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John Juzek violins: What are they like?

Instruments: Does anyone have any idea about the history of John Juzek and his violins? How much would they sell for today?

From Adam Clifford
Posted March 28, 2008 at 10:56 PM

Recently, I've been searching for a "new" violin, and came across an old John Juzek at an online store. I was wondering if anyone knew some history on John Juzek and/or his instruments, and what they are like. Apparently, they used to be pretty sought after? Thanks for any help you can give!

From Ray Randall
Posted on March 29, 2008 at 12:21 AM
I just sold a 1/4 size Juzek violin that was
appraised at around $3,000. The Luthier said that
violins made directly by him are more than decent.
From Michael Dowling
Posted on March 29, 2008 at 12:33 AM
It completely depends on the age of the violin, what model of the violin (if it's a Master Art Copy it will be worth much more), if it's from the 1920's it'll be worth around $5,000 and up. If it's from the 1960's probably not really worth all that much. You need more details about the particulars of the violin. There have been tens of thousands of Juzek violins over the years, some are much better than others.
From Rae-ann Heinrich
Posted on March 29, 2008 at 01:42 PM
Juzeks appear on ebay from time to time. To get an idea of what's around and the prices they've sold for, do an advanced search on ebay and check the box for 'completed sales/transactions only'. (Not sure exactly what that box is labeled but it will be obvious.)
From Michael Richwine
Posted on March 29, 2008 at 03:45 PM
The Juzek line is still being sold by Metropolitan Music, who have imported and carried (owned?) the line since the early 1920's. It has always been a full line from student instruments to pretty good ones, especially the Master Art from the 20's and 30's. I've seen a lot of school Juzeks that were certainly nothing special.

More history here:
http://www.metmusic.com/history/index.html

From Sue Bechler
Posted on March 29, 2008 at 07:21 PM
The Juzek factory up and moved from Prague to Germany, now many years ago, supposedly bringing their violin wood with them. A Juzek from Prague is often thought to be better than a German one. The up-scale models like the Master Art are more likely to be decent. I owned a German Master Art for a long time, which was quite nice, but bright for my tastes. I have a Czech Juzek cello, and perhaps by coincidence, it is also bright-toned. My first school job, they had bought a few 13" Juzek violas in probably mid-1960's. Really attractive, nicely-formed viola-ish pegbox, deep body. Haven't seen any since. Sue
From Becky Jenkinson
Posted on November 4, 2009 at 04:32 AM

I have a John Juzek violin, made in Prague (1020's)....interestingly enough though, the pegs were replaced with "machine-head", and the pegs were falling apart.  I was able to get a brand new golden (brass?) machine head with mother of pearl pegs, and now this is installed.  I imagine the fact that it does not have it's original pegs detracts from it's value.   The violin has not been played for a long time.  I got it from my Mom, and it isn't my primary violin.   The violin has a very powerful sound though.  I have put new strings on it and look forward to "playing it in"!!   My primary violin is an A.W. Fischer, and I can't find any info on that one.  Has anyone heard of this?  I like it a lot.

From Charlie Piccione
Posted on November 9, 2009 at 01:09 PM

I have a John Juzeck made in 1921. It is in like new condition and plays very well for parlor instrument. I like it's voice but with the current setup it has ( bridge and sound post position and string) it is rather dull. I suspect with proper set-up it would be a good instrument for an advanced player. Good luck in your search, they are nice instruments and enjoyable to play.

From David Blackmon
Posted on November 9, 2009 at 04:35 PM

I played a Juzek Master Art Guarneri model years ago that was one of the best violins I have ever played. I would have bought it but the price was way out of line. It was one from the 1920's and probably one of the top grade master art's at that. It truly was a fabulous instrument but not worth twice, the then current market value.

 

David Blackmon

From Brian Lee
Posted on November 9, 2009 at 10:51 PM

A large number of my school's inventory of instruments are made by Juzek, and I must say that they don't sound too great - they actually sound rather awful.  They have been extremely roughly handled over the years, however, and the setups are mediocre at best.  Many of them have sustained damage from numerous falls and extreme temperatures/humidity, and few of them are given a good cleaning more than once or twice a year.  The string sets on each of them are also ancient, with many of them sporting strings no longer in production (like the Kaplan Unicore).

From Bruce Berg
Posted on November 10, 2009 at 05:35 AM

The early Juzek's from the 1920's or so can be excellent. From 1960 on avoid them.

From Ray Randall
Posted on November 10, 2009 at 07:54 PM

I recently sold a beautiful Juzek 1/4 sized violin for a lot of money to a prodigy. It was made many years ago and sounded more than decent for that size.

From Mike Harris
Posted on November 13, 2009 at 07:20 PM

 I think a distinction should be made between a signed instrument and a factory instrument.
Didn't he have two factories at different times?  One was in Prague, I believe.
 

From Cris Zulueta
Posted on November 13, 2009 at 09:54 PM

The workshop was in Prague. The quality of shop instruments seems to have went down on instruments labeled "Formerly in Pargue". I have a 1930's shop Guadagnini copy that is a good back-up violin. Instruments labeled "Master Art" and/or labels with an instrument number are of the best quality and of course command higher prices. I have an old Metropolitan music co catalog and they originally offered Juzek instrumnets of all quality/prices much like what is offered in catalogs currently being sent out by Violin shops.

From Oliver Bedford
Posted on November 17, 2009 at 03:12 AM

Judging from the violins' labels, the Juzek workshop moved from Prague to Germany in the late 1930s (possibly when Hitler grabbed part and later all of Czechoslovakia).

However, I have a Juzek that looks post World War 2, and it actually has Made in Czechoslovakia stamped on it. Of course, after WW2 the part of Czecho that Hitler initially grabbed in 1938 (the "Sudetenland" in Bohemia) was given back to Czechoslovakia. It was an area that contained many violin-making workshops, possibly including that (or those) which made the Juzek violins. 

From Sherman soothoo
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 06:48 AM

 Good day all,

hmm this post seems kinda of old so hope someone replies.

anyone knows whether the violin of label

John Juzek, Violinmaker in Prague, No. 481, 1924.

is authentic?? I was wondering does John Juzek labels sign off with a BIG Z??

 

Thanks.

From elise stanley
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Here's a link that shows a Juzek lable and part of the signature (though not the 'z') but you could at least compare that bit:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_cI9SWqZXuAE/R3sAieDtktI/AAAAAAAAAeY/SQao2_TA4Iw/s1600-h/JuzekViolin.jpg

Of course I don't know if its authentic either :)

From elise stanley
Posted on November 24, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Ah: here is a much better one and surely authentic:

http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/7519360

Click on the image - the Z does look a bit big...

From Charles Dinegar
Posted on December 17, 2010 at 04:09 AM

I have owned two Juzek violas, both purchased from their original (in the USA) workshop/sales showroom on Park Ave South and 17th Street in Manhattan, NYC. I bought them in 1970 and in 1973. I met and was guided by John Juzek (the 3rd-grandson of the original in Prague I am told) and when I recently spoke with Adam Juzek in the new showroom in Stowe, Vermont he told me that he was too young to have really known his grandfather well. Adam is a real gentlemen, and not as brusque (with a golden heart!) like his grandfather. The instruments were all in differing areas of "make". There was, and still is the "Student" line, and then there are the intermediate levels. Then there are the MasterWork models, and all are patterned off of Strads or Guarneris. The NY City Schools System has (probably) thousands of them. I played on them all through Junior and senior High Schools. And my second instrument was an intermediate model. They are all good, sound instruments, and the MasterWorks are truly something to aspire to. I would sincerely suggest that you go to www.metmusic.com to see them and order a catalog. Call them and speak to one of the Juzeks or the assistant, Oakin. They will certainly vend you only the finest student model you could ever hope for.

From Robert Knihnicki
Posted on April 7, 2014 at 07:15 AM
Elise Stanley. My own Juzek looks exactly like that instrument. It was appraised at $2500 by a local luthier in Massachusetts. It looks like the twin to my own instrument. It was dark sounding until I purchased a "Brasil" bow. Using that bow made a delightful change in the violin's sound over the old cheapie bow that I had been using. But the label is exactly like the one in your picture. I suspect they are from the same place and time. I have been told that replacing the wooden tailpiece will "lighten up" the sound. But as I indicated, the "brasil" bow, pretty expensive, has enhanced the sound immeasurably. I have learned from this that it might be better to give a student a mid priced violin and an expensive bow. Well, $500 to me is still a lot of money. What is your's worth? Do you play it? Just curious. Robert

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