Machold goes underNews: International string instrument dealer Dietmar Machold has problems.
From Bruce Berg
This is an article about the demise of one of the most well known string instrument dealers.
From Paul DeckIf he would instead deal in good Chinese and eastern European instruments instead of outrageously priced 17th and 18th century Italian violins, he could make a very good living with his skill and knowledge.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 02:46 AM
From Scott ColeI don't think you read the article.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 03:24 AM
From David Beck11th. Commandment:- "Thou shalt not be found out".
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM
PS I read the article and wonder where I can buy a realistic fake yellow Rolls-Royce within my meagre price-range.
From John CaddThe pattern of this fraud is becoming quite familiar. Elements of Bernie Madoff`s system are clear. Nice houses , cars and suits are the luxury backdrop that suck in the punters . Bankers as Punters is a familiar theme . In England you would need a posh classy accent as well but in America you would never have to worry about that horrible automatic selection system . Is it about time for players to put their foot down and refuse to pay above a set limit ? How hard would that be to organise ? It might be a difficult choice to make but a player such as Pablo Casals took a similar stand on a principle and refused to return to Spain until it became a democracy , even though he himself suffered for it . Don`t forget , the dealers set the price a violin mainly by name and seldom by sound qualities . Why should string players be held hostage ? It`s time to have a boycott .
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Consider the Gerald Segelman story too. Well worth another read to add to the background picture . Violinists should think about lucky Pianists who can get by adequately with a new Steinway for £25,000. It`s a steal .
I hope the idea of Not Guilty until Proved in Court applies in this case but we still need a boycott .
From Scott Cole"Is it about time for players to put their foot down and refuse to pay above a set limit ?"
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 03:49 PM
From David Beck"It`s time to have a boycott."
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Yep. I refuse to buy any more Strads.
From Scott ColeIf, as many on this forum insist, Strads and Guarneris are played-out, overrated, and easily bested by any number of modern instruments, then what does it matter if a Strad costs 2 million or 12 million? It's really only the wealthy investor's problem, and only if prices start a long-term decline, which they won't. I'd be willing to bet a large number of Strad-playing soloists these days don't actually own their instruments but have them on long-term lone. Meaning free.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 05:23 PM
From John CaddIn contrast to all this I saw , yesterday , a documentary made in Somaliland and the money changers in the open air market sat behind a barricade of banknotes. One block of banknotes a foot high was worth just $8 . A delivery of more money was made with a scruffy wheelbarrow and tipped out on the floor in the dust . And in California a blond lady settled on the Rent !!! for a house on the ocean for a cool $275,000 per month. Madness .
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Maybe composers should just compose music about money .
From Lisa Van Sickle. . . what does it matter if a Strad costs 2 million or 12 million? It's really only the wealthy investor's problem . . .
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 06:50 PM
That is what it's come to. I wonder what percentage of sales in the last 10 years have been to players versus investors. Small and continually shrinking would be my guess. A couple of generations ago players could afford a lot of these instruments, but no more.
The article doesn't talk about the people who had instruments on consignment with Machold. Did he take care to only rip off banks, or did families lose money trying to sell Grandfather's old Guarneri?
From Corwin SlackWho thinks that this is the last time we'll see a story such as this about violin dealers.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 07:28 PM
My teacher/friend/mentor insists that Strads etc. are truly great but when he plays a cheap fiddle and makes it sound like a million dollars I just laugh. I am sure he is right an I am sure it only makes a great fiddler a greater fiddler.
From David BeckThe concertmaster of my first professional orchestra played a Girolamo Amati II that had cost him £2k, roughly a year's salary.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 08:09 PM
What can an orchestral player buy nowadays for a year's wage ? You'd need to be on first desk to afford a Gagliano !!
From Simon Streuffhis wife... it must have been love...
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:19 PM
From Robert CunnahMakes me wonder why of all instruments it seems as though only violins have achieved the status of works of art? Are there any gazillion dollar brasses or tympani out there? I guess there a few famous guitars I suppose, but it seems only because of who played them not because of what they are or who made them. How about lutes? Didn't Stradivarius make any lutes that are worth millions and millions and if he did where are they? As for Mr. Machold, seems like he is just an old fashioned crook. Maybe he could bunk with Mr. Madoff and they could trade war stories with one another. What did W.C Fields say? "Never give a sucker an even break!"
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM
From Raphael KlaymanThe point of this article was specifically about Machold. They've been after him fir some time now. He is one of the most notorious of horse traders in a field not exactly devoid of horse traders.
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM
From Carlo BallaraThere are honest violin dealers that have my professional respect and trust. There are dishonest people everywhere (bankers anyone?) but don't tar all violin dealers with the same brush.
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 01:44 PM
From Millie Bartlett'Many instruments have disappeared...' states the article. Where to, I wonder? Strads specifically, or others, perhaps? Will they begin to turn up in dusty attics all over again in the near future or will they become secret underworld collectables, never to be seen?. Oooh the possibilities!
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Machold must have enjoyed the challenge of playing bankers and customers for fools, he did it for such a long time. It just goes to show its who you know, not just what you know, that gives you the edge. For any lowlier a person, simply borrowing 100k to buy a decent violin would erupt a paper trail thick enough to stranglehold your house, land and family for generations, missing just one interest repayment would cause cardiac forfeiture of it all. And to think Machold just went to each bank and waved a couple of self appraised 'cheapies' around on a promise to get a several million euro is just mind boggling. There wouldn't be a rock big enough on the entire earth for all involved to crawl under. Blimey!
From Lisa Van SickleOh, but Millie, these guys all crawled out from under rocks to start with!
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 08:46 PM
From Nicky PaxtonMillie, Thank you for your witty and thought-provoking comment.
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 10:22 PM
From Trevor JenningsLisa said above "... A couple of generations ago players could afford a lot of these instruments, but no more."
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 01:03 AM
I can attest to that. When I was a schoolboy in Bristol in the '50s I passed by a violin shop each day on my way home from school. The shop is still there, doing a thriving business - but it's now called Cremona House. Over a period of several weeks one summer there was an Amati cello on display in the window (nobody would dare do that today!). I don't know which variety of Amati it was, but the price on the label was £400. In the '50s that instrument would have been within the reach of a professional cellist, or an amateur in middle management or one of the professions. All I could do was to drool.
From Raphael KlaymanNo, all violin dealers should not be tarred wuth the same brush - they should VARNISHED with a brush! ;-D
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Oh wait, that's violins, themselves that should be varnished with a brush. OK, back to tar for the dealers! Just kidding. Yes, there are honorable violin dealers.
From Roland GarrisonPlaying bankers for fools isn't such a big thing. I would be more impressed if they were professional violinists.
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Bankers are gamblers in a manner; the money is not 'money', but a commodity to be used to generate wealth. Everything has a price, and perceived value is in the price, not in the form or function.
That means they were overlooking the primary characteristics, and easy to fool.
From Simon StreuffAs long as he only cheats on bankers I am ok with it. The question is wich ones grief was stronger. Macholds or the bankers.
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 08:21 AM
From John CaddI recall the Catholic Church dragged in that old defence about "Don`t blame all Bishops and Priests because of a few (?) bad ones ". This is after the wotsit has hit the fan. It flies everywhere on it`s own without our help .
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 01:38 PM
From John CaddMartin Schlieske could make a popular violin tester to show the sound spectrum compared with a Top Violin for it`s sound.Then any dealer would need to price his violins according to the printout on the machine. That would sort the good from the bad and runaway prices would calm down a bit . Or just trust wealthy men in nice suits with fat cigars .
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM
From Raphael KlaymanMachold cheated everybody, not just bankers. I've been following his story for a while from various sources. He's not alone as a really bad example, but I won't mention other names that I could. I don't want to get sued. With Machold, I'm merely paraphrasing the courts and the police.
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 01:52 PM
From John CaddIf a Dictator arrived and locked up every violin dealer guilty (allegedly ) or not guilty (allegedly ) , what would happen then ?
Posted on May 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
From Millie BartlettDictators usually make people 'disappear', but not before they torture them to find out where their money pot is.
Posted on May 18, 2012 at 07:56 AM
From John CaddAn odd feature of violin history is how the best instruments can sail through turbulent events unscathed. The French and Russian revolutions show that violins are well geared to the excesses enjoyed by the Aristocracy and also the far left Socialists . Stalin did violins no harm by making classical violin music part of his country`s image along with expertise in Chess . The current situation sees violins surfing happily on financial waves that wash the rest of us away . Even bankers can be washed away. Some violins end up in Limbo for years and then are released from their vaults to rise like elegant Vampires and charm us all again . Beware a Dictator who is also a Heavy Metal Fan .
Posted on May 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM
From LUIS CLAUDIO MANFIOWe talk a lot about Strads, Amatis, Guarneris, etc... but in the real world it is hard for a musician affording a nice instrument today, even a contemporary one.
Posted on May 19, 2012 at 01:33 AM
More here about this case:
From Scott Cole"Dictators usually make people 'disappear', but not before they torture them to find out where their money pot is"
Posted on May 19, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I had to do dictation in aural skills. It was torture.
From John CaddIf it`s so hard to find a good one is there something basically wrong with the design? Think of a car company where so many drivers had so much trouble finding one they liked. I`m being provocative in case you have not noticed .
Posted on May 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM
From Benedict GomezSimon Streuff says:
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 01:03 AM
As long as he only cheats on bankers I am ok with it.
That doesn't speak well for the state of your morals.
From Lyndon Taylorbut it does speak to simons impression of the bankers morals.......
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 01:17 AM
From John CaddBenedict is being too literal . You have to interpret . That`s his attitude to bankers. He could say he wouldn`t spit on a banker if he was on fire , whereas I would .
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 07:07 PM
From Benedict GomezFrom Lyndon Taylor
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 09:11 PM
but it does speak to simons impression of the bankers morals
Precisely, which is ignorance.
There are approximately the same percentage of "evil violinists" and "good violinists" in the world as there are "evil bankers" and "good bankers" (or evil and good horticulturists and horse trainers for that matter).
It's just that bankers are a current favored soup du jour scapegoat, especially by those who possess absolutely zero financial knowledge and thus are easily led by the nose on such matters.
From Bob AnnisBankers provide a service without which the world as we know (and live in) it could not exist.
Posted on May 26, 2012 at 09:41 PM
The services provided by violin dealers is not so critical.
Bankers and their clients have been taken to the cleaners time after time, based on speculative fevers. Chastising bankers because they may facilitate greed is an easy way to overlook the basic fact that they are responding to someone else's desires.
Financial bubbles will always occur. There is too much money to be made from fools to put a stop to basic human desires and actions. The question remains whether the current pricing of early violins is a bubble which will pop; while it's a centuries-long phenomenon, the limited supply along with the incresed population of the planet and its increasing wealth, might be enough to continue the process until they all turn to dust.
Fortunately for future generations (should they come to pass) there seems to be a number of talented modern makers whose instruments might command attention in years to come.
Also possible: musicians will fall into the level of disrepute that they occupied for so many centuries, perhaps not undeservedly; old fiddles will end up in museums, or burned by the right-thinking populace, righteously offended by the excesses of the frivolous.
From Lyndon Taylori just want to go on the record of being against burning violins, the french already tried that, although if the number of these cheap chinese violins keeps exponentially increasing, some may think we have no other choice.
Posted on May 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM
From Bob AnnisBold of you to go on record, Lyndon. Personally, I am disinclined to opt for inclusion on anyone's list.
Posted on May 26, 2012 at 11:32 PM
From Lyndon Taylormind you most people in the world would consider the wood violins are made from best used as firewood.
Posted on May 27, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Violinist Frank Almond tells the life story of the 1715 Lipinski Strad in his new recording, "A Violin's Life."
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!