2/09/2012

c.1860 Vermont-made? 4/4 Violin


Update 2013: I've added some pics of the fiddle in its current state with 1900s-era banjo pegs and bigger, nicer, ebony chinrest. Update 2017: This instrument has come back for consignment and it's just as healthy as when it left. I will try to get a soundclip ASAP, but lack a good bow at the moment!



These banjo friction pegs replaced the failing Caspari wood/screw-tightened Caspari pegs. They work great and are easy to adjust: just tighten the set-screw if they start slipping. They also look nice and "period" with their ivoroid (celluloid) buttons.


The strings are a set of John Pearse synthetic-core Dominant-style copies... which are actually made by Thomastik for Pearse, I believe. Good round tone.


The newer, bigger, ebony chinrest is a good upgrade.

And now back to the original post from 2012...



This is a Strad-style violin supposedly made in Vermont and with a stamped/burned-in "1860" on the inside of the back. I picked this fiddle up from a friend of mine and I'm thinking this is quickly going to become my primary fiddle. It's a beautifully-made instrument with a well-carved, well-graduated top and gorgeous flamed-maple ribbing and one-piece back. The neck is also well-flamed and the board, tailpiece, and nut are all ebony.

At some point in its life this instrument was stripped and then refinished in natural with a simple wiped-in sort of varnish -- maybe something like tung oil? At any rate, the finish was OK but hadn't been polished up after it was put on. I finished that off -- lightly sanded and then polished up the finish to a nice baby-bottom smooth satin sheen -- and then also did a bit of work to it, as well... including seam re-glues, setup, and cutting a new bridge.


The natural color suits the instrument but it originally would have been a medium brown-red sort of tone judging by the color left in bits of the seam joins and the lingering color to the flame on the back.


This sports replacement Caspari pegs (these tighten like banjo friction pegs with an adjustment at the back of the button) which sure are a nice upgrade.


The sound on this guy is full, warm, sweet, and quite loud. It's about all you could ask for in an old fiddle (or for that matter, concert violin).









Pretty intense flame all over.



...but that back, is, of course -- wonderful.





Note the endpin button -- it's brass and while it doesn't function now, it was originally a pitch pipe as well as endpin! The chinrest looks like a 40s or 50s type -- which is my guess as to about when it was refinished, as well.





Nice flame on the sides as well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful fiddle! I wish I could play it ;)