Violin/vuillaume violin


Vuillaume Bow
Vuillaume Bow  

violin & bow
violin & bow  
I recently purchased an old violin from a storage unit auction. It looks pretty nice, the only marking I could find on it was on the inside, it just said "Trademark Made in Nippon". I was showing a friend, and he started looking at the bow that came with it. He said it was a nice bow, and pointed out the word Vuillaume inscribed on it. I did a little research, but most I came across online said Vuillaume Paris. I would like to know if it is really a Vuillaume, and when and where it was made, and value. I would also like any information on the violin too. I'd appreciate if you could help educate me on it. I can get more photos too if needed. Thanks!    John

Hi John

The violin was made in Japan between 1914-1921. Prior to 1914 it would simple have said Nippon and after 1921 it would have to say Japan. The "Made in" words were added in 1914. This was all due to the McKinley Tariff Act first adopted in 1898, amended in 1914 and then gain in 1921. Look carefully inside the instrument and see if there is a logo of what looks like 3 S's in a circle/intertwined. If that is there, than the violin was made by the Suzuki Violin Co. Often times these violins have interesting wood in the back that seems to shimmer, it is still a species of maple, but different from other makers of instruments. Often times these violins can have a very nice sound, but because of what they are, commercial Japanese violins, their value is limited to a 200-400 hundred dollars or so depending on the condition.  Yours obviously needs a lot of work based on what I can see.

The bow is not a real Vuillaume but a copy. It is a much lower quality bow that may have been original with the violin, but not necessarily. It is mounted in Nickel Silver rather than Sterling which is what is used in the better bows.  Without seeing it much better, I can't say if it is Japanese or German, sometimes they will also have the made in stamp but under the frog on the stick. I suspect the bow to be of basically the same age.


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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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