I just want to clarify a few things that may have been misunderstood in my previous thread: the 4 other players and I did not go into this to hold our own “contest.” They are just players who know each other, as players usually do, and they started picking each other’s brains as they realized that they were all in the market to by a great modern, in order to help each other make this really important decision (shelling out 20 K, is not taken lightly, especially since a few of the players have been saving for this for a long time!).
I joined the “communication” because they are my friends and I too want a few fiddles soon. That is it. And I do not think anything shows the serious intentions of the group more than the fact that 2 fiddles have already been bought, and 2 commissions made.
I ran the thread to get more input, and to help others know about these great makers. And since I ran the thread many have contacted me and given me their valuable opinions. I was also able to answer their questions about particular makers, and in the end I had nothing but positive things to say about these makers because that is how we feel about most of them!
What everyone should know is this: out of all the fiddles we tried, only one did not impress us. To put in another way: almost all the makers lived up to the hype about them. They were all that good! In fact, most of the time we could only say, “great fiddles in their own way, not one better than the other, but just great in different ways.”
The other thing all should know is this: all the makers we have dealt with so far have been great guys! It is really hard to think of a nicer more passionate profession! If all occupations were full of integrity and passion and kindness as these men are the world would be a much better place! Just a great bunch of men!
Someone asked how we tried all these violins. There are a few collectors who have a collection of moderns, and they made this collection available to us. We have also paid our share in sipping costs! LOL
One last statement: the only way to buy a fiddle like this is to personally listen to them, and personally play them. The group as a whole is impressed by the work of Needham and then Burgess, more than any other, but that is just our opinion. And that opinion is somewhat weak because one person bought a Greiner, and another may commission a Borman very soon. And most of us want to try many of the violins again, which I stated before. This can only mean that most of the violins are so great in their own ways that we need to play them again to form more solid opinions.
In the end there will be no “rankings,” there will only be violins tried, appreciated, and some bought. The makers of today are truly special, and most are worth al the hype given to them
To answer why we liked the Needham strad so much: It was the “biggest” sounding instrument we played, the most “cremonian” instrument, and to use a word that has become an integral part of our communication—the thickest sounding. To us what makes the del Gesus and Strads so great is the thickness of the sound. The Needham has this, and had no weaknesses, other than the fact that the G is so huge that it overshadows the rest of the strings. This only bothered one player among us, but is has bothered others who have tried it, which again shows that the only way to really choose instruments like this is to play and listen to them yourself.
And if you look at what I wrote you will see that my conclusions are in line with the members of this forum; Emil has raved about Needham for a long time. Borman has often been spoken highly of in threads. And all of you who have tried the makers we mentioned have liked them. In the end, our opinions are much like yours.
A blessed Christmas to all! Especially violinmakers, who seem to be a truly great bunch of men!
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