3/01/2015

1950s Czech-made Lignatone 4/4 Violin




While I'm not sure on the date, I'm pretty sure Lignatones (made in Czechoslovakia -- at the time) like this were made in the 50s and early 60s. This is a friend's instrument that's now for sale and even through the steel-core Super Sensitive strings on it I think you can sort out the nice clarity and simple presence this fiddle has.

It came in with a little work needing to be done: soundpost set, a small seam repair, and light setup. That's all done, it plays great, it's crack-free, and good to go. I rather like the sound: it's up front and direct with a good solid feel to it... and the nice flamed maple used in the neck, ribs, and back give it a good semi-professional look.


The Lignatone instruments were made in a factory that also made wooden toys! I guess they did it the reverse route that Gibson did in the Depression (Gibson made "Kel Kroydon" toys in the 30s as a sideline to the business whereas Lignatones were made by a toymaker dabbling in instruments).

Still... it's a real instrument and quite far from a toy. Check out the spruce on the top... nice close grain. When I set the soundpost (rather, replaced a cruddy poplar one with spruce) I compensated for the harsher steel-core string sound by placing it a little more aft of the bridge and closer to the f-hole to open up the top for extra warmth.

The bonus of steel-core strings, however, is the accurate pitch and intonation... which is a downer in my lousy playing-fingers! I prefer Dominant-style synthetic-core strings for my own use as it lets me fudge it a bit more easily. Hee-hee.


The pegs are well-fit and the nut is setup fast for fiddling. The action is between fiddling-fast and classical height. It's comfy.


The board is ebony and in great shape.



The old cast (aluminum?) tail has integral fine tuners. The chinrest is plastic.





The neck has been reset in the past and it's holding fine, though the angle is like an old 1800s violin -- a bit lower than standard for these days.







The tail hanger is simple wire but seems to have been doing the job the past 6+ years... so fair enough, I suppose!


This comes with a nice hard case and an older but straight bow. It could use some more hair but "does make decent noise" as-is.

2 comments:

Thomas davidson said...

I have the identical model violin. Same shape etc. What was the value or price sold for it? Im looking to sell mine as well. Thanks! Thomas Davidson

Jake Wildwood said...

Not worth much -- $125-150 or so.