There has been a lot of discussion on this board with regard to the quality and origin of the Gammuto violins. As many of you know, Mr. Gammuto is a sponsor here and posts often.
Unfortunately most of the discussion has been negative and largely heresay and opinions. I am the only one to step up and declare myself as an owner of one of his fiddles.
Let me first give you some of my personal background. I am a retired senior executive (cement company) I started playing when I was six and continued through age 19. During that time I served as Concertmaster of the California Youth Symphony, under Dr. Ernst Katz. I was third chair Burbank Youth Symphony and concertmaster of the Hollywood High School Orchestra. I was also selected as one of three violinists from California to the National High School orchestra under the direction of Thor Johnson. We performed in St. Louis Mo. I recorded with a studio orchestra that provided background for the movie, Unguarded Moment, with John Saxton and Esther Williams. I got out of music for a variety of reasons but returned upon my retirement. I have a passion for the instrument and my skill is slowly but surely returning.
While I am not a woodworking expert or luthier, I think that I know a good fiddle when I see and play one. I bought my first Gammuto, a student instrument toward the first of the year. I was so impressed with it and after looking at other volins in Los Angeles, I decided to step up to a soloist model. With the lack of references on his website, it was a matter of trust. I bought the violins directly from Gammuto and not from his E-Bay store. But I did check his feedback.
Since the have been some serious misgivings regarding his fiddles,here and also on Maestronet, I undertook some in depth discovery myself, including communications with Gammuto.
I would like to say here that I am entirely satisfied with what I have found and and state emphatically that the man makes his violins and does not substitute or use white blanks from China. He is also a dealer and he does re-sell what he takes in but not with his brand on them.
The violins that I have our first class, and the quality is everything he says and I say they are.
It is unfortunate that such a witch hunt has occured which could do considerable damage to a honest maker. Mr. Gammuto is sometimes opinionated and certainly there is some heavy duty pride which makes it difficult to respond to what has happened here. I owe him an apology and I hope all of you join me in this. Thanks.
[Editor's note: Violinist.com's Guidelines for Writers states that "Attempts to harass or intimidate others are grounds for expulsion from the site."
Over the course of this thread, it became apparent that Violinist.com members who had seen Mr. Gammuto's violins were of the opinion that they were of acceptable quality, given their stated prices. A trusted member of the site even visited Mr. Gammuto's shop in person.
Yet others on this thread continued to rail against Mr. Gammuto for a variety of reasons not related to direct personal experience with his violins - his website, his past work as a carpenter, his profile on eBay, etc.
And they wouldn't let it go, despite first-person accounts from actual owners of Mr. Gammuto's violins, and gentle rebukes from Robert and me that this thread was getting out of hand.
For some on this thread, these unsubstantiated criticism about the quality of Mr. Gammuto's violins crossed the line into personal attacks on and intimidation against Mr. Gammuto and his customers. That is not acceptable on this website.
Criticism of violin makers is welcomed on this site, and we provide both a luthier review section and this discussion forum for that. But personal vendettas are not.
For that reason, several individuals who participated in this thread have been banned from the site. We wanted to let you know why.]
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