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Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot

wilco 27 Jul 05 - 12:38 PM
wilco 29 Jul 05 - 02:42 PM
Sorcha 29 Jul 05 - 02:56 PM
katlaughing 29 Jul 05 - 02:58 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Jul 05 - 01:37 PM
katlaughing 30 Jul 05 - 04:11 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Jul 05 - 04:18 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Jul 05 - 05:36 PM
katlaughing 31 Jul 05 - 10:15 AM
JohnInKansas 31 Jul 05 - 01:14 PM
katlaughing 31 Jul 05 - 02:00 PM
The Fooles Troupe 31 Jul 05 - 07:06 PM
harpgirl 31 Jul 05 - 07:52 PM
wilco 01 Aug 05 - 10:54 AM
katlaughing 01 Aug 05 - 06:12 PM
Pauline L 02 Aug 05 - 12:10 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Aug 05 - 12:31 AM
JohnInKansas 02 Aug 05 - 02:56 AM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Aug 05 - 09:43 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM
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Subject: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: wilco
Date: 27 Jul 05 - 12:38 PM

I've been asked to help identify an old fiddle. It's at least eighty years old, since the elderly lady who owns it played it as a child.
   The inscription inside reads MOUGFAT (or MOUDFAT),
                                 A PARIS (or A PARIE)
   Thanks!!!!

Steve Daugherty in Tennessee


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: wilco
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 02:42 PM

Anyone know of an index of French violin builders?


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 02:56 PM

Put pics somewhere please?


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 02:58 PM

Could it be "Montagnana" mentioned in the synopsis of this book? Sorrym don't know how clear the label is, so it's probably a long-shot.:-)

These folks might be able to help.


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 01:37 PM

I found a couple of web sites with lists of makers by country, and currently there are several hundred French makers, and a comparable number of "recent" ones (a hundred years or so is recent for fiddles). Nothing in any of the lists resembled the name(s?) you listed, so I didn't save links.

Eighty years or so old would likely place original(?) manufacture in the 1920s, when there were lots of mass marketers selling instruments under "house names" so even if you can trace it to one of these you may not be able to determine who the actual builder was. This assumes that "identification" is for the sake of "just wanting to know."

If it was given to a child to play - unless she was extremely gifted or her family was quite wealthy - it's unlikely that it was an instrument with "name value" so it's current value will depend on current condition and tone, and perhaps on how expensive any needed adjustments might be. This should be evaluated by a competent player or dealer. If it's "good," it won't make any difference who made it as far as market value is concerned. If it's very good, you may want an appraisal by a "name house" but they usually charge fairly significant fees, so a pre-valuing with a knowledgeable local player/dealer would be in order before checking with Hill & Hill.
(Hill & Hill is just one of the big name guys - it's supposed to impress people in the fiddle business.)

If your friend started young, it needs to be accurately determined whether it's a "real fiddle" or a "student fiddle." Young kids now are often started on 3/4 or smaller student models, but in the 20s there were a fair number of 7/8 size fiddles about, and it may be difficult to distinguish some of these from a full size one.

If you hope to correspond with experts, there are a few standard dimensions that can tell knowledgeable folk a lot about a fiddle. You will need to look at a few fiddle sites, or check one of the many "Instruments of ..." (Stradivari, Amati, etc.) book compilations to see what and how to measure. Photos are helpful, but need to be accompanied by at least a couple of dimensions, accurately measured, since it can be very difficult to judge size from a photo.

The Appraisers' Reference Manual of Authentic Stringed Instruments and Bows 2000 at the "this book" link from kat would probably be helpful - but $190???????? (Ouch/Pain/Writhing/Thrashing).

Incidentally, if there's a bow with it get it checked out separately. Many bows from this era may be worth more than the fiddle they came with, although exhuberant hope is probably not merited.

John


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 04:11 PM

Yikes! I didn't notice the price, John, thanks for pointing that out!


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 04:18 PM

Mougfot is a real name, though probably not common. Is it a printed label or a handwritten (ink? pencil?) inscription?


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Jul 05 - 05:36 PM

kat -

I don't think the one you were pointing at is the one with the high(est) price tag, although most of them at the site are "limited edition" prices. I just thought the other one looked interesting.

Malcolm -

According to Google, there's one guy with that name, and it looks like he wrote a couple of interesting papers; but they're at IEEE where you have to be a member or pay big bucks to see them. The name might trace back from one of the Genealogical sites, since they're seldom indexed very extensively by Google; but I've used up all my trial memberships with them.

John


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 10:15 AM

John, thanks! A genealogical search is a good idea. I searched genforum and came up blank, BUT the last name does show up at ancestry.com in AZ in the 1830's. I don't have a membership with them, anymore, so cannot go further than that.

Good luck!

kat


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 01:14 PM

There are lots of hits on "names" that lead to genealogical sites, but the genealogical sites then tell you that all the information is on ancestrydotcom. A membership there costs more than buying back the old homestead and diggin' holes in the old root cellar, which might tell you just about as much. It seems like none of my ancestors left me enough of a fortune to be able to use ancestrydotcom to find my ancestors.

To find a "Mougfot/Moudfot who made fiddles in France around 1900" one would probably need to find a place to consult French census records of the era - if there are such things.

John


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 02:00 PM

Mine, too, John. I dumped my membership when they upped the cost each time they added a new database, to the tune of $30 or more each time! They also will NOT interfere if someone has something posted in a Tree which is completely erroneous. The only reason I left my Tree up was to keep a correct version available. The wrong one, by a person who will not change it, show my grandmother married to her sister's husband and her sister as my grandma, plus a bunch of other mistakes!:-)

cyndislist.com is a good place to look for French census roles, etc.


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 07:06 PM

My grandfather obtained a good quailty second hand violin for my father. His music teacher checked out many instrumnets to find a 'good one' - good tone and playability. That was in about the 1920's, so the violin MAY be older - other people also may not have had the money to by a new quality instrument.


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: harpgirl
Date: 31 Jul 05 - 07:52 PM

call this guy:David Bromberg Fine Violins


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: wilco
Date: 01 Aug 05 - 10:54 AM

Thank all of you very much.
   The name inside is not a lable, but it appears to be stamped or witten very carefully.
   I have a bunch of violins/fiddles, and this one is full size (4/4).
   Thanks!!!!

Steve Daugherty


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Aug 05 - 06:12 PM

Maybe it's a one off, Steve. My dad's fiddle is that way. Sure the old fiddlemaker made many, but each one was very special and, as far as I know, not labeled by him in anyway. The one my granddad got from him for my dad was amde from a log which he searched for and took out of an abandoned gold mining camp cabin in the Rockies in Colorado. Granddad also had him teach my dad to fiddle. It is beautiful and has an incredible mellow tone. That would have been back before the Depression.

Even in the 60's most of us kids in orchestra had good quality used violins. I think it has only recently, past 20-30 years, become the fashion to rent or buy cheap beginners' violins/fiddles as parents think their children may not stick with it. We were expected to stick with the piano and one other chosen instrument.

Good luck. It will be interesting to see what you can find out!

kat


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: Pauline L
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 12:10 AM

JohnInKansas, that was a very good and thorough discussion about violins. I agree that a child would probably not be given an expensive violin to learn. In fact, since the violin is 4/4 size, it would probably not be played by a child under the age of 12.

I don't agree with you about the bow. I seriously doubt that the bow is any good at all for a couple of reasons. First, a child would probably not be given a good bow to learn with. Second, if the bow was not stored with the hairs completely slack, it wouldn't remain in good shape for long at all. Also, since most people don't realize that a good bow can cost as much as a good violin, people who don't know any better won't spend a lot of money on a bow.

Kat, my experience was different from yours. I started playing the violin in the early sixties, and my first violin was absolutely horrible, and not because I was a beginner. When I started taking private violin lessons, I got a better violin on the advice of my teacher. My family then called my first violin a "cigar box."

A lot of reasonably good violins were made in France or, especially, Germany around the turn of the century (1900). I own a few, including the one I got from my dear teacher way back in the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 12:31 AM

Since we now know that it's a written (ink?) inscription rather than a label, I'd guess at an amateur or small-scale maker (there were, and are, a great many) but I know next-to-nothing about the French trade and might be completely wrong, particularly if a stamp was used. You should be able to tell if it was written or stamped by looking carefully at the surface.


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 02:56 AM

Pauline L -

Some of the fairly ordinary violins of the pre-1920 era often were accompanied by fairly decent bows. Before the advent of the "fishing rod" kind, they were still hand made from wood, often from good pernambuco. At the time the "name makers" of bows still commanded the high prices, and without the name many good bows from other makers sold pretty cheaply and got tossed in the case with mass market fiddles. A child would likely use the bow that came with the fiddle.

As the famous name bows got priced out of reach of ordinary musicians, some - certainly not all - of these bows have appreciated significantly. The valuation now for bows in this class would be pretty much based on how good a bow it is, since in most cases it's impossible to associate the name of a maker to an individual one. It's unlikely you'll find a $400,000 Tourte bow in your box; but you might easily find a very decent one, worth as much as the fiddle it came with.

My ex-wife had a pretty nice fiddle, brought from Germany by her grandfather (1880s?). When she took the fiddle in for a tuneup (while she was still in High School), the informal evaluation of the fiddle was $300 - $400, but the repair guy offered her $450 for the bow, and apparently he really wanted it since he called back a couple of times to offer "swaps." This was far too many years ago, but I'd guess that "$300 - $400 then" for the fiddle would be in the $900 - $1200 range now, from what I've seen of comparable instruments more recently.

While spectacular finds are rare, a "stock" bow from this era has about as much chance of being moderately valuable as does the fiddle. In addition to the case cited, I've known a handful of other fiddlers who've been offered more for the bow than for the fiddle. Nothing spectacular, but respectable offers. To the extent that "identifying" an old fiddle means setting an approximate value, the value of the bow should be checked out. If it's worth little, you should know that too.

And except in the most extreme cases, a bow that's been "bent" can be "re-bent" by a competent luthier. Some of the very expensive ones - fancy enough to have their own personal names - are reported to require a fair bit of straightening whenever new hair is mounted.

John


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 09:43 AM

When I had my father's violin 'seen to' a while ago - the manufacturing luthier offered to take the two new bows that needed rehairing in swap for rehairing & straightening, including a slight warp, the original bow which was about half the weight or less of the lightest (and about half the diameter!) one of those two. He assured me that I should not be persuaded to ever let anybody con me out of the bow!


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Subject: RE: Help identifying old fiddle: Moug(d)fot
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM

i have a fiddle made in germany the name in it is gottlob seilier

then it has gigenmacher name in it it is an old fiddle that my dad used to play

can you tell me if it's worth much or not

it is a keepsake anyway but i'd just like to know


                                        MARY

                  E-MAIL    DONNIEb82 BELLSOUTH.NET

COULD YOU E-MAIL ME WITH SOME IMFORMATION ABOUT IT   THANK YOU


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