Tschu Ho Lee Instruments?

February 27, 2007 at 12:56 AM · Howdy,

After witnessing the heated debate over modern vs. 20th century Italian instruments in a previous post, my conclusion is that other people on this board know a lot more about violin makers than I do!

SO - has anyone heard of Tschu Ho Lee and has anyone had experience playing his instruments? I googled my heart out, but there is no website or anything, only a bunch of modern makers who has studied with him and mentionings of him on the VSA website (judge) and his leadership in the Chicago School of Violin making.

Any insights, experiences would be lovely.

Thanks!

Replies (102)

February 27, 2007 at 02:54 AM · I haven't played any of his instruments, but I know someone who owns one and I also know a luthier who studied with him. He said he makes great violins and is a great teacher.

February 28, 2007 at 03:43 PM · I'm also interested in hearing people's thoughts about Tschu Ho Lee's violins as well as the violins made by Robert Clemens, a St Louis maker that studied under Tschu Ho Lee?

March 1, 2007 at 05:45 AM · Well I for sure do not know that much about violin makers, but as a student, I recently bought a new violin. Out of all the ones I tried, which was a lot, I loved a Tschu Ho Lee violin the best. I ended up purchasing it I really like playing on it.

March 1, 2007 at 06:01 AM · as we discussed in another thread, a lot has to do with the budget.

If you tried a Strad, a Del Gesu and a whole lot of other fiddles, and you said that you like Tschu Ho Lee violin the best, that would be kind of strange.

If you said you tried fiddles under 10K or under 20K, and his was the best, that is being more specific.

March 1, 2007 at 08:32 PM · i was just told his instruments go for $18,000 now, but apaprently he doesn't produce them as frequently as he did.

so i think julia - since she's a student - was probably trying instruments in the $20,000 range.

gennady, do you have any experience with his fiddles? he seems to be a pretty low key personality, compared to other makers who have full-scale websites and deal regularly, and my curiousity is piqued since he's in my area ; ).

March 1, 2007 at 08:40 PM · I have not tried his instruments, but If I am spending more than 5K on an instrument, I always look at the investment potential as well.

If he is in your area, you should check it out and see for yourself.

March 1, 2007 at 08:45 PM · ahh thanks. i plan to do so - but he's hard to get a hold of! i do know he has had experience judging at VSA, but his name doesn't come into frequent conversations about contemporary makers. anyway, just would like to see what a judge's instrument looks/sounds like, as opposed to the instrument he's judged!

March 2, 2007 at 03:55 AM · Gennady, the emperical data, as I told you on the other tread, does not support what you said:

From this month's srad:

"Although similar blind listening tests of violins and cellos are carried out with some regularity, their progress invariably follows a well-trodden and predictable course. The trial compares new against old, ideally including some famous and highly priced classical instruments (the inclusion of a Strad will usually mean mainstream media coverage). The results show that new instruments stand up very well and often outscore their older, more expensive counterparts. The test is then discredited and dismissed as meaningless by the experts.

A typical example is the recent trial in Sweden, which was reported and discussed in The Strad (News, June 2006 and Letters, July 2006). In this case, violins made by three modern Swedish makers were compared to a Stradivari, a Gagliano and a Guadagnini. All six instruments were played by two professional players and the sound judged and scored by an audience mostly comprising members of the European String Teacher’s Association. A modern violin by Peter Westerlund obtained the highest score."

Our tests out here turned out the same way: a Needham out did many million dollar instruments, and a Belinin and a Zyg out did most of them as well

Recently a concertmaster in Sweeden playd his Burgess in a hall and it more than held its own agains an impressive list of million dollar instrumetns.

The emperical data is long! And it all shows the same thing.

March 2, 2007 at 04:05 AM · BTW talked to the collector who was out here and asked him about set up on the instruments. He had them set up by one of the top names in the US today; he brought them to sell one so he had them in tip top shape.

His last comment to me the other day, which he said I was free to put on the site, was, "the Needham was just flat out better than anything I have ever heard and that is just the way it was! Why can't people accept what so many heard with their own ears?

He gained my respect, for sure; most let their interest in an instrument affect their views. He's above that, and I respect that greatly.

March 2, 2007 at 05:44 AM · Raymond,

Let it rest............

The point is, there are many good fiddles out there old & new.

When we conducted our comparisons here (in Seattle), like I told you on the other thread, the early 20th century fiddles and the Vuillaume ruled.

And the results from such test are not definitive for all instruments that took part in them. The tests speak only of the examples that were present.

And as you know, instruments of the same maker will vary greatly.

Please stick to the original topic of this post and don't hijack the thread by continuing the old thread.

March 2, 2007 at 05:36 AM · And I told you I would gladly take you up on that!

And yes I agree that there are great fiddles, old and new. But what you say with one hand you take away with the other.

First you say that there are great fiddles, old and new, and then you say that the 20th century stuff, and the Vellaume, rule. These are two different statements. And your usuall line about budget essentially says that a modern should only be considered if you are on a budget.

But my experience with this during the last 1 1/2 years is that the best moderns have outdone the million dollar antique stuff.

And our findings here are in line with the rest of the emperical data, as I showed with the quote from this month's strad.

But again, if you insist that the 20th century stuff rules than put it to the test. This would be easy to do now beacuse so many have voluteered their help: a lawyer told me he would write it up, a few almost world-class soloists would be happy to play, makers with the VSA are ready to get this booked for the next convention, etc.

The point is I will not tolerate the passive-aggressiveness you display when you talk about modern v. older fiddles. Like I said, what you give with one hand you totally take away with the other. I am ready to stand by what I said, and all the tests that we have done here.

Let me know, or give up your line about 20th century stuff ruling over the great moderns.

March 2, 2007 at 05:49 AM · this thread is about a modern maker, and I have nothing but great things to say about modern makers, so how am I outside the thread.

BTW, I did talk to one maker who knows this man, and he thinks very highly of him. I agree that if you live close to him you should see what he is building. I think this is true of any good builder that any of us may live close to.

And yes we all know that it would not be conclusive Gennady; nothing is. But you said that these early 20th century Italians would blow away the Needham and other moderns, we would at least know if this were true. We would also know if what happened on here was also flawed too.

Besides, if we look at all the data we see that everyone of these blind tests showed the same thing (and there have been a lot of them!). The moderns usually do a little better than the Srads, etc.

Now if we put all the tests together we do not have one example from one particular maker, we have a lot of examples from a lot of makers. And all of it agrees. In the scientific world this would be a pretty easy conclusion: the great moderns are at least as good or better than most of the antique suff out there.

The data does not lie, and I am more than willing to put it to the test one more time.

March 2, 2007 at 06:07 AM · Raymond,

Give it a rest.....

Throughout history, people have had their favorite moderns conducting similar tests etc. Where are those makers trading today?

20 years ago, Peresson was very hot, so was Bellini.

There were a few others who are completely forgotten since then.

Back then, people raved about them etc.

Michael D. made a very good point of who was the favorite modern maker of Pablo Casals, and does anyone remember or care? and where are those fiddles trading?

That is the bigger picture no matter how passionate you are about your favorite.

So just learn to agree to disagree. I think you've been around the block to know that.

You are also pi__ing many people off who have great old fiddles, who have emailed me asking who is this guy?

Just remember, todays new fiddle is tomorrow's antique.....what then?!

Will it stand the test of time?

March 2, 2007 at 07:15 AM · It seems to me there's a consensus that there are contemporary makers or makers from 30 years ago whose instruments sound as good as any. I think everybody has heard one. There's just no consensus on who those makers are - which taken together implies there must be a lot of them.

Burgess, Darnton, Needham, and Peresson will likely never be Stradivari. I think that would take a kind of paradigm shift that ain't gonna happen as long as violins are violins as we know them. It doesn't matter how good their violins are. Likewise, no composer will be Bach; it doesn't matter how good their compostions are. Nobody will be as smart as Einstein; it doesn't matter how smart they are. They're powerful, defining archetypal figures, until sometime in the distant future.

March 2, 2007 at 06:56 AM · And you are making many upset with your older fiddles rules bit, Gennady. I have gotten quite a few emails too! And all of them want to see it happen. And that is really the difference between you and I; I am willing to put the fiddles where my mouth is, you are not.

As far as people with older fiddles upset: of course! That is why at the end of any of these tests people whom own older fiddles, and of course all the shops that carry them (and cannot sell the great modern makers because they sell privately) try to discount the evidence.

Too much evidence to lie, Gennady.

As for guys like Bellini, I know of four philharmonic players playing with them, and that is just what I know.

I know of four concertmasters playing with a Burgess, two concertmasters playing with a Needham, one playing with a Gotting. I know of a dozen or so philharmonic players playing with a Dilloworth in Britain, and too many to count who are playing Ravatin, Chaudiere, and Robin in France.

So how does the point that these are fly by night makers hold up?

Yes I understand why those who have money involved are getting upset. The truth hurts their cause! But it is what it is! There are just too many facts out there to be discounted. We live in an age of really great makers, and as Ricci put it, "the great violin makers of today are replicating the sound quality of the classical cremonese works."

It is what it is

March 2, 2007 at 07:38 AM · What it is, is that you are still naive Raymond.

Ricci, has always loved fiddles old and new. he made the comparison discs on LP of the Glory of Cremona. he has done the same with new. And so has Elmar. They both have always supported new makers.

The point is, that there are still so many people who prefer the sound of the old rather than new. And new, I mean made in the last 95 years let alone made last week.

I like fiddles. I also am giving an opinion as an appraiser.

You on the other hand, do not see past your infatuation.

There is a good reason why art is art, and why old art costs more etc. Is new art better than old? It's just different...

But why is a Picasso so expensive? hmmmmm....

Your argument is flawed in that you do not take into account the fact that you cannot guarantee the quality of a new instrument in 5-10 years time.

Older fiddles have a market history. There is a finite number of instruments made by a maker, and hence the value is determined over (the many factors) and a period of time,

When one spends more than 5k on an instrument, most of the time they will make the investment consideration. Let alone spending 34K-60K on a new instrument.

As far as sound goes, you are welcome here in Seattle to see for yourself, and compare.

And BTW, I know many great players in orchestras and string quartets etc. who play Vuillaumes, Lupots, Bergonzis, Amatis, Pressendas, Roccas etc.

The point is redundant. People find what they like to play and feel comfortable playing, as well as "what they can afford"!

I have a colleague from Germany, who a few years ago was looking for a fine fiddle. She was looking at a Greiner, a Zyg. and many others, but instead found a fantastic old 18th century fiddle that she loves.

Your argument is passionate but immature.

The truth is, that market history does not lie. Neither does the sound of a Strad, Del Gesu, Guad, Bergonzi, Vuillaume, Lupot, Fiorini, Poggi, Garimberti, Ornati, Sgarabotto, Bignami etc..etc....etc....

Only time will tell if the brand new fiddle you bought for 35K-60K was worth it.

BTW,

if you did not understand the meaning of sticking to the subject, the thread is about Tschu Ho Lee not Needham.

March 2, 2007 at 08:15 AM · My goodness!!!!!! Can we stop it now? Back to answer the question from Eric! Sorry, but I and much more other people here can`t read the word "Needham" anymore.

Thank you!

March 2, 2007 at 02:18 PM · couple observations (not for the faint of heart):

1. the power of the word of mouth. mr needham can spend 10 mil a year on advertising, but it will pale in comparison with the effect of the positive review so far originated from here. it has imprinted in my mind so much that over the weekend i ordered my omelette by saying, i needham and cheese and some mushrooms...

2. i wonder if the owners of those million dollars italians would have bothered to let their instruments be compared with the modern if they were exposed to the climate that the newer ones will beat them under public eye. would they have bothered if the result is to be published? fair to say the names of the owners and their old italians will be guarded as top secret, to save face and to retain resale value? imagine tarisio has this line one day: comes with certs by abc and xyz and a copy of a newsprint describing how it LOST in a competition against a modern violin. just the provenance you need.

so, lets find a fall guy and pick on gennady who (fill the blank)... essentially, gennady is being confronted with a rather hostile environment to make a point. if gennady wins, so what? if gennady loses, the whole world knows about it and the negative implication of gennady's collection or his vuillaume is hard to contain. it is like answering a dare and put up your house in the casino. it is a high risk proposition for anyone to undertake because the world is set out to prove you wrong and in case you are wrong, to ridicule you. to me, it is not an academic evaluation for empirical data anymore. thanks to the exchange here, it is impossible to properly set up and eval the violins in question anymore. a strong bias has already been planted. at this pace, we are marching toward child play. many here would claim their mother's cooking is the best in the world. shall we do something about it?

March 2, 2007 at 03:30 PM · These playoff comparisons, while very interesting, have far to many variables to have any meaning beyoind the specfic instruments played. Even regarding the chosen few involved, did these tests consist of simply having these instruments played by themselves or were they in a string quartet setting or with a small orchestra. An instrument that can fill a hall with sound when played alone can disappear when competing with the sound of a quartet or ensemble while the "smaller sounding" instrument can be heard clearly through the rest of the musicians. This phenomenon has been proved to my ears a number of times so unless your carrer is playing solo Bach any test which does not take into account this factor is not very conclusive.

March 2, 2007 at 04:23 PM · .......

March 2, 2007 at 04:10 PM · given the subjective nature of the music business, the awe that is bestowed upon the old italians, the questionable quality of the new generation, the number of proponents in both camps, if it were up to me, ALL violins to be compared must be blinded, which means, the judges, the players, the audience should not even know whether old italians are involved, or new generation violins are involved. they may or may not be. simply violin 1, 2, 3, ,,,

if the judges or players going into the competition know ahead of time that one of the violins is such and such, their minds will be looking for IT, instead of comparing violins. the power of suggestion.

still, as the poster said above, the limitations are too overwhelming to extrapolate any findings into generalization precisely because you are comparing apple to apple,,actually one apple to another apple.

March 2, 2007 at 04:35 PM · Al Ku (or whatever your real name is),

Don't even start on your mother my mother thing.

It is obvious that there are many here under the guise of "anonymity" are pushing an agenda.

Your discourse is way off course.

The "empirical" data you talk about is by no means definitive data that serves any cohesive purpose for all instruments.

Only time can tell, if a brand new instrument that sounds like the "reincarnation of old" will sound as good or better in 5-10 years.

There have been many excellent makers in the past 20-30-40 years. The ones who withstood the test of time and have proven a steady climb in appreciation tend to have been from Italy.

The makers that died between 1980-1995:

C. Farotto, F. Garimberti, G. e L. Bisiach, N. Novelli, G. Stefanini, Pietro Sgarabotto, G. Lucci, S. Rocchi, Ansaldo Poggi, O. Bignami.

That is empirical market DATA.

There were also makers popular 20 years ago like Peresson. I can only say that his early fiddles are the ones that still sound good.

Your argument (which seems very much in concert with Raymond), is flawed and immature and proves only that you are blinded by infatuation or perhaps by self promotion.

It also pi--es off many, who object to you and Raymond putting down fiddles that have been made after the death of Del gesu.

There have been some who have spoken to their attorneys about it. And being that this a site is for all the world to see, I suggest you tame your enthusiasm about your agenda.

Again, only time can tell if the new fiddle will withstand the Test of Time, as well as market appreciation (which is another story altogether).

Also consider the fact that there are people out there who really do not care for the sound of modern fiddles. They like the old ones, dark & juicy etc.

I like new fiddles as well as old ones, but that's just me.

To each his own.

But stop being myopic and understand that some people like Pepsi, and some don't. Big deal...it's all very individual and personal.

You are begining to sound like those "Lose 100 lbs in 2 days" commercials (with products that have not been tested over time).

BTW,

if you did not understand the meaning of sticking to the subject, the thread is about Tschu Ho Lee not Needham.

March 2, 2007 at 04:31 PM · gennady, notice that i do not respond to your taunting and histrionics which may serve you well as a performer.

my opinion is not dependent on who you are and how obtuse you can be, in your words.

in one of your earlier posts, you have opened up my world by suggesting that i am a violin maker. imagine my delight with the thought of that! if the person you have in mind is any good, heck, i will take it! all for you, in your lalaland.

to say that you have never been shy about putting people down on v.com is probably an understatement. even though i question raymond's approach in setting up the contest the way it is heading, i think it is another understatement that many people think the emperor has no clothes on. to conclude each "insightful" knoweldge sharing session with a hook about the collection and representation,,,oh my, is something "obtuse" music school graduates can really learn from...what not to do in the real world.

like you, i shall conclude by suggesting to everyone since i am done with the rhetoric,,hey, lets stick to the topic on this thread please. what a pretentious fart i must be!

March 2, 2007 at 05:59 PM · enjoy whatever the drug of choice you are taking........your "obtuseness" is showing loud & clear.

& BTW, I do not put people down. If I am insulted, I will respond.

I also suggest you retract your malicious statement above immediately. It is absolutely False.

For your information, I do not own instruments by Garimberti, Ornati, Fiorini, Poggi, N. Novelli, G. Stefanini,Farotto. But I do admire their work a great deal.

Yes, back to the topic of the thread.

March 2, 2007 at 06:06 PM · Eric, you live in the same town. Why don't you go see him and report back, instead of asking people thousands of miles away about him:)

March 2, 2007 at 06:05 PM · who really cares about what instruments you own or do not own or you want people think you own or you think you own...

as a potential make-belief violin maker, i would like to suggest to you, on behalf of the comrades in the trade, that your use of violin makers in furthering your agenda is getting tiring.

get some sleep in seattle.

March 2, 2007 at 07:30 PM · cut the crap.....

you are the one sounding like a broken record.

Market DATA is available to all of those who wish to see it on many other sites as well as known publications.

Incidentally, your ignorant statement attacks not only me, but the intelligence & integrity of the other spectrum of notables such as Charles Beare, Phil Kass, Duane Rosengard, members of the Appraisers Association of America , and many many more people who are happy owners of wonderful old instruments.

Again I will reiterate "I suggest you retract your malicious statement above immediately. It is absolutely False."

March 2, 2007 at 07:29 PM · I don't think anyone would disagree that all violins are unique in sound and play differently. You can assume that any violinist wants the best violin for his money. It is also a given that the inovators of the violin, the original makers who determined the different forms and models the violin has today have the most value. These old violins have value as antiques because of their historical significance. All the violins made since the time of the first master makers have their value determined by supply and demand from players and collectors. The works of contemporary makers probably won't sustain the price levels of comparable works from dead modern makers while they are still alive. I don't think that the so called modern Italians have any special value as antiques, but because there is a finite supply of them and they are very fine they demand higher prices. As Gennady stated there are good violins from all eras. On reflection I don't think these comparison tests mean that much. It is all subjective and depends on what particular violin from a maker, goes against what particular violin from another maker, and in what particular venue and circumstance. There are too many variables to determine anything.

March 2, 2007 at 09:58 PM · Tschu Ho Lee is an excellent maker-nice sounding instruments that respond well and are easy to play. Sarah Chang had one of instruments at some point. He has also turned out many fine students at the Chicago School of Violin Making. I got a very nice viola made by one of his students without breaking the bank.

March 2, 2007 at 09:07 PM · Makers have been striving for years to try and equal or surpass the great older instruments. Maybe Needham is one of the first to do so?

I don't know. I'd love to hear or hear the results of a good (*) modern vs. older violin comparison test though. These things are *never* conclusive but they can shed some interesting light in the same way that the Paris Wine Tasting of 1972 indicated that at least some California wines were becoming the equal of great French wines.

I also want to point out that at the highest levels, I don't think investment value is the only indicator of instrument quality.

Price is a function of the willingness of buyers to pay that price. No more and no less. Sound quality plays a factor in setting a high price. But so does provenance, history, rarity, intangibles like owning a piece of history, and who knows what else.

So just because an old violin has a 6 or 7-figure cost, that doesn't guarantee that it is a better playing or sounding instrument than an instrument made by a great modern maker.

Matter of fact, I'll go further and say even if a modern maker succeeds in making instruments as good or better than the great old instruments and even if that maker is widely recognized as having done so, it will likely take a hundred years or more for the prices of those instruments to match the prices of Strads and Del Gesus simply because the newer instruments will lack the historical and antique value of the Strads and Del Gesus.

So while pricing can be an interesting thing to to talk about, pricing cannot be viewed as the conclusive arbiter of which instruments are better.

Pricing can only be viewed as the conclusive arbiter of which instruments are more in demand by the people who can afford to buy them.

- Ray

(*) - on the topic of "good" violin comparisons, I confess that most of the ones I've heard about have been awful. They mostly seem to involve people who haven't developed good critical listening abilities listening to music they likely don't know in circumstances where the they have no control over what they hear and how often they hear it. That's not a test. That's a fiasco pretending to be a test.

A good study would involve players and listeners who can hear subtle differences and would take into account not only the resulting sound but also what it takes to get that sound.

That kind of test should be feasible and doable. Or do we believe that the VSA tone competitions are all a crock???

March 2, 2007 at 09:42 PM · My word, this is almost becoming a religous. "I'm right!" "No, I'm right!"

There is no doubt that both modern and old insruments can be wonderful, and that in a blind test modern instruments can score above the old legends. The one thing that moderns lack is the psychological factor that the antiques have, though: the sense of pride and prestige which accompanies something such as a Strad, which many hold in awe.

The antiques and relics of history are often held in a glorfying light in many experiances in our life, be it from media or interaction. These events shape of views, making us look at the 'antique' and famed in a revered light. Of course modern artists won't have that. Mention a Strad and lots of people go "Oooh". Mention a modern maker and most people go, "Who?"

But to think that the old painters cannot be surprised is merely overglorifying things that you view in reverance. In human history there have undoubtedly been great musicians and artists in the past, but to think that these people are gods of what they did, and cannot be surprised is sheer ignorance. At the core they are humans, moulded by their environments, chance, and choice like the rest of us. With billions of human lives, there is no question that a former level of skill can be met by another.

So what's the difference? Why, how well known it is, of course. There can be a violinist who can cure cancer with his playing, but it matters little if he lives in the depths of some forest in Africa and is never introduced to the world.

But we must remember that the basic function of music is one of emotion: to inspire, to enthrall the senses with harmonies, to create moods that influence our mind and actions.

So really, who gives a damn if that's done on a Needham or a del Gesù? As long as the instrument can provide dazzling beauty and captivate audiences with a sense of wonder, or ignite passion or chills in their souls, does it really matter?

March 2, 2007 at 10:20 PM · oh my god. i stepped away from the internet for one night and this happens! i suppose it's good that people are so impassioned about their instruments...now if i may add my two cents, without any death threats, since i started this post on a DIFFERENT topic, ahem raymond ; )…

special qualities of instruments are so subjective to every player (some prefer strads, some prefer guarneris, some prefer needhams…), and i'm sure all instrumentalists are seeking that perfect instrument they just love. though, even between strads there might be one or two bummers that don’t quite live up to their golden age brothers/sisters but are certainly nicer than shar catalogue violins (no offense to shar…).

what i don't understand is this 'competition' that has obviously become a personal challenge. if 5 soloists prefer strads over needhams, does that make guarneri violins inferior? i sincerely doubt it. or, if 5 soloists prefer needhams over a strad, does that make strads inferior? Not. At. All.

what makes sense to me, in this whole discourse, is the word "investment", like gennady said. these older instruments are antiques, and antiques in their own right have historical values and market trends that moderns simply don't have the time to accrue. i personally don’t understand an ugly cabinet from the whatever era with the whatever inlays – i prefer to shop at target and ikea – but people do appreciate antiques!

who knows what a needham is going to be worth one day, but other older instruments have had the history, the reputation, and needless to say, the sound to back it up. their craftsmanship and sound, in addition to history, have been translated for laymen into monetary values that only musicians can truly understand and appreciate. it’s like walking through the streets of vienna and realizing that mozart, walter, mahler have walked those same steps, something i’m sure a lot of people can appreciate but i’m guessing few will feel it at the same level of excitement and passion of musicians or composers walking through the same streets.

and if a budding prodigy is being awarded his/her soloist instrument (a la yehudi menuhin and his first strad via a generous patron), would he/she pick a needham over a strad? i don't know. maybe i’d humbly accept the strad and place it for auction at christie’s and pay off conservatory loans and buy me a nice guarneri; or a nice prime piece of trump real estate and a nice needham to play with. obviously this is not how it works, but that’s investment in a rough and somewhat satirical sense.

if each has qualities this soloist is seeking (tone, projection, color, playability) - "investment"-wise it's probably smarter for the player to take the one with a stable market value increase (though it’s supposedly not nearly as high as we think). it doesn't mean the needham is a shoebox with strings, it just means older instruments have that investment stability and history that complements it's (hopefully) great craftsmanship and sound.

if these moderns are truly great instruments, they will, in due course of time, garner the status and reputation of the other great instruments. no need for any type of competition – sound for sound, tone for tone, color for color, harmonic for harmonic – it’s just not that simple when we’re talking about this kind of investment, monetary or emotional. you can have the most brilliant mansion built by the best architect today with all the imported marbles and columns you want, but if you build on a piece of swamp land or in the middle of nowhere piece of depreciating land, compared to the mansion with similar attributes, but in manhattan, who’s going to choose swamp house?

and why would you trust someone else’s technique and ears to your own? we don’t all have technique like hilary hahn, and i doubt many of us can make these great instruments sound the way they do in the hands of perlman or kavakos, nor do we have the preference for the same sort of sound (see other thread on ranking soloists’ techniques – sound, right arm, left arm, vibrato, etc.). there is no definitive best instrument of all time or whatever, it’s just silly and Not. That. Simple (see gorgeous mansion on swampland analogy).

what’s important is to be as well-informed and researched as we can before making a selection (which is why i started this thread on tschu ho lee) and trust your training and aesthetics. and yes, competitions can bolster a maker’s reputation and result in more commissions, but it’s such an impossibility to judge history. it should be about what you are personally looking for. if others like something else, that’s fine too! we should just be thankful that there are such tremendous makers today who can continue the tradition of great violin making at a (more) affordable price and hopefully their efforts will live on a century from now.

March 2, 2007 at 10:33 PM · Armand, that's pretty utopian.

March 2, 2007 at 10:56 PM · The concept of a violin being 'better' than any other violin is somewhat ridiculous. As many have stated, what one defines as beautiful, another can similarily look on with disgust. Igniting positive emotions varies between the thing, and finding a universal 'better' violin is to search for the Holy Grail.

If you're trying to prove that a violin is superior, you have to have precise ways to measure it, and 'beauty of tone' is not a scientifically measured thing. If you're doing loudness, or how far the sound carries, etc, then these things can be measured.

But, to decide which violin is more pleasing to the ear is going to be a fool's task, as all of our expectations, tastes, and concepts of beauty have been fashioned differently throughout our lives, even if there be many similarities in taste between groups of people.

You can perhaps prove that 10 people like the sound of X Strad, while 9 people prefer the sound of Y del Gesù, but that is not proof of superiority; it is a test of popularity.

So, blind tests are obviously not going to reveal what instrument is superior. They can, however, give evidence that many people enjoy the tone of modern instruments equally to that of old violins.

In short: whatever floats your boat.

March 2, 2007 at 11:30 PM · But where's the competition in that?

March 2, 2007 at 11:32 PM · competition is in your technique and playing, since instruments don't play themsevles. people who make a living doing what they llove (playing music) are winners in my book, no? ; )

March 2, 2007 at 11:36 PM · Competition for violinmakers? Well, perhaps seeing who gets the bigger paycheck?

For dead makers I'd suggest a competition of whoever has the most obsessed fans that dig up their grave. Thus anyone with a coffin below 6 feet produced terrible instruments.

Unfortunately if the maker was cremated after death then he's quite simply screwed.

March 2, 2007 at 11:49 PM · That is kind of creepy 6 Feet Under kind of "humor".

As for pricing of instruments by deceased makers, market demand (or lack of) is reflected in Market History for those makers.

For living makers, it is whatever the market will bear, and if it is hot for now with some, that maker laughs his way to the Bank.

But in no way does it dictate the future appreciation of that instrument/maker. Only time and demand will dictate that.

I said it before and I will say it again.....

Some people like only old. Some would love to have old but cannot afford it. And some want the best for their budget. Thank goodness there are excellent new instruments.

March 3, 2007 at 12:09 AM · Yes, well, creepiness makes other things seem more pleasant. It's like talking to idiots to feel more intelligent yourself.

"Some people like only old"

Unfortunately that view is based mainly on the knowledge that what they're playing on is old, and isn't relevant to the actual tone the instrument produces.

"What you don't know can't hurt you" as they say.

If you give one of these people who only like old instruments a great modern instrument, but they are, however, under the instrument that it's old, then voilà they like it.

Their reality of liking only old instruments is based on a conscious bias, and does not reflect the craftmanship of the work. Proceeding impressions plays a large role in our realities.

Many would of course prefer to play a Strad than a modern violin, even if they think the modern has a superior tone, simply because of the esteem they hold Strads in. The rarity of the instrument elevates them: modern makers can dish out new instruments, but Strads are rare and limited.

March 3, 2007 at 12:36 AM · To "ArmedandMoltoAdagio",

perhaps I should ask Laurie N. to ask people like you to update your info and reveal your full information so we all know who is really making the insults?

I like the way the Band of Brothers are working in concert.

I have been clear in what I've said. Don't twist things around to suit your purpose.

People find what they like to play and feel comfortable playing, as well as "what they can afford"!

I have a colleague from Germany for example, who a few years ago was looking for a fine fiddle. She was looking at a Greiner, a Zyg. and many others, but instead found a fantastic old 18th century fiddle that she fell in love with. Not because its old, but because she loved its SOUND.

Your argument is redundant and obvious (as well as your agenda). Thanks for revealing it.

You (and the Band of Brothers), just refuse to admit that there are people out there who like the SOUND of old.

Hence my statement:

Some people like only old (SOUND). Some would love to have old (SOUND)but cannot afford it. And some want the best for their budget. Thank goodness there are excellent new instruments.

March 3, 2007 at 12:37 AM · Good sir, I advise against puffing the whack whack as it is quite terrible for your health.

Agenda? I believe that you have been reading far too many murder mystery novels. I suggest the romance genre.

As for myself: which are you asking? What my name is, or who I am? People are defined by their actions, beliefs, ideas, thought process, personality, as well as such a multitude of things that asking 'who' someone is just beckons for a limited answer. The things that define me to others are highly likely of very little use to you. As for my name: it is as this website says it is. I am not Itzhak Perlman in disguise, unfortunately.

I must, however, enlighten you to the beauties of the concept that is known as 'reading comprehension'. It is a very useful tool, and no doubt will aid you in future discussions. Try google or wikipedia for more information on the concept.

I am not part of some conspiracy group trying to get moderns sold. If you read my posts (reading comprehension) you will find that I have never once said that old instruments are worse than moderns. In fact, I own an old instrument because playing on an antique gives off a certain romantic atmosphere to me, and just makes me feel better than playing on a modern.

There are old instruments that are better than moderns, and moderns that are better than some olds. It just depends on the instruments you're comparing. If I was given the chance between a del Gesù and a Needham, I'd definitely choose the del Gesù unless it produced an infernal noise. But then again I've never played on a Needham, so I have no idea if it produces some orgasmic sound or whatnot.

Thank you, and have a lovely day.

March 3, 2007 at 01:25 AM · what you are is irrelevant. But what your personal info is, is quite relevant, so in case any slanderous remarks are made (again & again), attorneys can act appropriately :)

BTW,

it is you who could benefit from the concept that is known as 'reading comprehension 101'. It is a very useful tool, and no doubt will aid you in future discussions. Just take a look at your post above and how you respond to the word old, eventhough you knew that what was meant was old SOUND.

March 3, 2007 at 01:37 AM · Slanderous? Surely you are not that overly sensitive to words and opinions, my dear friend. I wouldn't consider my statements anywhere near insulting. I was in the hopes that we could be above playground antics, "Teacher, Billy said I was bad at basketball..." Ah, poor Sarah, her basketball skills have been insulted. However shalt she live on? I am sure her survival would depend upon anti-depressants and many psychiatrists, such is the tormenting and soul-cleaving nature of 'you fail at basketball'. Oh, cruel world!

No, I did not know that what you meant by 'old' was 'old sound', tsk tsk. Pray tell, what is "old sound" are you suggesting that old instruments have a certain tonal characteristic, that distinguishes them from other violins? That is a very interesting thought. Something that Tolkien perhaps should've added to his Lord of the Rings novel.

But really, this is getting further off-topic and I doubt the original author appreciates it. I have nothing against your person, and I doubt you have anything against mine, so there is no reason for hostility between us. I have told you that I do not think modern instruments superior to old instruments, and that it merely depends on the violin. Assuming you agree with that statement, then we have nothing to argue about, chérie.

March 3, 2007 at 02:02 AM · ditto....

March 3, 2007 at 02:10 AM · Never thought I'd see a settled argument on this discussion.

March 3, 2007 at 03:18 AM · Mr. Winston, I think there is one shop specifically in the Chicago area that I think represents Tschu Ho Lee, but I do not remember which one. Chicago is a great place to get a violin, so many great places to go, and there are some great makers as well! I guess it all depends on what you are looking for though.

March 3, 2007 at 04:08 AM · My computer recently broke down. Has anyone here received my private message (you should know who you are...)?

Thanks.

March 3, 2007 at 05:11 AM · Gennady,

Market data is not any kind of conclusive evidence that proves quality of a product, but rather public perception, which we know is very fickle. There is absolutely NO logical reason why 30 year old moderns are no longer in vogue other than the fact that no one has promoted them. If you look at 18-19 century French and Italian violins, only 50 or so makers really stand out. However, there are a number which are not so famous, like Praga and Carcassi, for example, which have lower prices and often a good sound.Of course, one can't compare them to the very top, but you can definately compare them with Rocca, Pressenda and several other big names. A lot of it has to do with hype. Fortunately for often incredibly mediocre italian instruments, they have the benefit of having been made in Italy, and many of them have last names that sound like a delicious pasta dish. Naturally, fickle and illogical creatures that we are, we fall for this italian fetishism.

I am not attempting to discredit your findings in Seattle. I'm just addressing your remarks regarding the commercial viability of older modern instruments.

As for the original post:

I have a teacher who along with an impressive collection of modern italians, has many, many top Chinese makers. I have tried 2 violins by this maker, and they didn't blow me away like some others. If I remember correctly, his work is an excellent value.

March 3, 2007 at 05:24 AM · You should contact Peter Seman in Chicago of Seman Violins in Skokie, or go down the street to the Chicago School of Violin Making and you should be able to track down one of his instruments.

March 3, 2007 at 06:16 AM · I am trying to understand the economic arguments often given on this site, but they are really hard to understand. So I posted the following on two of the micro/macro econ. sites that I belong to:

“What would you say if you could buy a new product for 18-35 K that was just as good as an old product (too much empirical evidence to believe otherwise) that sold for millions. The reason the older product is worth so much is it is limited because of its age, etc. (supply and demand are the factor behind its price). And the older product, in general, has a romantic value to it, much like old art has, etc…”

Answer:

“ What, are you crazy?! If you wanted this product and if you could get equal value by spending 18-35 K, rather than spending a million K, then you would have to be a fool to buy the older product!” The only reason to buy the older product would be if it had sentimental value to you, or if this ‘romance’ was worth this to you, or if this older product was a sound, profitable investment. I guess I really would need to know what this older product is.”

So I answered his question: “the older product is an old Italian violin.”

Answer: famous antique violins, in general, are a very poor investment because they do nothing more than grow at the state of economic growth. In other words, they are virtually equal to a simple savings account, with one great exception; they are volatile. Anyone with a little knowledge about investing money can do much better with a million dollars!”

All the replies were the same; they all thought the matter was silly! I chose to quote this man’s reply because he is a pro: a professor of business and economics at one of the top universities in this country!

A while back someone on this site said they had 350,000 US to spend on a violin. They found a Greiner that out preformed all the violins at that price range (that he tried) so he bought the 35k Greiner and was really happy about it! Who would not be? Later someone, guess who, put the guy down for spending 35k on a modern violin! I wonder what this prof. of economics would say about all this! LOL Then again, I already know what he would say because he already said it, “What, are you crazy?”

Man, why do violinists have to make arguments about money that real moneymakers will think are utterly silly! Honestly, it is embarrassing!

Ray

March 3, 2007 at 07:05 AM · Raymond,

You really should drop it.............

If you bother looking in the archives, I have written a whole lot about it including raw market data which disproves your post.

Here is one example:

In 1999 Orchestrated Investments, Inc prepared a report to advise its clients at University of Cincinati.

The study compares the development of violin prices from 1960 to 1996 with the US stock market's Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor Index, as well as 10-year and 30-year treasury bonds. This research was done independently and without sponsorship.

The reasearch reached the following conclusion:

"Historically, rare violins as an investment have been a better investment vehicle than all other vehicles explored here. Continued, steady growth in the violin market is expected, while others are less predicatble."

excerpt from - "Rare Stringed Instruments as Investments".

I think you should call Mr. Charles Beare, Mr. Phil Kass and pose your silly little theory.

In fact I would not be surprised if their "representatives" may call upon you and spell it out for you.

A great many people, who happen to invest in old instruments, disagree with you wholeheartedly.

And my colleague in Germany who tried a Greiner and a Zyg. as well as a great many others, picked a fiddle that she felt sounded a whole lot better and fell in love with its sound.

The fiddle was an 18th century one.

Pieter,

The fact is you still have much learning to do.

If you are blinded by some with an agenda, that is your choice.

A 30 year modern say like a Bignami, Sgarabotto or Rocchi, today sound a whole lot better than many of the "other" famous names like Persson's.

Some very hot fiddles from 20-30years ago, are not hot anymore for a reason. They were made to sound good for the immediate present (if you know what I mean).

BTW,

some raw market data from that research:

Comparison of Investment Vehicles:

Stock Market and Violins

Initial Investment $5,000

Stock Market (DJAI) 1960$5000 (initial investment)

1978 $6,615

1996 $52,565

Violin Values 1960 $5000 (initial investment)

1978 $49,320

1996 $242,213

Comparison of Investment Vehicles:

Treasury Bonds and Violins

Initial Investment $5,000

30YR Treasury 1960 $5,000 (initial investment)

1978 $10,306

1996 $47,659

10YR Treasury 1960 $5,000 (initial investment)

1978 $11,963

1996 $56,938

Violin Values 1960 $5,000 (initial investment)

1978 $49,320

1996 $242,213

I truly suggest you drop your agenda and learn how to agree to disagree.

March 3, 2007 at 07:15 AM · I don't have an agenda Gennady... remember, I'm not the one selling something.

Also, the whole spiel about violins as an investment isn't very strong. Many of them are a safe place to park a lot of money, and will appreciate steadily, but like Raymond said, one can do a whole lot better with big money.

Personally I think Chinese violins are the best way to go in the sub 10k category. I hope that someone pipes up here who has tried one of these instruments.

March 3, 2007 at 07:26 AM · Pieter,

learn how to read the post.

Reading is a requirement in any conservatory.

Agenda was addressed to the other guy........

I hear carbon fiber fiddles are great for sub-zero temperatures....

March 3, 2007 at 07:43 AM ·

What I said stands. Ray isn't selling anything either, unlike you.

March 3, 2007 at 10:07 AM · how would you know what he is or isn't selling. Do you know him personally?

For your information, I am not selling my older instruments, they are for my kids to enjoy and do as they please.

I am selling new ones though, by G. Zanetti. Have I mentioned that along the way? Not in the course of these heated debates.

So there goes your insult.

He is pressing an agenda. Even a child of five can see that.

What I said stands much more so and on solid foundation, market data and business research has proven that.

I also suggest you PieVi, stay out of it.

This is way above your head.

Perhaps you can ask Aaron Rosand not only for a lesson in playing, but about life too, or did he not accept you as a student.

Market Data for your information is what drives the entire capital markets industry and its regulators.

March 3, 2007 at 10:34 AM · Gennady,

I never even auditioned for Mr. Rosand.

March 3, 2007 at 10:18 AM · Last year you were talking non stop about it (auditioning for Rosand and Midori) now you never even auditioned.

God help your parents and your future....

Again, this debate is above your head. I suggest you keep your insults to yourself.

March 3, 2007 at 10:29 AM · I decided I like the west coast more. And, I certainly do hope god will help both my parents, and my future. How kind and warm of you to wish for him to help us.

I'll leave you and Raymond to talk about the value of instruments. I've made my point.

Before departing though, I must say, of all the toys and playthings I've ever had in my life, you are by far my favourite, Gena.

March 3, 2007 at 03:42 PM · Gennady,

I am not even going to respond to your bit about violins as a great investment; it is just too silly to deal with. If you really want to learn about investments than you need to start talking to those who do that for a living, and start learning from them. The other option is to put your head down and say, "I'm right about this no matter what," and then insult those who have become rich doing this.

Gennady, a while back you took someone apart on here because a student was telling a symphony player how to tune--you were right in doing so. Your point was, “he’s a pro and you should respect and learn from guys like this, instead of telling them how to do something that is their profession." Perhaps a bit of your own advice would do well.

As for having an agenda: I am retired, and I make a hell of a lot of money off of rental properties, which I invested a little in. One house was bought for 12,000, it is not worth more than a million, it is rented for 3,500 a month.

No your right, I do have an agenda: I plan on buying a few properties in Hemet in the next month, anyone want to rent property from me in Hemet.

BTW, the fact that the stock market went down the other day is great to an investor; it is easy money if you were waiting ready to buy, which I was. By the end of the month I will have made a heck of a lot of money again. Man, I am glad my money is not tied up in an old Italian violin that would not sound better than a great modern! (It would probably sound not as good, in fact. But I did play a Guad that I liked better than anything else).

Again I am not addressing these silly economic arguments any further: not worth my time.

I will say this about the person who is looking into this maker: it has occurred to me that all things being equal you should buy a violin from a local maker if you can because he would be there to adjust the violin when you need it. The problem with this is that all things being equal are a long shot. Chances are that as you start looking for an instrument you will find one that you like best, which is not local. But it is something to think about.

And Eric if you do find this maker and play his instrument, please tell us about it; that is how we learn from each other on this site.

Oh and Gennady, when will you have some Bigot and Le Cannu bows again. The few who have bought them from you (that I have talked to) are very pleased with them. I really want to try them. Let me know.

March 3, 2007 at 05:50 PM · PieVi,

You are insolent yet dim. I am glad we had this talk...

Raymond,

Just learn to agree to disagree.

You have know idea....my best friends as well as family members are in the investment business.

Incidentally, according to Forbes mag., in parts of CA new-home sales plunged 57 percent in the first quarter of 2006 (compared with the first quarter of 2005). In California it now takes six months to sell a house, twice as long as a year ago. According to Forbes mag., "the triple threat of soaring prices, higher mortgage rates and relentlessly rising property taxes has drastically increased the cost of ownership and put many homes out of reach for a huge number of potential buyers.

In California, for example, only one household in seven can manage the payments on the median-priced house, now selling for $561,000. It takes an income of $134,000 to afford that home, which might be a modest three-bedroom ranch in a bland subdivision. The affordability gap is driving buyers to the sidelines, replacing the frenzy with a growing void as buyers wait for prices to drop.

Welcome to the dead zone" - By Shawn Tully, FORTUNE senior writer

BTW, as I said before, I adjust my own instruments.

I've come to realize you are also a broken record.

And as far as bows, if you are really interested, we'll talk via phone.

You can email me etc.

March 3, 2007 at 06:28 PM · I'm aware of two serious research projects on the long-term values of violins. One started with data from the late 1700s, and the other, I believe started 100 years or so later. The very definite conclusion of both was that violins exactly track inflation, in general.

Yes, people have made money in violins. The trick is, as with anything else, to buy wisely, and to buy and sell at the right times. Though violins track money in general, they don't track with money in specific, day to day. This should be a surprise to no one, inasmuch as it's the basis of the concept of diversification in investments. If, however, you cherry-pick your time periods and instruments, you can "prove" anything you want to prove. As with the new vs old question, people have definite opinion axes to grind, for various psychological reasons, and they will. The long-term market, however, has definite things to say about these things, and they aren't opinions.

My OPINION about Tschu Ho Lee violins is that they are good, and about appropriately priced. There are a lot of other makers in that price range who are good, too, so don't get hung up on one name: each violin is different, as are each player's needs! Look around at violins you can buy, don't bother looking at violins you can't buy (that should be self-evident, but people still make that mistake), and you will eventually turn up something you like in your price range, whatever that is. When you own it, you will declare that it is the best violin you looked at, and you will be right. I have rarely met someone who bought a violin thinking it wasn't the best thing they could find at that time in their price range (that should be self-evident, but I guess from discussions here recently that it isn't.)

Finally, when you get a violin, please don't grind your friends' patience down by talking about it incessantly.

March 3, 2007 at 06:23 PM · Get on ebay and put your money in Ace guitar straps. They've outperformed violins 2:1 since 1978. I see they were conveniently left out of the Cincinnati study.

March 3, 2007 at 06:40 PM · thank you mr darnton for another sensible post.

"each violin is different, as are each player's needs"

can you elaborate on that in reference to more advanced players? how do you guide them through if they really do not have a good idea what they are looking for?

thanks.

March 3, 2007 at 06:50 PM · In general, there is less volatility in the violin trade as compared to the Stock Market and Real Estate Market. And as Michael D. said.....

In 1986, say a good Fagnola sold for 25K.

Today it is more like 120K

Gosh Al Ku,

Michael D. just about confirmed a lot of what I had said before. (yet you were extremely argumentative).

March 3, 2007 at 06:53 PM · In 1986 an Ace guitar strap sold for $5. Today it is more like $50.

March 3, 2007 at 06:54 PM · LOL Jim..

March 3, 2007 at 07:34 PM · it will be more illuminating if we compare the stock market (which essentially means ALL stocks) with the average of ALL violins (which means you add up all the strads with all the 200 dollar germans, and 19.99 chinese, etc and get the mean)

if one wants to compare the track record of a single violin, then pitch it against the chart of a single stock. take your pick and make your case. rare antique italians will look like glory when comparing to some stocks, but when comparing some other stocks that have made some people living legends, it is really,,,you fill in the blank. when the violin has a split, it is not a good thing even to a strad. stockholders love splits.

it is fair to say that no one featured in Fortune or Forbes ever got there because of "investment" in antique musical instruments. the more probable and reliable routes are via real estate, the stock market, IT, biotech,,,,or the old fashioned way.

why? since strad has appreciated so much since the inception of time, how come no one featured in FORBES 400 has sought out its investment value?

1. the high end violin market is very small and the commodity is illiquid, AS COMPARED TO OTHER VENUES. a guy cannot pick up the phone and say: well you say the strad is going for 5 mil, get me 10 of it. but he could easily pick up the phone and say, get me a block of that stock, or lets talk to the owner because i want that building.

2. as mr darnton stated earlier (he really did, i swear), one has to time the market very well to do well with instruments, which according to warren buffet, is very difficult to do on a consistent basis. sure, someone somewhere some time ago could do well with a violin or two or three, but if you and a wall street pro each are given 2 mil to invest for one year, you in violin and the pro in anything else, i will put my money on the pro because,,,,he is a pro, hehe. because he is much better at stealing other people's money, lol.

2 persons can be looking at the same strad.

one is a struggling, talented violinist, ready to mortgage everything he has and borrow very very heavily and hope his career will take off. but how many can be as lucky as J Bell?

or, the other person who is sitting on 100 mil and decides to get it just for the heck of it, for the publicity of it, for the fun of it. this person does not care much about the investment value because he is in a position to say, i do it because i can. he is not afrard to "lose money" because when he is done with it his lawyers have already drafted the papers to wash any loss.

as an exercise, go ask your cpa this question: if i have put in just 5000 dollars in this stock at its inception, how much money do i have if i want to cash out to put it in antique italians?

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=BRK-A&t=my

March 3, 2007 at 07:36 PM · Well, Gennady, I didn't really say this, did I?

"And as Michael D. said.....

In 1986, say a good Fagnola sold for 25K.

Today it is more like 120K"

What I said was that if you cherry-pick, which you did, you can prove anything you want to prove. This is usually called "monday morning quarterbacking", not an investment strategy.

March 3, 2007 at 08:12 PM · Michael,

You either mis-read the post or I should have been more clear. The first phrase : "In general, there is less volatility in the violin trade as compared to the Stock Market and Real Estate Market." And as Michael D. said..... I meant what you said in your post.

Then, second paragraph, I said:

"In 1986, say a good Fagnola sold for 25K.

Today it is more like 120K" which is a separate statement.

I know, sometimes when we write fast, things don't appear as you want them to.

BTW ALKU,

Dave Fulton has been mentiond in those publications as well as many others.

Also as far as market comparisons go, if you bought Microsoft stock 12 years ago like I did and spend 5K, now you are down 50%.

If you had bought a 5K violin 12 years ago from say L. Salvadori, M.Tadioli etc. they have more then tripled their investment value. You Al can take that to your CPA and have him/her count what the percentile of gain that is.

And as Michael D. said:

"Look around at violins you can buy, don't bother looking at violins you can't buy (that should be self-evident, but people still make that mistake), and you will eventually turn up something you like in your price range, whatever that is. When you own it, you will declare that it is the best violin you looked at, and you will be right. I have rarely met someone who bought a violin thinking it wasn't the best thing they could find at that time in their price range (that should be self-evident, but I guess from discussions here recently that it isn't.)"

March 3, 2007 at 08:29 PM · Shar has Tschu Ho Lee on their list. Call them up and you can probably have one there on approval by the end of the week.

March 3, 2007 at 08:50 PM · comparing one stock vs one violin,,,

in the worst case scenario: the stock goes to zero, or you owe money if you margined. i have never heard a violin goes down to zero.

in the best case scenario: the best stock story far exceeds the best violin stories. to go further, the number of best stock story far exceeds the number of best violin stories, which translates into the following: the investment opportunity to an average person is comparitively less with violin.

there is a good reason that business schools have courses on finance, but no violin picking.

if Fulton had spent his early years dealing with violin, he probably will not have his current collection.

March 3, 2007 at 10:50 PM · again, the moral of the story (even with your examples), "In general, there is less volatility in the violin trade as compared to the Stock Market and Real Estate Market."

We invest in what we know best.

Trying to put down those who know something more than u in a certain trade is not intelligent but revealing of who you are.

Michael D. has already pointed out something about the previous argument, to which you finally succumb to.

On another note,

I know many , who have taken a major hit in the Market this past week (due to the Chinese market dive). But those who were hedged.....survived the storm rather well.

I see you like to jump from one argument to another argument and another.......... rose is a rose is a rose is arosearose.....

Go practice some Kreutzer or something, since you do enjoy violin discussions. But if you prefer investment discussions in futures or other, there are other sites for that.

March 3, 2007 at 11:48 PM · i know close to nothing about violin, and do not claim to know much like some others. claiming to know much means one has to deliver.

however, i do know it is silly, like raymond said, to compare violin as an investment, particularly as a superior investment option, with real estate and stocks and others. this is not jumping from topic to topic. this is the topic.

to establish a new school of economics and finance based on one person's experience with some violins has not made into MBA curriculum for general consumption.

probably never will.

March 4, 2007 at 01:50 AM · again, before you go off on another tangent, I did bring up the point earlier before you went off into lala land:

"There have been many excellent makers in the past 20-30-40 years. The ones who withstood the test of time and have proven a steady climb in appreciation tend to have been from Italy.

The makers that died between 1980-1995:

C. Farotto, F. Garimberti, G. e L. Bisiach, N. Novelli, G. Stefanini, Pietro Sgarabotto, G. Lucci, S. Rocchi, Ansaldo Poggi, O. Bignami.

That is empirical market DATA."

Hence the market DATA that I provided. No statements have been made as far as which is superior or inferior investment. It simply is DATA and study that has been made available for ones perusal.

And I have made some more examples of how 5K investment performed with the variety of investments such as several fiddles, MSFT stock, treasury bonds etc.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who look for fine old instruments, for the sound as well as investment.

That is something neither you nor your friend seem to digest.

And as Michael D. said:

"The long-term market, however, has definite things to say about these things, and they aren't opinions."

"Look around at violins you can buy, don't bother looking at violins you can't buy (that should be self-evident, but people still make that mistake), and you will eventually turn up something you like in your price range, whatever that is. When you own it, you will declare that it is the best violin you looked at, and you will be right. I have rarely met someone who bought a violin thinking it wasn't the best thing they could find at that time in their price range (that should be self-evident)".

................................................

BTW, since you admit "you know close to nothing about violins", u shouldn't be arguing for the sake of arguing?

Here is my broken record:

People find what they like to play and feel comfortable playing, as well as "what they can afford"!

Some people like only old (SOUND). Some would love to have old (SOUND)but cannot afford it. And some want the best for their budget. Thank goodness there are excellent new instruments..........and around around we go.

Gennady Filimonov

member of:

odeonquartet

Seattle Symphony

Appraisers Association of America

March 4, 2007 at 02:24 AM · Al, Pieter, and the rest of you, give it up. The man will not listen to anything contrary to what he has invested in. It does not matter what the empirical data shows. And one thing is for sure: it is not worth the time.

Gennady please have the last word, the next word after that, and every word ever said on here from now on! Please enjoy your conversations. Have at it.

Ray

March 4, 2007 at 02:55 AM · Raymond,

Give it up man.......

Michael D. has confirmed a lot of what I have said.?

and you still are so obstinate as to say:

"It does not matter what the empirical data shows. And one thing is for sure: it is not worth the time."

wow....quite an agenda.

Market Data for your information is what drives the entire capital markets industry and its regulators.

Go argue the point with Charles Beare or Phil Kass or perhaps their representatives.

Your point still does not fly.

There are many excellent makers out there, and people will buy the best for what they can afford.

March 4, 2007 at 02:54 AM · I hope hell's not like this.

March 4, 2007 at 02:57 AM · ahh Jim, you bring such relief with your pearls of wisdom.

March 4, 2007 at 02:55 AM · Great post Gennady! Continue to build some more straw men and knock those down too. Have at it. Get the last word in! Keep it coming; we enjoy it so much

March 4, 2007 at 02:59 AM · Give us more Gennady! More of your stuff! Keep it coming!

March 4, 2007 at 03:01 AM · 1....2....3...

March 4, 2007 at 03:07 AM · Great post Gennady! More please! Cannot get enough of your stuff!

March 4, 2007 at 03:19 AM · I suggest you contact the long list of these people who may explain some things further to you:

Charles Beare violins@beares.com

Philip J. Kass - PJKASS@comcast.net - is a respected expert, appraiser, consultant, and writer about classic stringed instruments and bows. From 1977 to 2002, he was an associate of William Moennig & Son of Philadelphia, where he handled many of the world's great stringed instruments. He has published numerous articles in The Strad and the Journal of the Violin Society of America, as well as in such other periodicals as Smithsonian Magazine and Strings. He was also a contributing author to The British Violin: 400 Years of Violin Making in the British Isles, published by the British Violin Making Association in 1999. He has spoken about these and other topics on numerous occasions for the Violin Society of America, The American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, and the British Violin Making Association. A member of the Violin Society of America since 1975, he served as President of that organization from 1997 to the beginning of 1999.

Christopher Reuning, info@reuning.com - violin maker, restorer, and expert, grew up in a musical family and began playing cello at the age of seven. At the age of twelve, he became a violin-making apprentice at the House of Primavera in Philadelphia. For the next six years, in order to supplement his Philadelphia training, he frequently traveled to Cremona to work with Virgilio Capellini.

He has been director of Reuning & Son Violins since 1978, and purchased the business from his parents in 1984. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, an advisor to the violin-making department at The North Bennett Street School in Boston, and on the board of The Boston Chamber Music Society.

Duane Rosengard studied double bass at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has played in orchestras in Veracruz, Buffalo, Rochester, and, since 1986, in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The results of his research in north Italian archives have been published in The Strad and Strings, the journals of the Violin Society of America and the International Society of Bassists, and Liuteria, Musica e Cultura. His first book, Cremonese Double Basses, was published in 1992. With Carlo Chiesa, he co-authored The Stradivari Legacy and contributed to Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. Other collaborative projects have included The Late Cremonese Violin Makers with Dmitry Gindin, the English language edition of Annibale Fagnola, Annibalotto Fagnola, Stefano Vittorio Fasciolo, Riccardo Genoveso, and updated entries for MGG and the Grove Dictionary. His book, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711-1786): The Life and Achievements of a Master Maker of Violins, was published in 2000. In recent years, he has been working with Charles Beare and others on a study of Venetian stringed instrument makers. He lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with his wife, Sara, and their two children.

James Warren began working at Kenneth Warren & Sons in 1975, following his studies in business administration at the University of Notre Dame. In his first year at the firm, he was actively involved in the start up of the Kenneth Warren & Son School of Violin Making. During the last ten years, he has sponsored several important research projects involving fine Italian violins, including Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711-1786): The Life and Achievements of a Master Maker of Violins by Duane Rosengard. He is currently involved in a project to co author a book about François Xavier Tourte.

Business phone 312.427.7475

If that does not help,

there is a long list of therapists in your local area.

March 4, 2007 at 03:24 AM · Jim, how can we be sure this isn't already hell?

Neil

March 4, 2007 at 03:33 AM · Dear Zeus, can't you two just agree that there are great instruments new and old?

March 4, 2007 at 04:12 AM · meanwhile....

1. Who was the supreme god of the Olympians?

Zeus

Hercules

Apollo

Hades

2. Who was ruler of the sea?

Poseidon

Ares

Demeter

Dionysus

3. Who was the god of the Underworld?

Eros

Hades

Poseidon

Zeus

4. Who was the god of love?

Eros

Hermes

Pan

Ares

5. Who was the goddess of wisdom and war?

Hera

Dionysus

Hephaestus

Athena

6. Who was goddess of the moon?

Selene

Orpheus

Athena

Demeter

7. Who was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility?

Athena

Hephaestus

Artemis

Aphrodite

8. Who was the god of prophesy, music and healing?

Hephaestus

Pan

Eros

Apollo

9. Who was the god of war?

Hercules

Apollo

Zeus

Ares

10. Who was the goddess of marriage and also wife and sister of Zeus?

Dionysus

Hera

Athena

Selene

March 4, 2007 at 04:14 AM · "1. Who was the supreme god of the Olympians?

Zeus

Hercules

Apollo

Hades "

You forgot "E" which is ironically me.

Also ironically: the answer is E.

I demand that three Strads be sacrificed in my name. No more, no less. Go.

March 4, 2007 at 04:21 AM · Every Dog Has its Day!

Long ago in ancient Greece, Homer the sheep and his friends were playing basketball. They were having a fine time until two young pups named Zeus and Apollo ran them off.

“Scram, you silly sheep,” said Zeus as he chased a lamb. “This is our basketball court now.”

And the sheep, since they were afraid of dogs, obeyed. They sat on the hill, scowled, and watched Zeus and Apollo play.

But the dogs weren’t playing well. They couldn’t hit a shot.

“I’m tired of missing,” Zeus complained.

“Let’s lower the basket,” his friend Apollo suggested.

“Good idea,” said Zeus, and he called out to the sheep. “Hey, you woolly things, come and adjust this pole.”

And the sheep, since they were afraid of dogs, obeyed.

Soon Zeus and Apollo were making every shot. It was easy. Every shot was a slam dunk.

“All right!” said Zeus as he dunked. “I am the greatest!”

“Prove it,” said Apollo.

“Fine. We’ll play a game,” said Zeus.

“That sheep, Homer, can be our referee. And the winner will be the greatest basketball player ever in the universe.”

Homer and the two dogs walked to the center of the court.

“All right, you pups,” commanded Homer. “No fouls. No rough stuff. And no.…”

“Just blow the whistle, wool bag,” Zeus scolded. And Homer, being afraid of dogs, obeyed. He tossed the ball into the air for the jump ball.

Zeus grabbed it.

“Oooooh, I am so cool,” he bragged as he slam-dunked the first basket.

The game went on for almost an hour. Zeus was leading 48-46. He had the ball with only five seconds left.

“Next basket can win,” said Homer.

Zeus spun around, leaped into the air, and dunked the ball. He started dancing and pointing his finger at Apollo.

“I’m the greatest. I’m so cool. I’m the winner. You’re a fool!” Zeus chanted. Apollo drooped his ears and walked away.

“What a baby,” Zeus muttered. “Who can I beat now?” Then he looked at Homer.

“How about you, sheepie?” Zeus said. “I’ll give you twenty points just to be fair.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Homer said nervously. “I’ll be glad to play you. But may I suggest we follow the official rules of the ABA?” (That’s the Animal Basketball Association.)

“Fine,” said Zeus. “I’ll wipe you out.”

Homer didn’t reply. He just pointed to the basket, and his friends raised it.

“Hey, what’s goin’ on?” Zeus said.

“We said official ABA rules,” said Homer. “That means the basket is ten feet up.”

“I don’t care,” said Zeus. “I’ll still send you cryin’ to Bo Peep.”

But he didn’t. In fact, Zeus didn’t score a basket. He may have been taller, but that little sheep was a great dribbler and a good shooter. And Homer played the best defense of any sheep in the country. The poor dog never even got off a shot!

The final score was 50-0. Homer reached out his hoof to Zeus and said, “Good game.” But the angry dog sulked off.

“I’ll get you next time,” Zeus grumbled.

And all the sheep, no longer afraid of dogs, laughed until they fell over.

The moral of the story is: Pride goes before a fall Or, When it comes to basketball, dogs may be good, but sheep are ba-aahhhd!

By: Davis, Charles, U+S+ Kids

March 4, 2007 at 04:59 AM · There was this tiny white house sort of in the edge of a university campus, all by itself, surrounded by parking lots and tennis courts and a little strip mall off to the side. It was abandoned for awhile and then we noticed a little white-haired homeless man had moved in. After a couple weeks we noticed he began to fortify it in various ways. Every time we walked by it would be wilder. Finally there were things like "Kep Owt!!" painted on it in letters as tall as the house. It seems like there were some mystical slogans or something written too, I can't remember. At that point we said among ourselves something's really going to happen; it's getting wilder and wilder and it's peaking now. The next time we went by, a couple of days later, the whole thing had just burned up.

March 4, 2007 at 05:33 AM · The Story of a Violin

By Glenn Steinberg © 2006)

In a small house in Los Angeles Louie & Barbara Berliner are still together. But if it wasn't for a violin their lives would be very different.

Let's go back to Poland during Hitler's reign of terror. Twelve year old Barbara was at school like any other day. But on this day the Nazi's came and took her family out of their Warsaw apartment building. Gone forever were her three brothers and both parents. They were exterminated in the death camps.

But before that horrific day there was some trouble in the building where Barbara and her family lived. There was a young girl in the same building who was learning the violin. The residents were annoyed with the noise from her practicing her music.

Ironic how these residents could endure the Nazi's taking away their neighbors to be exterminated but they couldn't endure violin music.

Barbara's father, who must have been a cultured man, didn't agree with the neighbors' complaints and refused to sign a petition being circulated to stop the girl from practicing her violin in the building. In fact he told the girl's father that it was nice that the girl was learning the violin.

When Barbara returned from school the day her family had been taken away by the Nazis, but the violin playing girl's father took Barbara under his wing. He took a risk. He knew he could get in trouble if he helped Barbara but he couldn't forget Barbara's fathers actions and words.

This man taught Barbara how to pray like a Catholic and took her to a Catholic Orphanage in their area. He told Barbara she couldn't tell anyone that she was Jewish. Barbara was so afraid she didn't speak hardly a word for the next 6 years out of fear of being discovered.

The staff and other children thought she was mentally retarded.

About the same time Louie and his brother and sister and both parents were taken to Auschwitz to be exterminated. Louie was also 12 years old but he lied to the guards and said he was 16 so he could work. Louie was told this would save his life.

All of Louie's family went to the gas chambers.

Louie endured 6 years of hard labor. He had two surgeries while at Auschwitz. He received no pain killers or sedation during the surgeries as these medicines were only for those who were valued.

Louie gained favor with some camp guards and because of them he was able to survive.

When the war ended young Louie and Barbara met in a refugee camp.

They soon fell in love. They married and arrived at Ellis Island, NY with an 18 month old daughter named Sarah.

I met this family when they arrived in Los Angeles about 12 years later in the early sixties. They had moved from Cincinnati, Ohio into an apartment just across from ours. Barbara and my mother soon became close friends.

I rode the bus to school with Sarah when we were teenagers. She and both her sisters Jacci and Helen were all very beautiful and popular girls. I knew them all throughout our school years. Sarah went on to become a model known as Cyd and was featured in major national commercials. Louie and Barbara have grand children and great grandchildren and on holidays, I am sure, they have a house full of love.

I never forgot that family.

Louie and Barbara have many years of history and memories to look back on now. I called Barbara the other day and she sounds exactly the same as she did 45 years ago. Barbara told me Louie went on to a successful career in construction and they are comfortable and secure.

I never forgot seeing those numbers tattooed on Louie's arm when I was a kid. I always felt fear that someday a government, even ours, could just walk into a house and take a family to a death camp. I was sure at some point no body in Germany or Poland believed such a thing would be possible. But it happened. A scary thought to live with.

I am just happy that Louie and Barbara have had so many years of love and happiness to overshadow those years of pain and loss. And it's all possible because of a violin.

the end

March 5, 2007 at 02:03 AM · I am very sorry, but I do not think that many of my fellow econ profs. would take violins as investments very seriously.

And I am not sure what the quotes from these collectors supposedly proved? Did I miss something

March 5, 2007 at 02:50 AM · welcome prof. what brings you to v.com anyway?

If music is your hobby and if you wish to hear some pearls of wisdom from the pros, I suggest you listen to what we have to say.

I suppose you may start discussing you know who and you know what....

March 5, 2007 at 02:44 AM · Mr. Gabriel, I do not think you missed anyting! It really is this convoluted! The thought lacks so much logical sense that it is like trying to get ahold of air. You try and try, and come up with nothing! There is nothing that you can grab on to that makes any sense!

Gennady, what is interesting in your posts, besides the fact that they lack basic logic and are almost impossible to understand, is the fact that you often quote people who are on the opposing side, thinking they are on your side of the argument! LOL

For example, you quoted Darnton as if he was saying violins are a good investment, when in fact he said that all the studies show that violins track inflation, which is not a good investment! No investor wants their dollars to just track inflation! LOL

And then you put up a bunch of stuff about real estate that shows that the this is a not a seller’s market right now, that is it. What does that prove? LOL

Here is what Darnton said in another thread when someone talked about investing in violins:

Darnton:

"This idea is so wrong on so many levels that I think your

Financial advisor should take your checkbook away from you,

for your own safety.”

And:

“The only holding investment I own is a violin bow. It makes

sense on a lot of levels; one of them is the rarity of good

bows--much more so than instruments, and if you leave them

in the case and don't worry about them, there's not much

they can do in the way of an ugly surprise, if you make sure

the hair isn't too tight to begin with. The other advantage

is that they're relatively easier to sell than instruments.

That was why I attempted the subtle suggestion of the nice

cello bow I'm selling, but it didn't work. :-)”

From:

http://www.maestronet.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=315110&STARTPAGE=1&FTVAR_FORUMVIEWTMP=Linear

And another:

About the only people who really can make money on violin

investments are those in a position to buy below market

price for some reason, hold for a very long time, and have

high dollar-value (like million-dollar plus) items which

usually sell with a lower commission attached. Otherwise,

buy for your use and enjoyment, and be glad your violin

doesn't lose value like your car: a violin is not an

investment in any legitimate sense.

From:

http://www.maestronet.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=255343&highlight_key=y&keyword1=investment

Oh but Gennady I doubt that any of this will bother you! You will just take things out of context, like you always do, quote a bunch of stuff as if it proves your point (when it does not, your point is a really stupid one right now! Violins as an investment, is not very sound! LOL) and then you will throw out a bunch of insults and then declare yourself the winner! LOL

But go at it, we all enjoy the laugh! None more than me! LOL

--

March 5, 2007 at 04:34 AM · I suggest you save the insults Raymond for your buddies...

as for quoting others:

Here are excerpts from an enlighting speech by Phil J. Kass on the business of violins (ENJOY!):

Philip Kass

Expert and Author on Fine Stringed Instruments and Bows

25 Year Associate of William Moennig & Sons, Ltd.

Appraisals and Certification

Member, Appraisers Association of America

"Beginning with the end of World War II, when the United States alone con­trolled over 50% of world industrial production and was unchallenged as the economic leader of the world, it has been established government policy that the economic well‑being of our allies was the first line of defense against Communism. Beginning with the Marshall Plan, we have actively sought the economic strengthening of Europe and Asia. We have succeeded beyond our wild­est dreams. While Europe was always a market for fine stringed instruments, they could not really compete price‑wise with American purchasers until the 1970's, and during those years classic instruments flooded into this country. Now they are flooding back. However, while the reservoir of available purchas­ers makes one dramatic increase with the resurgence of Europe, in the Far East we have something entirely different, because prior to our arrival as Super­power of the Pacific there was at best negligible interest in stringed instru­ments and Western music. The rise of the Suzuki method is but the tip of a very formidable iceberg. This entirely new market is based on an economic powerhouse whose success can be found in family rooms and driveways the world over. Having noted the resurgent demand in Europe and the new demand in the Far East, we must not overlook the broad dissemination of music and musical training in the public schools for all of us baby‑boomers. I think that a lot more Americans were exposed to music and appreciate it today thanks to the enlightened approach of post‑war educators."

"In short, demand for stringed instruments has gone through the roof. Natural­ly, so have prices. We shouldn't be the least bit surprised about that. "

"There is demand for modern violins, but I think it is insufficient to maintain all of the makers. Furthermore, I submit that the demand for any new instrument is by nature weak, since the generations‑old preference of musicians has been to have an old Italian whenever possible. While modern makers benefit from old instruments at inaccessible prices and have used this to promote their own work, they must recognize that their product is not viewed in the same manner as an old Italian and that brand loyalty is something they must work at con­tinuously. However, many makers have also become restorers and dealers, swell­ing the ranks in those professions. This has led to a massive restructuring of the dealer networks, but more on that in a moment or two, while I digress on a few matters."

"To summarize, we have inadequate supply and excessive and fairly inflexible demand ‑ surely an invitation for escalating prices."

"Today we are seeing investors buying old instruments. The appeal is not musical but rather financial gain. It is a commodity not unlike pork bellies which can show a better rate of return than other financial investments. Musicians, in this way, will in the long run be effectively frozen out of the market."

"The situation, as I see it, is that there are two different markets, one for old instruments and another for new instruments. While the market for old instruments is like that of art, of old versus new, that for new instruments is like that for automobiles, of new versus used. " - excerpts from a speech by Phil Kass

Email: PJKASS@comcast.net

..

March 5, 2007 at 02:55 AM · The question of the rate of return from violins is an interesting one and also one that I have not seem answered with any definitiveness. The only studies I have seen have been prepared by dealers or people in the industry, not academics or investment firms.

The methodology of such studies has been opaque, which has led me to be skeptical. A flock of variables does not seem accounted for, such as:

1) Carrying costs for violins are much higher than for stocks and bonds. The include, most obviously, insurance and repairs.

2) Given the lack of information generally available in this market, I don't know where the people doing the studies are getting their data. And the data used in these studies has not been offered for review.

3) Violins are incredibly illiquid as an investment. This is a major issue from two perspectives: one, you have no guarantee that at any point in time you will be able to realize your gain; two: this illiquidity is an added risk to the investment that should, in theory, be compensated for by higher returns.

4) The violin business is fraught with risks that should increase needed return. These risks include theft, misrepresentation of condition, misrepresentation of provenance, and destruction or damage to the instrument.

5) The commission costs on violin trades run 15%, I believe, much higher than for other investments.

6) It could be argued that violin prices do not go down, while stock prices can go to 0. There is some validity to this, however, violin prices can drop in the short run. This would happen in any recession. In general, when this happens, people don't sell their instruments, so they don't take losses. It is similar with the housing market. Secondly, nobody buys individual stocks. Rather they buy a diversiifed portfolio of stocks. Their return expectation is a funciton of the risk inherent in those stocks. And while an indiviudal stock may do poorly, the portfolio as a whole will do better. Construction of a diversified portfolio of stocks or bonds is not a complex process and can be done even by an investor of modest means (via a mutual fund). Divserisification is not possible in the violin business unless you have a LOT of money. I know no mutual funds trading in these investments, though that idea might be of interest to some people.

Lastly, the violin market is incredibly "inefficient" from an economic standpoint. This means, essentially, that the information available to the buyer is slight (in fact, it could be argued that the typical buyer of string instruments knows nothing). Inefficient markets mean one thing: a given investment is not necessarily fairly priced. There is an old saying "you get what you pay for." Well that only holds if a market is efficient. In that case, information is readily avialble to buyers and sellers and there is an active market that "processes" it. The classic case of this is the stock market. "You get what you pay for" means that all stocks are fairly priced -- the prices reflect all publicly available information and the impact of any non-public information is not marterial (the last of these charatieristics does not always hold). The economic conclustion to this is that you can't beat the market.

Neither of these criteria hold in the violin market. Dealers horde information. What they tell you, may or may not be true. Prices are not set by an active market but by the dealers themselves. When a dealer shows you an Enrico Ceruti violin for $195k and says it's fairly priced, how do you know that's the case? The typical person doesn't know anything even about the price history of that violin or other Enrico Ceruti's.

To me, this is the biggest risk in buying a violin -- even if the violin is what I am told it is and is in fine shape, I have no way of knowing if I am not overpaying substatially for the instrument. I've said this beofere; msot people would be horrified if they overpaid by even 20% on their house. In the violin business, it can be much worse than that.

Becuase the violin market is inefficient, the opportunity for insiders to make superior returns is very real (That is the case by definition in such a market). People not on the inside can only make superior returns through luck. And they can very easily do worse.

This is a long-winded way of saying that, while it makes sense to consider the investment potential of any substantial instrument or bow purchase, there are many easier ways to make money than trading in violins.

I do have a theory that the marekt for very high-end instruments (Strads, etc.) may be more efficient and more liquid that for lower end instruments. Perhaps that is the thinking that has gotten some wealthy people to invest in synidcates that purchase instruments for players.

Kevin

March 5, 2007 at 03:04 AM · Dear Mr. Gennady,

I am on here because I love the violin and I am starting to learn how to play. Thank you for the welcome.

You seemed to imply that just because I do not play the violin well I cannot understand this thread. But while I do not make a living playing the violin, I do make a living as a thinker. And I also make money as an investor in the market and real estate, and as a consultant. I also have a masters in economics (micro economics), so I think I am trained to follow thought, and understand market investments. This is what I do Mr. Gennady; though admittedly, I would throw it all away to play like a philharmonic player (like you, I read your bio and it is impressive).

I just came on here to see about this maker since I one day hope to play well enough to be able to appreciate a really good violin. I noticed that the thread hit on the issue of violins as investments. I tried to understand your arguments, but I could not understand them.

I do not know whom you expect me to say I know. I know my business well (philosophy and economics), and while I am sure there is money to make in violin investments, I am also sure that it is, in the broad perspective, a fastidious economic scheme, at best. So for the life of me I cannot understand why someone would want to consider investment value when buying a violin; they are a poor investment.

The best investments, in goods like this, are the ones that are bought and not sold again for a long, long time. If that is true, and you could learn this in a micro econ 101 class, then a musician should buy with the idea of keeping the instrument and not selling it. Selling goods like this is almost always a losing proposition, unless you hold on to it for a long time, and even then it is bad because it ties up a lot of your money that could have made good dividends elsewhere.

The best violin investment then, is the one that you love enough to hold on to, and the one that does not keep you from investing your money in markets that have historically done well.

I hope you understand what I have written and I hope you understand that I meant no harm.

March 5, 2007 at 04:24 AM · I hope you have all enjoyed the Philip Kass excerpts.

He is a well respected Expert and Author on Fine Stringed Instruments and Bows.

Like he said; "The situation, as I see it, is that there are two different markets, one for old instruments and another for new instruments. While the market for old instruments is like that of art, of old versus new, that for new instruments is like that for automobiles, of new versus used."

There is a reason why people want the best house with the best address. And why some prefer to drive a Mercedez-Benz.

As for information about such things, just buy the books, search the net, look up sales results etc. That is how one gets to know the details. Doing the homework pays off.

And BTW, normally dealers don't just take a number ($$) out of thin air.

With older instruments, obviously there is a track record of sales history behind a particular maker. hence the market DATA.

The study that I quoted earlier is available to anyone.

"In 1999 Orchestrated Investments, Inc prepared a report to advise its clients at University of Cincinati.

The study compares the development of violin prices from 1960 to 1996 with the US stock market's Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor Index, as well as 10-year and 30-year treasury bonds. This research was done independently and without sponsorship."

March 5, 2007 at 04:52 AM · What is "Orchestrated Investments, Inc."? The name tells you they're about getting people to put money into instruments.

And the phrase someone is using: "in a report to advise its clients at University of Cincinnati" is pure scam language.

March 5, 2007 at 04:12 AM · Micheal G.,

Some people like only old (SOUND). Some would love to have old (SOUND)but cannot afford it. And some want the best for their budget. Thank goodness there are excellent new instruments.

For many who like older instruments, and are spending more than 5K for it, they would like to know that their 5K is an investment. That simple.

BTW, for those who have questions, I suggest you pose them to these respected names in the business:

Charles Beare violins@beares.com

Philip J. Kass - PJKASS@comcast.net - is a respected expert, appraiser, consultant, and writer about classic stringed instruments and bows. From 1977 to 2002, he was an associate of William Moennig & Son of Philadelphia, where he handled many of the world's great stringed instruments. He has published numerous articles in The Strad and the Journal of the Violin Society of America, as well as in such other periodicals as Smithsonian Magazine and Strings. He was also a contributing author to The British Violin: 400 Years of Violin Making in the British Isles, published by the British Violin Making Association in 1999. He has spoken about these and other topics on numerous occasions for the Violin Society of America, The American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, and the British Violin Making Association. A member of the Violin Society of America since 1975, he served as President of that organization from 1997 to the beginning of 1999.

Christopher Reuning, info@reuning.com - violin maker, restorer, and expert, grew up in a musical family and began playing cello at the age of seven. At the age of twelve, he became a violin-making apprentice at the House of Primavera in Philadelphia. For the next six years, in order to supplement his Philadelphia training, he frequently traveled to Cremona to work with Virgilio Capellini.

He has been director of Reuning & Son Violins since 1978, and purchased the business from his parents in 1984. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, an advisor to the violin-making department at The North Bennett Street School in Boston, and on the board of The Boston Chamber Music Society.

Duane Rosengard studied double bass at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has played in orchestras in Veracruz, Buffalo, Rochester, and, since 1986, in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The results of his research in north Italian archives have been published in The Strad and Strings, the journals of the Violin Society of America and the International Society of Bassists, and Liuteria, Musica e Cultura. His first book, Cremonese Double Basses, was published in 1992. With Carlo Chiesa, he co-authored The Stradivari Legacy and contributed to Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. Other collaborative projects have included The Late Cremonese Violin Makers with Dmitry Gindin, the English language edition of Annibale Fagnola, Annibalotto Fagnola, Stefano Vittorio Fasciolo, Riccardo Genoveso, and updated entries for MGG and the Grove Dictionary. His book, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711-1786): The Life and Achievements of a Master Maker of Violins, was published in 2000. In recent years, he has been working with Charles Beare and others on a study of Venetian stringed instrument makers. He lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with his wife, Sara, and their two children.

James Warren began working at Kenneth Warren & Sons in 1975, following his studies in business administration at the University of Notre Dame. In his first year at the firm, he was actively involved in the start up of the Kenneth Warren & Son School of Violin Making. During the last ten years, he has sponsored several important research projects involving fine Italian violins, including Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1711-1786): The Life and Achievements of a Master Maker of Violins by Duane Rosengard. He is currently involved in a project to co author a book about François Xavier Tourte.

Business phone 312.427.7475

People find what they like to play and feel comfortable playing, as well as "what they can afford"!

March 5, 2007 at 09:17 PM · Enjoy your search for fiddles Old or New :)

ps: PieVi, since you got in after the thread has closed, no matter what you say, just remeber that you have yet to go to grad school and then get a real job.

Your comment below is absolutely ridiculous :"Also, playing level has nothing to do with knowing the violin market. Beare isn't this great instrumentalist, and there are many violinists who are 1000x better than you who know almost nothing about appraising like you do."

What did that have to do with anything I said?

But nevertheless, I know where I am at and you have yet to find out where you'll be in 5 years. Given your character and "dealing" with people, again, G-d help you. Just remember, the people you insult, will be the same people you will be seeing somewhere sometimes in the future. Our business is small.

As for Raymond and Band of Brothers, your attempts do discredit certain facts are irrelevant. Obviously, these people have an agenda and will not listen to professionals even if they are Phil Kass or other.

As for Michael G's post down below after the thread has closed, Michael you have no idea about instruments and their markets. Your theories are on the right track, yet you missed the whole point of the argument. You only proved my point against your buddy (old vs new).

Talk to professionals in the field.

Good luck....... Do you know "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" yet?

The discussion has always been derailed with Raymond going off on his infatuantion with a maker putting down old instruments. Hence, my posts regarding olds and their investment value.

Here is another little gem from Philip Kass

Expert and Author on Fine Stringed Instruments and Bows

25 Year Associate of William Moennig & Sons, Ltd.

Appraisals and Certification

Member, Appraisers Association of America

"Makers must recognize that not enough of the world is out there waiting for their work for all to make a career. Modern instruments have served as a temporary instrument or a second instrument for many a musi cian, but the goal remains the acquisition of an old Italian violin. However unjustified it might be, most modern makers will not be appreciated in their lifetimes. To be appreciated, particularly in times like these where there are so many modern makers, now requires heavy marketing. It invariably involves some significant musician who gives his or her seal of approval, making that maker's work acceptable to their students and young professionals. The case may be made that the new instrument has special qualities, is comparable to a fine old instrument, or is designed around the player's style. This is good short?term marketing, but some makers do not leave it there. Someone always has to point out its appreciation and resale potential. Here is where my main complaints lie. The modern instrument has a good primary market and is usually made on a very good profit margin. What is the resale market? I have often had the pleasant opportunity to be offered a modern violin, whose maker had all sorts of wonderful things to say about it, as a high cost trade?in on an old and irreplaceable instrument. Frankly, we don't want them. The average buyer somehow assumes that there must be something wrong with it if the first owner didn't keep it, and besides, they usually prefer to deal with the maker in person. The maker, meanwhile, has made his profit, and since the secondary market is nowhere near as lucrative, he doesn't want it either. I don't know how many times clients have told us that the maker didn't have a resale market for his violin, since his model had changed or his new ones were much better than his old ones. I know one maker who said to a client that there was no resale market for his violin, since it had been created exclusively for him and therefore no one else could use it! The situation, as I see it, is that there are two different markets, one for old instruments and another for new instruments. While the market for old instruments is like that of art, of old versus new, that for new instruments is like that for automobiles, of new versus used. "

I suggest you take it up with Charles Beare next time if you don't comprehend the statements above by

Phil Kass

Expert and Author on Fine Stringed Instruments and Bows

25 Year Associate of William Moennig & Sons, Ltd.

Appraisals and Certification

Member, Appraisers Association of America

.....................................................

The moral of the argument old vs new is that THEY ARE apples & oranges.

Take that with you Michael G. (& the many faces of RP).

BTW M.G.,

I suggest you take back some of the things below.

If you want to remain on v.com, you need to update your profile with real contact information as well as your real name. Otherwise, Dosvidanya...

Gennady Filimonov

Member, Appraisers Association of America

pps: PieVi, a Fagnola in 1986 was around 25K. Today, it is around 120K. You do the math or take it to your parent's CPA.

(old vs new ........apples & oranges)

March 5, 2007 at 06:32 AM · Simply put, I'd like to see a report or study done by an independant group, not people like Kass who need to protect their business and thrive on rich individuals and foundations purchasing 5 million dollar instruments.

Almost every "study" you see of instruments being "good" investments are some nicely thrown together stats by violin dealers. One such report was done by Machold, and Bein&Fushi does something similar with the Stradivari Society. Out of interest, I gave it to associates at a high powered financial institution. As my parents are MDs, they have the use of top flight financial advise from MD Management. Through that connection I was led to someone else. Well, they told me from a strictly financial point of view, that from their findings, in addition to the extensive (but not exhaustive) Machold document, that buying an expensive instrument would yield very modest gains (was it around 6-8%?), whereas scores of much better options are available in the financial sector.

So, it seems to be that with a great violin you probably won't lose money, but you also won't make any more than if you had put it into a low risk mutual fund. Also, for many funds there is a low penalty for selling, and usually, you can liquidate that fund within 24 hours. As we know, dealers will take up to 20% to sell, and much lower %s for high priced instruments (but at the mid to high 6 figure range, the commission is still substantial). Also, when it comes time to sell, if your instrument doesn't have a flashy certificate, be prepared to provide Charles Beare with a Carribean holiday. Add to the fact that your great investment won't turn into cash for quite a while, versus what seems like an eternity in the financial world, perhaps you haven't got such a spectacular investment.

I think it's better to say that a violin is a very secure way to spend your money, and it will appreciate very steadily over the years. Its main benefit is that you can play on it the whole time, until you must sell it. So, I think that both camps can reach a concensus, and not be so hell bent on proving one point or another. Still, I'd like to see what a REAL financial expert has to say about this data. I've already heard an explanation, but it of course was not exhaustive.

PS. Usually Gennady starts posting a lot at the end of the thread so he gets the last word. He's excellent at this and has done this dozens of times. Well, this time, he loses. Hah.

PPS. Wow, that thrashing by Prof. Gabriel was just delicious. I'm so glad I can still comment. Gennady just got taken back school.

Gennady: Don't you realize.. when you are talking about economics, it doesn't matter if he knows about violins. We could be talking about margaritas, it doesn't matter. We're talking about prices.

Also, playing level has nothing to do with knowing the violin market. Beare isn't this great instrumentalist, and there are many violinists who are 1000x better than you who know almost nothing about appraising like you do.

March 5, 2007 at 07:06 AM · Mr. Gennady,

Your quoted material does not fit the arguments you made in the thread (if I understand the arguments because they are a bit odd and not coherent).

One of the fallacies we teach in micro econ classes is the fact that as an investment a “good” belongs to many different applications or contexts, and that to fully understand that “good” you must understand the many contexts that it can belong to. To try to simplify it: a violin bought as a pure investment is different than a violin bought considering its market value over time, and a violin bought with “resale” value in mind is different as well. These are three contexts that a violin can belong to, just to name a few.

The fallacy is to take one truth about a violin in a certain context, and then to apply it to a violin in another context. In other words, the economic truths of that “good” changes as its context changes. One more try, “a violin is not simply a violin,” if that makes any sense to you.

The danger, then, is to take one truth about a good and then run with it thinking that this truth is universally true about that good. The truth about that “good” is only valid in the context that the truth was ascertained in.

The article you quoted, Mr. Gennady, told facts, or truths, about violins in a very specified context. You then seem to think that these facts “validify” your past statements in this thread, but they do not because they are not in the same context as the goods you used in your arguments. In your mind, an economic truth about a violin is an economic truth about a violin. This could not be more invalid. It would only be true if violins existed in “the market” in only one way. But few goods exist in “the market” in one way. As for violins, I just listed three ways that they exist, and because those cases can overlap, there are many different contexts that a violin can belong to. If I were to look at it closely I imagine that we could find more than a dozen real contexts that a violin can belong in, in the market.

Bottom line: you are comparing apples and oranges, thinking that they are all the same because, after all, a violin is a violin. Not so in the world of market economy.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about this fallacy and I will give you the best reads on it. The fallacy is admittedly difficult—a three day lecture in my class—but well worth it in the long run

Mr. Gennady, I do not know you but you seem very, very ignorant! You obvioulsy could not pass a econ 101 class with your thinking skills, and yet you tell me I do not know what I am talking about.

You are right that I do not know violins. But in the market what a good is has NO meaning, it gets its meaning FROM the market! Which is why someone who has studied economics does not need to know what the good is, he/she only needs tot know its statistics in the CONTEXT in which it is being evaluated in the MARKET.

The problem is these things have no meaning to you, so you have no idea about what you are talking about. I am sure you know how to play, but trust me you end up like a babling fool when you talk about the economics of a violin because you could not be more out of your element.

And throwing more random quotes at it will not help you! It only shows more of your ignorance to those who understand the discipline.

Earlier someone said that it does not mater what is said you will not listen. I think I understand that now. Wow! I hope you are not representative of the violin world in general. Thank God that I do not think that you are!

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