High Quality Chinese Luthiers?

December 27, 2006 at 04:12 AM · Hi,

I am currently playing on a Klotz violin, circa 1800 - it has a lovely rounded sound but does limit me in tonal projection.

I think the best way to describe the sound is refined and pure but slightly limited in richness.

I am looking for a high quality, modern instrument with a full sound, and am interested in the chinese market. I realise that the vast majority of chinese factories cater for the student level but there must be individual luthiers who make instruments for the professional end of the market. Does anyone have any experience or advice?

Best wishes

Vaughan (London)

Replies (17)

December 27, 2006 at 05:17 AM · I assume you are looking for an instrument made IN China, not by a Chinese luthier living in the USA (so as to get a "good deal") Yes?

You might check out Ling Xing Bai. He has some demos on his website, and I have had some good communication with him. Seems like a good guy, and his Strad model with European Spruce certainly doesn't stink. -but I don't own one personally, so trad lightly. he guy playing on the demo is somewhat limited in ability 9though he claims to be the concertmaster of some backwater orchestra)

A top-end Bai will be close to $3,000, so you know .... I decided to pass, but it was tempting. I'm hoping to save up another $23,000 (a mere pittance!) and order a Burgess. Ling sent me a recording that sounded darn good, but David sent me a recording that ate Ling's for lunch.

December 27, 2006 at 05:53 AM · I owned a Landi Sheng ...he's worth checking out...

December 27, 2006 at 09:32 AM · Thank you both very much for your responses.

The original thinking was to try out a modern handmade instrument with the ability to project strongly whilst posessing an even tone.

I probably couldn't go much above $15000 and Chinese instruments might be a good avenue to research for a 'good deal'. I know that some chinese luthiers have improved dramatically in quality lately.

Dealers here in London don't tend to stock many chinese instruments or seem to know much about them - yet.

Thank you very much for the names suggested, I will definitely check them out.

Any other comments or recommendations would be gratefully received.

Vaughan

December 27, 2006 at 12:53 PM · Have you considered something from Eastern Europe? Maybe something made by Stankov or Stoinov. That's what I'm leaning towards although I admit, I haven't played either yet, but they are beautiful and Stankov has a good reputation from what I've been able to surmise from other forums.

It seems the Bulgarians/Romainians, like the Chinese are undervalued now, and bargains are available.

Good Luck,

Eric

December 27, 2006 at 02:21 PM · For $15000 you should have a lot of good choices. I'd just go out without any preconceptions and try anything you can afford, and see what happens. I hope you aren't thinking of buying something you haven't seen--that's a prescription for getting something that's not what you wanted.

December 27, 2006 at 04:41 PM · "Ling sent me a recording that sounded darn good, but David sent me a recording that ate Ling's for lunch."

Allan, That's a heck of recording. Hide your other recordings in a safe. :-)

I heard Zhen Quan is the Strad of Chinese, but he has a long waiting list (his price was over $10K range, but I am not sure how far from it is from that mark now). There are also a few good Chinese luthiers, who won (gold) metals at VSA competition. It might be worth checking them out.

December 28, 2006 at 10:16 PM · I use a Xu Fu (made in Canton - actually Guanchow) - he won a VSA in Salt Lake City years ago. It compares very favourably with my Rodolfo Marchini violin (Strad 1716 model - made in 1984 - a unique order from Marchini made from very special quality wood).

December 28, 2006 at 10:39 PM · Hey, if you're up in the UK...you might want to check out old violins that were once fiddled. My friend found an old Irish violin, that sounds spectacular because it was played so often and well, for a really great deal.

Good luck :)

December 29, 2006 at 12:26 AM · How do you guys get hold of these Chinese luthiers?

December 29, 2006 at 03:23 AM · The following makers are 2006 VSA winners from the conference in Baltimore, MD and you can buy their instruments for under $10,000.

Ming-Jiang Zhu-Gold Medal Winner

Zu-Liang Wu-Silver Medal for Tone

Xueping Hu-Cert. of Merit for Tone

Feng Jiang-Cert. of Merit for Tone

Shan Jiang-Cert. of Merit for Tone

December 29, 2006 at 11:50 AM · Thanks to everyone, some great suggestions!

I'll do some research on the information provided, this forum has been extremely helpful :-)

Many Best wishes

Vaughan

March 31, 2010 at 08:50 AM ·

A friend of mine got a violin by Ivan Stankov, it's a gorgeous look, and the sound is so clear, even in its youth, unfortunately my friend got economic troubles, and I'm helping him to sell it, he's asking 5K dlls, these violins are now in the 6K range, I saw a partner in TX playing one Stankov, and he was very satisfied as he said the violin was getting so mature and proyecting through been played, violinists have mentioned this violins will get higher on price and reputation once they are exelent and comparable to italians on the 10 or 15K.

March 31, 2010 at 04:48 PM ·

Hello. There are many very good Chinese violins. I personally own 4 made in China, and 1 made in New York by Peter Lam, who is originally from Hong Kong. Considering that I have about 6 more (from other countries), and a couple more on order, I'm willing to part with 2 of my Chinese violins. I'm not too comfortable about shipping, though. Are you - or any other interested readers - ever in the New York City area?

However, for less than $15k, I can get you a good deal on a violin by the excellent contemporary Cremonese maker, Vittorio Villa! Philadelphia Orchestra member, Amy Oshiro plays on a Villa, and I heard that Maxim Vengerov orderd one! 

April 1, 2010 at 02:05 AM ·

Zino Bogachek with the National Opera also plays on a Vittorio Villa.  I think Weavers in Bethesda sells them for about $12K.

April 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM ·

Yes, I heard of a Vittorio Villa in the hands of Zino Bogachek, too! If someone wants a Vittorio Villa violin, by all means inquire at different shops. But he's probably at the top of his game right now. And because of a certain connection, if someone is seriously interested, I could help them get a little ahead on the que - as compared with a non-star stranger approaching him - for the work of this very busy maker, to get a custom-made violin which will have a name of the customer's choosing that will go in Mr. Villa's permanent records.

There certaily are many excellent modern violins out there, and none of the above implies a put down of any one elses work. It's a very individual thing.

April 2, 2010 at 04:38 PM ·

Along with a couple of colleagues, we have several instrumnets from yitamusic in Shanghai. Most of the instruments they sell are workshop violins, but they occasionally sell "master" violins by the man himself. My instrument is by Liu Xi, and cost all of around £750 ($1200). Sounds nice and responds nicely. Everyone who's tried it likes it.

April 8, 2010 at 01:54 PM ·

I suggest contacting Yanbing Chen at www.clevelandviolins.com/.

I work with a maker in China from the Y. Chen shop there.  He does the making and I do the varnish here in the States.  His work is beautiful and amazingly consistent from instrument to instrument.  The sound is excellent.

Regards,

Joe

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