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Stradivarius of New Jersey?

No. VI violin made by Earl H. Sangster in Vineland, New Jersey, 1923.

Sure, everyone has heard of violins made by the Stradivari family of Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, but odds are you haven’t heard of Earl H. Sangster. Well, now it’s time to learn a little about Earl!

Earl H. Sangster was born in 1889 in Nova Scotia, Canada. He moved to Vineland, New Jersey in 1903 to work. In 1922 he started his own independent violin making business. It was during this time that he made the violin pictured above that will be up for sale next Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

label 1

label 2

However, Earl only stayed in New Jersey for a couple more years, moving back to Nova Scotia in 1925 and opening a shop in Halifax in 1930. Not content to stay put, he then moved to Fitchburg, Massachusetts around 1942, then to Fort Worth, Texas, before finally settling in Dallas in 1946. He spent the rest of his life in Texas, passing away in 1970.

tuning pegs

In 1963, Earl wrote an article for August-September edition of The Violin Makers Journal entitled “Geometry and the Old Masters”.

His conclusion from studying “many fine specimens of the old Italian violins” was that there is “no basis whatsoever that they used any method, scientific or otherwise, in making their instruments.” He states that it is not the wood, not the dimensions or thickness, not the color varnish that makes a violin great but the filler used before the varnish and then years of time for the violin to season and ripen. He states that “I have five new violins that I am sure are equal to the finest old ones when they were new but they will have to ripen and be played on a number of years before they can take their place among the great.”

violin side

Well, is 94 years enough time to ripen? Come see for yourself next week!

See you at the sale!!!

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