Captain Fiddle Music

Ryan and Brennish


cover of the book - Practical History of the Violin Inside page of antique violin labels from the book - Practical History of the Violin

Practical History of the Violin

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Practical History of the Violin $29.95

778 violin labels reproduced, 1200 violin makers names and biographies

The image on the right illustrates a sample label  page.

This book is a modern reprint of the original edition written by Heinrich Bauer and

published by the Heinrich Bauer Music Company in 1911, in New York. The author describes

the contents as follows:

"This book is intended to be a practical hand book to every violin player and violin owner.

It not only describes the characteristic peculiarities of the five most important classical

masters, viz.: Maggini, Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri, and Stainer, and gives a true design of

the sound holes found in their violins - one of the most important characterisitcs of every

individual make - but it also offers a short history of the entire development of violin

making, mentioning the names of almost all violin makers in chronological order, and

reproducing at the same time many hundreds of genuine violin labels in original

photgraphic copies." Read reviews of this book.

Also included in the book are sections on: famous bow makers, theory on cremonese violin

varnish, market prices of 51 different violin maker's violins compared from 1891 to 1911,

discussion of fake violin labels, 8.5 by 11 size, comb bound, ISBN 0-931877-39-3. $29.95

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A happy story follows!


Dear Ryan Thomson,

You have no idea how thrilled I am with your reprint/ publication!

I am a violist/ violinist (day job as a jeweler/ goldsmith) who has a small collection of

violins and violas (and one 200 year old church bass)  One quite endearing violin, I have

had for about 20 years, is an OLD Germanic high arched (72mm high!) Stainer pattern. It

had a fake label, a half-tone cut out of a book, so I never had any real hope of finding out

its true maker.  It was suffering from a loose bassbar and failing century old repairs, so I

decided it was time to open her up.  Amongst the dust and lint inside, were 3 small

fragments of paper, stuck loosely to some excess glue where the upper right bout meets

the back.  As I picked the first away I noticed printing on the underside.  You see where

this is going...  Well long story short, the three fragments of parchment, (not paper)

fortunately were contiguous, and from the middle of the label.  There were only 6

characters remaining, but with luck I thought It might be enough.  It read (top line):  ...l /

La..  (lower line):  ...Reg...  I knew that I was looking for a Germanic maker whose last

name ended in l, and was early enough to be a 'lutemaker' as well.  I was downright giddy

when I got to plate 20 of the book, lower right corner... and there it was!

Johann Hadl / Lauten=und Geigen=

macher in Regensburg / 1712

Beyond just the letters, the script, deeply pressed/ block printed, was a match as well,

and the descriptions of this maker's work fit perfectly with the instrument.  Imagine the

odds of the last bits of an old tattered label falling off and coming to rest on glue, 

perhaps when a small section of seam was repaired, and sitting there long enough to

stick!  Talk about a game of 'wheel of fortune'... puns intended.  I feel confident in saying

this old Bavarian beauty can now be attributed to her true maker with near certainty.  As

an artist myself, it means so much to make this kind of connection.  It's a tribute Johann


I just wanted to let you know what your reprinting of this book made possible, and thank



Tim Jones

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