Question for Lyndon Taylor - Older violin search
Hi Lyndon. I believe this falls into your area of expertise.
I'm in the process of searching for a better instrument in the under $1500 range. So far I've seen a Stainer copy, Maggini copy, Klotz copy and several other German trade violins.
At the moment the choice is down to the Maggini and Klotz copies - all the others had obvious problems; large patched crack down the middle, neck needing to be reset or just sounded similar the inexpensive Chinese one I have.
The Maggini is warm and very even across the strings. The Klotz is very rich sounding.
In your experience is there anything a novice like me needs to be aware of in instruments of this age?
As I was violin shopping, a veteran pro violinist strongly advised me to pass over anything that sounded warm, rich, and sweet. He said I would be able to get a sweet, warm, and rich tones from a bold-sounding instrument but not the other way around. I recommend you look for something that produces a lot of sound without being harsh or monochromatic. Then you learn to tame it.
Maggini copies also tend to be very large. Don't forget to factor in ease of play, based on your physicality. And Lyndon might have some violins for sale you would want to consider as well...:)
Robert, I wonder if your question is a little like a lion and a sheep discussing what they should have for dinner. ;-)
^^^^^^ This^^^^^ ....... will you have Red or Brown Sauce with that?
@Paul Deck. Did that advice help you find a better beginner instrument? I'm not sure as a 59 year old novice the probability of making a violin sound other than itself is highly likely :-(.
I don't characterize antique instruments by model, or who they're "copied" from. I would go by each individual instrument, there are good Maginni copies and very bad ones, same for other models, Some brands have a certain level of quality but copy models doesn't say much at all.
I had hoped there was a sort of checklist for novices of faults that may appear on aged or ageing instruments.
Well definitely look for soundpost and bassbar cracks, and poorly repaired cracks, an instrument with well repaired cracks in non critical areas may be cheaper than one with no cracks. As long as you have a luthier to show the instruments to, you should have help, its kind of a minefield if you try to decide on your own.
It does help if you buy from a respected luthier that has his or her violins all properly set up.
Apart from a thorough check for cracks I'd look if the peg are in god working order. Some older run-of-the-mill violins have really lousy pegs and tuning is a pain.
i always replace pegs that don't work properly, that should be what a luthier is for.
Thanks for the tips Lyndon.
good luck, consider paying a good luthier to further set up what you buy maybe if you can budget that.
For a long time I have been considering writing a blog post that I will call "The Inferno" in which I describe the various layers of hell that the violinist typically endures making all of the myriad choices -- rosin hell, case hell, shoulder-and-chin-rest hell, string hell, bow hell, teacher hell, scale-book hell, am-I-good-enough-for-conservatoire hell, next-concerto hell, and finally the deepest blackest layer, violin-buying hell.