Well for a start the instrument bears a small
printed label that simply states "Handarbeit aus Mittenwald"
In a very tiny font "Made in Germany" is printed directly
underneath this. The second strong indication of origin is the tidy
workmanship and presentation which is typical for an instrument
of this quality that was made in the Mittenwald region in the years
that followed the end of the Second World War.
The plumb-red varnish over a yellow ground
is most typical of the Mittenwald school. In addition the smallish
"three-quarter" size viol-shape and the use of outside
linings - to add strength and support to the edges - were commonly
used. Taking a look at the peg-box one will notice the original
machines - set on brass half-plates. Although very functional they
somehow don't have the weight and quality of machines that
one finds on decent quality instruments that were made an additional
fifty years or so earlier.
Mittenwald is located at the foot of the Bavarian
Alps in the very south of Germany. Between the end of the 15th and
the 17th century Mittenwald prospered as it lay directly on the
lower trade route between Augsberg and Venice.
Yes it is. Mathias Klotz (1653-1743) returned
to Mittenwald in ca. 1685 and can be considered the founder of violin
making in Mittenwald. He ran a large workshop in which he trained
his three sons as well as many other violin makers from the area.
Today the town still has a violin making school and there is a museum
devoted to the evolution of stringed instruments and to old Mittenwald.
Well, we would like to describe the instrument
as being in mint condition - but for the fact that there is
one minor well-restored wing crack on the table - we'd best
describe it as being in very-near-mint condition.
Jazz bassist Chris Hill
is pictured here playing the Mittenwald bass fitted
up with Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings.
Chris is based in London and has played
with Martin Taylor, Mike Batt, Dave Newton and Joe Stilgoe.
He is currently playing for Jamie Cullum.
Yes we've undertaken a full set up using
a top quality fingerboard and an Aubert bridge fitted with our incredibly
smooth brass adjusters. There is also a new sound post and quality
brass end-pin unit, a new top nut and a new bottom saddle. In addition
we felt that the sound and tone of the instrument could be improved
considerably by making some internal adjustments. Courtesy of M.J.
Bailey Luthier Ltd the neck has been reset to the correct angle,
the table has been regraduated and a new bass bar has been fitted.
Yes indeed it was. But in our opinion it has
been worth all the effort - for the instrument now sounds absolutely
fantastic. There is plenty of volume and tone of considerable maturity
and the re-shaped neck (I forgot to mention that earlier) feels
like a million dollars.
With restoration work amounting to £1762-00
and the cost of the fittings amounting to £660-00 - I'd
say that with a price tag of only £11,000-00 you definitely
are getting a lot of instrument for your money.
Of particular merit is the advantageous string
length (only 40.90in /103.8cm) the sound (well rounded) and
the condition (immaculate). Could this smallish instrument be
exactly what you've been looking for? I think that it could
Width at the upper bout 19.75in (50.2cm)
Width at the centre bout 14.65in (37.0cm)
Width at the lower bout 26.0in (66.1cm)
LOB 42.85in (109.0cm)
St length 40.90in (103.8cm).