April 14, 2006 at 9:18 PMSo I've been discussing with quite a few people my big crush on the Italian
Our very own Michael Avagliano reminded me of something that many people have told me: "The violin does have antique value -- in fact that's all that it has. The sound of an instrument, no matter how amazing, cannot factor into the price because it's subjective in nature (you love it, but someone else might not)."
Like deductions for a skater in the Olympics, there's a long list of items that cause mark downs in a violin's antique value: a base bar crack, a soundpost crack, a crack in the back (very sinful; the one I'm looking at has an intact back), over-polish, parts that don't match, and unnamed maker, falling on your tush while performing a triple lutz....
[By the way, Avagliano had some news of his own: he just had opened up his own violin shop, called Summit Fine Instruments, in Summit, New Jersey. This is after the shop where he used to work, Machold Violins, moved from New York to the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.]
Another person I talked with was one Violinist.com's pioneer members, Emil Chudnovsky, who was kind enough to talk to me even though he was at a restaurant with his fiance.
"So what's the make of this violin?" he asked, "Ah, my mom had a Gagliano. She loved it."
I said that a number of people had advised that I could find the same sound in a modern instrument. He mentioned that he has played on a number of very fine-sounding modern instruments, in fact, most recently on an excellent modern violin by Howard Needham.
"When it's at its best, it has the timbre of an old Italian instrument and the resonance of an amplified modern fiddle," he said.
"I've seen some of Zygmuntowicz violins that put to shame anything anyone says about modern instruments, many of them are everything you might want to hear in an old or modern fiddle."
We talked about the fine modern instruments that are out there, and also the older one in my hands.
"There are many dealers that would say if it's not pristine, it's a bad investment, but if it's a good players' instrument you should seriously consider it. It's difficult to find a violin you are truly in love with."
"I think I have one I truly love, right here," I said.
"Well, just make sure they let you play on it for at least two weeks," Emil advised.
"I've been playing on it two months," I said.
"TWO MONTHS? And you're still in love with it?" Emil said. "Buy it!"
It's time. Sell Robert and buy the violin.
I'm one of the most frugal people in the world, Laurie, but true love is true love. Go for it!
I kind of feel in love with an Andreas Guanerius 1697 on loan recently. The price tag is $500K AUS, lots of money. Buying would be hard. I play a modern American instrument of Gregg Alf which I find as good...but not quite as expensive. Maybe you can find a sponser, or a company with a bit of money to spare. I know of someone who approched a bank over here and convinced them to buy a J.B Guadagnini....there is always hope,
Perhaps if we all sent Laurie a contribution in appreciation of how much violinist.com enriches our lives, she would have an easier time deciding. Robert, can you set up an online donation system, or should I express my gratitude by snail mail?
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