Fritz Mönnig Austrian Violin, 1924

Fritz Mönnig was born into a large family of violin makers in Markneukirchen, Saxony, in 1890. He must have started his training in his youth as by the age of 22, he had worked for three masters in Germany, had just established independently in his home town and within a year was made a Master of the Luthier’s Guild.

By 1923 we see violins labelled as made in both Markneukirchen and Vienna, this continues for decades. We don’t know the background story but it’s entirely possible that a maker with a fine reputation such as his had both family and business connections in both centres. His work features both cleverly worked faux-antique and ‘straight’ homogenous varnish finishes such as this one.

This beautifully crafted instrument features a back plate of two pieces of striking flamed maple, the sides and head of similar wood, the top plate of two pieces of straight grained spruce, all covered in a warm, light, amber-gold varnish.

It has a lovely rich bass, warm and tactile, with a seamless transition onto the treble strings where this evenness continues right up into the highest positions but now with a brighter clarity. It offers subtlety of volume control, soft and quiet when played gently and with that indefinable quality that always wants to give more the more one learns how to dig in and draw it out. It projects well, has a pleasantly quick response to the bow and, with a comfortably shaped neck for the left hand, this is a ‘must try’ instrument if the budget allows!

Fritz Mönnig Austrian Violin, 1924

Reference: VN.1076