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Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Updated Feb 2, 2024

Practical History of the Violin $29.95

778 violin labels reproduced, 1200 violin makers names and biographies

Practical History of the Violin book cover.

Click on the image below to enlarge it.

Sample page of violin labels from the book - Practical History of the Violin.

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 characteristics 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 photographic copies."


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   Read reviews of this book.


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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 bass bar 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 luckI 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 'lute maker' 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 deserves!


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



Tim Jones

A happy story follows!

The image on the right illustrates a sample label page from the book.

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