Violin/Maggini Copy


Maggini Copy 1
Maggini Copy 1  

Maggini Copy 2
Maggini Copy 2  
Hello Again,
In my continuing pursuit to find my next violin, I came across this Maggini copy. Its label reads, 1st line: “Copy of", second line, "Giovan Paolo Maggini", 3rd line, "Made in Germany". The finish is in fairly good condition, the tone is fantastic -rich and deep with an amazingly long sustain (even with the very old strings currently on it.) The bad: it has about a 4 inch separation between the lower bout and the ribs (marked in red in the photo).  I did not detect any other cracks or splits. I'm interested to know your opinion regarding its approximate age, whether you would consider it worth repairing (considering its price of $295), and any other information you might know (or can glean from the photos) regarding this violin.
Thank you,

Hi Bob
The open edge itself is no issue but if the instrument was under tension for a long time with that open edge, the wood could be difficult to put back in place. The lower block could also be cracked.

I can't see why, but there is a light spot/blemish behind the bridge. This worries me as that could be from a sound post crack.

The other thing I personally don't care for is the machine gears. These could be original or they could have been aftermarket because of scroll damage or because the owner couldn't keep the pegs properly maintained to work. These gears also add extra weight and make changing strings a pain and may limit you to using only steel strings.

The instrument was made after 1921 but probably before 1940.

So if there is no crack behind the bridge or in the block and the rib can be pushed back into place and you don't mind the gears, it could be a decent purchase.

Obviously I can't see everything and there could be issues with the neck height or internal issues.


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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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