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Carl Wilhelm Heber


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#1 David Duong

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Posted 22 February 1997 - 07:13 PM

Does someone know any biographical information on a
German violin maker by the name of Carl Wilhelm Heber
who perhaps lived in the 1700's?

I would also be interested in finding out how much his
instruments might be worth.

Thank you.




#2 Jeffrey

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Posted 22 February 1997 - 11:20 PM

Henley lists a Carl Wilhelm Heber; born 1712, died 1782. Apparently he was a Master in the violin making guild of Marneukirchen. I have not seen one personally. I don't have my Hamma text of German violin makers with me. If you can locate this text at college library, it might hold more information for you.

The value of German instruments of this period is usually determined by merit and condition. I would find a qualified appraiser in your area....
It should be no problem to verify the "school" (where the instrument was made), but verifying that it is an actual Heber will depend on if the appraiser has seen an another instrument by this maker or has access to reliable photographs.






#3

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Posted 23 February 1997 - 05:51 PM

Thanks for the reference, Jeffrey.

I went to the Blair Music Library (Vanderbilt) today
and found the short sketch you described in
W. Henley's "Univ. Dict. of Violin and Bow Makers."
I also found references to C.W. Heber in R. Vannes'
"Dict. Univ. des Luthiers," and also in K. Jalovec's
"Encyclopedia of Violin-Makers" and his "German and
Austrian Violin Makers."

The violin that I'm currently playing has a label
which matches what is described in all the books.
It reads...

Carl Wilhelm Heber
Lauten und Violinmacher fecit 17..

I can't read the last two digits of the date. Either
they were never there in the first place, or they've
just faded away over time. It gives no indication
of where the instrument was made.

My violin has a very dark brown varnish and its
shape is quite remarkably arched on both the back
and the front. It also, interestingly, shows
evidence of once being a five string instrument.
The peg box has markings that indicate a deliberate
conversion from a peg box for five strings to one
for four strings. Also, the outer loop of the
scroll is more narrow than what I've seen on most
other violins. Its tone is that of an entry-level
concert violin, although I am certainly no expert.

I asked the previous owner, who currently plays
in the Knoxville Symphony, about the instrument's
history. She told me that she thought the
instrument (with five strings) was originally made
a couple hundred years before Carl Wilhelm Heber
converted it to a four string violin. She refered
me to the dealer/repairer who sold the instrument
to her; and he told me that the original instrument
was a five string viole. He told me he bought it at
an estate auction, and that it was made originally
by de Solla (sp?), apparently a *very* old luthier.
I have to admit that I don't know very much about
the history of violin making. Unfortunately, I
don't have any papers to provide authentication,
or record of ownership for this violin.

Anyway, I'd like to have this violin appraised
for insurance purposes. Who, in the United States,
might be familiar enough with the instruments of
de Solla (sp?) or C.W. Heber to help me with this?





#4 Mark Friesel

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Posted 23 February 1997 - 09:47 PM

Well, this has all the earmarks of a remarkably
amazing find or a nice and well-thought out scam.
A tantalizing hint of Da Salo, a plausible reason why it
would not have been previously found and registered,
owned by an apparently unsuspecting innocent probably
ignorant of its potential value if it is, in fact, a
genuine da Salo...Too good to pass up a viewing.

Sorry - my scheming, twisted, mind looking for a plot
for my next novel.

Mark




#5 Jeffrey

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Posted 23 February 1997 - 10:28 PM

Hello David,

I'm afraid that from the story as told, I have the same suspicions as Mark does. Without seeing the pegbox length, etc. it is difficult to determine whether or not the instrument actually began life as a viol. Some instruments of this age have simply had their pegs moved (bushed and relocated) several times. The German instruments of this period have quite a curve to the pegbox in many cases, and the moving of the pegs can leave one with the impression that there were more than 4 strings originally. On the otherhand, there might have been.

Gaspar Da Salo violas are extremely rare, expensive and sought after. Any major shop with real expertise would be a good choice for appraisal. They would also have no trouble in recognizing a german fiddle, whether or not they have seen an actual Heber.

Feel free to e mail me if you would like a personal reference, but I will be away for a few weeks. You could browse the dealers on the Maestronet list as well.

I'm sorry... don't know if I missed this, but did you say this was a violin or a viola?




#6

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Posted 24 February 1997 - 12:55 AM

Gentlemen,

My violin has no delusions of grandeur, I can
assure you of this. I recount only what I was told
by persons whom I presume to possess more knowledge
than myself. Like I said before, I have no
expertise in this area. Besides, why would
someone sell me an "extremely rare" instrument
for under five thousand dollars?

I wrote my first note in this bulletin board for
the sole purpose of receiving a little advice
on the POTENTIAL maker of my violin (that is, the
instrument that I play on a regular basis in a
chamber music ensemble--not something sitting in
some dumb museum), and also to fish for suggestions
about getting my violin appraised for insurance.
Both of these objectives still stand.

I am not familiar with the location of expert
appraisers in the Nashville area, ...that's TN for
those of you who are not into country music.

Let it be known that I am simply looking for
educated advice on who I might contact for an
appraisal, hopefully somebody who might be
familiar with instruments made by CW Heber.
And yes, I am hoping for a SPECIFIC name and
phone number to contact.

Thank you, though a little frustrated by the
seeming difficulty of this endeavor,

D. Duong




#7

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Posted 24 February 1997 - 01:19 AM

By the way, I don't mean to be nosy, but who are
"Jeffrey" and "Mark," and how is it that they
purport to know so much about violins? I think
anyone would be able to understand why I would
be interested in receiving advice from people
who are actually qualified to give it. I am
sorry if I have inadvertently offended anyone,
but I am not interested any sort of scandal.

Myself, I am a medical student at Vanderbilt.
To be more precise, I am studying towards a
joint M.D./Ph.D. here. My parents started me
on the violin when I was four. I took private
lessons continuously until my sophomore year at
Yale. I am not a professional musician, nor do
I intend to become a professional musician,
although my string quartet does play small gigs
once in a while. I took a few music theory
classes in college, and that's the extent of my
experience in music.

It was only by serendipity that I happen to have
stumbled upon this bulletin board.

Here's another question for those readers out there
in cyberspace...
Is it safe for me to ship my instrument to an
appraiser, as opposed to hand delivering it by
jumping on an airplane?

Thanks for your sincere advice.

D. Duong




#8 Mark Friesel

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Posted 24 February 1997 - 01:09 PM

Please, don't take offense.

MAF




#9 Jeffrey

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Posted 24 February 1997 - 02:30 PM

I will be happy to reply via e mail.




#10 Norman Clark

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Posted 25 February 1997 - 12:19 AM

: Gentlemen,

: My violin has no delusions of grandeur, I can
: assure you of this. I recount only what I was told
: by persons whom I presume to possess more knowledge
: than myself. Like I said before, I have no
: expertise in this area. Besides, why would
: someone sell me an "extremely rare" instrument
: for under five thousand dollars?

: I wrote my first note in this bulletin board for
: the sole purpose of receiving a little advice
: on the POTENTIAL maker of my violin (that is, the
: instrument that I play on a regular basis in a
: chamber music ensemble--not something sitting in
: some dumb museum), and also to fish for suggestions
: about getting my violin appraised for insurance.
: Both of these objectives still stand.

: I am not familiar with the location of expert
: appraisers in the Nashville area, ...that's TN for
: those of you who are not into country music.

: Let it be known that I am simply looking for
: educated advice on who I might contact for an
: appraisal, hopefully somebody who might be
: familiar with instruments made by CW Heber.
: And yes, I am hoping for a SPECIFIC name and
: phone number to contact.

: Thank you, though a little frustrated by the
: seeming difficulty of this endeavor,

: D. Duong

When one asks for comments, and receives very informed
advice at no expense to himself, it is surprising that
one questions that advice and becomes frustrated.

Seems that a well educated individual would take the
advice for what it is worth.



I'm older now and wiser.   I spent a lot of money on fiddles, women and booze.   - I wasted the rest.





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