Researching instrument: Edward Garber?

November 25, 2006 at 04:55 PM · I am a beginning violin student, and have on loan, an instrument made by Edward Garber, Bellwood, PA 2002. I love the tone of the instrument, and its responsiveness (both my teacher and the shop owner commented on how playable it is), but I can find nothing -- not one mention -- of this instrument maker on the entire internet.

The shop owner is asking $2000 for this violin, but claims it's a custom instrument worth $3500. Is buying an instrument made by an unrecognizable name a good investment? Has anyone ever heard of this maker?

With thanks,

Sarah

Replies (5)

November 26, 2006 at 01:54 PM · Might be worth a phone call...

Google search results:

Phonebook results for garber bellwood, pa

E M Garber (814) 742-7564

N Tuckahoe, Bellwood, PA 16617

However... if you can't find the person... but you love the instrument, tone, playability... and it's the very best for the $... then I would probably buy it. Best wishes.

November 26, 2006 at 06:41 PM · Thank you, Katie. You are a better detective than I. I couldn't even find a phone listing, but you apparently did.

I brought the instrument to a luthier for an estimate of its value. He told me that it's made of American maple and American red spruce, and that American woods are not as durable or tonally superior as European woods, and therefore, that it would probably never go up much in value as a result. Anyone have an opionion on that?

Thanks again,

Sarah

November 26, 2006 at 10:18 PM · I question the evaluation of American hardwoods. There are many ecosystems in America to begin with where spruce and maple grow. And to suggest that anyone has done this type of research is mind boggling.

Romantically, I would be inclined to purchase a European violin, but that's my Xanadu.

I think it boils down to two points. You know what you are looking for sound-wise; and, if you don't feel confident making the decision within your framework it should be easy enough to get someone more qualified to play it like in the upper positions, lower ranges, and in terms of being able to take the intensity of playing robustly.

November 27, 2006 at 11:13 PM · I have talked with Ed Garber and he has bought some of our fittings for his competition instrument. Did not get to see his competition instrument at the VSA (my fault, just got busy). I would think that that price for a hand made instrument seems reasonable, but the sound should tell all. If the sound is good, if you like the feel and tone, then this price from a maker would be a good deal. After all, from my conversations with Ed, he's going to be making more instruments, and as his name gets more known, your price may seem like a steal. Still, bottom line for any instrument (other than a strictly investment purchase) is 1) how does it sound; 2) how is the quality of workmanship; 3) does it feel comfortable to you and allow you to play the music you're planning on playing; and 4) does the value/price reflect your answers to questions 1,2 and 3. (By the way, I think Ed is in Tyrone, PA)

November 28, 2006 at 04:53 PM · Thank you, Angelo, for your very helpful response. I am now trying to decide between keeping the Ed Garber instrument, or buying instead a Jay Haide l'Ancienne. I am waiting for delivery of a couple of Haide's to try.

The luthier who is selling the Garber told me it's a steal for a handmade intrument, but I'm intrigued by all the reviews I've read of the Haide that claim that even though it's made in China, it sounds as good as instruments costing 3-5 times as much.

Any opinions on which would be a better buy?

Thanks again

Sarah

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