A Maidstone 3/4 Size Violin. ReferencešŸŽµ

Two videos have been made of this antique (late 19th /early 20th century) Saxony (German) 3/4 size student violin played by my neighbour, violin teacher and professional violinist, Ursula Kathryn Donnelly.

Video 1

Video 2

Ursula Donnelly writes that this particular violin she has played and reviewed for me is:

A very decent quality 3/4 size violin, perfect for a classical violin student looking for a more sophisticated instrument than your standard Stentor.

The tone is muted, clear and sweet. It’s not too harsh on the ear on the high end. The action is high without being too high. The lower end can produce a warm, full sound as well which balances the sweetness of the top end nicely.

This violin can hold its own in some of the more advanced grades – especially Baroque music. I would recommend this violin to a student who loves baroque music and wants an instrument that can handle Bach and Vivaldi. The high action makes it very easy to play fast semi-quavers on and the clarity of the tone really sings through whilst tackling these faster passages of music.

What’s more, the high quality Wittner fine tuners make it very easy for the student to fine tune the strings. This makes it very easy for an intermediate level student who is not so confident with tuning pegs to tune themselves.

Ursula Kathryn Donnelly.

As a parent of violin students over a period of more than 40 years, and latterly as a violin restorer, I know this is one of those very nice 3/4 size Maidstone (Murdoch) violins that music teachers and others “in the know” have been recommending to their students for well over 100 years. This solid, robust, lovely little instrument reminds me of the violin my youngest daughter learned to play on at The Bishops Palace in Maidstone some 46-47 years ago. It has a lovely rich dark brown colour that reminds me of a shiny conker and the lovely old violins that were played when I was a schoolboy in the 1960’s.

Some writers and dealers will tell you that all Maidstone violins are the same. They are wrong.

I have several Maidstone violins in my collection and they differ hugely. These violins were ordered and imported into the UK by The Murdoch Violin Company in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.. Some were then exported to the USA. They are made mostly in Saxony, but some are reputed to have been made in what was then Czechoslovakia and possibly even France during the First World War. So far, I have found three different types of original label in these violins and each label reveals the decade/s when the violins were made.

If you wish to learn more of the story of the Maidstone violins there is a good article to begin with HERE.

When I got this great little student violin, I set about improving it with a set of Dominant strings and then cutting a Teller Bridge, which I then tuned to suit the violin. Finally, the sound post was moved closer to the bridge to improve the violin’s projection and brighten the sound just a little more.

This violin is ready to play and enjoy right out of the case. I highly recommend this particular instrument for a dedicated student who needs their playing confidence building with a very user friendly, dependable, characterful, and competent instrument. From the teacher and parent point of view, I would agree with the violin teacher Ursula Donnelly that It is most certainly far better to listen too than a standard Stentor and other entry level modern student violins.

This post is also available as a podcast HERE

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