Violins of M. C. Rijsemus

January 4, 2018, 3:12 PM · Is anyone familiar with violins of M. C. Rijsemus (Luthier from Maastricht, Netherlands)? Quality, price, tips?

Replies (24)

January 4, 2018, 4:03 PM · If you're looking for a new violin, try a variety of affordable violins and pick your favourite.
January 5, 2018, 5:24 AM · Wow what a golden tip! Thanks!
January 5, 2018, 7:40 AM · There's a single auction listing from Christie's: LINK

They estimated $2k-3k, and it sold for $625. It's listed as just "a violin" and not "a fine violin" or "a good violin", which suggests the quality wasn't great.

January 5, 2018, 7:47 AM · Thank you Lydia, I passed through that link indeed, made me wonder how would a handmade violin be sold for such silly price!
January 5, 2018, 7:58 AM · Could be the condition or workmanship. It may sound better than expected, as violin prices do not correspond 100% to sound quality.
Examples: These examples are at least 98% true.
A $1000 violin will always sound better than a $100 one.
A $7000 violin will always sound better than a $500 one,
but, a $4000 violin may not always sound better than a $1000 violin.
January 5, 2018, 8:04 AM · Not all handmade violins are good violins. Moreover, glancing around on the Internet suggests that he both "makes" and "re-makes" instruments -- i.e., regraduates existing instruments. It's possible that he finishes violins in the white that are factory/workshop-made, regraduates old instruments (or even regraduates new factory/workshop instruments), etc.
January 5, 2018, 8:54 AM · Very true, Lydia. When you say "regraduate", do you mean he fixes them up or rebuilds certain parts of it?
January 5, 2018, 9:45 AM · He buys violins then twiddles with the thicknesses of the plates, then claims he made them. Regraduation is a disease that needs to be eradicated IMHO.
January 5, 2018, 10:21 AM · It's a bad idea to buy violins, mess with the plates, and claim you've made them. It's okay to buy violins with some minor damage, repair them, and sell them.
January 5, 2018, 11:11 AM · To be honest, I don't think he does that, at least now! I had the chance to examine a couple of his violins, they look identical with wood, varnish and profile, also the violins of him I saw on the internet.
The guy asks now 14000 euros for building a new violin, yet I have the opportunity to buy on of his violins from the 1980s for 3000 euros.
January 5, 2018, 11:12 AM · Regraduation is not a repair, it essentially destroys what the original maker intended, and creates something new, of no better value, the instrument is almost always worth more in original condition, regraduation adds nothing to the value and in most cases devalues the violin.
January 5, 2018, 11:53 AM · Makers tend to get better -- often substantially better -- over their course of their careers. A violin made early on is not necessarily worth what one made later is. (I own a contemporary violin, for instance, worth substantially less than the still-living maker's current work.)

Still, 3k Euros is basically a student-instrument price class. At that price, compare it to the abundant inventory of old and new violins available, and buy it if you like its playing characteristics compared to other violins within your budget. You don't buy violins in that price class for their appreciation value.

(Even if he regraduated a workshop violin rather than making one from scratch, $3k isn't an unfair price for that.)

Edited: January 5, 2018, 1:08 PM · 3K euros violins aren't always student quality instruments. It may be so for new violins born in Cremona, but certainly not so for violins made else where in Europe.

The American market is over priced, in my opinion. BUT, the Asian market is even more so. What you find that is 3K euros here in the US, you would expect at least another 25%-50% markup in major Asian cities.

Lydia, as you have once said the cost of a violin is dependent upon the demographics of a particular region.

Prices don't tell the whole story. I have seen European luthiers’ instruments getting marked up 100% or even 200% being sold else where in the world. Just because it costs 3K euros in Europe, that does not mean that they are definitely student instruments. I would say that some of these European instruments at this price range is underappreciated.

Edited: January 5, 2018, 3:22 PM · "3K euros violins aren't always student quality instruments. It may be so for new violins born in Cremona, but certainly not so for violins made else where in Europe."

I'd be reluctant to agree, having judged numerous violin making competitions involving thousands of instrumenst from all over the world. But if someone is satisfied with a 3 thousand dollar violin (or even a 100 dollar violin), I think that's great too.

January 5, 2018, 3:21 PM ·
Edited: January 5, 2018, 6:45 PM · Mr. Burgess,

I think you misunderstood what I meant.

What I am trying to say is this:

A 3K Euros violin that is made in Europe probably costs 6K USD in the USA, and it probably also means a 10K USD instrument somewhere in Asia. And I don't even consider those professional violins, but that are easily sold to uninformed parents or amateur musicians for whatever the mark-up is just because it is an European instrument.

It is most certainly so for new violins that are made in Cremona, just because it was made there, even if it is made by a small unknown maker/workshop.

So a 3K euros violin does not mean the same quality for everyone due to the demographics of where one is shopping.

January 6, 2018, 1:26 AM · I believe Y Cheng is right in a second, unintended way. The prevalent thinking of violinists in the UK and our fellow (for the time being) EU countries seems rather different from the US and Asia. I know very few players who play contemporary violins of any rank, almost all good students being guided towards antique instruments from a relatively early age, with the result that the concept of matching a player with an instrument graded purely according to its retail price doesn't hold nearly as much force.

Contributors such as Lyndon won't need persuading that some very good old violins can be obtained at auction for prices far lower than any newly commissioned instrument or even one from a good western workshop. Of course, there are risks associated. Even on playing, I (and the auction house) failed to note that the violin I fancied had a warped neck. Fortunately this turned out to be fixable for less than the hammer price and as a result I can testify that it's possible to obtain an excellent instrument (one by the same maker, William Walton, was routinely used by the leader of the Covent Garden orchestra) for less than 2K. Violins by good European makers of the last 100 or so years aren't highly regarded by investors (a different rule applies to Italians!), which is good news for players.

January 6, 2018, 1:53 AM · There is no shortage of decent violins that we need to be making any new ones, what is needed is reasonably priced competent restoration luthiers, and a renewed appreciation for history and antiques.
January 6, 2018, 3:02 AM · Guys you are straying from the main subject. Nice to read your thoughts but I need real information about real experience here. Thanks!
January 6, 2018, 3:13 AM · If its a regraduated production violin then I think its overpriced, If its an actual hand made by this maker it may be worth the price, but only if you can compare it to multiple other violins in a similar price range, as was pointed out this is not really an investment level violin, you're paying for the sound and the playability, not the name of the maker.
January 6, 2018, 5:14 AM · Just keeping the conversation warm until someone with real experience comes along! I recently noticed a similar situation in which an early violin by a still-active British maker was sold at auction for about £800. It looked fine in the photos but I didn't get to inspect it in the flesh. A London retailer currently advertises new violas (OK, there's more wood in a viola) by this maker at £6000. If you simply want a handmade violin that looks good then 3K might be a reasonable price to pay, but it's not necessarily a bargain.
January 6, 2018, 6:12 AM · He has a really nice workshop/shop. Several floors of an beautiful old building. I once rented a viola from his shop, but it was an old one and not built by him. He told me that it is almost not worth anymore to build violins (invested hours vers price). I did not play any of his instruments and would not have the expertise to judge anyway.
He seems to take care of the instruments of Andre Rieu‘s orchestra.

January 6, 2018, 10:59 AM · Thank you Eva! Finally a reaction into the point :)
January 6, 2018, 9:35 PM · My 1867 Asa White Maggini That I purchased from Roger Johnson, a dear old friend, was no doubt purchased in the white and re-made and re-graduated by Asa. It is a great fiddle and it was for that task that I bought it.

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