Violin no. 1 from the Stainer quartet was built in the year 1659. It has an original label with the inscription «Jacobus Stainer in Absam / propè Oenipontum 1659» [Jacobus Stainer in Absam near Oenipontum 1659].
Since both violins were built in the same year it is difficult to differentiate between them.
Violin no. 1 is most clearly differentiated from violin no. 2 through its belly (table). It is darker and shows a good deal of wear and signs of repair. The dendrochronological examination from the year 2003 (University of Hamburg, Department of Wood Biology) concluded that the bellies of both violins are from the same tree.
The back is made from a single piece of wood, a beautiful, sharply variegated piece of maple in plainsaw cut. The back has retained well its beautiful arch, an element very typical of Stainer’s style.
The scroll is also typical of Stainer’s style. The back of the pegbox, however, has been broadened with a maple splint.
The varnish on this violin demonstrates why Stainer was compared so often to Italian instrument makers.
The wood ground has a brilliant shine, and the original varnish is very thin, transparent and golden in color with a light tinge of red.