Modern Violins you like

August 19, 2007 at 05:46 PM · I thought I would start a discussion thread about modern violins that anyone has heard and would like to give praise to and give note to the maker. I think it's best to just talk about their own qualities and not as comparison with other violins.

Replies (22)

August 18, 2007 at 12:43 AM · The violins that first come to mind for me are Christian Tezlaff's violin made by Peter Greiner.

It has an astoundingly pure tone and a loftiness in legato that is soft and yet projects in a wide spectrum. Anyone should be happy with such an instrument I think.

There's also a violin made by Gregg T. Alf which I have heard played by Ricci which has a warm, rich subtle tone.

It's truly exciting for me to think there are such makers alive today and that one might acquire such an instrument for a fraction of what some of the older instruments cost. Such richness of art and quality...

August 20, 2007 at 02:41 AM · Whitney Osterud's violins, I heard, are amazing. He is a world class adjustor and repairman who works in Wilmington, Delaware. Just ask Caeli Smith-we both know him personally. Caeli writes alot of blogs here.

August 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM · I like Andre Zanre. I currently have a Sperzaga, a Tadioli, a Di Biaggio, and a Neil Ertz instrument in my shop and I think the Zanre has a better sound and projection.

August 20, 2007 at 11:12 AM · I am very happy with my last violin.It is labeled Petkov Petko.Wonderful even sound and craftsmanship!

August 23, 2007 at 11:53 PM · I love my Edward Maday violin, 2007. It was custom made to my specifications along the lines of the "Lord Wilton" del Gesu. I spoke very highly in a much earlier thread, 'what is your favorite violin?' about a remarkably good Chinese "Hellier Strad" copy I own. I compared it to Pavaroti, and said I wouldn't mind a 'Domingo' as well. The Maday is a 'Domingo' for me! And all in all, I like my "Domingo" more than my "Pavaroti". The Maday is a bit dark, but also very resonant, strong, rich, deep, round - and has a chewy texture. It projects very well - I tested it in Carnegie Hall - and that was before its new soundpost, which gave it more focus and clarity. It has quite a bit of complexity for a new violin, but it was also made from very old wood, and a very good varnish. Its timbre really comes close to a del Gesu. I can't ask for much more than that - except for another one, which I commissioned for next year - this time based on the Paganini "Cannon".

He lives in Long Island, NY and can be found at

August 24, 2007 at 05:20 AM · I recently traded in an 18th century (beautiful) violin for one completed in 2006 by Christopher Germain in Philadelphia ( It's been about three weeks, give or take...I am in LOVE. I would highly recommend this maker...not only does this violin have an amazing sound, it was affordable, beautiful, and probably the most comfortable instrument I've played on in many years. And...there is not a wolf to be found on it. Anywhere!

August 24, 2007 at 05:21 AM · A favorite living violin maker is Robert Kimble. He lives in the greater Atlanta area, in Lilburn, GA. He doesn't have a web site and doesn't seek publicity. I admire that he is so completely devoted to his craft that he seems not to pay much attention to the business aspect. He was a professional violinist before he became a violin maker. I can feel this in his violins. Everything feels right. His violins have a richness and focus of tone in the high positions that one might usually expect only in the lower positions.

August 24, 2007 at 01:02 PM · I love my fiddle made by (one of?) Ed Maday's teacher(s), Joseph Tripodi, 1994.

Raphael: Is your violin antiqued?

August 24, 2007 at 01:06 PM · Geary Baese is a violin maker who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has spent his life researching violin making of the past and has published a book that describes old Italian varnish. He has also taught varnish and acoustical master classes to many of the best makers working today. He rarely makes any instruments but when he does they are incredible. I have owned both a Guad and a Del Gesu and I can say without reservation that his instruments have a truly phenomenal tonal quality.

August 24, 2007 at 04:35 PM · My wife and I are starting to do research into great moderns because we have two young ones in the family who are becoming great violinists at a very young age and we cannot think of a better use of our money than to help those kids out (my brother's kids).

I have heard nothing but great things about the great Tripodi's violin making ability, unfortuantely I also understand there are other issues. Does anyone know where you can find one used?

Rapheal, how much did the great Tripodi influencee Mr. Maday?

And from what I understand Bease had a lot to do with what the great maker Needham is making these days, which from all accounts seems to be in a league of its own.

You know the sad part of this thread will be that few will have any personal input about the great makers from Europe because few of their violins get here.

August 24, 2007 at 06:29 PM · My wife plays on a violin made in 2002 by Friedrich Alber of Montpellier, France (del Gesu model). The instrument has an open and homogenous sound throughout the range, is very responsive, projects well, is strong and clear in all ranges. I have a viola made in 2000 by this same maker, and I'm also very happy with its tonal qualities. I use this instrument in my string quartet amongst older instruments and it blends well. I frequently record the quartet, and I'd say the viola seems to come across well when recorded; sometimes I think it has a rather "soprano" sound quality. Perhaps that's saying that the upper harmonics are well reinforced.

August 24, 2007 at 07:42 PM · I found a used 2005 Joerg Wunderlich (Markneukirchen, Germany) 1704 "Betts" that was never played. The thickness graduation maps for the Betts show the highest point on both upper and lower bouts get down to about 1.5mm. Hold a good copy up to a bright light source and those areas should be translucent when looking in the f-hole. This one is as the craftmanship is absolutely masterful. Attention was even paid to match the case ware to the Wood on the back of the scroll. The varish is not only beautiful to look at but has a wonderful soft feel and the antiquing is very subtle. The belly is unmatched with a stunning fountain of hazel on the treble side and all the wood is very carefully selected throught out.

It only took a month to play in and the tone is just amazing, able to be brilliant or dark at will and so well balanced across all strings/postions it is a friendly player for the left hand. Control of volume from the slightest piano to the seemingly endless ammount of power and projection is all one could ask for.

August 24, 2007 at 11:05 PM · Cris: You are talking about the upper and lower bouts of the back? Or are you talking about the Belly? Or both?

At this location:

C:\Documents and Settings\user\Desktop\CAS Journal - November 2002.htm

is a graduation map of the Betts. Are you telling me that the parts which are pink are actually 1.5 millimiters?

August 25, 2007 at 12:30 AM · The reason I ask is because in the Hill book there is a whole list of graduations and most of the tops there are 2.4 millimeters.

August 25, 2007 at 01:47 AM · Roelof

Funny you should bring that article up those were the color maps I was looking at when I found this instrument. I thought the white areas where below 2mm on the back. I had already tried another Betts model from Shar that was Not made by Wunderlich and after playing it felt that both plates were too thick. My youngest sister graduated from the North Bennet street School of violin making and after spending a lot of time visiting her classes I have seen a large number of new instrustems of all qualities. So I did a google search and found the CAS article just to check what the correct thickness should be.

When I got the Wunderlich copy you could instantly see the difference in quality of craftsmanship, wood selection and varnish. There is a fine twig inclusion that runs horizontially directly into the upper right bout corner right up to the purfling mitre on the back. That has got to be one of the toughtest place to have to carve an inclusion and it is done perfectly. I held it up in the sun light and looking in the f-holes there are two translucent areas the same general shape and size as the CAS map in the upper and lower bouts of the back but rather that being off-set they a directly on center. It was something to see the flame and center line light up like that, it gives the whole inside a golden glow.

I have had it for about four months now had all the fittings changed from plain ebony to deep red pernambuco (heart shaped pegs with gold pins/collars) and love the new Passion strings. The more you play it the better the tone gets. It has been a long off and on seach to find this instrument.

August 25, 2007 at 02:12 AM · I love my violin, a 2004 Strad model by Loual Riebel, a maker who works in Cremona. I haven't gotten many other opinions of it, though, and I've only played one other instrument by this maker, so I don't know what his other work is like. But I consider myself lucky to have found my life partner, musically speaking, in this instrument.

August 25, 2007 at 05:45 PM · FYI here is the original web site I was looking at.

Emily I also feel very lucky to have found a life long friend.

August 27, 2007 at 05:48 AM · Cris, that's interesting to me that you should bring this up also. If you look at the Betts violin, you will see how much of a plateau of thin-ness there is on the back around the middle. There is much more room there for the vibrations to move around on the thin part then there is on the other violins (the middle of the back has a larger thicker plateau on the other violins taking away space from the thin part). Given that the top is as consistently thin as it is, I think that amount of room is necessary for the thin parts.

August 27, 2007 at 02:54 PM · Hi,

For the last 10 years, I own and play on a modern violin by the Montréal maker Denis Cormier. It was made in 1997 and is not a copy of anything. It is his own pattern (quite a small one which he no longer makes) that reminds one of 18th century Italian instruments.

It is beautiful to look at and has an amazing sound - not blaring but very resonant that therefore carries well in a hall. It is not the easiest instrument to play and requires a lot of finesse in terms of playing, but when you play it well, it sounds great.

I am lucky to have it and cherish it very much.


August 28, 2007 at 04:59 AM · I have a question for Cris Zulueta:

Where did you get the information about the Betz actually being that thin (1.5 mm)?

I recall that I read in this book about violin repair by Weisnar that if a Strad is thinner than 2.0 in the middle that it's been tampered with.

I'm trying to compare sources. There's a violin maker Josef Curtin who said that the first time that he took the top off a Strad he was amazed because the instrument weighed 40% less than what they had thought a violin should way. This certainly would point out that a Strad is quite a bit thinner as well.

August 28, 2007 at 08:06 AM · Not wanting to pop off the back plate of my instrument and measure with a caliper. It was only an estimate.

I'm only the violinist, my sister is the luthier. So I must be wrong sorry for the mis-understanding.

August 28, 2007 at 08:56 PM · Ok. No, I was just asking because there's such discrepency.

Weissnar says that if a Strad top is less than 2.0 in the middle than it's been tempered with. Yet, there's a famous long strad whose top is about 1.9. (

Or so the story goes....

Thanks for clearing that up

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