Antique Violins

How to recognize which class of instruments could ever be deemed as antique. So many musical instruments are relatively new. Many are developed as an improvement or to duplicate classic instruments of the past. Someone trying to recognize which family of musical instruments could ever achieve antique status could be a little daunting. I’m going to give you an insight into one family that is been around for a long time.

antique violins

The violin. It didn’t start at out as the violin. Its first appearances on the scene were as the fiddle or the lira da braccio. If you want to measure the time that these first came around, you can go all the way back to 5000 BC among the Indies tribes of Peru. They didn’t have the refined methods of creating strings similar to the ones used now, but then used rope which was polish down very finely to create the first sounds.

The first methods of play were primarily plucking. A similar method you would use in a banjo or guitar was applied to these instruments. They gave off a sharp high pitched sound due to the small size of the piece, and we’re easy for most people to learn. Later down the line the introduction of the bow revolutionized the play of the instrument. This was a tool with its own set of tight strings that would run along a perpendicular axis to the instruments strings. They created a smooth and mellow sound which could be stretched into longer tones than mere plucking. It also allowed for multiple strings to be played at the same time which literally created dozens of extra notes for the player. That’s just a little history of a violin, so if you are an antique hunter, and are thinking about specializing and in specific market, just know that the violin holds a lot of history and may just be what you were looking for.

How I Got Into Antiques

The best times my father and I had were going to yard sales on the weekends looking for musical instruments. Especially antique ones. He would find a piece, and then haggle with the owner over price. Afterwards, we would go for ice cream and head home. The rest of the afternoon would be spent in his workshop‎; refinishing or rebuilding these pieces of musical history. It was funny, a lot of times he would throw out most of his inventory because he was just looking for one part. Like a mouthpiece or horn section.

horn mouth piece

For a while, I would see so many musical instruments come and go, but never knew what happened to them. I found out later that he sold the finished units to collectors. It turns out that the antique music business is very lucrative. There are lots of collectors looking to own a part of music history. There are shows and conventions all over the world.

He enjoyed going to the big gatherings, but he was partial to the bazaars and garage sales. It was like a treasure hunt for him. He was always on the prowl for an instrument that may have been played by a famous band member. He relied on sellers naivete of the top stars in jazz and classical to hopefully unearth a rare find. Most of the time there was no such luck, but he usually walked away with something he could fix and sell.

convention for music

He made a nice living off of rebuilding old guitars and trumpets. I often wondered though: why this instead of maybe cars or coins? It happens that his father shared with him his love of early jazz. That time they spent together listening to records and going to concerts was how they bonded. Now, he and I are able to share the same experience every weekend. I am sure that I will want to bring that same love of music with to time that I will spend with my children.