3/25/2018

1920s German-made Kutzer 4/4 Violin



Number two in a batch of four violins I'm fixing-up for a friend is this fine-sounding piece of kit. The label bears testament to it being built in Germany by an indecipherable signature -- with the last name Kulzer or Kutzer or something similar to that. I'm guesstimating that it's from the 1920s but it may be as late as the '50s. I probably wouldn't put it much beyond that, though.

Parentage is rarely something I pay too much attention to with fiddles, however, as I simply do not know enough about all of the makers. I play them and let my ears decide. I've decided I like this one. It has the creamy, velvet, defined kind of tone I like out of a violin. It's accurate but a little relaxed, I guess. I tend to play with a bit of a "slur" and enjoy double-stops so I like to hear a bit of mwah as I edge the bow into two strings.

Stop that Jake! Seriously, I gave up playing fiddle "for real" when I realized it would be all-consuming. I have plenty of fretted friends that need playtime. This one's owner has swallowed the fiddle-bug completely, though, and is rarely seen without one.

Work included setting the soundpost properly, cleaning, tailpiece swap-out, and an install of Grover mechanical friction pegs. These came from a Grover box stored with the instrument that was easily 40 years old. The pegs, however, are practically brand-new. They retrofit to most violins without fuss or alteration, which makes them a good alternative if you need the extra grip of mechanical pegs but don't yet want to fork-over $65+ for planetary, geared fiddle pegs that are frustrating to install.


I like the blonde-to-amber look of the instrument. It really brings-out its cut. Materials are normal for this one's build -- an ebony fingerboard, nut, and tailpiece over a solid spruce top and flamed maple back, sides, and neck.










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