Riccardo Bergonzi Violin(s)

April 30, 2008 at 02:12 AM · I've recently been researching modern violins. I found a Riccardo Bergonzi on a relatively nearby violin shop's website. I was wondering what anyone can tell me about this maker, the quality of his instruments, price, etc.

Replies (22)

April 30, 2008 at 03:33 AM · I have a Riccardo Bergonzi violin that was made in 2004. I bought it from Claire Givens after that year's Cremona Tour and have been 100% thrilled with it. I had hoped to get to "meet my maker" when I was in Italy last summer but didn't have the time...perhaps next time! Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions.

April 30, 2008 at 03:55 AM · Bergonzi is perhaps one of the best modern Italian makers. Though of course his instruments have an extra price tag simply for being Cremonese,

How that particular instrument will sound, nobody can say without trying it, but in general his instruments are high quality, and I doubt you'll be displeased.

Great tone, but extremely plain looking. I don't believe he antiques any of his instruments.

April 30, 2008 at 01:43 PM · Actually my violin *is* slightly antiqued--not enough to look beat up, but it certainly doesn't look hot off the press. It's more attractive than some others of his whose photos I've seen online. In any case, he does antique some instruments, or at least he has.

April 30, 2008 at 04:04 PM · Is he related to the original Bergonzi?? I'd like one of those!

April 30, 2008 at 07:35 PM ·

April 30, 2008 at 07:48 PM · I'm not sure if there's an honest relation between him and Carlo Bergonzi, or if he's just using the name to his advantage. I've only played on one of his instruments, and am just basing the non-antiquing thing from all I've heard about his instruments/seen photos of. If he does commissions perhaps he does antiquing, but only if asked for? Not too sure.

I've never really understood the stance on not antiquing violins...it'd make since of a maker decided to do instruments both ways, to appeal to both crowds, but being clear-cut anti-antique seems more like a cop-out or proof of an inability on that aesthetic and artistic form.

To determine if it's worth 18,000$ to you, I'd just test it out against other instruments in that price range and higher, to get a good idea of the relative quality of the instrument.

The violin I tried was very comparable to other instruments in that range, though not quite as good as instruments in the 25,000-30,000$ range. i don't think the difference is worth 10,000$ though.

April 30, 2008 at 11:27 PM · I think not-antiquing the violin would be more difficult. There is no margin for error. Many of the new instruments, especially from China, are over-done in that regard in my view.

A well made instrument will be around long enough to develop its own antique appearance.

April 30, 2008 at 11:49 PM · I suppose so, but I consider antiquing varnish an artform of sorts. Some elements of antiquing will come naturally in time, but they won't achieve the artistic, almost painting-like beauty of instruments antiqued at creation, I believe.

Take Strad or Vuillaume violins for example. Most of them are plain looking as all hell.

May 1, 2008 at 12:30 AM · when I compared the two, I found the violin made by Katarina Abhuel to be equally as good for sound, projection, craftsmanship, and was significantly lower in price. You might want to spend a courier fee to try it.

May 2, 2008 at 06:40 AM · "Take Strad or Vuillaume violins for example. Most of them are plain looking as all hell. "

Are you......?!! ahh, never mind.

May 2, 2008 at 06:55 AM · I certainly haven't seen many that are attractive. Take Hilary Hahn's Vuillaume for example. Gorgeous tone but it's, well, more or less plain red.

I'd compare it with having a canvas painted one pure color, as opposed to one with patterns and differences in hue. There's little contest in terms of aesthetic beauty.

May 2, 2008 at 07:37 AM · Adam

If you wanted an antiqued instrument and approached him about making one for you i'm sure he would but as someone said you never know the true sound until you have played it and that does sound like allot of money though i'm sure its worth every penny. I have a antiqued one I made a few years back if you are interested but unfortunately I dont have an italian surname.

May 2, 2008 at 10:57 AM · Jake

You have not seen many Vuillaumes or Strads that are attractive.......you need to get out more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 2, 2008 at 12:24 PM · "I'd compare it with having a canvas painted one pure color, as opposed to one with patterns and differences in hue. There's little contest in terms of aesthetic beauty."

Hmmm..... so I take it you're not interested in modern art either because modern painting especially minimalism can be quite breathtaking in its simplicity.

May 2, 2008 at 01:23 PM · I've seen and played quite a few of Bergonzi's violins, and have been to his shop.

Exceptional maker, remarkable varnish.


May 2, 2008 at 04:18 PM · "You have not seen many Vuillaumes or Strads that are attractive.......you need to get out more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well, it might be a lack of exposure (doubtless I haven't seen all of the Vuillaumes and Strads out there) so if you have any photo examples, feel free to post 'em. I can only think of the Soil Strad as being fairly pretty in it's varnish. I can't think of an example for a Vuillaume though.

May 2, 2008 at 05:03 PM · Hi Jake

Have a look at www.cozio.com

Great info and pics.

If you like the 'Antique' look...Vuillaume is your man....if you like the 'straight' look...Vuillaume is your man.

If you want perfection...A.Stradivari.



May 2, 2008 at 05:41 PM · It seems there's some quite pretty Vuillaumes after all, I just hadn't seen the right ones.

But hey, I'll have to argue with that perfection statement. Can't top a del Gesù :)

May 2, 2008 at 07:36 PM · As a current student of violin making, I can attest that antiquing is a great way to hide mistakes. I have heard it mentioned on other forums several times as an option when someone botches something along the violin making process. My instruments will not be antiqued, aside from hints (shading of common wear areas) in the varnish. I figure my violins will earn it's bumps and nicks when it's 200 hundred years old - I'd rather it not start out that way. It's interesting to note that with chin rests, shoulder rests, and suspension cases, the wear patterns we see in old violins will be pretty much be obselete.

That being said, antiquing is a seperate discipline that can be done poorly and exquisitely.

May 2, 2008 at 11:24 PM · If Stradivari and Guarneri created the masterpieces which we hold most dear today, and made them in an environment which accepted "new", despite the presence of older, more worn instruments, what has gone awry in the interim?

Would you impose artificial wrinkles and arthritis into your newborn baby to make him/her fit better into the aging population? :)

May 3, 2008 at 04:51 AM ·

March 10, 2011 at 09:26 AM ·

Adam, if the Riccardo Bergonzi violin is the  2003 violin in the Brobst violin shop, I am pretty sure that i tried it in 2003 and was tempted to buy it, but instead bought from Daniele Tonarelli. If it IS the same violin I find it difficult to understand why it hasn't sold yet - but have to say that it gave the impression that it would need quite a bit of playing to sound really good as the construction was pretty robust; correct for a Guarneri model.

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