they should be able to determine the origin's and construction date of your violin. The label itself is no proof of who made it or where it was made, that determination can only be made by an in person evaluation. More violins have false or misleading labels than have real ones and a label only takes a minute to install.  Labels are always the last thing an appraiser looks at and only after they have made a possible determination of the instrument's maker.  


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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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