G.A. Pfretzschner Violin circa 1920, Markneukirchen
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The G.A. Pfretzschner company was founded by Carl Gustav (Adolph) Pfretzschner in 1834 and the Pfretzschner family continued to make and sell instruments into the 20th century. The Pfretzschner family were well known dealers and makers of fine-quality German violin bows. They worked out of Markneukirchen from the 1600’s until the 1930’s. Some of the more famous members of the family were Carl Friedrich, Johann Gottlob, Johann Carl, Elias, Carl Gustav Adolph, and Hermann Richard. G.A. Pfretzschner was the name of a large wholesale business of string instruments and bows. Even though Germany at this time was noted for the large quantity of instruments being produced, there had always been a higher tradition of making in Markneukirchen. This center of making stood out because of its quality, even at a time of huge quantity. The instruments were imported solely to the West by M. E. Schoening, New York City.
Our violin has the brand G.A. Pfretzschner, Markneukirchen above the paper label which states it’s a reproduction of a Januarius Gagliano 1770, just a label. I believe the instrument to be made in the 1920’s. The top is of fine to medium width spruce with great detail given to the arching and construction. We have totally gone over the instrument, carving all new fitting for the violin, doing a complete set up to get a fantastic sound. The back is two-piece highly flamed maple which also matches the ribs, neck, and scroll. The varnish is beautiful amber/orange/brown on a golden ground, antiqued with wear patterns and natural patina. The condition is remarkable, just a couple minor scratches that have been touched up, no cracks or repairs and very little wear.
Corpus 356 mm., Major Width 200.0 mm., Minor Width 161.0 mm., Rib Height 30.0 mm.
This well cared for violin checks off all the boxes. It has a sound that is mature and played in. A big sound that is nimble, slightly bright, but has good depth in the lower register. This healthy power projects in every register and has great clarity with a complex character. The violin is very comfortable to play and no effort is needed to go into making the violin work. Yup, another German violin that does not disappoint in sound. This well-balanced sound would be a great choice for a talented player who wants to be heard or who is stepping into the first violin section of an orchestra.