C S Violin Maker?

April 20, 2017 at 11:38 PM · It would happen sooner or later! I would get a violin I know nothing about and I'd come asking you guys for help identifying it. ;)

A friend from Germany sent me this unlabeled beauty...

...and I have been trying to figure out what I've got in my hands.

Inside, I found a big 'S' branded on the upper block, and what seems to be the letters 'C S' branded on the top plate and the bass bar.

On the back, south of the bass F-hole, I found some pencil scribbles that read "C.S.- = 2 1936".

Does anyone have any idea who could be the maker of this violin?

Thank you! :)

Replies (40)

April 21, 2017 at 01:42 AM · Trade violin from Markneukirchen.

1936 could be right. Has a soundpost crack.

Hope you didn't pay too much for it.

Ask Lyndon.

April 21, 2017 at 08:07 AM · It was a gift, so the balance for now is $0. ;)

It does have a saddle crack that went all the way to the soundpost, but it has been properly repaired with cleats and everything sometime in the past.

Lyndon, where are you? I need your expertise!

April 21, 2017 at 09:16 AM · that's not much to go on, the liners overlapping the corner blocks is not typical for Markneukirchen, needs a soundpost patch, may not be worth the cost of repairs.

April 21, 2017 at 01:04 PM · From looking at the picture that might not even be real blocks but just a plate.

Might be a Bohemia.

April 22, 2017 at 12:23 AM · The quest for the maker continues, but researching on it, the scroll style seems a lot like I've seen on violins from Schönbach...

What makes you think it needs a soundpost patch?

I had the luthier check it out today and set it up, and while it could use a modern bridge and new pegs, it is in good working order, with no open cracks or seams. Also the corner blocks seem to be solid. It cleaned up pretty good!

April 22, 2017 at 12:30 AM · it needs a soundpost patch because with violins just glued and cleated instead of a proper inset patch, its usually just a matter of time until the soundpost crack opens up again, it is also the reason I, and most reputable dealers would never sell an instrument with an unpatched soundpost crack for just that reason.

April 22, 2017 at 01:35 AM · From the pictures, it appears that the ribs go all the way to the edge of the plate corners. Is that the case for all four corners?

April 22, 2017 at 03:10 AM · Ahh, thanks for clarifying that, Lyndon. I'll correct my original statement then about it having been properly repaired and say it was just repaired. ;)

Carmen, the corner blocks are more-or-less flush with the ribs and the linings go over them.

April 22, 2017 at 01:23 PM · For more information, I suggest you post on Maestronet.com in the Pegbox forum. Carmen, you are referring to the outside corners?

April 23, 2017 at 08:47 AM · I got Jacob Saunders, the top expert on such things on Maestronet, to look at your violin, hopefully he can post something, he agreed the liners over the corner blocks doesn't look Markneukirchen, see what he says.

April 23, 2017 at 08:56 AM · Another problem I can see with your violin is the neck appears crooked and doesn't line up centered between the f holes, at least from your picture, not a deal breaker to getting it playing, but not ideal.

April 23, 2017 at 10:13 AM · You have quite a good eye, Lyndon! :)

The neck is slightly crooked, as you said. This poor violin has been through a lot it seems!

Thank you for the recommendation on Maestronet, I look forward to hearing from them.

April 23, 2017 at 10:42 AM · I see you have a reply from Jacob on Maestronet, it seems hard to pin down, it seems it is a cheaper production violin, you can play it just fine as long as that soundpost crack stays glued, but if it fails it may not really be worth repairing IMHO. Cheap productions often had the neck glued crooked when they were made, so it may not be because of a poor repair. Jacob mentioned the neck may be a replacement, does the varnish look identical or slightly different between the neck and body??

April 23, 2017 at 03:42 PM · Hey, forget the violin..... I've got a fancy rig made especially for photographing the inside of violins and it doesn't do as well as whatever you are using, so I want to know what, exactly, name and model, you are using to shoot those photos, please?

April 23, 2017 at 04:06 PM · LOL

April 24, 2017 at 02:35 AM · Michael, I used a flashlight, a dentist mirror, and my phone's camera. :)

(the phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 but I took such photos before too with a Galaxy S3 and a $100 Sony point-and-shoot camera)

To my untrained eye, the neck varnish and wear looks the same. I don't see any obvious indication that it was ever messed with.

April 25, 2017 at 05:07 PM · I have to say I really disagree with the posters on Maestronet saying that the corner blocks and liners were likely replacements, if some one was going to add or replace something they would do the corner blocks, not the liners as well IMHO, from your picture all the internal parts seem to be of the same age and not very old at that, I would assume the liners and blocks all original, as to where it was made I have no opinion. Could even be American.

April 25, 2017 at 07:41 PM · I agree Lyndon, that replacement idea is a bit far fetched and the inside looks quite clean.

Appleman may be right but must say the fiddle looks built on back (BOB).

Purfling and scroll look rather Mkn/Sch to me but then those were also sold separately all over;

maybe better pictures of the usual identifying areas would help.

April 25, 2017 at 08:00 PM · Even if it were BOB I don't see how that implies it is exclusively Mark/Schoenbach, Jacob's original theory of Hungary seems possible too, and I wouldn't be surprised if they used Built on Back construction. Also the scroll looks quite good for Schoenbach.

April 25, 2017 at 08:46 PM · Why no label?

April 25, 2017 at 09:18 PM · A large percentage of production violins were made without labels, much like a lot of Chinese violins today. Maybe so dealers could insert their own labels later.

April 25, 2017 at 09:46 PM · What would be the "usual identifying areas"? I can take close-ups of those.

April 25, 2017 at 10:09 PM · Under the volute of the scroll to see how far the carving goes, the corners to show the rib join and how far the edge of the ribs are from the corners, the endpin to see if there's a join in the ribs at the bottom.

April 26, 2017 at 10:37 AM · Alright, let's see if these are good enough for that...

(click the pictures for higher-resolution goodness!)




April 27, 2017 at 03:36 AM · Looks like the scroll does not have the carving (fluting) extended into the throat but stops well before that - as is common in Mnk/Sch violins.

The 2 piece bottom rib goes with BOB construction.

I don't know about the rib ends.

In the BOB construction method the rib ends usually extend all the way to the end of the corners but sometimes they have been filed back a bit further as could be the case here - they are still very close to the end of the corners. The thicknesses of the 2 rib ends appear to be different which could go with that.

All in all imho Markneukirchen/Schoenbach made BOB is most likely.

(In which case the date 1936 is probably the date of repair.)

However it does not fit with the interior of the fiddle - still a conundrum.

Fox , could you put these pictures up at the Maestronet Pegbox as well? Thanks.

April 27, 2017 at 04:38 AM · two piece bottom rib does not neccesarily indicate BOB construction, the corners don't look like BOB, the scroll photo does not show how far the carving goes, perhaps you could tell us where the scroll carving ends, if you hold the scroll straight up does it end straight down 6 o'clock, or all the way in 9 o'clock or in between

April 27, 2017 at 07:41 AM · It does not look like Markneukirchen at all to me.

From the outside id say Schönbach (I said at the very beginning Bohemia, whih is basically the same in violin making).

1936 is not uncommon for these kind of Schönbach fiddles, I own a pretty similar from 1932 (permanently lend to sb else though and highly reworked).

But the corner blocks and liners do not match this, I am pretty much clueless.

April 27, 2017 at 10:33 AM · There is no discernible difference between Markneukirchen and Schoenbach violins, or so I have been told by an expert. Indeed many violins were started in Schoenbach, and finished in Markneukirchen.

April 27, 2017 at 11:31 AM · That is right, geographicly they are also very close. But there have been families in Markneukirchen insisting on their very own tradition.

Speaking about factories the borders become nearly invisble later on and yes, this violin may have seen Markneukirchen too, but not in the way of the traditional luthiers modells from Markneukirchen.

April 27, 2017 at 12:26 PM · On the average the violins produced in Schoenbach were of a cheaper quality, but there were also very cheap violins produced in Markneukirchen, and expensive violins produced in Schoenbach, that's why its next to impossible to tell if an unlabeled violin came from Marknekirchen or Shoenbach, the construction characteristics were identical in both cities, and this violin shows markedly unusual characteristics compared to Mark/Shoenbach.

April 27, 2017 at 09:25 PM · "Fox , could you put these pictures up at the Maestronet Pegbox as well? Thanks."


" if you hold the scroll straight up does it end straight down 6 o'clock, or all the way in 9 o'clock or in between"

Well... It's kinda like... 7-ish. It doesn't end straight down at 6 o'clock, it goes a little further than that, but not all the way in.

April 28, 2017 at 10:21 AM · And another question, just for curiosity (because I'm not selling it):

If this had a proper soundpost patch, what would a violin like that fetch, hypothetically, in your opinion?

April 28, 2017 at 10:36 AM · Without taking into account the sound (maybe its awesome) and playablity on an online portal like ebay propably less than the repair costs, sorry.

April 28, 2017 at 11:08 AM · Maybe $700 or a bit more if it sounded really good.

April 28, 2017 at 11:12 AM · This already beeing the price in a shop?

For privat sell this is even a bit optimistic for me, but I only know the German market. In a shop I totally agree.

April 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM · Your instrument looks nice Fox but if I was looking to buy another violin and it had a crack or even a properly repaired crack I would not want to own it.

April 28, 2017 at 12:37 PM · Here a repaired soundpost crack means sth like 50% loss of value, at least 500€. Again, I talk about the privat market in Germany.

April 28, 2017 at 01:25 PM · Same here in the US...a soundpost crack is the kiss of death to buyers....nevertheless, there are some buyers who will take the risk.

April 28, 2017 at 11:52 PM · "a soundpost crack is the kiss of death to buyers"

LOL - that's a way of putting it.

Thank you for all the info, folks!

April 29, 2017 at 05:31 PM · Given the corners and the corner blocks with over liners, I think the likelyhood is that it was made on an external mold, whether it is a production of Mark/Schoenbach or not.

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