My Secondhand Shop Find

August 22, 2004 at 04:07 AM · I am looking for any information anyone might be able to give me on

pretty little violin I picked up at a second hand shop this morning.

The price on it was $68 and I was able to talk them into selling it

to me for $58, so whatever it turns out to be, I am happy. If nothing

else, it is very COOL.

I know it's impossible to say anything for certain without seeing the

instrument, but here is what I can tell you about it.

It is a 7/8 or small full size violin with the label "Guldan Violin"

inside. I have done some research on the internet and I have found

violins with Jackson-Guldan made in Chicago and The Guldan and Guldan

Special, but none with just Guldan Violin. Below the name it says No. but

the number has long since faded.

The back, sides, neck and pegbox have beautiful flaming. It has the

original (as far as we can tell) tailpiece and ancient gut strings.

The fingerboard, pegs and tailpiece look to be ebony. There are two

cracks on the top, running up from the saddle. One is about 1.5

inches, one is about 2 inches. It is in a very old case lined with

purple velvet which is in very good shape for it's age. Inside the

case we found 3 old bridges (one of them has a name stamed on it, but

I can only figure out the first two letters P-A) and 4 packages of

old gut strings (Stratton and Conservatory).

I took it to 2 different luthiers today. One who works out of his home and one who works at a high-end violin shop.

Here is what they agreed on:

- it is German

- it is handmade

- it was probably made no earlier than 1880

- it is made of very nice wood

- the pegs are good

- it is worth having it fixed

Here is what they disagreed on:

- the gentleman who works independently said that the cracks on the

top would not necessarily need repair. He recommended leaving them

alone and seeing what happens when we replace the sound post

- the upscale violin shop said the cracks would definitely have to be

repaired because one of them moves

- the gentleman suggested replaning the fingerboard because it is not properly shaped

- the shop suggested having the neck reset and the tailpiece replaced.

I definitely want to have it worked on because I would like to see what it can become. But, I don't have a lot of money for repairing it right now. I would like to get it to a playable condition first, see how it sounds, and then work on perfecting it.


Replies (3)

August 22, 2004 at 05:41 AM · Hi Cindy,

The first thing I would say is that it definitely comes from Jackson-Guldan. There were several models of Guldan violins other than the ones you listed, and it sounds offhand like you have one of them.

That being said, I would think that the advice from both shops should be combined. The cracks on the top, if they are moving, should probably be closed because they could travel farther once the instrument is set up.

On ther other hand, doing a full neck reset can be costly, and perhaps planing and reshaping the board would accomplish a little realignment. Then you could play the instrument a while and see if it merits having a full reset done.

August 23, 2004 at 11:22 PM · WOW - I just got back from the violin shop and I got some awesome

news on my violin.

It is apparently NOT a Jackson-Guldan violin as we thought it might have been. The

label inside is a violin shop label - not the original label - so it

was probably either at a shop called Guldan Violin Shop (maybe English) sometime for resale or

repair. There is glue residue inside that indicates the original

label had been removed or fell off. The luthier thinks that the

violin is a handmade World War II era Czech violin with the original

finish, ebony fingerboard and fittings. The case it came in is

apparently a very nice vintage case,too.

He is going to repair the cracks on the top (from the outside - he

said it would run $500 to take the top off), plane and shape the

fingerboard, put on a new tailpiece, fine tuners and Zyrex strings,

replace the nut and endpin, and possibly make a new soundpost. All

in all, the repairs will run about $250. He said that when it is

repaired, he could easily sell it in his shop for $1500!!! He thinks

it is going to have a nice rich tone, a little on the dark side

because of the shape of the soundboard.

It should be done in about a week - I am so excited to see it and

hear it!!!! Not too bad for my $58 impulse buy! I just can't resist

a lonely violin!


August 25, 2004 at 05:07 PM · Cindy,

Watch out for the repair costs. It's risky in restoring/repairing old violins. You can not really predict how they sound later on.

Good luck.

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