Jay Haide violins

November 8, 2005 at 12:00 AM · One of my pupils has just purchased a violin made by an American luthier and I was wondering if any one has any information regarding this luthier.The label in the violin reads Jay Haide , Ifshin Violins Berkley with the date 2002.From what I can gather the violin was sent in kit form to a luthier in Vicenza ,Italy who then assembled it.It has a surprisingly mellow tone for the type of violin and for the price that it was sold out (around €1,000)

Replies (43)

November 8, 2005 at 12:34 AM · I play a Jay Haide, I payed 650 dollars for the bottom model several years ago.

Since then I've noticed that the quality of the fittings has gone down and the prices have gone up. They're still excellent for the price, I think. I have to say, my violin sounded a lot better than their more expensive model, so I don't know what's up with that...

November 8, 2005 at 01:39 AM · Janet,

the Jay Haide instruments are Chinese instruments made especially for Ifshin's shop.

Since you live in one of my favorite cities Florence, I would recommend Carlo Vettori's shop as well as his instruments.

November 8, 2005 at 04:56 AM · I have a Jay Haide l'ancienne model and am happy with it.

November 8, 2005 at 06:34 AM · over e1300? well the Haide I know is factory made in China, and no one here buys them - too cheap in sound. they sell here for about $300 tops, and this is considered way too high. 400% markup makes me consider changing careers.

November 8, 2005 at 08:31 AM · Gennady unfortunately Vettoris prices are way off limit for my students.Prices in Italy are astronomical.Most of my students pay around €1,000 for a violin made by a student luthier.Anything vaguely decent will cost well over €4,000.Even the factory made German violins cost €800.In fact luthiers are so expensive here that when I took my orchestra to Reims in France this September we raided the luthiers of the city who had never had a business day quite like it.

November 8, 2005 at 08:53 PM · I am not sure if you are all talking about the low end Jay Haide Violins. However, if you are talking about the highest priced one, the ancienne, it is, in my opinion a very fine instrument. Well worth its price and easily outperforms violins of twice it's value. Even though this ancienne is made in China the craftsmanship is superb and the sound is astounding. My two cents.... Tim

November 9, 2005 at 12:28 AM · Does anyone know how the high end Jay Haide compares to the high-end workshop Ming Jiang Zhu VN-900, and the Scott Cao STV-1500?

November 9, 2005 at 08:28 AM · This violin is an ancienne.I've noticed on a Norwegian site that they are selling for quite a bit of money.

November 9, 2005 at 09:49 PM · The l'ancienne sells for around $2400 I believe and sounded better to my ears (and to several auditors) than MANY comprarably (and higher) priced European, Italian and American instruments that I tried (at a reputable dealer). For what that's worth.

November 9, 2005 at 10:12 PM · Janet, here's the URL for more information about the Jay Haide instruments. As others have noted, the instruments come in different prices.


May 19, 2008 at 09:12 PM · I concur with the fine performance of the ancienne. I have one as a loaner right now. I am seriously considering buying it. This particular violin looks great, but I think the pegs seem a bit cheap. The sound is volumous and full. I can get more out of this violin than I can with my 80 year old German Strad.

July 2, 2008 at 08:46 PM · My new (on trial) Jay Haide just arrived at my office half an hour ago. It is the l'ancienne model, and I'm looking forward to many hours in the next few days trying it.

But, I must say I am not overly impressed with the appearance. The scroll looks weak, and the antique look is overdone.

Hopefully, its sound and responsiveness will more than make up for is appeance shorfalls.

July 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM · After a one week trial, I am very pleased with my new Jay Haide l'ancienne (Balestrieri) model. It does not quite have the depth and volume of my Roth, but is more reponsive.

To be truthful, when I first opened the box last week, I was a little disappointed with the appearance. But both the appearance and sound have really grown on me over the last week.

My Roth has been valued at $4,500 to $6,500. I think I like the Jay Haide better.

BTW, this instrument was purchased on a trial basis through Johnson Strings. They were great to work with.

April 9, 2009 at 03:24 AM ·

  I had the great opportunity to play at least 70 Jay Haide instruments at Robert Cauer Violins last week.  This was done due to my search for an inexpensive instrument that sounded similar to my venerable Cappa and/or S. Klotz violins because I wanted something less expensive that I could feel safe with doing outdoor playing etc.  After a few days of going back and forth and actually playing some really nice Italian instruments at the shop, I was amazed at the tone and consistency of the Haide violins there.  I took a couple of them home to try out along with a few nice older German and Italian instruments.  I asked my musician friends to listen to the sound when I played and it was an amazing thing that all of them preferred the Haide to ANYTHING in my collection!  It played very strong and quite loud with great projection.  But better still was that I could play really soft passages letting the bow's weight alone control the tone and it never sounded washed out or "fuzzy".  

Anyone reading this should know that I'm SUPER picky where sound quality is concerned, and I have to say that the Haide I picked out was a "have to have" instrument!  Amazing what's going on in the Chinese instruments today vs. 5 or so years ago!

April 9, 2009 at 12:55 PM ·

Whenever it is acceptable to them (or their paying parents) I take a new student across the bridge to Jay Ifshin's shop in El Cerrito (he moved from Berkeley last year) to select a Jay-Haide violin (or cello), usually to rent (for now).

The small- size Jay-Haide instruments have been particularly remarkable. Perhaps that is because I get a chance to audition and select what I think is the best in the store at the time. I have had students with all the smaller sizes (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4). I have gained the opinion that the smaller-size violins can be so good, because they come in only one price, and so even the best are in that group rather than being upgraded. When I get to the full-size, my tendency would be to go with the highest price ones, which are now getting most of the shop's attention for details and innovation.

Personally, I do not own any Jay-Haide violins, but I have played some (and violas too) and if I had the money (or the need) I would certainly consider buying one (but I already have full violin cases stacked up in one closet, with some instruments that have compared well enough with at least one real Strad and one Andrea Guarneri).

I have bought two Jay-Haide cellos, including my current a l'ancienne Rugieri model. When I bought each of the cellos, I also tried (not for purchase, just for comparison) others that ranged in price from 10 to 20 times the cost of the cello I bought and thought I was getting the better instrument at the lower price. I have played better cellos (well, at least one) but now you're talking an ancient instrument at least 50 -100 times the price, although a good top quality hand maker, would probably provide more instrument for about 8 - 10 times the price ($40K - $50K) - and probably true for the violins as well.


April 16, 2009 at 04:33 PM ·


If I may ask a few questions. Could you tell me which specific Jay Haide models you tried? Were they Strad copies, Guarneri copies? Do you know if they were the regular $2400 versions with chinese woods or the $3400 "special" models with the European woods?


October 15, 2009 at 03:06 AM ·



Ok, I own a century old Bayern violin made in Mittenwald. This violin is a beast to play on but has such a full and sweet sound. I recently received two Jay Haide violins from Johnsonstring.com on a 7 day trial. One is a $2400 Guadinini model and the other a $3400 Guarnieri model (this is the model mad with European wood). My first impressions of the violins were "Wow! They really over do the aged and worn look on the violins, my 100 year old German looks nothing like this" The look of the instruments has since grown on me and I do like the way they both look.  Both of the violins are incredibly easy to play, the first thing I played on both was the first movement of the LALO concerto and I felt more comfortable on the Haides then on my own instrument. Particularly the high G string the $3400 fiddle is so clear and so responsive. I feel like both violins Obey what you tell them to do rather then having to work with the instrument to get the sound you want.  The $2400 guadinini model had a nice tone, and when I would play more romantic pieces it really had good Moments. However, the sweet tone never leaves the violin. The sound is contained inside the body which made me feel like someone was holding a rag over the F holes. The $3400 European wood, Guarnieri model was very bright; it projected and was like I said was easy to play. After a few hours the tone quality improved greatly and now a few days later after some intense work outs the tone quality on this 1 year old fiddle is comparable to my 100 year old German. As it stands now, I do not want the $2400 violin because it just won’t sing. However I am seriously considering purchasing the $3400 violin particularly because I am so much more versatile on it and feel like I can play passages that once troubled me with ease. Secondly the more I play the instrument the better the tone quality improves. I will say, there is nothing to hide behind on this Jay Haide, this however is good for a music student because it forces me to play and practice better. Clarity, tone, and playability are the words I would use to describe the $3400 Jay Haide. Finally I read someone saying they felt the pegs were weak. I totally disagree, on both instruments the pegs stick out far, giving the impression they are weak, however both instruments tune effortlessly without slips. I would certainly advise at least trying the Haides.
Note in the picture. The violin on top is the $3400 violin. I came with a chin rest like the other instrument. However because i am using it so much and considering it so heavily I put my chin rest on the instrument for comfort.

October 15, 2009 at 10:45 AM ·

I am glad you have such a good violin, I have never heard a bad comment about Jay Haide l'ancienne model. The only thing I would change on it is to put full oil varnish, because I think they use spirit varnish on them, is it?

October 16, 2009 at 04:19 AM ·

I have no idea about the varnish, They certainly use interesting techniques to give it the worn look. Also the inlays are in real, not painted.  In my last post I said considering purchasing, I just wanted to update and let the forum know I am in fact going to purchase the instrument..

October 17, 2009 at 12:05 AM ·

These are my 2 Jay Haide l'ancienne violins both Guarneri. One of them I replaced the fittings. I don't like how they antiqued them but both sound amazing! The back looks like someone use sand paper on it.

October 17, 2009 at 01:03 AM ·

Is there an option of ordering a Jay Haide violin that is not antiqued?  It does seem that many people like the instruments but not crazy about the antique finishes.

October 17, 2009 at 01:43 AM ·

I agree, tone it's what really counts, but it looks like it has been dragged behind car.

January 22, 2010 at 02:47 PM ·

 Mike Bee.

Sorry I took so long to respond.  Haven't visited here for a long time.


The one I got is the l'ancienne Strad model for $2400.00.  After almost a year with it, it has not disappointed me one bit.  Just for kicks from the NAMM show, I took home a few quite nice European and Chinese violins to test out.  Some of these were well over $15K (The European ones).  A blind test with friends yielded the same result.  The Haide was almost 90 percent preferred.

January 27, 2010 at 01:57 AM ·

Hello all,

I have a few responses to some of your questions and concerns about the Haide instruments, based on the knowledge given to me by a staff of my local strings shop (The Sound Post, Toronto, ON)

In the market for a viola, i was able to try a Haide without the old style look. The instrument was cheaper and had no where near comparable sound to the Haides with the old look. The "Antique Varnish" was developed by the company that makes the instrument, to create an older, fuller sound then the instruments without the varnish.

However, I personally do not recommend purchasing chinese Haide instruments, as the wood is poor quality on the instrument, as ive been told by teachers, local luthiers ect... The wood does not last as long as it would on a different instrument. The construction of the wood is to thin, creating a good sound at first, but the sound of the instrument will not improve, infact could possibly become worse. Its all a way to get customers purchasing more instruments from them.


My twon cents based on information from experts ive speaken to.



February 26, 2010 at 06:58 AM ·

Kirk, thanks for the response. I ended up buying the Jay Haide Special model with the European wood. It is a Guarneri copy. The range of color and overtones that I dig out of this intrument are amazing on all 4 stings and in almost every position.

I also, like you, went to a few local shops  and compared it to instruments in the 10k to 12k price range and preferred the Jay Haide. My teacher, at every lesson, plays on my violin for 2 to 3 minutes and always says the same thing in a thick Russian accent, very good instrument.

One thing I have noticed is that over the last year, the volume of the instrument has gotten quite a bit lounder than I would like. I only know that it is very loud under the ear, not sure what it is like from a dozen or more feet away, this is the only thing I don't like about it. I may switch out the strings from the current Evah Pirazzi strings I have on there and look for something with a softer sound but I'd hate to lose the wonderful color that I get out of those strings.

February 26, 2010 at 03:48 PM ·

In my violin search, I auditioned three JH L'Ancienne instruments: a Chinese Strad model, a Chinese Guarneri model, and a Special edition (Euro wood) Balestrieri model. By far, the Balestrieri had the best tone, darker than the other two but richer. My impression was that each was better than anything else I tried in their price range. I really didn't mind the heavy antiquing either. I only found them lacking in the upper registers, higher positions on the G and D, but perhaps tweaking the setup would have helped. In the end, I ended up selecting a more expensive older instrument, simply because it spoke to me in a way the others did not, but I have no doubt the JH instruments will mature quite well. Good luck & enjoy!


March 1, 2010 at 04:15 PM ·

I own one of these, and it's a fantastic instrument.

I can get a rich, well articulated, and darker sound out of the violin. I can also get an impressive amount of volume, especially when in a hall. I have a recording of myself playing a beethoven romance on my JH violin, and it has a most beautiful, warm tone. I also hate the antiqueing, but I paid for the violin because it sounded good and played quite well. I got it from an American Luthier and violin maker, Kieta Boguslaw. I paid about $2,400, which I consider outstandingly cheap for how good the instrument is. 

I've noticed that when I let others play it, they aren't as good at getting a good sound out of it, but for me it is very easy to play with a great tone. I suppose I'm used to it. 

Here's the recording. Forgive my errors, I can't be perfect at a live performance. 


March 8, 2010 at 04:58 AM ·

Hi I am interested in getting a haide l'ancienne violin, do they have a good resale value? From all the reviews, I hear that they are considered amazing for the price range. They sounded nice at the store, but I am just starting the violin again after many years of absence. Also, what kind of bow and strings work well with the instrument? For me, i am interested in playing for fun, maybe if I get back into things, then I will get lessons.

April 6, 2011 at 12:49 PM ·


I own a Jay Haide a l´ancienne violin and I ´m absoluteley convinced of it´s tone quality and craftmanship of the makers. I understand the different statements concerning antiquing. Some items are very well made some others make me shudder, too. But please think of some old Italian masters who made their instruments in the "used style" and that not even good. My dealer sees no difference between the items with European or Asian wood. The items with Asian wood have tops of Swiss wood and it´s not too thin. I tried an old Mittenwald viola 4000 € worth but I decide myself for a Jay Haide Strad model. Even a French violin (24000 €) got not such a good sound as my violin. I recommend them.

April 7, 2011 at 02:56 AM ·

To Dave's question about resell value..  I've bought, sold and painstakingly researched violins in the 1000-3000 range in my short 2 years of playing (bit of a gearhead here). I believe the Haide's hold their value (from new) about as good as any in this range which is to say not great..  I have seen quite a few of Haide's top models at 1-4 years old reselling at prices between $1000-1500. Many asking for $1700-2000 originally but not getting it.

My current fiddle which my teacher and I are literally in love with is a Frederick Wyss. It's retail is around $3k new (of which we'd argue it's worth every penny a couple of times over). It's a 2007 and I grabbed it on a best offer on ebay for $1400. I had been waiting almost 2 years for one to become available at my price point and I was not disappointed.  These examples and the other's I've seen lead me to believe that, at least at the violin size, the well known 'good' advanced student / semi-pro brands / models are going to resell at around 1/2 the price of new.  So if you're likely to move through instruments a good bit then, IMO it's imparative to 'buy right' although there are certainly other considerations and sometimes the opportunity to strike the right deal financially isn't completely without some degree of risk, much of which can be mitigated by doing your best to be an informed consumer..

Hope this helps!


February 23, 2013 at 06:28 AM · I just bought a l'ancienne violin as a backup secondary instrument and I absolutely love it. My main instrument is valued at $30,000. I only paid $2000 CAN for my Haide. I am extremely happy with this bright sounding fiddle. Very easy to play with a bright, cheerful sound.

May 8, 2013 at 01:48 AM · I've rented an a l'ancienne Strat model violin for $44 a month... coming tomorrow, Wed. May 8 2013. I've suffered through two ebay purchases: a Scott Cao SV750 from 2002 that I returned for it having a twisted fingerboard (my local luthier said the fingerboard was made of slow-growth, Chinese Ebony), and a Ivan Dunov Superior (2002) that had a weak E string and blatant Wolf notes. these cost 700 and $550, respectively. And by the way, both of these arrived looking brand new... minus the Cao's twisted board.

I was hoping for one of these to work for me. Two down, one to go. The Jay Haide, coming from a Rochester NY shop, I have high hopes for. If it turns up lame I don't know what I'll do from there. The rental is a rather safe bet. I can return it, being out $44 (includes insur.) plus $12. shipping. This posting and one other from another Jay Haidi buyer are but two for the year 2013. Let's see how the newer Jay Haide models stack up to those models going back to around 2005 (word is out that the Haide's are improving year by year... we'll see). I'll give an update on the Haidi in a few days.

[Honey, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. Oh, Richard... try counting flying stacatos... er, somthing. I can always COUNT on you, honey? Ha! You could end with rosin in YOUR hair by morning... any more quips like that. Alright.]

One flying stacato... tyou flying statcos... tree flyin...

May 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM · I took a jay haide ala ancienne home for trial several years agos. I thought some notes resonated quite well, however the amplitude of those resonated notes were much higher than the non resonant notes. In other words I thought there was some babalnce issues. also what concerned me is the neck was not mounted straight on the violin. and the neck was smooth, but there were some peaks and valleys on the neck that was noticeable by my thumb while changing positions. Has anyone else noticed these things, or perhaps i had a bad example......

May 8, 2013 at 04:10 PM · When I was at their shop about a month ago I was trying out their 104 models but I wish I asked to try an à l'ancienne model, even though I didnt have the funds to buy it at all. The one thing people seem to dislike about the à l'ancienne is the antiquing. The one I saw in their display case looks nice and I wouldnt mind at all having it! Mostly from what I have read it this: they are too good of an instrument for its price range.

What I can tell you from the 104 model I have, is that it is a very nice sounding instrument. Me and my teacher tried out what they have for $1,500 and both agreed the Jay Haide, for $1,300 had the best qualities. Where our view points skewed was on a $1,800 violin that had ~50 years on it compared to the new and relatively new ones that were in my budget. My teacher liked how it had a bigger and fuller bottom end on it and I liked the sweeter and brighter high end on the Haide. Under the ear they both were pretty similar but from across the room the differences were more apparent. My teacher checked out all the notes down the fingerboard on every string, the higher positions and for wolves and then gave it her seal of approval. Even now during my lessons we can both can really notice the overtones resonating easily and beautifully.

What I love about my Jay Haide 104 - the resonance! Even for brand new, this thing can resonate really, really well. It came strung up with dominants that sounded well on it for the first couple of weeks. It is a bright instrument but after a couple of weeks it went brighter. I got it strung with obligatos and now its back to were I like and even better. The overtones from the obligatos and its high resonance match up beautifully and for its price, could not be happier at all.

Good luck with your à l'ancienne! I hope it plays to your liking.

PS - if that one you receive isnt as well as you thought it would be, you may want to see if they have another one for you to try out. The first 104 I tried was way too bright and asked if they had any others. They brought out 2 other ones that were at an ideal brightness level where I eventually picked the one I have now.

May 8, 2013 at 04:19 PM · Had a chance to try out l'ancienne european tone wood last week. My first impression is that it's a very bright sounding violin, not piercingly so, just full of energy at the higher frequency range. It has so much energy that it can cause the ear fatigue very easily for some players, like me for example. The E was particularly ringing, so in a way, it's more like a 1st violins' instrument.

At the same time I was also trying out other fine contemporary european makers including quite a few cremonese and one knock-your-socks-off violin by Michael Koeberling. l'ancienne, in comparison, has less focused to the tone, and lacking in bass side of the tone, and seems much less forgiving in controlling the dynamics.

It was a short 15mins test drive though, as far as my first impression goes, you're getting what you pay for, but definitely decent for the asking price.

May 8, 2013 at 09:32 PM · My Jay Haidi L'Ancienne Strad model rental arrived today, May 8 2013, and as promised, here is the update to my posting from yesterday. The rental is brand new instrument, and the Chinese 'wood' model, not the more expensive Euro wood. Physically I couldn't fine a thing to complain about. Sound wise, it sounds very good, but as to how long the Break-in period, if any, will last, I can't say. Is it worth $2400? Search long enough and you can find a better price, and search long enough and you can find a better sounding violin in this price range (you can spend years and go crazy trying, sometimes). The E string is too bright for my ears, same story another poster here notes. The bottom end is by no means deep, but over the G,D and A the tone is even and clear. The violin came with Dominant's. Obligatos might make an improvement, but for now I'm not spending the $80 to find out. The NECK is fine (one poster found a flaw in the one Haidi model he tested). Another note to a second poster regarding the lows and highs about string resonance: on violins, as well as guitars, if you play in any flat key you lose resonance. Play any open string or double stop and you'll get the maximum resonance. This is no flaw, but a matter of physics. Final Note...

Violins, all string instruments, should be prices via how good they sound. But this can't be had when, for example, large instrument makers send various MODELS to dealers without sound posts, strings, tuning pegs and tailpieces. I don't think the makers actually know what the instruments sound like before shipping them to the dealers. The manufactures use better materials for the more expensive instruments, which I suppose constitutes fare pricing, in a way. Also I will note that there was a short supply of violins in my area and I don't drive long-distance, giving me no choice but to rent a violin (with intent to buy)and have it shipped my way. That's all she (he) wrote!

May 9, 2013 at 01:08 AM · A friend of mine purchased a Jay Haide and had a new bridge and soundpost put in by a very renowned luthier in New York City - when he searched for a new violin last year (price range $20,000 to $35,000) he found only a very few instruments that he honestly liked better, eventually purchasing a modern Czech violin for $25,000.

May 9, 2013 at 02:37 AM · I've been playing on a l'ancienne for 4 years. When I first had it, it had the characteristic "Chinese" sound if you know what I mean - bright, with lots of power. Over the years, the violin opened up and has mellowed tone-wise (more rounded edges to the sound) although it hasn't lost any of its power or edge. I can blow my ears out if I want to. It is also extremely responsive and very easy to play. Even my teacher commented it's very hard to find a violin that easy to play.

The only thing is that it seems to have a limited range of colours. Also extremely hard to get a solid ppp on it but both could be me and my technique - can't blame it all on the violin.

All in all, a very nice violin for its price-range, I reckon that I would need to break the 5-figure to get something to top this one.

May 9, 2013 at 03:29 PM · Seems like the à l'anciennes and the 104 are both on the verge of being too bright!

@Richard - I say go for the obligatos. They pair up wonderfully on my 104. Or wait a couple of weeks and see if it brightens up a bit like mine did, then maybe the obligatos will seem more worth it (they really are worth it IMO)

It really makes me wonder what these instruments will sound like once they hit +10 year mark and +50 year mark. Im sure they would mellow out and be even more of a fantastic instruments. I cant wait until mine gets older!

May 9, 2013 at 08:27 PM · I can't think of a better value in instruments than the l'ancienne unless you can get really lucky at auction. I recommend this violin with Evah's or Passione's (I prefer Passiones including the E that comes with the set).

May 9, 2013 at 10:28 PM · Of course not but these instruments are a no-brainer for someone looking for a great value in a nice new instrument.

May 11, 2013 at 01:48 AM · I have tried one of these.... and can confirm the findings of others. These are student level instrument, decent yes, but overpriced. Good marketing and nice looks, but comparable to other violins made in China; sometimes better, sometimes worse.

Old German copies are within the same price range, but were not artificially aged and often feel heavy. In those, one can at least rest assured that the wood is aged properly and that what you hear is what you get.

One more thing: I have seen the same online add for personal sale in past 6 months with price steadily decreasing - meaning they are not easy to sell, so be prepared to keep it for life or give it away for charity.

May 11, 2013 at 07:41 AM · I've feel the Jay Haide violins have been over-hyped in the past on this forum--they're okay for the price but having tried around 15 of them, I've found that they have consistently underperformed on the high G and high E. Some of them have a very nice tone in the lower positions and are even; some are not. These violins are okay for playing intermediate to early-advanced repertoire, but even in this price range, I've tried Chinese violins that have performed better in terms of playability and response.

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