The David Guarneri del Gesu

June 12, 2008 at 09:17 PM · If any one has a good picture of the front, back or both of this violin please let me know ~thanks~

Replies (35)

June 12, 2008 at 10:13 PM · It's pictured in real size high quality pictures on Biddulph's book on Del Gesù, along with other 24 other Del Gesù violins, but this book is rather expensive, about 800 bucks, I think.

June 12, 2008 at 11:07 PM · Yes i know thoes damn books are always up there in price

June 12, 2008 at 11:46 PM · Yes, but this is one of the most important violin books ever published. As a maker, I have 25 Del Gesù violins with photos, blueprints, plate thicknesses, measurements, etc.

June 13, 2008 at 12:51 AM · true is worth the money especialy for makers

June 13, 2008 at 09:39 AM · I'm almost sure the strad magazine have a poster with this violin- isn't 'The Davis@ also known as 'The Heifetz'? You could try looking using that name?

I'll have a look later.

June 13, 2008 at 01:42 PM · If it is the 'Heifetz' you're interested in, there's a single photo on the Museum of Fine Arts (San Francisco) website:

Just search for "Heifetz"; it'll come up. It's an oblique view, not what you were asking for, I know.

Hope this helps!

Larry Samuels

June 13, 2008 at 01:47 PM · I have an Strad poster with pictures of this violin, with Heiftz on the other side, there are no technical information in this poster, if I'm not wrong.

But I think it's sold out since it's not listed in the STRAD's site, in the place they sell posters.

June 13, 2008 at 02:46 PM · Here's a slightly more "up-close" picture than the one on the San Francisco page:

June 15, 2008 at 11:34 PM · Great i have perfect pics now ,the shop has asked me for the specs of the violin ,is there any place on the internet i can find this info ??sorry i am not to good at finding things on the computer~

June 15, 2008 at 11:45 PM · This information is not available on the internet, I think. Perhaps you could get the Strad poster or give a look on Biddulph's book.

June 16, 2008 at 03:44 AM · What shop has asked for the specs, and why?

June 16, 2008 at 01:14 PM · They need it so they can make my copy

June 16, 2008 at 01:36 PM · In general we need much more than the photos of the instrument to make a copy, we need to know about archings, graduation, many views of the scroll and many many measurments that will be found just in a technical plan, but I may be wrong.

June 16, 2008 at 01:43 PM · Yes im sure thats what they want from me~I just need to look for the information

June 16, 2008 at 10:51 PM · The Biddulph book is the answer- if you're not a maker it would probably not be on your shopping list, if you are then it's an extraordinary resource.

June 17, 2008 at 12:22 AM · Something may be wrong here.... the maker must have the plans and experience with the model he is going to use, but I may be wrong.

June 17, 2008 at 02:32 AM · he just said if i can give him the specs on it then that would be greaaaattt!

June 17, 2008 at 03:13 AM · Dan,

I would be very careful if I were you. Any luthier worth his (or her) salt would not ask for this sort of information from their customer, so they can make a copy of a desired instrument. I am sorry if I am offending anyone, but the luthier is supposed to be the expert, the one with the knowledge and resources, not the customer. Also, making a copy involves a whole lot more than mere pictures and measurements. In reality, it involves getting into the head of the original maker (in your case, del Gesu) as much as possible, which requires knowledge of working methods, even an understanding of the culture in which they plied their trade (something not so easily accomplished). It goes without saying that this all goes above and beyond mere measurements and pictures. To use a particular violin as a model (for inspiration) is one thing, but to make a copy of it is something altogether different.

Best of luck to you, but think about it and do some research before you part with your hard-earned $$$$$. Also, just because a violin is a copy of a great instrument is no guarantee the end result will be in keeping with the original. If done thoughtfully and with an ever-watchful eye over the bigger picture, the result may be very good, but there remains many, many opportunities for the luthier to go astray, copy or not. All a good model does for a luthier is set him or her off in the right direction, but there are still many choices to be made along the way, many opportunities to make the wrong decision and wind up with something less. The truth is, all luthiers miss the mark to some extent, even del Gesu and Stradivari did so. There are no perfect violins, just some REALLY good ones!!! Makers the likes of del Gesu or Stradivari just happened to get a whole lot closer to prefection than most, and do so very consistently. Some do get lucky every now and then, but as they say the good ones make their own luck, and the great builders have proven this by the consistently high level of their work. Also, just remember that the great makers of the past never made copies of their own instruments, each was an original. Think about that for a moment...

I do not doubt we have a few great makers amongst us today, of whom future generations will kindly speak. I truly believe there are even a few makers lurking in the shadows, ones whose instruments will not be hallowed until after they've long since passed. Such is often the case with the very best of art, for which the immortal violins of old have been made.


September 18, 2008 at 03:03 AM · Someone had sent me a digital image of the violin that showed large detail if anyone knows of anywere else i can fing pictures online that would be great!

September 18, 2008 at 06:37 AM · Dan,

If the maker is only working from a picture, then the instrument has some chance (depending on opionion) of ending up looking like a del gesu, but I would bet it has very little chance of sounding like one without better quality information. Although the proportions are accurate, the thickness of any of the parts cannpot be conveyed in a picture. This is also true for anything inside, or for accurate angles (the lens distorts at some levels in almiost every circumstance; without a frame of reference, it is usually not noticable). Without knowing the focal length of the lens and other things about the photograph, it is impossible to make an exact copy only from a photograph.

September 18, 2008 at 12:55 PM · Dan,

Gregg Alf from Ann Arbor has already made a very exact copy of the David/Heifetz del Gesu.

Best wishes, Martin

September 18, 2008 at 01:24 PM · Lol since then i have been doing my own studies and began violin making,so now is my challenge to do,seems every picture i see it looks diff all the time aswell!

September 18, 2008 at 05:43 PM · Photos taken from the same instrument will vary quite a lot depending on the lightning. When seen "in person" the instrument is in general less coloured than on photos.

But there are exceptions, Biddulph's book on Del Gesù has very "realistic" photos.

September 18, 2008 at 07:30 PM · Too bad you couldn't get an MRI pictures of it. I found a web site once that an organisation actualy did MRIs of Gesus, Amattis, and Strads.

September 19, 2008 at 11:03 PM · Royce, Do you mean CT scans?

September 19, 2008 at 11:37 PM · yes i wish i could see in person! were is it now still in s.f

September 21, 2008 at 04:39 PM · There is simply no way that a shop who has to ask a customer for specs is capable of delivering a quality copy. Either they're pulling your leg or you're pulling ours. How much are they charging for this violin- or are they asking you for prices aswell?

September 21, 2008 at 07:25 PM · I agree with Martin.

I have seen cabinets made from pictures, and the surface of the cabinet indicates what the picture conveys, but the surface, as well as the insides, has greater components from the skill of the maker. Short version, translated for violins, is the maker's skill is more important than getting an accurate pictuer. If the maker is not aware of this, then they probably misunderstand the skill required for a quality product.

September 21, 2008 at 09:52 PM · So why axactly would i be pulling somones leg ,i just need pictures and wanted to know if anyone had documented the violin for its measurements.i have plans from a 1742 del gesu somone said they should be about as close as i need.

September 22, 2008 at 10:25 AM · Sorry Dan, I didn't mean to suggest you were disingenuous. How much is the shop asking for the instrument? Are you concerned that they are asking you to do their homework for them?

September 22, 2008 at 03:57 PM · the shop that was going to make it was in china previous violins i had them make were very very nice for around 400 and they did a great job on copying the pictures i sent them.I have plans for a 1742 delgesu i will be using to make this violin,i will post pictures of its construction

September 23, 2008 at 12:19 PM · Here is a link to the instrument.

There is a very good zoom function. If the stamp was on that side you would be able to read it off the bow. Do you suppose it is one of his Kittles? It is very fancy and gold mounted.


September 23, 2008 at 04:57 PM · San Francisco luthier Roland Feller has taken care of this violin in the past - I think he still does any necessary touch up work. You might try calling him. He's a great guy.

Here's the link to his shop:

September 29, 2008 at 08:09 PM · The one that has the zoom is greaT if only i could see the top good would be perfact!

October 1, 2008 at 08:21 PM · Martin Welter is absolutely right. Gregg Alf made an exact replica for a friend of mine who was a Heifetz student. Upon Heifetz death, Gregg was ask to create a replica. I think because of the association with Heifetz, Gregg was able to obtain access to the original in SF. When the Alf violin was finished my friend gained permission to visit the original with the Alf copy. He played both (he said it brought tears to his eyes) and has a picture holding both of the instruments--The David and its modern counterpart. An amazing story.

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