2/01/2012

c.1922 Francois Guillmont German-made 4/4 Violin





This page updated on April 18th, 2012.

This French-looking, French-named 4/4 violin was more than likely made in the E.R. Schmidt workshop in Germany. The label reads "Francois Guillmont, Aix-la-Chapelle" and Aix-la-Chapelle" is actually Aachen, in Germany. It has an "XX" lightly inscribed on the top under the tailpiece which, to me, suggests it was built in 1922, since these Guillmonts tended to have come from the teens through 1920s.

At any rate, it's a fine instrument and aside from some older home-done repairs to a bit of the edging past the purfling on the "lower bout" and a small older heel repair it's in pretty good shape with glossy, clean finish in a medium red-brown color.


This is based on an Amati body style with fairly a steeply-arched top and back and slightly smaller overall dimensions vs. a Strad or Guarneri style. The sound and playability are wonderful -- this has a brilliant clear and focused sound and isn't "fuzzy" like on an overly warm violin so it feels very "accurate" and precise under the fingers.


I thinned up and fitted this bridge which came with the violin. I also added a new (old, parts bin) chin rest. The strings are a John Pearse set which is essentially the same as a pack of Dominants -- a nice, gut-sy warm, clear sound though I know from experience that this also sounds good with the Infeld "Red" set, too.


I'd been using this as my "2nd fiddle" for a few months, gigging and using it at jam groups since it's such a joy to play. I recently got back another violin of mine so this one's back on the market, however.

I installed these Grover "Champion" violin pegs simply because they're very reliable when having to contend with being carried around a lot in changing weather conditions.



Real pretty, huh? The ebony fingerboard feels and looks great, as well.




Nice flamed maple for the ribs and nice maple on the neck as well.




Do you see how insanely pretty that one-piece back is? It's very "liquid" in appearance.



Here you can see that pin/dowled in old heel repair that caused a tiny hairline right under it. Very stable, however.






It really is a pretty instrument.



Here's the label.


And it comes with a period hard case.



2 comments:

Derick said...

I have a Francois Guillmont-labeled violin, also with a one-piece back but a much more brown-colored finish, which I've owned for about 20 years. Do you have any more information about the maker & shop, or sources that you'd recommend? I am just curious - I would never part with this instrument, with a nice big sound.

Laura said...

Beautiful instrument. I have a Guillemot violin, c. 1780-1820. Beautiful sound.