11/14/2015

1900s German-made Schweitzer Copy 4/4 Violin




While the label states this is an 1813 Johann Baptist Schweitzer violin, the reality is that this is almost certainly German-made from around 1890-1910 and simply a copy in the "Schweitzer style." This one, like other similar Schweitzer-labeled instruments I've seen come through the shop, has faux aging written all over it from when it was made including faux wear and tear, faux cracks, and even a faux peghead splice to make it look older than it is. The difference with this one is that the build quality is higher than the average version of these instruments that I've played, and it has a good, robust, smooth tone.

My work on it included some seam repairs, cleaning, a set of new John Pearse "Mezzo" strings (Dominant copies), and a setup. It's dialed-in for fiddling and has a fairly fast, easy action.



It's a looker, isn't it? The rounded-off edging looks great mixed with that "vintaged" finish. It's funny that folks think of "relic-ing" as a fairly new phenomenon, but it's been going on with violins for the past couple hundred years -- and steadily!

While this has gained a lot of respectable use-wear on its own, it was "old" in looks when it was built new.


The nicely-cut peghead has a few tiny repairs (one glued-up hairline at one peg), though the last fellow who worked on this (in 1929, per a repair label inside), did a good job fitting the pegs.

The fittings on this instrument, by the way, are all ebony.




The chinrest is later but the tailpiece appears to be original. Note one tiny (real) repaired hairline crack next to the tailpiece's end.



There's also a tiny, tiny, tiny repaired hairline crack at the bottom of this f-hole... but the photo is really just to show off that edging. Note all of the little "peppering" effects in the finish to give this an aged look. That's from the "relic" process when made new. Now, after 100 years or so of life, it just looks normal. Love that.





Nice 1-piece back!



There's an old (apparent) heel crack (repaired) on the neck, and evidence of a neck reset in the past (the dot).








Note the repaired hairline crack coming off of the A-string peg hole.

Also note the "faux peghead splice" line at the bottom of the peghead. It almost looks real... but the "fail" is the fact that the grain runs perfectly through this with zero interruption and shows that it's, in fact, simply ornamental.


Still, the cut of the scroll is quite nice, isn't it?


I replaced the original tailgut with nylon "tailgut" for stability's sake.


 The instrument also comes with a nice old period hard case.

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