Modern Violins and Old Violins

January 15, 2007 at 01:36 AM · Greetings all,

There was an earlier discussion on this site concerning the modern violin makers people prefer. I wanted to add some information to that discussion. I have tried many of the violin makers instruments mentioned in the previous discussion. Greiner, Bellini, Curtin, etc. and they have many wonderful qualities. Also, one of my teachers was Elmar Oliveira (I got My first full size violin from him.) and as a result have played a number of his new violins. I have been fortunate to have owned and/or played on some great fiddles including Strads and Del Gesu's.

I recently came across a wonderful modern violin made by Joe Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert. I was in their shop while they were gluing up my violin, (Guarnarius, Filius Andreas). I played a copy of a Pressenda they had just finished and it was great! Better than any of the real Pressenda's I've played. I took it out and after a few chamber music concerts, bought it. My colleagues at the Symphony (SF Symphony) are equally impressed with it. I have spent time comparing it to my Guarnarius, my wife's Sanctus Seraphin etc. including listening to recordings of concerts on the different violins and am just delighted with how great the Grubaugh sounds. ( I've had multiple offers in the few months I've owned it.)

For a new violin the Grubaugh/Seifert has a remarkably sophisticated sound, great depth and power and a thick open ringing quality. Not quite as complex as the Guarnarius but more powerful. It is the best modern violin I've yet played. I now play only on the Grubaugh and am delighted with it. I'm curious if others out there have gone from good old violins to modern and if this might be a trend?

Replies (100)

January 15, 2007 at 05:43 AM · I have heard nothing but great things about this maker (a couple working together). As I said on an earlier thread they are on our “must try” list before we buy anything. I mentioned before that one player bought a used Greiner, which I like very much. And another bought a Needham, and the Needham sounds as good as any violin I have ever heard. So Sarn I do not have any trouble believing that this Grubaugh-Seifert is as good as the Guarnarius that you have because I have heard this Needham that I am sure would do well against anything out there, old or new.

As for going from new to old, I use to play with an old “no name” French violin that I use to think was great until I played the great moderns this year. And of the players was playing with a turn of the century Italian that he sold for a lot of money because he knows he can get a lot more violin by buying a great modern.

One last piece, because I know some will want to turn your thread into “investment talk,” rather than violin talk: I just talked to one of the players who is trying all these moderns with us, and he just talked to someone who has a Seifert. The guy can now sell this instrument for 150% more than what he bought it for.

Does anyone else play with a Seifert? Let us know.

January 15, 2007 at 06:09 AM · I actually bought my Fagnola from Elmar in '86.

He is a great guy.

I played it for about 7 years, then found my J.B.Vuillaume, which I still love to play. I do enjoy playing many other fiddles and I am a fan of modern fiddles as well. I have a collection of early to mid 20th century Italians. My other favorite fiddle I use a lot is a Pietro Sgarabotto.

I would be curious to try one of Joe Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifer fiddles and see how it compares with what I am familiar with.

January 15, 2007 at 06:23 AM · Great makers... One of Joe & Sigrun's 'cellos is visiting the shop presently and I find it quite a fine instrument.

January 15, 2007 at 08:48 AM · I visited that shop this summer. What can I say, they are great people and fanatstic makers. I talked violins for hours with Joe. I actually tried the violin you bought. It was definately the best one present and yes it was good, really good, but unfortunately spoken for, or I would probably have bought it. You got lucky, congratulations.


January 15, 2007 at 04:21 PM · I think Grubaugh and Seifert should be on the list for anyone who's serious about a quality new instrument.

Great, straight-up people too.

David Burgess

January 15, 2007 at 04:59 PM · A number of colleagues play on Grubaugh cellos and violas and are happy with them. I had not thought of getting another fiddle and wasn't in the market when I bumped into this violin.

Raymond, For your search, I also played a violin by a maker in Barcelona a year or so ago that was very good. I found him from the recording of modern violins made by Ricci. The glory of Cremona II. I don't recall his name at the moment but was impressed. If your interested I will try to dig up the recording. His violin had a very strong character in the sound.

Kristian, My apologies, I think that was me.

January 16, 2007 at 06:20 AM · You mean David Bague. A collector in San Fran has his violin, it sounded pretty much like the one on Ricci's recording. I have heard, however, that some of his instruments sound very different than the one on that tape and the one that I played. I thought the instrument was a bit too muted and a bit too dark. A good instrument, however, just not the one I am after.

I appreciate David Burgess's comment on the maker that is the topic of this thread, but it does not surprise me because David is a class act.

I also noticed that these makers are in this month's strad, as is Dilworth.

January 16, 2007 at 09:40 AM · BTW Sarn,

What do they (Joe Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert) charge for one of their instruments?

January 16, 2007 at 11:53 AM · 25k for most instruments.

January 16, 2007 at 04:58 PM · Yes, David Bague. A dark powerful del gesu model and a nice strad model, not as loud as the d.g. but a more refined sound. Interesting maker.

Grubaugh asks 25k. This one was a little more.

January 17, 2007 at 07:28 AM · Hi,

I too was prepared to spend 25k. Thankfully a violinist friend told me about a top maker in South Africa called Brian Lisus who charges around 5 or 6 for the same quality violin (I think the South African exchange rate allows for some ridiculously competitive prices). I see he has a new site at I was a bit hesitant at first, as we have become so used to the makers we know, but I went ahead and have not looked back. My violin is absolutely beautiful with a great sound, warm but with lots of projection. My wife is determined to either keep it for herself or buy another one, as she is a far superior player than me.

Definitely a site worth checking out.

January 17, 2007 at 10:44 AM · Lisus asks for the money up front I believe, or at least 50%, but I actually think it is all the money up front. So you essentaillly have to buy the instrument to try it. I do not know any makers who work like this because most understand that buying a great violin is a very personal thing. None of us who have been trying violins want to have to put all the money down until we are sure this is the instrument for us. I do not know anyone who feels otherwise.

And at this time I believe he is asking 10k, but I am not sure. I do not know anyone who has played his fiddle, only a few who are selling theres.

January 17, 2007 at 02:50 PM · Raymond:

Have you tried any violins by Jan Spidlen? I bought some strings in his shop last year, and he let me see what he was working on and try one of his instruments, but I'm just a new player so don't have much of a frame of reference. Just curious to know what I may have had my hands on.

January 17, 2007 at 11:42 PM · Raymond,

A friend of mine just compared a T. Borman fiddle with my O. Bignami and P. Sgarabotto. There was not much to compare.

Both the Bignami and Sgarabotto sounded huge in Benaroya Hall and robust (in comparison to the Borman).

The Borman is a very pretty instrument nevertheless.

January 18, 2007 at 01:57 AM · I recently saw a great recital with Jonothan Carney and Madeline Adkins of the Baltimore Symphony. They played the Ysaye Sonata #1 for Two Violins. Jonothan had a Strad and Madeline her Zygmuntowicz.

The playing and the sound quality of both fiddles was wonderful. The Zyg had a better g string than the Strad and both violins projected equally well. One would be hard pressed to distinguish a superior violin.

January 18, 2007 at 02:22 AM · I like very much Jimmy Lin's Zyg fiddle.

January 18, 2007 at 10:00 AM · I think you need to take into account that all violins made by modern makers turn out differently. Almost every maker will turn out one or two violins that are gobsmacking during their career. This might be due to skill or luck. Therefore it is difficult to say I prefer this maker to that maker based on comparison of two instruments. What we can say is that there are a number of top level makers that one must try if looking for a violin.

Take Zyg as an example. I have played a great many of them and one or two were really good. The last one I tried was dull.

In the case of Joe Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert they had around 5 fiddles in the shop. They were all good but the one that stood out was the one that Sarn bought. It was just in another class.

January 18, 2007 at 12:20 PM · Man do I agree with what Kristian wrote, great insight.

Gennady, almost everyone that tries Borman's work says the tone of his instrument is almost "cremonian-like," but it does not project as well as others.

And yes I do know of the palyer you mentioned, he is a real force in the industry--a great player.

Oh and I still hold to my previous opinion, which is that the Needham strad that now belongs to a great player out here could hold its own against anything. I do not know if Needham can consistently make violins like this, but if he can than in my opinion he is a heck of a maker.

Sarn I would love to compare this Needham to this great violin you have just bought. My guess is that neither would be better, just different.

Great thread guys!

January 18, 2007 at 12:29 PM · oh and I have played three zygs, one was really good, the other two were good as well, but not as good as the other one.

I think he is one of the best makers today, but not better than the very best, and his prices are out of the market. His prices would be justified if his violins were definately better than the rest, but they are not better than the very best out there. I actually liked the Needham a lot more than the Zyg, and I thought Burgess's work was better as well.

But again this is just my opinion, and I only played 3 of his fiddles and a few of Needhams and Burgess.

I can also say that the rest of the group agreed. We all thought that zyg's fiddles were really good, but not as good as the Needham, and probably not as good as the two Burgess.

One player is close to buying the Burgess, and another player, not in the group really, but has been communicating with us )a concertmaster of a phil in Europe) just bought a Burgess (I did not get to play that fiddle). That concertmaster had played a lot of fiddles from some of the eltie makers of today, so it says a lot of Burgess's work. I can also say that Burgess's work seems very consistent, as does Needhams. Needham, however, seems to make two very different sounds: one with thinner plates that sounds like a tamed del Gesu and really projects (the instrument I have been raving about!) and another violin with thicker plates that sounds very focused, very much like a del Gesu. Both are great but I preffered the thinner plate version that was already bought, and I have only played one of his violins that is like this. I have played several of the del Gesu like thicker plate violins, and they were very consistent.

Hope it helps!

January 18, 2007 at 03:53 PM · Raymond,

It would be interesting to compare them. I will email you contact info. and we can set something up. I have tried one or to zyg. violin's. I didn't know jimmy had one. I will check it out next time I see him.

January 19, 2007 at 10:13 AM · Raymond -

I checked the Voz Antigua site and their violins are priced at $7500. I did not pay for the violin in full before receiving it, I paid a 50% deposit and was assured that this would be refundable if I didn't like the violin. I phoned Brian a few times so he knew exactly what I was looking for and delivered a beautiful violin beyond my expectations. I will forward him this link and see if he has any comment to make.


January 19, 2007 at 05:28 PM · Hello Raymond,

Someone just notified me of your post on I appreciate your input. The problem is that a lot of my customers do not live in South Africa and therefore for me to arrange someone to try out one of my instruments would prove to be far too expensive if it entailed me covering the shipping costs myself. Secondly, for the last 26 years I have usually had a waiting list of between 6 months to two years and I seldom have any instruments in stock for musicians to try out. In the early days I just took people on their word and accepted orders without any deposit .... this landed up me having a waiting list of over three years and what I found was when their instruments were ready they had already purchased something else in the interim.

And lastly, the most important point is that I work on a 50 % deposit which is refundable in full if the musician is not satisfied with the finished instrument. This is all done on a legal contract and takes the pressure off me the violin maker and the pressure off the player ordering the instrument. To date no one has ever asked for their deposits back. I hope that has clarified your concern and for further info please visit my web page

January 20, 2007 at 06:40 AM · None of the world class makers I have talked to, and I have talked to most of the big names, do not ask for 50%.

For some this may not be an issue, for me it is. Besides, no one in our group is going to comission anything without first trying the maker's instrument. And if you do not feel comfortable shipping something we can try than you are asking us to buy your violin over the violin of some of the elite makers in the world without every palying it. I do not mean to cause a problem, but this makes little sense.

January 20, 2007 at 08:59 AM · if you were in his position, would you be sending your product overseas without some kind of assurance?!

Personally, it makes sense to me.

January 20, 2007 at 10:56 AM · Thanks guys for your responses, I realize there are always two ways at looking at everything. No one has ever had a problem putting down a refundable deposit and if they did I would try and accommodate them if possible.

January 20, 2007 at 09:27 AM · It's remarkable the extent to which what we see influences what we hear. I've been making and selling antiqued instruments for years, customers generally hear a "new sound" from a new looking instrument and a mature sound from an antiqued instrument. Playing certainly improves a good instrument but such an instrument should, after an initial settling down period, show it's mettle.

January 20, 2007 at 01:43 PM · I am not opposing somekind of deposit, I am stating a fact: none of the elite makers are asking any deposit when shipping an instrument on trial and none of them are asking for more than 20% if you commision one. The point is his policy is out of the strandard in the industry right now.

I also do not understand why his instruments went from 10K, to 7.5 k. But then again, why should I complain about this! LOL

Some of this comes down to trust I guess. Most of the luthiers understand that palyers are not out to steal instruments, and they have them insured anyway.

What does not make sense to me is not being able to try an instrument by the maker before commissioning one. I do not think I worded my opinion well, and i think you misunderstood what I was really objecting to Gennady. I honestly do not think you disagree with me about this point. To say otherwise is to recomend commisioning an instrument simply on here say, and this makes no sense to me if it will require a 50% deposit to do so. Who wants to make a commitment to an instrument without trying one? That is my point. Your best friend could even highly recomend it, but without playing it all you know is your best friend thinks its great. In your hands, and to your ears, it may not work at all. That is what did not make sense to me.

I look forward to what anyone else has to say on the matter, but I also would like to hear from people who have played violins from the maker that was the topic of thread? Has anyone else played a violin from Seifert and Grabaugh?

January 20, 2007 at 04:56 PM · Fifty percent of $7500 is less than 20% of $20,000!

January 20, 2007 at 04:04 PM · not if what matters is principle.

January 20, 2007 at 04:46 PM · I'm more into function than theory, and this hardly seems like a moral issue.

January 20, 2007 at 06:14 PM · So where do Grubaugh and Seifert live?

January 20, 2007 at 06:21 PM · Raymond,

I have to say I can't agree with you on this one. The price is so low to begin with that the deposit is hardly that big a deal. Obviously a serious buyer like you has that type of cash on hand. I am having trouble understanding why you have such a philosophical objection to this way of doing business.

January 20, 2007 at 06:50 PM · Raymond Paul,

Pieter makes a good point.

A man of your millions has trouble with %50 deposit on a $7500 instrument (from another continent) Fancy that.....

January 20, 2007 at 07:27 PM · .............

January 20, 2007 at 08:06 PM · Raymond, what I don't understand is your insistence to carry on badgering this point. The violin maker clearly explained his policy, a very logical one that everyone else seems to understand. I am sure you know that the South African rand is a volatile currency and its fluctuations make it possible for businesses there to offer a lower dollar price at times.

I didn't object to the deposit, I never even gave it a second thought. Given the geography of the maker, it made perfect sense. He is not some unknown luthier, he is a maker of standing who is well known in the business with a good reputation. Had the violin not been to my liking, I could have returned it, so there was no risk.

Let it go,


January 20, 2007 at 07:30 PM · Raymond P.,

Since you have many millions (laying around), I have a suggestion to make:

You could start your own foundation by purchasing and offering new instruments by todays finest to the top young talents. You could do the same with some fine old instruments as well for that matter.

Or you could support such venues as the Amiata Summit (which you could look up on Google).

For more ideas, feel free to visit

The Philanthropic Initiative

There is no better reward than investing in the future of what you love and hold dear, especially if you are in the position of having so much (the many millions you say you have) at your disposal.

January 20, 2007 at 07:34 PM · I don't think Raymond is badgering or anything like that. He made a statement to the effect of him not agreeing (respectfully) with Mr. Lisus's policy on instrument trials. Mr. Lisus responded, and Raymond gave a short response to that. In any case, I don't think all of this is necessary.

I just think that for anyone, this kind of money isn't not a big deal, and given the location of the maker, it isn't a big deal for me. I can see where the trust factor comes in, and one has to admit that this practice is not typical of the industry. However, if I were serious about trying a violin by Brian Lisus, at these prices, I would have very little problem with this M.O.

January 20, 2007 at 07:45 PM · From Ray Randall;

"So where do Grubaugh and Seifert live?"


Petaluma, California.

January 20, 2007 at 09:34 PM · The money is not the problem, I do not want to buy an instrument without playing it, that is all.

And he has a right to his policy, I just pointed out that it is out of the standard of the industry.

And just as he has a right to have his policy I have a right to not agree with it and have nothing to do with it.

Truth be known, if he was a maker that was high on my list I would probably just take the risk, which is probably not much of a risk. The truth is he is not high on the group's list of makers.

I am not really upset about his policy, I just do not agree with it. And I am really not interested in trying his instrument, that is all.

If some of you want to get upset about all this than go ahead, for me it means little. This is his policy, if you can handle it and are interested in his work than contact him, if not, do not.

As for what I do with my money, I think I am old enough to figure out what I think I would like to do with it, and while I appreciate the advice, I actually have different plans that think will benefit the world in general a lot more. To each his own, and in this case the money we are talking about is mine.

Some of you need to get ahold of your temperments! LOL

January 20, 2007 at 10:33 PM · Spoken like a real "mench"...........

"As for what I do with my money, I think I am old enough to figure out what I think I would like to do with it, and while I appreciate the advice, I actually have different plans that think will benefit the world in general a lot more. "

When you start debating the %50 deposit of a $7500, and being petty about it, it shows your true colors.

I do a lot of business with makers from abroad, and that policy is quite fair. There are other makers who require payment in full before sending out istruments and or bows (internationally).

You have argued the point about new vs old. And here you are badgering a fine maker.

As far as your comment:

"To each his own, and in this case the money we are talking about is mine."..........Put your money where your mouth is.

Just buy a whole collection of them and let others enjoy them. Otherwise keep your money and your opinions to yourself :)

January 21, 2007 at 01:34 AM · "The money is not the problem, I do not want to buy an instrument without playing it, that is all."

His policy clearly states that if you're not happy with the instrument, the %50 deposit is totally refundable

January 21, 2007 at 05:05 AM · Yes I understand his policy, and I do not think that he is doing anything wrong. I never said he was doing anything wrong. This certainly does not have anything to do with morals. I want to repeat that: this does not have anything to do with morals. I just stated that after doing this for a year I see that his policy is not in line with what others do. I do not know of one maker who is asking for a 50% deposit. And I do not wish to put a 50% deposit down on an instrument for a commission, that is it. Nor do I wish to commission one without playing one first. I do not know many players who commission an instrument on reputation alone, do you?

He certainly has the right to make his own policy, and I certainly have the right to agree with it or not. And again I am not saying that I do not agree with it morally; I am saying that I do not agree with it as a consumer. Man is this that hard to understand.

Gennady, I would answer your arguments but I do not understand them; they seem to fall flatly in line with what most would call "ad hominieum;" attacking the person, not his position.

I think you are reacting like this because you ask for 100% deposit on your bows and violins, and my position makes you feel threatened. And this is probably the reason you are generally against moderns as well; in your mind, or emotional state, it threatens your prized collection of older violins.

But I do not really care, you can say what you want to say and rage on; we have seen it before. In the end you are still a really valuable contributor to this site, even with your tantrums!

January 21, 2007 at 05:42 AM · Gennady, I reread your post, and I still cannot understand it because it is truly void of clear thought. But at least I now see the problems with your thought.

“When you start debating the %50 deposit of a $7500, and being petty about it, it shows your true colors.”

I never debated a 50% deposit on $7500; I said I do not want to put a 50% deposit down on a commission. The 7500 has nothing to do with my position, and I never said that it did. Please read and think Gennady, otherwise you become guilty of building a straw man and knocking it down.

“You have argued the point about new vs. old. And here you are badgering a fine maker.”

I never badgered him. Someone recommended him, and I stated my reasons for not wanting to commission something from him. And really that is not my real concern; my real concern is that I do not want to commission a violin from a maker that I have not played before. And this is what I said. Again, please read and think, or else you will end up knocking down arguments that were not stated—straw men.

“Just buy a whole collection of them and let others enjoy them. Otherwise keep your money and your opinions to yourself.”

Since when does someone have to buy a lot of instruments for others with his money to have the right to state his opinions? If that were the case very few could state what they think about anything!

Using this logic, Gennady, I could say: Gennady you have not used your money to buy instruments for everyone else to enjoy so you should keep your opinion to yourself. But if you do buy instruments for everyone else then you can state your opinion.

Does this make any sense? Since when has the price of “freedom of speech” been “buying instruments for everyone else?"

January 21, 2007 at 06:20 AM · One last thing Gennady: Do not think I am saying you are wrong to ask 100% before you ship and instrument for trial. This is not my position. You bought the bows and it is your right to do as you want with your business as it is the consumer's right to accept your policys or not.

And I am thankful for your bow business because you bring in some great bows that would otherwise be hard to find.

Ok, your turn. I cannot wait to see what you will write now. I may not agree with what you often say, and in this case, do not even understand it, really, but I can say this much: you are not bothered with being politically correct, or nice for nice sake, and that makes the stuff you write fun, even when it attacks one person after another. So go for it, but please think it through before you write brain is old and I do not want to think this hard in order to understand your argument. LOL

Smile Genna, ok? And , GO FOR IT!

January 21, 2007 at 09:54 AM · For your information Raymond,

Many players including myself do commission from makers based on reputation. That includes bow makers as well as violin makers.

Secondly, as I said, when it comes to dealing with makers outside your own borders, it is quite common for most to ask for a deposit or a payment/deposit (which is refundable).

Since you don't know them and they don't know you, there is no way to establish trust etc.........

Domestically, if you visit sites of Fred Oster, or Paul Schuback Violin Shop and many others, they have a similar policy in place.

You have displayed your true colors regarding a small deposit, and badgering the maker, then telling him he is not on top of your list etc.......

Yet you were busting my _____ about Fulton and old instruments, instruments as investments, new vs old, telling us how many millions you've made in real estate etc. You are quite the Hippocrates.

I thought I would give you a little inspiration of what you can do with your extra cash. But you lack the vision, humility and brains of a true affluent gentleman.

That is why you are arguing with a maker half across the world, why you should pay %50 of $7500 etc. etc. etc.

We all got your number.............

BTW, who said I am against moderns?

I do represent Gianluca Zanetti from Cremona, as well as LeCanu and Bigot. Often I speak from my experience of what Market History has done and so on.........and many top experts are of a similar opinion.

January 21, 2007 at 10:17 AM · Is it really true that most makers will send trial intruments to, for example, South Africa without a deposit? If so, that's really good news. I will be looking for a new intrument soon, and was worried about how I would get to try them living all the way up in Norway. On the other hand, if the deposit policy allows the maker to offer nice instruments at those very afordable prices, I'm all for that too.

January 21, 2007 at 03:24 PM · Actually, having done a bit of business with Oster's over the past couple years, a deposit is not required to take out violins or bows -- and we've taken out a pair of violins worth $50,000 and a pair of bows worth $15,000 at a time, leaving nothing more than a photocopy of my driver's license.

I was a bit surprised by this policy, but I suppose Mr. Oster knows what he's doing -- we brought back the instruments we had out on approval rather than selling them out of the trunk of my car and have bought two bows from him.

EDIT: This way Mr. Oster has of doing business, it should be made clear, is based on business conducted in person. He doesn't ship instruments and bows, so at least he gets to meet you (and get a copy of your DL) before letting his instruments out.

January 21, 2007 at 01:59 PM · hmm, what if the violin is stolen or destroyed or damaged?

when you go test drive a car, someone's insurance will cover for a mishap.

with violin trials, is there a consensus on liability or simply i know the guy and i think i can trust him...?

January 21, 2007 at 02:38 PM · I, too, have wondered about the insurance that shops carry in regard to risks associated with letting instruments out on approval.

January 21, 2007 at 02:39 PM · Hi,

My own two cents... If you don't agree with someone's policy, then don't buy from them. It is a personal choice. Going on the internet and criticizing it is another matter. Just don't.

What difference does it make to you? Does it take anything away from you? If others find it OK, then they can have dealings with the maker in question.

Now back to the topic at hand?


January 21, 2007 at 02:55 PM · As I said Gennady, we have been doing this for more than a year, and have not run into this policy, including many who are in Europe.

This is not to say that there are not some who do not have this kind of policy, it just means that everyone we have contacted, and we have played a hell of a lot of fiddles, does not do this.

And you are still missing my main point: I do not want to commission a violin to be made without having played one of his examples. It would be different if the violin were already made, as your bows are, but this means sending 50% (I really do not care how much we are talking about, though it seems important to you) for an instrument that is a long time away from being made. The standard seems to be 10%; I say so because EVERYONE we have dealt with has had this policy.

Now does this make him wrong, or a bad guy, etc…NO! It is his policy and his entitled to it! And as I said before, as a consumer I can decide to agree with his policy or not, that is it! Why take business personally?!

And just because he is not on our list of makers to play does not mean he is not great! He could be the best maker in the world, and if that were so than we are real losers because he is selling these great violins for very little money in comparison to the others, so it would be a fantastic thing! The fact that he is not on our list simply means that playing violins like this to buy some soon is tiresome and at some point you have to decide what you will look at and what you will not. It certainly does not mean that he does not make a great instrument because we have not played one! How can I comment on a violin I have not played!

You again bring up the money part of it and tell me that it shows my “true colors,” and that I am a hypocrite. Again, this has nothing to do with money! And where is the hypocrisy?

I have badgered him, how so? By saying I do not like his policy? By saying that I would like to play a violin before commissioning one? By saying that we have a limited list and he is not on that list? There is no negative comment in any of this. He has set his policy and he is entitled to it!

“ I thought I would give you a little inspiration of what you can do with your extra cash. But you lack the vision, humility and brains of a true affluent gentleman.”

So if I do not agree with you about how to spend my “extra cash” I lack humility, brains, and I am not a gentleman? That would mean that anyone who does not listen to your “words of wisdom” is stupid, prideful, and not a gentleman! Again you have set the bar for moral virtue! In your earlier thread you set yourself up to be the gate for free speech, and now you are the gate to enter into true humility, brains, and “gentle manhood.” You have god-like powers and authority if that is so Gennady! Impressive!

Gennady, what if I told you that over this last year one of these players has become my best friend, or at least someone I respect more than perhaps all, and that as I have seen him battle cancer in order to live for his family, himself, and his friends, I have been very inspired about what life is really about. What if I told you that if he happens to lose this battle I will spend some of this extra cash to make sure his two young sons become the great players them seem headed to become (they are prodigies, really). What if I told you that I hate what this damn disease has done to him and others in my church, and that is where a lot of my extra cash will probably go?

I guess it matters little because YOU are the gate into wisdom, and these were not your suggestions.

Oh and you are against modern fiddles. Your track record bellies your words; on almost every thread about moderns you immediately talk about how they are not worthy investments and you talk about how generation Old Italian fiddles, the kind you won, blow them away. If you question this I will look up the past threads and quote you over and over again, and there will be an immense amount of material to do it with! In fact, I will only be able to use a little of it because there is so much of it! So be careful on this one; I will use your own statements to prove my point.

And yes you do like some moderns, the ones you sell!

Gennady, I still think you are a great contributor to this site, and I would not want you to ever stop contributing! I loved the stuff you wrote on Vulllaume! And your knowledge about bows, and the bows you make available for us on this site is huge! In fact, I will eventually contact you about one, for sure! As have a few players in our group, And as I said before, many have told me that you are a great player, and we need great players; the world needs great players! But please stop taking things out of context and stop taking things personally.

January 21, 2007 at 03:03 PM · Christian, you are probably right! I should have just said that we have decided to not look at his violins.

But please notice that I am not saying his policy is wrong or immoral; I am just saying this policy is not for me, that is it.

But I agree with you, it would have been better to leave it alone and let others decide what they want to do with his policy when they contact him. On the other hand, however, most may not know that this is not what most of the elite makers do, so I have brought in some knowledge to some, which I think is good. The earlier posts of others already show that many did not know this about the trial and commission process.

And you are right! Lets get back to the topic!

And I will write and tell Mr Lisus that I did not mean to offend him, if i did.

January 21, 2007 at 06:18 PM · "And just because he is not on our list of makers to play does not mean he is not great! He could be the best maker in the world, and if that were so than we are real losers because he is selling these great violins for very little money in comparison to the others, so it would be a fantastic thing! The fact that he is not on our list simply means that playing violins like this to buy some soon is tiresome and at some point you have to decide what you will look at and what you will not. It certainly does not mean that he does not make a great instrument because we have not played one! How can I comment on a violin I have not played!"

Raymond - if only you had just said this in the beginning. I am afraid it DID sound as if you were badgering the maker. I am not a member of and joined today only to respond to this thread which I found upsetting. I found the website quite by accident and decided to take a chance on one of their violins. I had contact with both Caryl and Brian and found them to be so friendly and helpful, and once the violin arrived I could not believe the quality for the amount I had paid. They really went the extra mile to make sure the whole transaction went well, and delivered a violin that is quite spectacular. When I read this thread I had to write in their defense. Perhaps you did not mean to offend, but the general impression you made was that they were in some way doing people a diservice by asking for a deposit. Your tone certainly was derogatory and could have put off potential buyers. I can only say that from my experience, anyone who takes advantage of their very fair prices will be amazed at the quality of their workmanship.

I am sure your 'group' will either eventually discover these violins or regret that they let them slip by.

January 21, 2007 at 07:11 PM · Thanks Carol.

Raymond, I rest my case. No need for me to add to that.

...............But Yes, your tone was most derogatory, hence my post just above. You set the tone, I responded in similar fashion.

End of story.

As far as new vs old, I am quite consistent in what I say despite my representation of some makers.

Did I once mention on this thread the violin maker I represent from Cremona, and or that he is better than others etc. etc.? No.

If I am spending more than 10K on an instrument, it most certainly is an investment. Older instruments (Italian violins & French Bows) have proven their market history.

Just the same, as in picking stocks, you never know how well your IPO's will do no matter how great they may be.

And kudos to you if you are a true friend and will take care of your friend's kids future.

BTW Peter Schafer,

No one collects a deposit, if you are dealing locally.

Oster shop's policy I was talking about is for sales and or trial of instruments that are Out of State.

It makes sense, since there are no guarantees that the person you are sending it to, will not walk away with it.

And if damaged, with a payment/deposit there are no issues. Rest assured, there are plenty of times when you send out a bow or instrument and some kind of damage occurs. This sort of policy avoids any issues.

January 21, 2007 at 07:55 PM · Ok people... you've had your pound of flesh. Raymond has been very open about the entire process of commissioning an insrument, from the instruments itself to the business end. I don't think his intention was to be rude, but rather, he was frank. It's a bit dissapointing that there was such a reaction against him, when in the past people have got away with saying far worse things.

Ray's a good guy and I don't believe he ever had any malicious intention here.

January 21, 2007 at 09:32 PM · No one said there was malicious intent.

It is the deragatory tone (which he set) that upset people, including Carol who is new to this site.

People do have to realize that what they say can be viewed as upsetting, hurtful etc. etc. etc. to others.

Hence the guidelines on this site.

A lesson learned is wisdom/knowledge earned:)

January 21, 2007 at 10:40 PM · I'm not sure the investment picture on old Italians is as impressive as some might think. A lot depends on how you look at it.

Let's take a scenario based on the original posters belief that his modern Pressenda copy is better than any real Pressendas he has played. Given his job, and other fiddles he's owned and played, he's probably qualified to say that.

He could buy a genuine Pressenda for, say, $200,000.

Or he could buy a modern copy for $25,000 and put the balance into more conventional investments. With a VERY modest return of 5% on the conventional investments, and assuming a worst case scenario where his modern doesn't appreciate in value AT ALL, after ten years he has a total value of about 310 K, most of it very liquid.

With a more optimistic return of 10% on his investments, he would have a total of about 479K, most of it very liquid.

Will the 200K Pressenda be worth 310 to 479 thousand dollars in ten years? How much more will it cost to insure over that period than the modern? How quickly can the money be accessed?

What dealer or auction commissions might be associated with the sale of either fiddle that would further influence the bottom line?

Which scenario will let you access a large sum of money if needed, and still have a fiddle to play?

So how is an old or semi-old Italian a better investment?

January 21, 2007 at 11:08 PM · point well taken David.

....say if you bought a Vuillaume in 1990 for around 65K,

today it retails from 150K to 200K depending on the instrument.

But that's just one example.

Sgarabotto: if you bought one for 5K in 1989, today it retails from 60K and up depending on the instrument.

The most recent auctions have sold them for over 50K.

I think we've had similar discussions before. Where are some of the prominent American makers (from the 1960's) TRADING and is anyone familiar with the names of William Carboni, Louis Condax, Mario D'Alessandro, Dario D'Attili, Mario Frosali, Erwin Hertel,Frank Passa, George Schlieps, Anthony Wrona etc.

All of these makers were as prominent in their time as you are in yours. Their work was featured in the Loan Exhibition of Stringed Instruments and Bows in NYC 1966 commemorating the 70th Birthday of Sacconi, to whom most of todays finest owe a great debt of gratitude.

What I have explained, is my point of view regarding market history of old vs new.

Nevertheles, there are many excellent makers today making very fine instruments.

January 21, 2007 at 11:41 PM · Gennady, some of these makers weren't very prolific. How many instruments did Dario make? Wasn't Condax an amateur?

Not to take anything away from them, making didn't offer much of a living in the era when Strads were relatively cheap.

It's unfortunate that one might make the best instrument in the world, but without sufficient volume, probably not achieve lasting recognition.

A separate issue might be quality. Sacconi's work was probably a good cut above the others you mentioned, or at least those I've seen, and I expect the market today would reflect that.

If not and I can have a Sacconi for not much more than a Frosali, I'll take a dozen! ;-)

To add to your tribute though, I'd probably be considered "Sacconi school", and I agree that we owe him a lot.

January 22, 2007 at 12:17 AM · As David says, they weren't really the prominent professional makers of the era. What they were was that they were all closely associated with the Wurlitzer shop, which was obviously using the opportunity of the show to promote its circle of workers and friends. Bein and Fushi still does the same thing, now, for instance, and I was at one time the beneficiary of that, as have been a number of others, some of whom have only made a couple of violins, just like the Wurlitzer situation.

Sacconi was the most prominent one on that list, and many American makers who started or worked at some time in the better American shops can trace their lineage back to him, directly through their shop training back through people who he trained (me, too, for instance, via the Bein & Fushi shop, which was started by an ex-Wurlitzer restorer. I believe David's connection is via Hans Weisshaar, who was another Wurlitzer guy?) There isn't a day that goes by that most of us in the shop end of the business don't rely on some aspect of setup that Sacconi and the Wurlitzer shop had a hand in, one way or another, for instance.

David's analysis on violin inflation has been supported by several studies done by economists looking at sales and auction records, which are available back quite a surprising distance in time: violin appreciation has closely tracked inflation, overall, for the last several hundred years. The only way to beat it is to be in the business, to have an unusual opportunity, or to live in an unusual time, since violin appreciation usually occurs in fits and starts.

January 22, 2007 at 02:57 AM · Hence my usual point, based on a history of Market Analysis and Market History, if one bought a Bisiach,or Sgarabotto, Fiorini, Poggi, Lucci, Garimberti, Lucci, Rocchi (sometimes from the makers themselves) before they passed away (which was between 1970-1990) for around 3K to 5K they are the expensive fiddles of today. Aren't they?

BTW, Erwin Hertel,Frank Passa, George Schlieps, Anthony Wrona were quite prolific makers.

January 22, 2007 at 03:12 AM · Gennady says: "Hence my usual point, based on a history of Market Analysis and Market History, if one bought a Bisiach,or Sgarabotto, Fiorini, Poggi, Lucci, Garimberti, Lucci, Rocchi (sometimes from the makers themselves) before they passed away (which was between 1970-1990) for around 3K to 5K they are the expensive fiddles of today. Aren't they?"

BTW, Erwin Hertel,Frank Passa, George Schlieps, Anthony Wrona were quite prolific makers."

You're using some awfully broad numbers there, Gennady! Fiorini, for instance, died in 1934, which isn't 1970-1990. Sgarabotto died in 1959. I'm not even going to bother tracking the others. If you pull out a broad enough brush, you may cover your point, but I'm hardly convinced. Delude yourself, if you wish, but I ain't buying it.

Passa's entry in Wenberg says he made "several violins". Hertel's says "made quite a few violins", Schlieps, 24 by the time of the book. This may be impressive to someone who's never made a violin, but it's certainly not the kind of numbers that any sort of a meaningful reputation is built on. I've been involved in a lot of other distractions, and have made about 200 instruments, a friend of mine is up to around 600, which are mostly cellos, and another racked up well over 1000 in his first 20 years, and it's ten years since then and he's still going strong. What makes a "prolific maker" may be in slight debate, but numbers like 24 and "several" don't even begin to qualify. Really, try for just a bit of intellectual honesty here!

January 22, 2007 at 03:22 AM · Michael, but you did not address the first part of the post.

G. Schlieps in his entire career made just as many instruments as some of the Italian counterparts I've mentioned.

And other prolific makers of the same era from England, Germany, Hungary and the US. Yet which are the instruments which have truly increased in value since then? That aspect of market history and analysis is very much the reality. I am sure you are aware of that.

January 22, 2007 at 03:28 AM · In response to Mr. Burgess:

I have owned quite a few older violins and bows. Lupot, Cappa, Scarampella, Peccatte, Tourte Pajeot, Da Cunha, Salchow, Guarnarius, Seraphin, Amati, Cerone, Modern Italian etc. etc.

This acquisition has been driven by my desire to improve my sound and playing. I have made money selling old instruments but have also made money selling modern (including Chinese. I bought a number of very good bows and violins in china this past year)

My main interest is sound. I find the history of instruments fascinating; some fiddles having had great histories, but the bottom line is sound and I should say playability. I do a fair amount of recording outside of the symphony job. Movies , Chamber music and have recently acquired a recording studio. So I have been recording various combinations of violins and bows and the thing is , (as I'm sure you all know ) that a large part of the equation in terms of just pure beauty of sound is matching violin and bow. ex. The Pajeot was great with the Scarampella but the Tourte was much better with the Lupot. The Peccatte is better than the tourte with the Guarnarius but the Peccatte and Grubaugh are in ways even better.

The investment aspect of old instruments is a financial factor but for me not a musical one.

Playability is the other big component for me. It has a huge effect on how easily you can play very difficult repertoire, thus making you sound like a more or less skilled violinist. Given a close call between sound and playability I always go with beauty of sound because having to work a little harder is always worth it if the musical result is better.

Getting back to my original idea. It seems to me now that modern violins and bows are getting as good as the great old makers in general. The exception of course are the greatest of the old makers works. Sascha ,(concertmaster of SFs) plays on Heifetz's Del Gesu and I have to say it sounds pretty good. But to be fair one would need to compare a great modern makers best from their whole lifetime of work to a violin like that which is arguably one of Del Gesu's best. Most modern makers; at least the living ones, have not yet completed their lifetime of work and I imagine that the sorting process in which the best violins of theirs become know also takes a few years.


January 22, 2007 at 03:36 AM · I could not agree more with what Sarn has written! Let us all, including me, learn from it!

January 22, 2007 at 04:09 AM · he makes a good point....

The Art of Set Up (sound adjustment) is another crucial element, that very few have mastered.

I find it invaluable to be a player and to know how I like my fiddles to be set up.

After many frustrating years, I learned it myself.

BTW, I regret greatly for not buying a Turin Guad in 1986 for 110K. Instead I bought Elmar's Fagnola.

Today, the Guad is worth more than my house...............

January 22, 2007 at 03:46 AM · As far as the return of investments in violins or anything else one can easily look back and see the winners and losers. Hindsight is 20/20. The trick is to predict what will happen in the future. There is no reason the believe that great contemporary violins won't increase in value, but that should not be the main issue when looking for a violin. It seems prudent for violinists to think of what affordable instruments will best allow them to express themselves. I don't think it is a good idea for a violinist to think of his violin as an investment like a stock or bond. It should be seen as an essential career investment. The violin is the instument that will be used to win auditions and get work.

January 22, 2007 at 04:42 AM · Gennady,

"BTW Peter Schafer,

No one collects a deposit, if you are dealing locally.

Oster shop's policy I was talking about is for sales and or trial of instruments that are Out of State."

My point, in the EDIT to my comment, was to clarify that Oster only deals violin family instruments in person. He does not ship violins and bows, as his site makes clear, so out of state purchases -- as in, shipped out of state -- do not apply to his shop. Your defense of a deposit policy is fine and I think it makes perfect sense, but your citing of Oster's as an example of a shop that requires deposits is in error.

January 22, 2007 at 04:59 AM · He has shipped out of me and others I know.

Perhaps he has changed his policy as of recently due to "unforseen problems" with shipping out of state.

January 22, 2007 at 05:33 AM · Gennady,

Good point about set up! I agree it is the third element. I remember playing Nigels "cathedral " Strad years ago and it being one of the best and most powerful Strads I've tried. Then recently hearing it in different hands and hardly believing it was the same violin. The set up (as well a the violinist) had changed and one would hardly recognize it.

I also have learned to set up my own violins including making bridges. There are so many variables to adjust and some luthiers are handicapped by not being able to play well enough to gauge subtleties of response etc.

I always feel that I don't really know how good a fiddle will sound until I've played it for a while and had a chance to do a little tweaking. Depending on the setup. strings, tailpiece, sound post, bridge can all be factors. For that matter the bow also needs to be considered.

I enjoy this aspect of the violin although I admit I can drive my wife a little crazy with it. I do feel that even with the worst setup the basic character of a violin is present . What do you all think? Then you dig until you can't make it any better.

The Grubaugh is one of a few where I haven't changed the bridge or sound post. I did change the strings and tail piece.

But.....I'm digressing. this is a whole other conversation.


January 22, 2007 at 05:36 AM · Sarn,

I agree. The inherent character is always there.

One can brighten up a dark fiddle but you can't (or I should say it is almost impossible to)make a bright fiddle dark. And there are so many other variables as well. Absolutely agree on tailpieces,bridges, bows etc.

I'll tell you that when I got my Vuillaume, which was not played on for 30 years, it sounded nothing like it sounds now. I am glad I listened to my buddy Keng-Yuen Tseng. He told me it's a keeper and said give it time. This was before I new anything about set up etc. by myself.

So, I almost sold it. Glad I didn't.

After two years of tweaking and playing it in, it opened up to it's glorious self.

According to previous publications (Millant's Vuillaume book) as well as Wurlitzer, it always was a hell of a fiddle.

January 22, 2007 at 05:39 AM · It seems all commissions are done on the basis of reputation, unless you have knowledge of time travel and played the instrument before it was made. Like it has been said, only one instrument out of three or five from the same maker may be worth the money to you, and so you have a 1/5 shot of getting exactly what you want. If it's not what you want then you return the instrument and they return the money. I've never heard of someone returning an instrument, but I'm sure it happens. If you have so many millions of dollars and aren't at all concerned about the investment value, why not commission 5 or 10 instruments and select what you would like to keep and sell or return the rest of them?

As far as deposits go, I have seen everthing. I have seen Gennady's policy in place at certain shops and I have also seen a highly respected maker lend out a bow overseas for almost two years on trial for no deposit and from only meeting and hearing the player once. Both have their place, although I don't see why one would take a 100% deposit unless they don't have the instruments insured. I have had over $20,000 worth of bows delivered and left in a box outside my door, in the rain, with stickers that read "$$ HIGH CLAIM ITEM $$" on the box. In this case, if they were damaged or stolen it would not have been my fault and I would have to object if I had made a deposit and it wasn't returned.

As far as old vs. new, I think there is little debate about sound and value. Most people simply can't afford a great older instrument, and you can get contemparary instruments that sound just as good for a fraction of the price, especially when you factor in insurance and maintenance. And both have their investment value and the problems. My teacher bought a Gagliano many years ago that sounded better than any violin he had played, and then one day it just lost its sound. He had it x-rayed and there was a sound post crack that had been very skillfully repaired and had held for a while. He made no money off of it when he sold it and has not purchased an older instrument since. On the other hand, he bought two contemparary instruments from a well known maker in NY and shortly sold them both for twice what he had paid. He bought a new instrument from the maker that had sounded as good or better than the two he sold, and after a couples years it got a crack and has never sounded the same.

Sarn, I have noticed that despite set up changes, the same character shines through. There is a bow I have tried that brought a very distinct sound out of my violin, and then my set-up changed and I also switched from gut core strings to synthetics. I tried the same bow a year later after these changes and that same distinct tone and character came through again, although it was slightly different because of the changes on my violin.

January 22, 2007 at 08:23 AM · Brian,

Interesting post.

I have never dealt with you, how would you know my policy?

As far as this issue of deposit for trial policy, it matters a lot when a shop is dealing with people out of state. Especially someone they have never met nor seen etc.

I can tell you many horror stories. The point is, when one takes out a bow or an instrument, they are responsible.

The insurance industry is updating the many archaic rules we have lived by. And the Appraisers Association is asking all of its members to get up to date on this.

Insurance companies will not pay if there is negligence involved.

A colleague of mine came to work one morning, and accidentally dropped his very beautifulC. Thomassin viola bow on the stage. The head popped immediately.

It took him many months and many visits to P. Siefried to convince them (the insuror)of the nature of the damage, and what its real value after the break is. It's not like before, when they just cut you a check the following day etc.

Things have changed.

I have had occassions when my instrument or bow came back damaged. If it is a new bow for example, I have to send it back to the maker (in France) for things to be done. All of that is out of pocket and is on top of what I had paid for it already.

And again, we are talking about an Out-of-State policy, which most shops adhere to (cause it makes perfect sense). Some take your Credit Card # as deposit,in case things happen.

No arguments as to "what damage?" and "who did it", or "maybe it was FedEx?" etc.

This way, responsibility and accountability is established from the begining.

and BTW, some new instruments range from 25K-60K. In that case, might as well see what's out there in the old fiddle department of that price range.

January 22, 2007 at 09:54 AM · Hi Sarn;

I hope you didn't think I was disagreeing with anything you said.

I meant to come across in support of your choice.


January 22, 2007 at 10:06 AM · Very few great moderns go for more than 25k and very few great old fiddles sell for less than 30. Brian's point about getting as much or more fiddle for less with a great modern is certainly true. Sarn has attested to that, and I have told you about the how good this Needham out here is, which is what one of the best players on this site, Emil, has been saying for a long time (about the Needham). The Burgess that was out here was also damn good, and the Kelvin Scott that is here now is the easiest fiddle to play that any of us have ever played, old or new--hard to return a fiddle that plays easier than anything you have ever played...hell an old guy like me sounds like he can play on that thing; it almost plays itself

Point: the great modern makers are doing it! A point Ricci made over and over in the last 20 years.

Great post about the importance of set up! And great points about matching bow to violin.

January 22, 2007 at 04:20 PM · Raymond,

If you need'em, I've got a Needham for you.

My point also is that, there are good moderns for 10K-15K as well, by younger makers. You have yet to compare a Zanetti with the ones you've tried. Superb fiddles (especially for the price).

And BTW, Ricci loves instruments old and new. There are recordings of him from 30 years ago compraing the contemporary fiddles. And there are recordings of him comparing the Glory of Cremona as well (Strads, Guarneris etc.).

January 22, 2007 at 06:56 PM · I was wanting to know if any of you have played on a John Sipe Violin. What do you think of it?

January 23, 2007 at 01:48 AM · Raymond,

what is the date of the Kelvin Scott instrument? I have played on one of his violins dated 1998. It had been played on for about 6 years and it wasn't that great. He has subsequently won some medals so is a better maker I guess.


January 23, 2007 at 03:13 AM · I recently spoke with a well-respected luthier in town regarding how long it takes to open up a new violin to its full self. The answern was 50 years. Is this true?

January 23, 2007 at 03:51 AM · The Kelvin Scott that is here is new. I do not know what he was building in 1998, but his violins are really good now. He would not be winning the medals otherwise.

Gennady, thank you for thinking of me, but Needham's sound has changed in the last years. I would want what he is building now.

January 23, 2007 at 05:43 AM · I think the fiddle is 1 or 2 years old.

January 23, 2007 at 05:44 AM · Yixi Zhang,

There are fiddles that need more break in time than others.

Recently I strung up a Bignami from 1977 that has never been played (a virgin). It's been in the closet. After two days, and after my set-up, it's sounds huge and very similar to my old Fagnola (Ex-E. Oliveira).

January 23, 2007 at 03:53 PM · Hmm the violin market is pricy and obviously that influences the market for new instruments as well. What can be said in general is that prices for new instruments seem to be significantly higher in the US than in Europe. Here in the UK or in France/Italy you can buy a fantastic violin by award winning makers in the 10-15 K Euro bracket, I know only of few in Europe who charge more i. e. 20k Eu. I know that the dollar exchange rate is low but in real purchase power 10.000 Eu in Europe is roughly the same as 10.000 USD in the US.

That just makes me wonder how come there is this big difference between the US and European markets. The price for old italian instruments is roughly the same.

Is it lack of competition in the US compared to high competion in Europe? What's your opinion?

If you can get an instrument of the same quality for roughly half the price in Europe are the American makers then a good investment? What's your view?

January 23, 2007 at 04:32 PM · Twenty thousand Euros is currently $26,000, and I could also only name only a few American makers who charge this. I did discuss this once on the phone with a popular German maker who had the same impression as you do. We named the prices of the people we knew, and discovered that after you knocked out about the top five or ten prices in both places, things were pretty much the same here and there, AND that there were about the same number of people charging similar prices way above the norm.

The folks with stratospheric prices get all the attention because they have created more noise (because of their prices?--it's a common strategy to price things to get attention in the market and create demand), but Americans are not the only ones doing this. My violins, at $15,000, are at the upper end of the middle market in this country, I think, and there are quite a few choices even as low as half that. I suspect most makers (by number) get around $10,000-12,000 in the US, and have full and successful careers doing so.

Italian violins do seem to be lower priced. I'm admit certainly biased but I've not been particularly impressed by the average of the ones I've seen (I'm sure there are great Italian makers, too, as there are everywhere), so that pricing may be the result of a general players' consensus on their tonal qualities (the people who are pushing Italians by trading on the concept that IT'S FROM ITALY will of course contest that point of view.)

January 23, 2007 at 05:51 PM · We were very underwhelmed by all the contemporary Italian violins we tried in the $10K-$15K range. It's not genetic.

January 23, 2007 at 08:31 PM · .......

January 23, 2007 at 08:29 PM · Peter,

it helps for people to know which fiddles exactly were underwhelming (by whom)........

January 23, 2007 at 08:42 PM · From Kristian Rahbek Knudsen;

"What can be said in general is that prices for new instruments seem to be significantly higher in the US than in Europe."


Like Michael already expressed, I'm not sure there is that much of a price difference.

If there is.........

Things have changed in the violin making and music businesses.

At one time, serious music students went to Europe for their education. Now, it's not unusual to see people from all over the world coming to the US for training.

Worth noting is that American makers have done conspicuously well in European and international violin making competitions, often winning the first time they have entered.

David Burgess

January 23, 2007 at 10:53 PM · "If you need'em, I've got a Needham for you."

Surely you're not promoting your own products Gennady?

One law for the rich and another for the poor.

January 23, 2007 at 11:30 PM · Nope, not promoting. It is on consignment, if anyone is interested.

But I do represent some of the Finest Young French Bowmakers like LeCanu and others.

January 23, 2007 at 11:52 PM · That sounds suspiciously like hard sell. I didn't realise you were such a dealer- no wonder you feel a little threatened by innovation, all that money invested...........I'm very disappointed.

January 24, 2007 at 12:28 AM · Gennady,

None by anyone you represent, I'm sure ;^)

Let's just say quite a few from Cremona, also some from Florence and Milan.

January 24, 2007 at 12:43 AM · Martin,

Don't try that on me: "That sounds suspiciously like hard sell."

The guy is interested in that maker, I stated that I have one if he is interested. Hard sell????????

.....and No one is threatened here.

I love innovation, and as I have stated to you before, I own one of the best Carbon Fiber bows by Benoit Rolland, among the many other great bows (pernambuco bows in my collection).

Even in our discussions on a previous thread, I have explained myself clearly on the issue. And by now, you know what I do. You've seen the many threads etc.

To see what I do musically (professionally), just click on my name and you'll know.

GF Thomastic-Infeld endorsing artist bio


I do represent G. Zanetti if you are referring to new makers.

January 24, 2007 at 12:41 AM · Continually mentioning your many possessions and the endorsement is hugely impressive. Are you really convinced though? Possessions maketh not the man......

January 24, 2007 at 12:56 AM · Martin,

I suggest a stiff drink, or Prozac :)

I have to wonder what's eating you?

Didn't your mom tell you that "It is what you do in life that defines who you are...."

Most here do know whom I represent as a dealer and what I do as a musician. And they also know that I am a collector/and member of the Appraisers Association.

I suggest stickicking to the theme of the original post.

January 24, 2007 at 01:01 AM · I'm only winding you up Gennady, your membership of whatever, your ownership of whatever and your endorsement by whoever is hugely impressive.

January 24, 2007 at 01:07 AM · no reason to go there Martin.


January 24, 2007 at 03:31 AM · Thanks Gennady, for answering my question.

January 24, 2007 at 06:30 AM · Sure no problem. I know it can be very frustrating sometimes....

That is why most of us keep searching.

January 24, 2007 at 06:32 AM · Thanks Sarn, for a fun thread.


This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine