Posts Tagged ‘French Violin’

French Medio Fino C20th Violin (FULL SIZE)

March 17, 2022

Professional violinist and violin teacher Ursula Donnelley plays and reviews a full size (4/4) French Medio Fino violin 1940-1970s violin.

Ursula Donnelly playing a 20th century French Medio Fino full size violin

My first impressions of this violin were very good. I felt like it has the propensity to be a great instrument for an advanced student and would be suitable for Grade 8. 

The overall tone is smooth, clean and well balanced from the low to high end, with a middling tone that is neither overly bright or overly muted. 

The violin is easy to play in the higher positions which makes it well suited to playing more advanced pieces of classical music. There were no extra noises (squeaks, buzzes) which supports this.

When I first looked at it I did wonder if the D and A strings were a little farther apart than the other strings but I didn’t notice that when I was playing it.

This is certainly more of a classical instrument than a folk instrument. If you’re looking for an affordable instrument that will take you to Grade 8 level, this model is a safe bet. 

Dr Mike Sutton’s repair and restoration notes

When this French violin entered my little repair shop a look thorough the f-hole revealed it has an old browned paper label reading “Medio Fino” Made in France. Typical of some medio fino French violins it has a plain maple back with no flaming and the same for the ribs and scroll. There was a crack in the peg box so I first very securly glued this and then fitted the violin with a set of Wittner composite fine tune pegs that remain fixed in place because a small gear inside the peg turns to tighten the string. Unlike traditional tapered wood pegs these pegs put no strain on the pegbox and no fine tuners are required on the tailpiece, not even on the e-string. They are excellent and so easy to use.

The violin came to me because in the past it has had a “sound post crack” and it suffered some damage on its left shoulder. I took the top (table/face) off the violin and found the sound post crack had long ago been securely glued and was holding up perfectly. Nevertheless, I added two “old school” hot hide glued parchment cleats to the underside of crack just to make it extra secure. The damaged shoulder was hot hide glued and clamped. Another hot hide glued parchment cleat was added under the damaged shoulder.

After the face was glued (with traditional hot hide glue) securely back onto the violin the damaged shoulder was further repaired by adding and hot hide gluing into place slithers of violin table grade European spruce wood. The repair was then finished with a seal of shellac sealer and varnished with several coats of the correct shade of spirit varnish (imported especially form Germany).

The fingerboard of this violin had seen some good use and so was re-dressed with the correct luthier tool to ensure the strings all depressed perfectly as on the day it was made.

I fitted the violin with a high grade sound post and high grade maple Korolia bridge, perfectly fitted and then tuned to the violin. It is strung (as are many of my violins) with high quality Pirastro Tonica synthetic core strings.

These plain looking understated violins have a reputation for being excellent student models well suited to take a student to pass their Grade 8 ABRSM exam. This sustainable rescued violin is now perfectly set up for easy and trouble free playing.