11/10/2015

1900s German-made 4/4 Lion's Head Violin




This is a great-looking violin that was probably made in Germany around 1900-1910. It's a quality build and has good fittings all-around, a nice carve to the top and back, well-fit pegs, and a "Stainer-copy" feel, in a way, to my eyes and ears -- though the shoulders are rounder. It came in needing a couple seam repairs, the soundpost reset, and a general setup and cleaning. It already had small crack repairs right near the tailpiece and treble f-hole, but was otherwise unblemished. It even totes its original 50s/60s gut-core strings (steel E) in good stead, though of course a pack of my favorite John Pearse "Mezzo" (nylon-core Dominant copy) strings are tucked in the case for replacement.

The tone is crisp and clean with a definite midrange emphasis. My soundclip is just for reference as I've become a very rusty fiddler. I'm guessing that a string change would open up the bass a bit wider and give some more punch on the A, but the draggy gut sound is so fun to play on I couldn't pull them off quite yet.


The finish is aged-in just the way we like to see it -- vibrant but showing some playwear.


The carve of the lion's head on the pegbox is nice and detailed -- right down to the tongue sticking out. The pegs, as stated, are well-fit and all the fittings are (original) ebony, from what I can tell.




The tailpiece has a floral inlay that's missing just a bit of its silver inlaid stem. I added a period fine tuner from my parts-bin for the high E.


This German-made chinrest is probably later than the instrument.







Isn't that flamed maple on the back and sides just lovely?












It comes with a case and a decent old bow, too.


Here's a repaired old crack near the tailpiece.


...and note the very small repaired one at the "bulb" of the f-hole, here.

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