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Scarampella violins

Instruments: Could I get everyones opinion on Scarampella violins?

From Samuel Mann
Posted November 9, 2005 at 05:11 AM

Hi Everybody!

Could I get everyones opinion on Scarampella violins?

Thank you!

From Preston Hawes
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 05:37 AM
Typically I've not been all that impressed with them in terms of tone quality, projection, complexity of colours etc. etc., especially given their price.

However, they seem to be a pretty solid monetary investment.


Preston

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 05:37 AM
They project well and have a very masculine brilliance about them. For some reason people either love them or hate them, and a lot of luthiers think they're poorly made.

Like Preston said, they're probably the best violin investment of the early 20th Century.

From Preston Hawes
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 05:44 AM
I would say Fagnolas are an even better investment.


Preston

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 07:19 AM
There's a Fangola and a Rocca here in town that I'm going to try when i go pick up my new case... I'm not buying or anything... but I'll do it when they're not looking.

It's always a treat to see and hear instruments like that. It's funny, a lot of players like Scarampalla, yet collectors and makers think a lot of it is ham fisted work.

From Kristian Rahbek Knudsen
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 10:14 AM
I think this quote from Charles Beare is quite interesting in this context:

"I always thought it should be possible for somebody intelligent to make a violin as good as a Rocca,’ Beare insists. ‘If a Rocca is ten times what you would need to give for a new instrument and the quality and sound are not too far distinguishable then there ought to be a good living in new instruments."

In other words Rocca, Fagnola and Scarampella are overrated. That is not to say that you can't find good semi modern italian violins I tried many but the big names are not worth it.

From Daniel Broniatowski
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 02:02 PM
Be careful...There are lots of fakes out there...Don't be fooled..Scarampellas sell for lots of money right now and not only are they too large and sound muted, they are copied by fakers.
From Kristian Rahbek Knudsen
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 03:56 PM
Daniel has a good point here. Narrowing down what a Scarampella is, is quite difficult. He had many assistants and for many years the majority of the violins coming out of the workshop was made entirely by Gadda, his long time assistant. They are still good but not by Scarampella even though the label says so. On top comes all the numerous fakes that circulate and they are many! Just on the grounds of the difficulties of authenticating these instruments, I would be very careful.
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 04:56 PM
Scarampella violins gained popularity with players here in the states (especially) after Herrmann, Moening and Wurlitzer began to import, regraduate and market them. Scarampellas were made very heavily (thick). The arching (like other makers of the Mantuan school Peter Guarneri, Camilli, Balestrieri) on the better examples is especially good (and took well to the altered thicknesses), although the workmanship overall is rather rough (showing tool marks, etc.). This can have a certain charm to some, and may be a turn off to others. I personally like the varnish on many of the earlier Scarampella instruments. Later instruments are often a bit too “red-orange” for my taste.

I’d go along with the description of tone given by a previous poster (masculine, powerful) as a generalization. As far as “investment”, as a good Scarampella can sell for over $125K these days, they seem to have an edge on Fagnola for the present. Yes, like many popular maker’s works, there are many fakes out there.

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 04:30 PM
To avoid any issues, I think in the long run a safer bet on the best of 20th century is:
G.Ornati, F. Garimberti, L. or Carlo Bisiach,
G. &/or P.Sgarabotto, G. Fiorini, Sesto Rocchi, I. Sderci, G. Lucci, O. Bignami, A. Poggi, Antoniazzi.

As far as style, Scarampella was inspired by the works of Maggini and Del Gesu. His work shows that inspiration considerably.
I know many will say that his work is crude, but if one sees Del Gesu examples from his prime & or Maggini, it is the same kind approach that made them so special.

If an instrument (Scarampella)is set up well, it should sound excellent. A friend of mine has a viola by this maker, and it sounds great, and the look is terrific.

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 06:40 PM
Hi Gennady;

You wrote: "As far as style, Scarampella was inspired by the works of Maggini and Del Gesu. His work shows that inspiration considerably."

...and I agree in terms of inpiration. In terms of style, I think of Scarampellas are pretty much Mantuan (often modeled after Balestrieri in particular). If you line up the Mantuan school from Peter Guarneri through Scarampella, you can see a very distinct linear evolution... that's not to say that del Gesu instruments didn't have an effect on this evolution.

As far a "safer" bets, honestly I don't know of a reliable crystal ball. :-) Market history is the only concrete factor one can study (hindsight is 20/20 they say). I can say that I like (certain periods) of many of the makers in your list... and that they can still be had under $100 K (some of the makers for considerably less). BTW; Many of the "Carlo" Bisiachs look like straight forward Sdercis to me... I supect he may have made many of them.

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 06:48 PM
Ornati and Poggi can be had for less... my old teacher had an Ornati in his collection... to be honest I didn't like it.
From Preston Hawes
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 08:49 PM
Jeffrey,

In terms of investment, I was speaking of a better ratio of return in the end. Somehow I've just hear so much great stuff about Fognolas that I wouldn't be surprised that if in the end the return on your investment may be greater than with a Scarempella. (I am, of course, just giving a point of view that is almost completely uneducated in terms of market trends *grin*)

Do you think Scarempellas will remain as popular as they are now or do you think Fagnolas will begin to close the ratio in price?


Preston

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 09:28 PM
Jeffery, you mean Wurlitzer would automatically regraduate them? I can't reconcile what I'm reading here with what they've done price-wise. Speaking of Wurlitzer, some of the best bargains to be had in my opinion are early 20th Century violins made in his Cincinnati shop. Carlisle comes to mind. Terrible financial investments probably, I doubt they've even kept up with inflation, but great deals player-wise. Three or four other names from his shop that I've forgotten were equals or better. A lot of those violins are still in the Cincinnati area.
From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 02:05 AM
By coincidence my shopmate and I were having a discussion about Fagnolas today. The consensus of the two of us is that they're an Asian phenomenon (bright color and shiny really hit well there when their economy was good) but that we've never seen one we'd want to own. Tonally, Scarampellas bury them, though you have to like what a Scarampella is, which is definitely not a classical old Italian sound (for that matter, virtually no Italian maker excepting Rocca after 1800 has that sound, which is another discussion completely ...)
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 01:53 AM
Hi Michael,
I had a fantastic Fagnola, which I bought from Elmar Oliveira. It looked like the Betts Strad. The sound was very loud. But after 7 years I got a little tired of the lack of variety. So I bought a J.V. Vuillaume instead.
................

Hi Jeffrey,
Yes I agree with what you said, and I know Scarampella used models of Balestrieri but also the models of Del Gesu (according to Duane Rosengard). I mention Maggini and should have included Gasparo da Salò because it seems that Scarampella must have been inspired by the freedom of line similar to that of Del Gesu's work, Maggini's as well as that of Gasparo da Salò.
Being that Maggini & Gasparo da Salò were Brescian as well, would be logical for Scarampella to follow that great tradition.
What some people call crude, others call "free hand", individual, revolutionary and beautiful.
Most beautiful examples of Del Gesu are "free hand", individual, revolutionary and GLORIOUS.
Check out this very interesting website on Scarampella:
this is a cool website

From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 02:45 AM
Lack of variety would be exactly my complaint about them....
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 04:15 AM
Post some links to pictures of this junk so we can have a good laugh.
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 05:53 AM
Wow! I was traveling today... this thread has been active!

Preston; I agree with Michael about the rise of Fagnola. It's funny, but the instruments I like by that maker (the really good Pressenda copies) aren't the ones that used to get the record prices (the ones that look like red candy apples). As I mentioned, I don't have a crystal ball for market values, but in terms of the past; Scarampella prices have increased at a relatively steady pace while Fagnola made a quick jump a decade ago, then the curve slowed somewhat.

Jim; As I understand it, standard procedure was to re-bar and "correct" thicknesses as needed before marketing. As I wasn't there, I can't say how "automatic" things were. These were not only shops that set up this type of procedure, or the only maker's work that was selected for it, historically.

Gennady; Thanks for the link! How do place a link on this board anyway?

I'd forgotten that review... and hadn't visited the site for a while.

Actually, I do have a photo (Scarampella) on my site that I think supports the model/freedom aspect of what you're saying. It does have a significant bit of del Gesu in the model... but I believe I see that influence appear in Mantua before Scarampella. Maybe it's that he took it to a new level. Since I haven't figured out how to point via a link, you'll need to get there (if you're interested) through the link to my site on my profile. The photo is on the instruments & bows page.

I'll be seeing Duane this weekend. Maybe we'll get into Scarampella at some point. :-)

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 06:26 AM
Why was, and is there still this love of thick shiny candy apple finishes on italian violins... I think it looks awful.
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 04:49 PM
Jeffrey,
To place a Link, look on the first page of this site. Laurie posted several options on Guidelines for Writers:
http://www.violinist.com/ethics/

BTW send Duane my regards.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 07:55 PM
Guidelines for Writers
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 09:00 PM
Thank you Gennady & Emily!
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 10:56 PM
I can't understand how a maker could typically have to have his work re-done and still sell for $100,000. Probably, the work was done by the makers I mentioned, who sell for way less than $10,000, or maybe even by single task people they trained. My mind is blown.

Oh...who were some of the other well-known makers you allude to when you say historically others had this done on their violins?

From Amy F.
Posted on November 10, 2005 at 11:39 PM
Well, if it helps, I actually play on a 1920 Scarampella. I wouldn't trade it for the most expensive violin in the world. But hey, that's just me. I fell in love with it the second I started playing it. I've tried a couple other Scarampellas that weren't nearly the same as mine, so maybe it's just an exception. I didn't really like the others.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 12:01 AM
I knew that. I was hoping you'd jump in.
From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 12:11 AM
A very large number of the post 1870 or so modern Italians, up to the 1960s or so, owe any tonal value they have largely to subsequent regraduation. If they had been left the way they were, you'd not have given them more than a moment's glance with your ears.

How do you think a 7mm thick top sounds? It doesn't. In many cases you don't have to be a genius--you just have to be better than the person before you. :-)

A lot of these guys, their main selling point was their Italian name, and in many cases, that's still the case.

There was a lovely story about this in an early VSA journal, if you can find it somewhere.

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 12:37 AM
Hi Michael,
With all due respect, I can tell you honestly that my Pietro Sgarabatto which has a lot of wood, and has never been opened (since it is in mint condition), sounds fantastic. I was the first person to play it in. The fiddle sounds like a Pressenda.
In fact Stefan Hersh and I just played a bunch of chamber music concerts here in Seattle, and he can vouch for this. Also the other fiddles in my collection have never been touched nor regraduated, and they sound excellent: I. Sderci,C. Bisiach, Bignami, Rocchi.
From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 12:48 AM
I don't mean that all Italian makers are, by definition, slugs, but there were a lot who were, and they do need something to get them going.
From Henry Flory
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 01:39 AM
From what I know of scarampellas, they were often worked on after being imported to the US, and yes, they are made with a rather heavy, even sloppy hand. Gaetano Gadda did make a lot of the instruments bearing the Scarampella name, however, these fakes are much better than the average fake, as Gadda was quite a good maker. I play on one of his violins actually, so I am a little biased
From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 02:06 AM
That's funny, and it's not just you--one of the things that draws suspicion on a Scarampella is that it's too well executed and might be a Gadda instead.

Gadda had Scarampella labels and the brand, so in that case an authentic label and brand don't mean much.

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 04:39 AM
It's funny that Gadda's violins don't go for more. He's probably one of the bargains out there.
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 07:40 AM
OK... I'll test the link..

What I think of as a good and typical Scarampella

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 11, 2005 at 05:37 PM
It seems that they're all a bunch of crooks...

I have a Mario Gadda with "GG" imprinted on the heel of the neck where it meets the body. Inside next to the soundpost, the same inscription is made. The label says Gaetano Gadda with the obvious ode to Scarampella as well... I know that Mario used to fake his dad's stuff all the time.

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 12:12 AM
If the're all a bunch of crooks, then why did you buy a Mario Gadda?

Mario Gadda is an excellent maker. Those who are familiar with his work, know his work even if it is labeled Scarampella or Gaetano Gadda.

There are plenty of great makers who made honest instruments (17th - 20th cent.) There were also excellent makers who made fantastic copies: J.B. Vuillaume, John Lott, Gaetano Sgarabotto,George Chanot, Voller Brothers to name a few.

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 01:40 AM
Gennady, I couldn't care less what he does in his free time. I bought it because it's a good instrument, so your logic makes no sense at all.
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 02:42 AM
Pieter, I was actually refering to your "logic"/humor, when in the same sentence you state that they are all crooks but yet you bought a Mario Gadda, the guy you said who would fake alot of his instruments as Scarampellas and or Gaetano Gaddas. ;)
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 07:49 AM
But Gennady, why in the hell would a violin player who wants a violin care if the guy making the violin is a crook, if you know for a fact that the violin was made by him, and is not a violin by his father which is worth twice as much? My sentence was not intended in that way...

My remark about them being "crooks" has absolutely nothing to do with their abilities as violin makers. Rather, it is a comment on their unscrupulous practices.

From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 06:28 PM
whatever ;)
I just found it funny and remarked on your statement.
Cheers.
..........................
Samuel,
I noticed you are asking again about Hill certificates. Does your Scarampella by any chance have a Hill certificate?
and are you trying to feel out what the market is today?
Since you are in Switzerland, or at least that is what you have posted as your location, do realize that markets are different in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
For example we pay almost double for a Mercedes-Benz here in the USA as opposed to you in Europe.
From Henry Flory
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 08:30 PM
I am very glad that Gadda's do not go for more! if they did I wouldn't have mine ;) and yes, mine has the GG stamp
From Sal Rosenberg
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 08:48 PM
Is that true about Mercedes Gennady? I mean you're saying an E320 over there costs the equivalent of around 25,000. Getting back to the topic of discussion yes I'm impressed by Scarampellas, the ones I have tried are just superb, I've tried ones perhaps as good as some Amatis or Galianos. It's all about the player too, no violin is going to make you sound like Jascha Heifetz but nevertheless I recommend these Scarampellas for anyone to play as they will add a little to your playing.
From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 08:57 PM
It is also true that Wine & Cheese and everything else that is imported will cost more money. That is the nature of Import-Export.
Because you are buying something that is not available in the country you live in.
From Samuel Mann
Posted on November 12, 2005 at 11:14 PM
Hi Gennady,

No,I am currently trying a Scarampella.The certificate issue is related to another instrument.

From David Burgess
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 04:36 PM
When I first started in the repair business, Scarampellas belonged to a class of instruments which languished in some dark corner, waiting for the day when increasing prices of other instruments would create a hole at the bottom of the market, and they could be dusted off, regraduated, and used to fill that price void.

Today, I don't think making a Scarampella copy would be a very good strategy for winning a violin making competition, if you get my drift.

There must be at least several hundred modern makers whose work exhibits better tone, artistry and workmanship, Darnton and Holmes included.

Investment? That's a bit of a wild card, but if you're patient enough to wait until we die, you might do rather well. :)

From Michael Darnton
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 05:05 PM
David, Jeff, and I are all very old men--really almost dead, anyway. Stock up before it's too late! :-)
From Christian Vachon
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 05:32 PM
Hi,

I am a big fan of modern makers. North America has a host of terrific modern makers, the three present posters included. I play a modern violin which I have to prove time and time again that it is. It always cracks me up.

That said, there are many current modern violins that sound as good and in many cases better than many Italian instruments in the below 350,000 range. My question: Why then spend so much money on a fiddle? I understand the thought of an instrument as an investment, but unless you were one of the lucky ones to buy in 70's and 80's not knowing what was going to be the case today, I still think that buying a healthy, authentic, terrific sounding modern instrument is a better choice for most young players. Then, you can buy a house too! ;-)

Cheers!

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 07:43 PM
Michael and David... I think we may have missed an important marketing device... Do you guys include a list of your high risk behavior on your websites? :-)
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 08:18 PM
Hey Jeff... I might be inclined to get a violin of yours if you promise to go on a white water rafting expidition in the Niagara Whirpool that I'll sponsor....

About Christian's violin, yes it is true. That particular maker is very good and antiques his instruments beautifully. I could see people not believing you that the instrument is not very expensive.

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on November 15, 2005 at 08:21 PM
See, I knew we were missing the boat. :-)
From Cheng Hooi Lee
Posted on November 16, 2005 at 08:43 AM
My dad had a Giuseppe Scarampella once. He bought it in Italy. It was featured in Azzolina's book but we have sold it to a friend. It was very big (more than 14 inch) and was difficult for me to handle.
From Alexandra Soumm
Posted on November 16, 2005 at 08:59 AM
hello...i had a half violin Scarampella, 4 years ago... :) it was sooo nice.even for a half,i was extremly loud,with a really nice tone. i remember that i loved this violin,and was sooo sad to give it back when it was too small...
i still play on a 7/8th violin now,so i gess i didnt grow that much:)
From Oliver Bedford
Posted on May 21, 2006 at 02:28 AM
I had a "1908" Stefano Scarampella but eventually sold it through Christies as it had a terrible wolf note at about C# on the A string and was unresponsive on the D string. It was quite large - about 360mm - and had a rather lovely red-brown varnish. Its workmanship was a little rough in places, eg the scroll, but it had magnificent f-holes. I know now it was one of the later fakes by Gaetano Gadda. It came from Giuseppe Lucci in Rome.

Funny thing is, my favourite violin currently is a Gaetano Gadda Guarnerius-style violin of 1948 which is absolutely fantastic in design, workmanship and tone. It has the GG stamp on the button and inside and the usual "Allievo di Stefano Scarampella" label, plus a certificate from the famous Karl Roy of Mittenwald, who I think retouched the varnish. OK, it could just be a Mario Gadda, but on balance I don't think so, especially as it's virtually the spitting image of the 1948 Gadda in the Tarisio archive (but with nicer varnish).

Cheers
Oliver

From Jay Azneer
Posted on May 22, 2006 at 06:14 PM
I remember being told by a maker that Scarampella was referred to as the wood butcher and that Sgarbi made the really fine fiddles which came out of the studio. As for Gaetano Gadda--I once had the opportunity to play a 1948 of his and it was one of the great experiences of a lifetime.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on May 22, 2006 at 06:28 PM
Cripes. Someone (never mind who) told me that Scarampella violins were comparable to Strads. Someone (never mind who) is apparenly losing his mind.
From Michael Baer
Posted on May 22, 2006 at 08:03 PM
About 5 or 6 years ago I was at Weaver's in Bethesda. My daughter was looking for a full size violin. Mr. Weaver brought out a violin he just acquired and for fun let us try it. He said it was the last violin Scarampella made. It was one of the ugliest violins I ever saw. If I remember it had a dark color and looked very crude as if a child or a very old man made it. It had the most amazing sound on the g string; warm, very deep breathy and complex. My daughter didn't want to put it down. At the time it cost $65000 and was out of our price range.
From Matt Macellaio
Posted on May 22, 2006 at 10:05 PM
My last teacher had a Scarampella, and she loved it. It had a rich, dark tone, great for Russian music like Glazunov and Prokofiev, and it was bright at the top too. It wasn't the most beautiful-looking violin, but that didn't really matter. It did have a very dark color, compared to most violins I've seen, so if you like violins like this, you should really enjoy Scarampellas.
From Kevin Huang
Posted on May 22, 2006 at 11:35 PM
Wow!!!

The Scarampella posted by Jeffrey Holmes looks like it would sound absolutely fabulous.

Clean lines, fine varnish, beautiful wood, strong body. That Scarampella looks a lot better than the other two I've seen, and those two were good violins that didn't really suit my style.

I've seen some really great modern violins, though I haven't yet seen ones by the reknowned makers here David Burgess, Jeffrey Holmes, and Michael Darnton (forgive me if I've missed anybody else). Given that the bar in modern instruments seems to get higher year after year, I wouldn't be surprised if these knowledgeable makers commanded Scarampella like prices even during their lifetimes if not already.

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on May 23, 2006 at 12:58 AM
I believe Jasper Wood's Eckhardt-Gramatte Caprice's album was recorded on a Scarampella and I know that this fall he'll be trading in his Strad and going back to his Scarampella.
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on May 23, 2006 at 02:15 AM
Oliver, I have a Gadda which I got as a Mario, but Mario says it's a Gaetanno on the certificate he sent the dealer. I don't really know yet and maybe I won't until I want to sell it.

In any case, it's a great violin.

From Oliver Bedford
Posted on May 23, 2006 at 08:50 PM
Jay - interesting to hear about another 1948 Gadda.

Pieter - Mario Gadda violins are now quite valuable; one sold this month at Skinners in Boston for $11,000 - 1986 I think. My guess is that eventually there won't be much to choose in value betwen a Gaetano and a Mario.

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on May 24, 2006 at 12:48 PM
Eventually, maybe... but a Gaetano sold at the same sale (originally listed as a Scarampella) for more than 4 times that amount... and one at Tarisio a week later for more than $35K including premium.
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on May 24, 2006 at 05:14 PM
Oliver, Mario's prices are all over the map. Some cook in Utah is selling one for $30,000 and insists that it is a Mario, not a Gaetanno.

I've seen Gaetanno prices go as high as the 40s, like Mr. Holmes said.

From Oliver Bedford
Posted on May 25, 2006 at 09:08 PM
And of course there's often a large gap between auction prices and dealer prices. If the person who bought the Mario Gadda at Skinner for $11,000 was a dealer, he'll probably (understandably) be trying to sell it for 20,000 or more.
From Mason Wright
Posted on February 20, 2008 at 10:56 PM
Although I have not heard many Scarampella violins, I can tell you the ones I have heard are amazing! I would love to own one, but after they began to gain popularity in the 70's, the prices have gone up drastically. My former teacher has one and he paid $95,000 for it almost 10 years ago. So, my opinion on Scarampella's.....an all around great instrument!
From Samuel Thompson
Posted on February 20, 2008 at 11:48 PM
Yes, all around great instruments - and yes, the prices have risen exponentially over the past ten years, the last sale price that I heard was $150K.

Worth EVERY cent, though...

From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 09:23 PM
I am so excited to find this discussion. The first violin I ever owned is my Stephano Scarampella 1925, which my parents purchased for me in 1973. I found it very difficult to choose a violin and even visited Moenig's and played many of their violins. They later sent me this violin to try and it matched worked well with the Dupuy bow I had purchased the year before. When I questioned the 1925 date I was assured that it was a Scarampella, but it was finished in his shop after he died. That was good enough for me at the time. I never thought about it again until I took it to Chicago in the 90's to get an appraisal. They told me they didn't think it was a Scarampella and gave a very modest appraisal. My violin looks very much like the picture I found on this sight. The tone is very strong on the G, very sweet on the D and A and brilliant on the E. I would like to learn more about the the only violin I've ever owned.
From Scott Cole
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 01:23 AM
Peggy,
If you purchased the violin at Moennig's (sounds like you did) and someone else had a different opinion on it, then I would still value Moennig's opinion more highly.
Scott
From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 02:11 AM
Thanks Scott. It was Ken Warren in Chicago who thought it was not a Scarampella.
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 03:12 AM
Hi Peggy;

If you visited the Warrens in the '90s, it was probably James, not Kenneth (Kenneth was Jim's Grandfather who died in the '80s). He's a rather reliable expert, in my experience.

Scott; You are correct in suggesting that opinions are just that; opinions... and rather than try to determine who's "right", I'd say simply that if the violin was purchased from Moenings, it's their responsibility to back up their opinion.

Please note, Peggy wrote:

"When I questioned the 1925 date I was assured that it was a Scarampella, but it was finished in his shop after he died."

Many of the later Scarampellas were made by Gadda... who it seems did to continue to come up with posthumous Scarampella instruments for a good number of years (...wonder where he was finding them? :-)). Could conceivably be that both opinions are correct, I suppose.

Personally, when encountering these late instruments, unless the hand is rather obvious (which it often isn't), I'd tend err on the conservative side... but that's me.

From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 11:16 AM
Thanks Jeffrey. I went back through my papers and found that the previous owner was Aba Bershadsky, who is registered as owning an F. Gagliano 1768, which he purchased in 1968. Guess I'm in good company. The question still remains in the value to be insured. Time for a new appraisal. Do you happen to know the date on the Scarampella picture you posted on this site? It looks very much like mine. Do you think Gadda copied the irregular curve in the center ridge on the back of the scroll? Mine does the same thing. It veers over toward the A peg and then back to center at the G peg, then left again at the bottom.
From Jay Azneer
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 12:56 PM
Bear in mind that if the attribution were to go to Gadda that is not too shabby either.
From Adam Clifford
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 02:46 PM
Curious; what do Scarampella violins run for these days?

Peggy- do you still use your Scarampella? How much did Ken Warren "apprais it" for in the 90s? Thanks for your input!

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 04:06 PM
Hi Peggy;

The violin I posted a photo of is dated 1904.

Not that I want to get into evaluations "blind", but yes, Gadda would have managed to capture the style and features of his teacher/employers instruments... He knew them well.

From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 01:27 AM
Yes, I still play almost only my Scarampella. I know I shouldn't, but I use it for lessons in my public school teaching. I'm spoiled. I also play in the Central Wisconsin Symphony and quartets. I'm starting to have more time to play again, now that my children a raised. I think he gave me an appraisal in the 20K range. I was very discouraged, because I knew the Scarampellas were much more valuable. My internet searches over the past 24 hours showed sales from $65K to $125K.
From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 01:35 AM
Jeffrey, The varnish is an interesting topic. The coloring of my violin is very similar to your
1904. When did Stephano switch from the dark, distressed finish to the orange varnish?
From K G
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 12:43 PM
My experience is that one of these in good condition is over $100K.

But I saw one at Moennigs for $75K becuase they seemed to think Gadda had some impact on it.

I'm with Jeffrey on this one...you have to be very careful. It is possible that someone else might think that it was all Gadda and not just some. My guess (and I do mean guess)is a Gadda goes for something like $15k to $25k.

Kevin

From Peggy Stenborg
Posted on April 29, 2008 at 01:55 AM
That makes sense. Thanks Kevin.
From Krista Solars
Posted on September 28, 2009 at 06:56 PM

I own a Stefano Scarampella, which I've owned for nearly four years, and I absolutely love it.  It has rich tone, and I don't find it at all difficult to handle.  Obviously it's not the best out there, but I love the violin I own.  The thing about violins is that everyone prefers something different in feel and sound.  I love my violin, whereas others might not like it at all.  But of course, I would definitely recommend trying them, at least...  = )

 
From Carol .
Posted on September 28, 2009 at 10:56 PM

 I have a friend who owns a Scarampella viola, and it is excellent and the owner loves it.

From Bruce Berg
Posted on September 29, 2009 at 03:45 AM

i have not read all the previous responses, but fakes abound for this particular maker.

From Oliver Bedford
Posted on November 4, 2009 at 02:30 AM

The fakes by Scarampella's pupil Gaetano Gadda of Mantua are valuable in themselves ($20,000 or more). They usually have very nice workmanship, wood and varnish; beautifully clean-cut and sinuous f-holes, with the lower lobe scalloped (hollowed out) and often having a slightly outward point like Guarneri (which makes the lower end-holes slope noticeably inwards); and typically a scroll whose turn finishes at dead bottom rather than continuing round for a further 45 degrees or so. They usually seem to be slightly narrower in the upper waist than a real Scarampella, and with more "pointy" corners. I have owned two of them myself, and once you get to know them, they are very distinguishable from the personal work of Scarampella.

There are also the more modern fake Scarampellas from the workshop of Mario Gadda of Mantua (died 2005, son of Gaetano). They are usualler cruder in appearance than the older Gaetano Gadda "Scarampellas". One of the major auctioneers recently sold a violin which was certified by Mario Gadda as a Scarampella, and they catalogued it as "probably by Gaetano Gadda", but my suspicions are that it was probably a product of the Mario Gadda shop, complete with artificial aging.

One of the better Italian makers of the early to mid 20th century, Enrico Politi of Rome, is also believed to have been a faker of Scarampellas, though I think on a much smaller scale. A Scarampella fake by Politi was auctioned a year or two ago, and it looked rather more like a real Scarampella than the Gaetano Gadda instruments which do in fact seem to have a personality of their own despite being "fakes".

I suspect that other Mantuan makers such as Amadeo Simonazzi and Oreste Martini may also have occasionally joined in the fun, and I have also wondered about the Guastalla brothers of Reggiolo, at least one of whom was also a pupil of Scarampella. 

Who was responsible for all this? Well, the heaviest resposibility I think lies with the prominent US violin dealers who promoted Scarampella violins, created a market for them, and then after Scarampella' death went on buying them year after year from makers like Gadda who were only too willing to supply them. If the dealers had been the slightest bit critical in their thought processes, they would have known that the almost endless supply of Scarampella violins dated mostly in the period about 1905 to 1914 was too good to be true. I suspect they knew but kept their mouths shut.

In addition to all this, there are of course many cheap violins (Chinese included) which in more modern times have been re-labelled as Scarampellas and, like many other cheap violins labelled as Italian, can be bought on Ebay and elsewhere.

From Bogar Guzman
Posted on February 11, 2010 at 06:32 PM

 I have a Stefano Scarampella 1900 for sale, pictures are available at www.mirandamusiconline.com , if you are interested, the violin  is located in New York, and belongs to a Maestro that is retired and used to play for New york Philharmonic in the section of the first Violins. Give a call fi you wish, this instrument was check at Bein and Fushi, feel free to call then, but you need to call to get the name of the owner so the master luthier at bein and Fushi can give you information, there are people interested in this Violin, just they are bargain too much, and we have an excellent price already.

Thanks, Bogar

From dick de graaff
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Hi, I am new on the discussion platform. My Scarampella (1905) sounds really majestic, but also has this problem on the A string: Sometimes a few notes do not come out clearly. Maybe the choice of strings isn't right. I use Evah pirazzi on every string. The body length is 36.0 cm. Could this be a string problem or does anyone have other ideas/suggestions?

Thanks Dick.

From Andrew Holland
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 02:13 PM

Medium-gauge Evah Pirazzis have a lot of tension - it might be worth tuning your A down a half or whole step and seeing if less tension helps.

From dick de graaff
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 02:31 PM

Andrew, thank you for your quick answer. It really is sometimes frustrating when the sound doesn't come out the way I want....I tried a half step lower... it immediately souds much better! The G and D are great, for the E I use pirazzi gold. Maybe you have another solution...

Dick

From Ilya Gotchev
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 05:21 PM

Hi,I played before on a Scarampella from 1905.It is a great instrument and does excellent with Eva Pirazzi.I had the same problem with A string.I solved when I took it to the luthier and he lowered the bridge(may sound strange but that was what really helped).

Cheers

From Andrew Holland
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 06:03 PM

As Ilya suggested, lowering the bridge might be one way to go (it's another way to lower string tension).  You could also try a weich (low-tension) gauge Evah Pirazzi A.

From dick de graaff
Posted on June 2, 2010 at 06:13 PM

Well, this is what I am going to do: First try another string. If this doesn't help go to the Luthier and let him lower the bridge.

Thanks, Dick

From Jan Van Weyenberg
Posted on June 17, 2011 at 05:27 PM

I am surprised about some bad commends on Scarampelle violins. It is true that the handwork is not very clean BUT…

I play on a Scarampella violin from 1906 and it sounds marvellous!!! I have also a Pressenda, J B Vuillaume and a Petrus Guarnerius (all original) and my favourite is clearly the Scarampella... I’ve never seen any other 20th century violin with an 18th century sound. Above that it has a lot of power… The big problem with Scarampella is that they are so much copied. But an original one: a dream of a sound.

 

From william chen
Posted on June 19, 2011 at 03:56 AM

I OWN  A GIUSEPPE SCARAMPPLA wIth Dario Attli certicficate issue in  1986.Giuseppe caramppla work is more delicated comparing to Stefano scaramppla. I love the old antique sound coming from the violin. If you are looking for collection, I personal believe Gisueppe Sacramppla is an excellent art piece to invest.

 

P.S A good violin tone adjustment is very esstenial for the violin.  Please look for a good professiaonl string instrument maestro to adjust for these violins.

 

regards

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 2, 2011 at 02:26 PM

I have seen recently a violin labelled "Giuseppe Scarampella, Anno 1810, Firenze".

How is that possible, if the older brother of Stefano was born in 1838?

The father was called Paolo, born in 1800, Consequently, he could be neither the maker of such violin.

Could be then the grand father of Giuseppe and Stefano Scarampella, supposed to be called Giuseppe Scarampella aswell?

Thanks for your help

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 2, 2011 at 02:29 PM

I have seen recently a violin labelled "Giuseppe Scarampella, Anno 1810, Firenze".

How is that possible, if the older brother of Stefano was born in 1838?

The father was called Paolo, born in 1803. Consequently, he could be neither the maker of such violin.

Could be then the grand father of Giuseppe and Stefano Scarampella, supposed to be called Giuseppe Scarampella aswell?

Thanks for your help

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 2, 2011 at 11:39 PM

Hello

I checked again the violin and the complete label says:

"Guiseppe Scarampella, premiato con gran diploma d'onore in Milano e medaglia d'oro in Torino. Anno 1810. Fece in Ferenze"

The label looks quite old and original, with printed letters. Please, help me to understand how Giuseppe Scarampella could use anno 1810 in this label. At the same time, if this is a flake, what could be the purpose of the real maker using a date incompatible to Giuseppe Scarampella life time?

Many thanks

From Ruud Vermeulen
Posted on September 4, 2011 at 01:15 PM

According to Vannes, all violins by Giuseppe Scarampella bear a brandmark on 2 places. Most have no label, but if present it reads: Giuseppe Scarampella / Fece in Firenze, anno 18..

These violins were copied in Bohemen.

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Hello again

Mentioned violin has 2 marks at the back, upper and down, with "SR" and 3 small black dots with triangle shape in each.

I would appreciate if you commented on the fact that the label shows ANNO 1810, 30 years before Giuseppe Scarampella was born, without any sense logical then to by a copy or fake:

- The grand father of Giuseppe Scarampella coul be called as well Giuseppe? 

- This is a printing mistake when the label was done, perhaps in 1910?

- The old names used (Guiseppe instead of Giuseppe) and Ferenza do mean something?

Many thanks indeed ! 

 

From Ruud Vermeulen
Posted on September 6, 2011 at 02:05 PM

Paolo Scarampella (1803 - 1870) lived and worked in Brescia. He had 3 sons: Giuseppe (1838 - 1902) worked most of his time in Florence, Stefano (1843 - 1927) worked in Brescia and Angelo (1852 - ?) made guitars.

according to my book the brandmark is:

            Giuseppe Scarampella

                               *

                   *     FIRENZE     *

                              *

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 09:16 AM

Hello Everybody

Could someone else add some info about the father of Paolo Scarampella or some place or address where to look into ???

Many thanks indeed !

  

From Mariano Borque
Posted on September 24, 2011 at 09:16 AM

Hello Everybody

Could someone else add some info about the father of Paolo Scarampella or some place or address where to look into ???

Many thanks indeed !

  

From Hanan McMillan
Posted on September 2, 2012 at 06:32 AM
I wonder who was copying Stefano Scarampella in 1901? Was he well-known in 1901 enough to be copied...
From Andrew Victor
Posted on September 2, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I used have a Stefano Scarampella violin, which I disliked and unfortunately sold at a time (1959) that it did not bring me 1% of what they sell for today. I wish I had known more and kept it to have a good luthier explore its possibilities - it had lots of power and an E string that cut through my head like a torture device. My Dad purchased it through his violin teacher (I think around 1930), who said the Italian ship captains would arrive in NY harbor with the necks dislodged from their "personal violins" and take them into the city to get them "fixed." Of course they never left the country again when the captains did. They call that "smuggling." This was all in the days preceding good quality steel strings and any synthetic-core strings

Years later, in the mid-1960s, I read an interview with a "violin maker" in Beverly Hills who turned out to be that New York teacher of my late father (I recognized his name immediately, a Mr. Frisoli) - of all places in the magazine of the Southern California Auto Club (AAA) magazine. Turns out, he had been a luthier in Italy before he was a violin teacher in New York, and had worked in Scarampella's workshop, and had some dark secrets about the "Scarampella" instruments - including: actual maker could have been one (or more) of the various apprentices, instrument tops often not properly graduated. He talked about improving the instruments by regraduating them (maybe one should call it completing the graduation process, to seem less intrusive).

I do wish I had kept the fiddle instead of using the proceeds to help pay for the birth of our first child. At least the child is still around, and her child is about to start college. Life goes on (even without the Scarampella)!

Andy

From LUIS CLAUDIO MANFIO
Posted on September 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Interesting Andrew... also here we received violins from Italy with the ships, includnig many Poggis.

Scarampella's work is highly personal, I just love it. And, yes, they sound darn good. It is a pity you sold it indeed!!!!

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