The label that you see when you look into the left f-hole of a violin (or other stringed instrument) can tell you a number of things -- sometimes it even tells you who made the fiddle!
Of course, it's supposed to tell you who made the violin, but labels don't always tell the truth. Take, for example, my "Stradivarius" violin -- a turn-of-the-20th-century Germany factory fiddle that, rather obviously, was not made by the great Italian master. Of course, when I was nine, I entertained dreams that it was the real deal; after all, the label in that violin did not mention it was a copy.
Other labels are a little more forthright; they might list a great maker like Stradivarius, but then upon closer inspection, they include telling words like "copy of" and/or "made in Czechoslovakia."
It is nice, of course, when the label simply lists the real maker. For a while I owned a modern American violin, and I enjoyed knowing that the maker had actually signed the label that lay inside.
When it comes to older violins, it is not unusual for a violin to simply carry a "fake label" that some violin shop put inside of it, long ago, to pass it off as something it was not. Sometimes the violin dealer can tell, just based on the features of the violin, who really made it, even if the label is wrong. Certainly, this complicates its value, but it is not a complete deal-breaker for a nice violin.
For many student instruments, the label tells the model of the violin, or the company that made it.
How about your instrument? What does the label tell you -- or not tell you? Does it list a maker, a model or a company? Does it reflect who actually made the fiddle, or does it only give a few clues? Please choose from the options below to tell us about the label in your main instrument, and tell us any interesting details in the comments.
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