5/01/2015

1910s Medio Fino 4/4 Violin


This is a customer's old 4/4 violin that was in for some work. It's a French-made Jerome Thibouville Lamy "Medio Fino" instrument an awful lot like this one. I'd say it probably dates from the 1910s or early 1920s and is a relatively plainly-adorned model -- but boy, it sure sounds good. This one has a fuller sound than the instrument linked-to just above. Woods are standard: spruce over maple -- and also standard issue: they're rather plain. Still, it's built in a sturdy fashion and has a good carve.

Work included gluing on a new (well, vintage parts-bin) ebony fingerboard, some crack repair, replacing tailpiece, pegs, and bridge, and general cleaning and soundpost adjustment/setup. I used my usual John Pearse Mezzo strings on this one and it's well-suited to the sound of those. This is not surprising since most folks were using comparable-tension/voicing gut strings at the time this was made.




New (old bone) nut, too. Note my curious pegs! I cobbled together some vintage, higher-quality uke friction pegs and modified some spacers to make a vintage-looking take on those Grover Champion violin-style friciton pegs. The reasoning is that there's a couple hairline cracks at the A string peg holes meaning that the pegbox would want to split with a normal friction-set wood peg. Because these adjust and apply tension to the side of the wood, I don't have to worry about the repairs to the hairline cracks coming undone.

Also... they hold in tune better and are less fuss than regular pegs. So -- here's to that, too. If they ever slip, all you have to do is tighten the set-screw on the button.


The owner supplied me with a fresh modern ebony replacement board, but after fishing around in my violin necks collection (hah hah) I found this nice old ebony board that looked more official. I glued it up and then fit it and dressed it up. Nice board!



The chinrest is at least old but the tailpiece is a modern 4-fine-tuner composite/plastic unit I had in my bins. It's perfect for a starter on fiddle.


The back is severely plain maple but it gets the job done, no?




I was amazed at how well the neck has remained true in its joint over time.






I'm not sure if the owner included a replacement bridge or not, but I did have an antique (it has $0.50 scribbled on its rear in pencil) Aubert uncut bridge that I cut and fit to the instrument as an upgrade, instead.


New ebony endpin... and nylon tailgut.


And here's one of the two labels...

No comments: