Rose, Restored.

Hey, all.

A follow-up bit on the restoration of the nineteenth-century violin I scored at the local antique mall for USD 92.50.

The earlier articles are here (No. 1), and here (No. 2).

There are few things in life I enjoy more than finding an apparent piece of junk and bringing it back into service. I guess I’m a sucker for a good deal, and have an eye for an object’s potential. Rose the violin falls neatly into my interests.

All of my violins have nicknames, it’s how I tell them apart and they usually have something to do with their appearance, sound or origin. One of my favs, Twist the mountain fiddle, is called Twist because of it’s deformed peg box, a result of imperfect craftmanship or poor storage, hard to tell which. If you’re interested, there are a series of older posts about that particular resto, it was a fascinating process (to me).

So why did I name this violin “Rose?” Well, it’s an appearance thing. She has a very nice reddish patina, accentuated by the new furniture I got for her. Also, I grew tired of calling her “clone,” a temporary nickname based upon the fact that she is probably a German Stradivarius pattern copy.

It’s always a gratifying moment when these relics play their first notes after decades in storage. My instructor, Ryan, had the privilege of playing the first tune on this old girl after some minor tweaks. Rose didn’t need much to wake her up, which the antique dealer foolishly didn’t know (or care). See below.

Ryan says it’s not his best recording ever, but hey, it was meant as a quick demo, not a concert quality recording. He did a quick version of a song we’ve played often, “Good Old Mountain Dew,” a regional fav. Here’s another version of it, done by Reina del Cid, a personal fav, right up there with Rhiannon Giddens, another amazing musician.

For the pure hell of it, I decided to add a couple more versions of this song. Check this one out, or this one.

This. This was a successful restoration! One of the finest yet of a high-quality instrument that had been set aside decades ago. Another detail below.

The craftsmanship that’s on display here. It’s amazing and a little heartbreaking that this fiddle almost ended up in the trash or hanging on a wall.

Rose turned out astoundingly well, and I’ve played her a bit since I got her back.

The violin has that comfy feel of an old instrument and that wonderful old wood and polish smell. As a real bonus, it plays very well- it’s a quality instrument. Incomprehensible that it was set aside, but such is life.

Thanks to everyone involved in this process- my eagle-eyed daughter and Ryan.

This has been a good week- I needed a break.

4 thoughts on “Rose, Restored.

  1. Hopefully 2023 keeps being this good to you! You got this fixed up just in time to play it outside, as the good weather finally returns.
    I’m pumped, we have some amazing bluegrass festivals in my area, coming up later this year.


  2. Nice job. Looks really well done. Renewal. An Easter tale. The bone I’m picking was the music rabbit hole I slipped into with Reina del Cid. There’s some quality music there. Found one vid, ‘Butter and Eggs’ Some excellent guitar work
    Cheers, Happy Easter!


    • Yeah, I’m really pleased with how this violin shaped up from a really low-bar start. You’re welcome re: Ms. del Cid. Really good stuff there, I think she has a Patreon page and I’ve been thinking of subscribing to it for a while.


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