A Violin By Dudley Reed, 1951.
Dudley B. Reed (1900-1974) was active as a violin maker from 1922 and studied with Carl Hildebrand. He worked exclusively as an instrument maker and restorer from 1953 and had produced over 150 instruments by the end of 1956; as a measure of his prolific devotion to this craft, almost 100 over the 5 year span since this particular violin was made in 1951.
Though Reed is credited with an output of over 500 instruments, the larger majority of these were imported prefabrications that he improved and finished to make quality instruments affordable for the advancing student. It is somewhat nebulous how many instruments Reed made entirely himself, save for they numbered more than 150 but less than 250, the quality of which earned him his reputation and a subsequent demand that brought prices of these instruments as high as $14,000 in valuation and made them a welcome sight to auction houses. David Wenberg cited Reed as using “fine materials and dark red-brown spirit varnish” in his own write-up.
This particular violin dates to 1951 and demonstrates that he used a different numbering system for instruments entirely of his own authorship. Having said that, this Dudley Reed violin started its life as a high end Markneukirchen import that he improved internally, completed, and varnished in the Italian traditions. Beautiful materials, detailed shading to the finish, precise and characterful, this instrument possesses a colorful voice with a highly lyrical vocal quality, capable of both subtle finesse and operatic belting.