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Buy and sell violins in NYC

Instruments: Looking for reputable dealers/shops in NYC to buy violin and bow for advanced student; Appraisal services and questions on where and how to sell a violin.

From Nelda Chang
Posted March 8, 2007 at 06:03 PM

Hi. I am looking to buy a new violin and bow. I live in New York City now, but since I have never actually bought a violin or bow here, I am not sure where is a good place to start. I am looking for a violin for a relatively advanced level of playing, but definitely nothing that will cost in the 6 figures! Any recommendation on dealers/shops where they charge reasonable prices will be appreciated!

Also, I want to sell my 2 violins. Where can I get an appraisal, and what's a good place to sell (besides ebay)?

Thank you for your time and help!

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 06:32 PM
Depends what kind of violins they are... if they're "fine" instruments, there's got to be like 20 places in Manhattan which cater to demanding clientel. Morel, Segal, Francais, Rare Violins, Landon... there's so many options.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 06:53 PM
Pieter - I am not sure Français is still in business. He died, as I recall. The good news is that most of these folks are in the same building (I think it is 250 W. 54th St.
From Kristian Rahbek Knudsen
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 07:02 PM
You can try Brice st. Cyr. He is a very nice guy. www.eviolin.com
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:08 PM
Tom... I spoke to Gael Francais quite recently... like a few months ago. Has he passed away?
From Marc Villeneuve
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:23 PM
Tom: Morel took over all the business of Jacques Français a few years ago.

Morel& Gradoux-Matt Inc.
250 West 54th Street
New-York
Phone: (212)-582-8896

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:44 PM
David Segal Violins, Ltd.
Excellent service & selection of bows and instruments, nice people.

74 West 68 St. #1C * New York, NY 10023 * tel: 212.769.4559 * fax.: 212.724.0348

From Nelda Chang
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:39 PM
Thanks so much for the responses. I am looking for something in the 30-50k range. Is this too low for the "fine" violin dealers? I don't want to be laughed out the door =) Is the quality very different between a 10k violin and a 30k violin? I guess I am just trying to get the most bang for the buck and if the quality isn't that much different I might just wait a while to save more money and get a good one. Sorry if the question sounds stupid, I was very fortunate that my 2 violins were all given to me, so I have no experience in buying.

Thanks again for your help!

From Nelda Chang
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:52 PM
One more thing, is it normal / expected to negotiate with the dealer or is it bad form? If it's ok to negotiate, how much wiggle room is there usually?
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 08:59 PM
BTW, In NYC, David Segal is very reasonable compared to others.
The thing to do first, is to see what the prices are like for similar instruments elsewhere, and then act. If you find that one particular dealer is more reasonable than others, then you go from there.
Many factors to consider:
condition of the instrument,
is it the best example of the maker (which usually adds value)
certificate(s) of authenticity (especially with instruments costing more than 10K)
etc.
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 09:23 PM
Nelda,

What I've found is that most prices across the board are more standardized now, and one person from Machold told me that it's because of the internet. There are some dealers in New York who have a reputation for unfair, high prices, but trust me, the moment you insinuate or appear to have a general knowledge of appropriate prices for certain violins, things quite magically become more realistic VERY quickly.

In the 50k range you'll be able to look at some very nice French instruments, and some modern italians. Have a great time, and choose carefully.

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 11:06 PM
Nelda,
Much depends on what your budget is.
Between 40K-50K, you could find some nice examples of earlier 20th century Italians, and ofcourse some very fine French instruments as well.
From Jessie Vallejo
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 11:10 PM
If you're willing to make a trip on the GW bridge and go to Maywood, NJ there's Rich Gagliardi. He's great, helps set up violins for auctions at places like Christie's...and a super friendly guy! I'd trust him with anything I would need!

www.rgviolins.com

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 01:04 AM
Pieter - I was thinking of Jacques Francais.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 02:14 AM
$50,000 is a lot of money! You can get a dead mint antique Camaro for that, and you want a violin instead?
From Nelda Chang
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 03:00 AM
Hahaha Jim, funny comment. What can I say, I am a crazy girl who loves playing the violin more and more. I still remember when I first started playing at 5 years old, my mom had to force me to practice everyday. Now I am grateful that I was "forced" to learn and only wish that I have more time to practice.
From Julia S
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 03:15 AM
You could probably get an excellent contemporary violin in that price range, and there are so many great makers out there. New York sounds like a great place to look for a violin, there are so many different places. For the past two years I have gotten the calendar for Christophe Landon Rare violins, it seems like it would be a great shop, I love looking at all the pictures of the different instruments. It looks like a nice place, but I've never been there. I think there is also Machold Rare violins in New York, my teacher bought her viola there which she really likes. Good luck!
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 04:24 AM
Julia, it's a treat to go visit M. Landon. His shop is in an unassuming high rize, but the interior of his place is very, very nice. He put a lot of care and detail into decorating it and creating a nice atmosphere. Above all, he's a wonderful man, and will spend a lot of time helping you find what you need.

I'm pretty sure that Machold in NYC is now defunct.

From Eric Godfrey
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 05:39 AM
Machold in NY is definitely closed. Their only "open" branch in the US is in Chicago.

Gael Francais is the cousin (I believe) of Jacques. His (Gael's) shop was very much open when I visited in Sept. 2005. It is very small (one tiny room, one-man operation, kind of quaint actually), in same building as Morel.

Two shops not mentioned here yet (both in the same building) are Beare's New York branch, and Tarisio (an auction house). You can try violins at Tarisio prior to an auction (twice a year), and they will also sell instruments as individual sales rather than auction (I don't know how that works).

Of the 6 shops I've visited in New York, Morel and Landon had the largest selection. I agree that you will definitely be able to find something good in your price range; French, Italian, and American makers are all in the running. Good luck.

PS Consider getting on a train and going to Philadelphia to visit Fred Oster's shop. Very nice and knowledgable owner, large selection, didn't seem as high pressure as the NYC environment when I visited. Also his web site is more complete in listing inventory than any of the New York dealers.

PPS Don't rush. It's a lot of money and you want to be confident in your decision. Take a lot of time (a year or two? - I took 30 months) to try a lot of instruments, so you can get a sense of both what you like, and what the market is, and then (the most important step) connect those two. Fortunately trying instruments is terrific fun, not to say very educational, and dealers (most) are all too happy to let you do it!

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 06:38 AM
I can throw in another vote of confidence for Fred Oster. I think he's great, and I appreciate his approach to business. In fact, he has a bow that I really want to try, so I might be there in the comming months.
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on March 9, 2007 at 07:16 AM
Another shop in Philadelphia is Moennig's. A very prominent shop with a big selection.
But cover your territory (NYC) first. If you don't find anything, then I would venture elsewhere.
From Rebecca Lennon
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 08:22 AM
For that amount of money-there are many great places in NY to get an instrument, but might I suggest a trip to Ann Arbor Michigan to Curtain and Alf? There is a violinist named Elmer Olivera who plays a Guadagnini violin. He had Curtain and Alf make him an identical instrument and Olivera insists the two sound identical. He has even switched instruments in the middle of recordings and no one noticed. They are in your price range and specialize in this sort of thing.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 02:04 PM
Hi Nelda! Let me know if you're still looking to buy or sell something.
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 03:44 PM
Rebecca wrote: "For that amount of money-there are many great places in NY to get an instrument, but might I suggest a trip to Ann Arbor Michigan to Curtain and Alf? There is a violinist named Elmer Olivera who plays a Guadagnini violin. He had Curtin and Alf make him an identical instrument and Olivera insists the two sound identical. He has even switched instruments in the middle of recordings and no one noticed. They are in your price range and specialize in this sort of thing."

Rebecca; Are you referring to Elmar Oliveira's Guarneri? Wasn't aware he owned a Guadagnini.... and no, I don't think the instruments don't sound "identical", but they both sound very well... especially when Elmar is playing them.

... not that a visit to Ann Arbor isn't a good idea... we have several great makers here in town (David Burgess, Feng Jiang, Joe Curtain, Gregg Alf, etc.)... and a restorer/dealer or two :-) ... but Joe (Curtin) and Gregg (Alf) are not partners any longer... and haven't been for a number of years. They have separate studios.

From Christopher Lee
Posted on March 27, 2008 at 06:06 PM
has anyone had experience buying straight from the maker? Horacio Pineiro lives very close to my neighborhood, and I am thinking about purchasing one of his violins. does anyone own a pineiro and or has anything to share about buying a violin from the luthier himself?
From Michael Dowling
Posted on March 27, 2008 at 06:12 PM
Strings and Other things 1995 Broadway, New York, NY (212) 362-0857.
From Javier Portero
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 12:57 AM
Hi, I played a Horacio Piñeiro Amati model viola for fifteen years and was a suberb, altough large, viola. I understand he is a quite famous repairman in the US, and I was surprised to see how respectfully luthiers treated that viola during some tours in Canada and Europe.
From Carolyn Ohlbaum
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 02:57 PM
Try Arcieri's for violins and Salchow's for bows. They are both at 250 W 54th St in NYC.
From Emmanuel Borowsky
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 10:52 PM
In that price range you really ought to give Weaver's Violins a call and possibly visit. A trip from NYC down to MD really isn't that far. Bill usually has a good selection of instruments in that price range and happens to have the most competitive pricing in the business.
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on July 30, 2008 at 11:56 PM
I place a third vote of confidence for Fred Oster if you're considering traveling to Philly. He has a fantastic bow selection and great range of instruments!
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on July 31, 2008 at 01:22 AM
I fourth(?) for Fred Oster. His price is very reasonable and out in the open on his website. We got an exquisite bow from him.
From Sora Tsuchiya
Posted on July 31, 2008 at 05:49 AM
J&A Beare
From Alejandro Ortega
Posted on March 11, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Ilya Gringolts

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