Need some care on a rare violin. Who are the best violin restorers in North East United States
My wife played for over 20 years with a rare Italian made violin from the 1700's. In its lifetime (It could have been a very long time ago) the Neck was replaced. Which we eared is not as unusual as we might think for these types of very old violin.
It needs some minor but important work, and we're very nervous due to the rarity of the violin. We're looking for a list of good names in the States of Pennsylvania and its surrounding States... we could look into.
Who are the most respected violin restorers in North Eastern United States?
Julie Reed-Yeboah in New York City. You'll have to negotiate a schedule. As far as I know, she's got a backlog stretching into the summer, currently.
Also Frederick Oster in Philadelphia.
I have heard Tatsuo Imaishi is good. I think he might be the one who restored the Ames Strad.
Thank you for the names. We'll be looking into those.
You are looking for a great luthier, not someone who mostly works on student instruments. The Northeast United States has a huge concentration of such people. I will be really shocked if you can’t find several in Philadelphia and New York alone
Every city in the US with a major symphony orchestra has at least one very good very good violin repair person. If you can find out where the symphony players go you will probably be on the right track.
Sal Signorelli, who runs String Instruments, in Rochester, NY has restored many rare and fine violins - for decades. He can tell you lots of stories about concertmasters, soloists, and their violins. He was restoring a Guadagnini while my instrument was in for a repair. He takes in repair work from other fine violin stores and he is the one who actually does the repair. His store is across the street from the Eastman Music School. His web site is
In general, if you are dealing with an instrument of historical significance (anything that costs in the six figures or more), you want any non-trivial repairs done by the best restorer that you can reasonably travel to.
I agree with Lydia. By spending a little more (maybe even a lot more) on boutique luthier services you are protecting a sizeable investment. Also if you have an instrument that is capable of sounding amazing, then you really want it to do just that, even if you are loaning it to a promising young person to play on, which seems like a good thing to do if you are not a violinist yourself. The violin faculty at the conservatory nearest you can help you find that lucky person.
I'm a little puzzled how this violin has been played upon for twenty years without (apparently) ever being checked by an expert luthier.
No need for suspicion... Rest assure the violin has been cared for many times in the past. It used to have a french polish done to it regularly, for example. But in the last decade some people have more and more raised voices against that type of treatment, as it could be doing more arm then good. Or so we were told at one point or another.
it will be interesting to hear how its fixed...
Yes, modern luthiers generally do not recommend French polishing as a routine thing for antiques now.
I wouldn't call a neck reset "minor." Those are expensive.
Its not the neck coming loose at the body its the neck scroll graft failing at the pegbox, try reading what he says. And yes that requires a real expert to take care of it properly
A lot of antique instruments have had their value lessened by French polishing. It used to be the norm a few decades ago, but now it's frowned upon. I wonder who made the above violin in the 1700's in Italy.
It's no Strad . . . It's a lesser known violin maker from the Milan school of violin making ;)