Difference between violins?

August 7, 2004 at 12:25 AM · For the professional players out there, what's the difference between a Lord Wilton Guarneri Del Gesu 1742 violin and a Stradivarius 1715?

Replies (15)

August 7, 2004 at 01:43 AM · Well first of all, the violins were made by two completely different great Cremonese makers-Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu. In terms of Tonality, del Gesu Violins tend to have a darker, richer sound where as Strads usually have a clearer, more soprano-like pure sound to them. In dimensions, del Gesu's are usually slightly smaller than average, which helps give them a quicker responding reflex, where as Stradivari pretty much kept all his instruments in the same dimensions. The Two instruments that you mentioned are among the finest examples of these two Makers and there is definitely a big difference between them, just like between every person :D.

August 7, 2004 at 02:32 AM · Thank you, I was just wondering because I'm getting a copy of a strad 1715 and he also has a copy of the other but I didnt know the difference, I know its not the same because its a copy. Which copy would you choose?

August 7, 2004 at 02:46 AM · Who is the maker with whom you are dealing? Which 1715 Stradivari are they using to copy?

Many violinists prefer 'del Gesu' models because of their marked personality, with respect to arching, ff holes, scroll, etc. However, sound is quite different. Simply because a violin is modelled on Strad, 'del Gesu,' Guadagnini, etc., does not ensure the characteristics of the original. It usually is simply a base on which the luthier will represent his or her own personal interpretation.


August 7, 2004 at 06:22 AM · its a chinese marker, he offers two copies the strad 1715 not sure what copy and the 'del Gesu' but I wasnt sure which one to choose.

August 7, 2004 at 06:43 AM · Audition them both and see which sounds better.

I prefer Guarneri (my violin is modeled after the Ex-Ysaye 1740 Del Gesu), but some strad models are really nice.

August 7, 2004 at 07:06 AM · I wish I could try them out both but the problem is that he makes them brand new, so i gotta choose.

August 7, 2004 at 01:10 PM · Hi there,

The difference between a 'Del Gesu' and a Strad is very personal, in my opinion and it depends on the player and the specific instrument. In your case, it depends again on the instruemnt and which one you like the best, in terms of the sound. YOu should only choose violins that you really like the sound of, and not by the name or looks. Therefore, in my opnion you simply must play and try them before you buy it.

I hope this helps. And have fun with whatever instrument you're getting.


August 7, 2004 at 02:40 PM · Is he making the violin for you? If so, he can adjust the sound to fit your needs. Keep in mind that a Guarneri style will typically sound a little darker than a Stradivari style.

August 7, 2004 at 05:20 PM · The style of the violin does not necessariily determine a "darker" or "brighter" sound. That is a good general analysis of the originals; however, many makers use 'del Gesu' models and create very bright-sounding instruments, and vice versa with Stradivari models. All this has to do with arching, wood selection, varnish, and a whole host of factors not directly related to the choice of model.

Models are simply a springboard for the luthier to create. Some prefer Stradivari, others Guarneri, and still others Guadagnini. It's all about finding a solid base that a luthier feels comfortable with in order to best create and express their work.


August 7, 2004 at 10:29 PM · Well thanks all for your advice, I choose to go with the Strad 1715, I talked to him too and he recommend the copy of the strad because it has a sweeter sound. I was actually going for that sound as well, I found that some violins tend to have a like some say a "dark" sound but I want my violin to have a High sweet sound, after all its a violin right?

August 8, 2004 at 03:42 AM · Pedro,

I believe I remember you posting on a different topic with regards to a violin. Are you commissioning a violin from the http://www.chinesevioins.com site?

If so, I believe the luthier here is using chinese wood instead of the usual italian spruce/bosnian maple that most good western luthiers use to make their violins. I've read articles that the type of wood itself could make a difference in the sound characteristic of a violin. The "model" you choose is irrelevant. Type of wood, bridge and post setup, how varnish is applied, and to some extent the tailpiece has more to do with the sound characteristic of the violin.

Another thing to consider is how easy you can draw sound off the violin and ease of play. If I were you, I'd communicate to him exactly what you are looking for. Oh yeah, another thing to consider is that your violin, being new, will settle down, thus adjustments may need to be made on it specially on the first year. Do you have a local luthier you can go to do those adjustments?

When I commissioned my violin I spoke with my luthier a few times, played some of his violins, and discussed the characteristics I wanted. I even got to choose the wood. The whole collaboration took almost a year. Then add another year of setup adjustments (3 times to be exact). The oil varnish on my violin took another 1 1/2 year to settle down.

I don't know anything about this luthier to comment about his work, but good luck to you.

last note: Not all of Del Gesu's violin is "smaller" as suggested. I don't remember exact measurements, but The Lord Wilton I believe has a body lenght of over 14 inches or 356mm.

August 8, 2004 at 04:32 AM · Yes, thats correct I have decided to commission a violin from Bai li Xing.

Yes, He is using chinese wood. Here's the materials he's using. The varnish is made by him, he'll do an antique finish on the violin. The bridge he'll use was made in France. The fittings are ebony from Indonesia. As far as the violin goes He'll do a one piece back made from Highly flamed maple, Chinese sweet gum wood, dry naturally more than 10 years. The Front will be made from Lovely select spruce from millennium of virgin forest, dry naturally more than 10 years.

I talked to him a couple of times about the violin and about my satisfaction. He's answered all my questions and he seems like he knows what he's doing. His policy is this, once the violin is completed He'll only ask for half the amount and I have seven days to decide if I want to keep it or not. If I choose to keep I'll send the other half but if I dont, I'll send back the violin and He'll refund my money back. It seems like a good deal right?

I actually didnt know that the violin would need time to settle down. I was only thinking about finding a luthier to test the violin out and hear his opinion about it. Do local luthiers do that? Do they charge? I always read on the posts that chicago has quite a few, so I should have no trouble finding one, but does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it, I dont know much about this luthier either but He does have a a reference by the First Violinist Cao Huan, from theCentral opera house in China.

August 8, 2004 at 02:08 PM · Pedro,

If you have a teacher, it is best to show him the violin, then both of you can audition it.

Your local luthier may perhaps check the setup once it arrives. Whenever a violin is shipped, the norm is to have the bridge down. I don't how Mr. Bai(?) ships his violin. But nevertheless, if you're not confident about checking your violin, it is best to bring it to your violin shop for inspection. I don't know if they will charge you for this or not.

If you haven't established a rapport with a local luthier, I suggest you do so.

August 9, 2004 at 12:01 AM · How does one find a local luthier? My teacher recommend one but I want to go to a few at least, Are they listed in the yellow pages?? sorry if if the questions sound dumb.

August 9, 2004 at 01:19 AM · Yes, you can try under 'luthier'...but may not have any luck...ours are listed under 'Musical Instrument - Repair'...

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