A Very Nice 3/4 Maidstone student violin: Ref: ♪

Ursula Donnelly professionally assesses this Maidstone 3/4 size violin

I thoroughly enjoyed playing this violin. The tone calls out to me. It’s got a mystical sort of feel to it, lying somewhere between serene and gritty – a very expressive instrument for an expressive player.

Due to being a 3/4 size, it would best suit a child of about age 8-12, at the intermediate level of learning. It’s a great 2nd or 3rd instrument for a young person who is advancing into grades 4-6 range. It would do justice to more advanced pieces whilst being small enough to suit a child of the age suggested.

The violin is set up well which means that it is very easy to play. I did not struggle to get a clear sound out of it, and it was very easy to gauge the correct angle for the string and not to catch other strings. This is a rarity on eBay as the majority of sellers do not have expertise in this area and so you would need to get it set up by a professional anyway.

I love the low/mid range although the high end is also pleasant to the ear. There is something magical about the tone of the lowest G string when playing ‘double stopped’ chords. It sort of rumbles and brings to mind folk music of the British Isles. In fact, it would make a fantastic folk instrument. However, it can also do justice to a classical student.
It is not the cleanest sounding instrument in the world, but it has heart! For the price, it is an absolute steal and very pleasant to play. The tone is phenomenal for the price, the set up optimal and Dr Sutton has included some pretty decent sounding synthetic core strings. What’s not to love?

Ursula Donnelly, Professional Violin Teacher, Nottingham, England

This violin is available to buy. Details on my website Disology.com. HERE

History, repair and refurbishment notes

As you will read on this site many times ‘not all Maidstone (Murdoch) violins are the same’. This particular Maidstone violin is, in my opinion, one of the really good little ones, which give these violins such a solid name amongst violin teachers in the know.

Made in Saxony (Germany) at the end of the 19th century, or beginning of the 20th, this instrument has all the signs of having been played extensively through several generations of keen young musicians over the past 100 years. The vanish and wood carry many scars from knocks, dings and scratches. I have endeavored to sympathetically touch these in with specially imported high quality violin spirit varnish from Germany, of the correct shade. The result is that this lovely conker brown instrument demonstrates it’s playability qualities with the proof of the extent it has been played and enjoyed by students down the years. In my opinion, it simply oozes depth of character in playability, sound and antique looks.

When it came into my small workshop the violin had a minor crack opening up close to its tailpiece and a couple of further minor cracks on its face at the saddle end of the instrument. Another small crack was found close to the fingerboard All the evidence suggests it had been dropped onto a hard floor. The violin was carefully opened and these cracks were traditionally hide glued and then finally fixed with spruce cleats (studs/sutures), hide glued into place, which were then thinned to provide the correct degree of repair strength and flexibility of the violin table. A new sound post was cut and fitted into the optimal position along with a new Zest bridge that was carefully fitted and then tuned to the violin. A modern light alloy tailpiece, with integral fine tuners, was fitted.

This traditionally repaired and refurbished antique student violin is set up with good quality Ascente synthetic core strings. The chin rest is the original Bakerlite model fitted to these violins. I expect this violin now sounds better than at any other time in its life.

I love the sound of this 3/4 size violin. It is just waiting for a keen student.

Being 3/4 size, the instrument is likely to be best suited to a child aged 9-12. However, 3/4 size violins also suit smaller than average teenagers, or small adults.

This violin is ready to be played and enjoyed once again.

Dr Mike Sutton, violin collector, repairer, restorer and patron of the arts.


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