[Name Deleted] and I went over to Brandon’s to launch the latest boat project yesterday. Before a lovely row on Devil’s Lake we took a look at Brandon’s wood stash – he’s a woodcarver as well as a boat builder and musician – and picked up some boat wood and a nice piece of figured maple for a future fiddle or two (more on that another day.)While petting the cat we noticed an old “wall hanger” fiddle and asked if we could take a look at it. The subject of yesterday’s post, it came home with me to be repaired and brought back to life. More on that later, too. While we were on the subject, Brandon brought out a case with a lovely red violin inside –

The label reads –

Antonius, & Hieronymus Fr. Amati
Cremonen. Andreae fil. F. 1641*

and the scroll has “Conservatory Violin” scribed on the back –

The belly is a nice, tight-grained spruce –

The back is flamed maple in two pieces –

The varnish is in pretty good shape. Brandon found this treasure at an estate sale about 12 years ago, had it set up and cleaned, and then the tailpiece broke –

My job is to replace the tailpiece and fit the Hill style pegs that match. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? I don’t have the perfectly matched tailpiece in the shop, but you know I had to string it up just to see what it sounds like –

Sweet certainly describes the sound of this old violin. It was quite striking how the sound changed over a few hours as the strings stretched and everything settled into place. It will be hard to give back…

ETA: Here we are a day later and the violin sounds even better than yesterday, if you can believe that. [Name Deleted] commented, “it sure does a lot for your playing…” The Six Foot Fiddle sounds just fine, but he’s right, the old red violin makes me sound more experienced than I am. Good even. Or at least competent.

* No, of course this violin is not 400 years old! It’s a copy of a violin made in 1641 by the brothers Amati. Probably a mass-produced model, but so far I haven’t been able to find any information on it. If anyone has clues, e-mail me at SofiaLeo2013 at gmail dot com.

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