Violins by Hiroshi Kono

July 17, 2010 at 04:55 AM ·

I noticed in Laurie Niles blog that she recently acquired a Hiroshi Kono violin and is quite enamored with it.  I recently discovered this maker and purchased a Kono for myself as a second fiddle.  It is about as good as anything I've played for under $3000.  There isn't much about him on these boards, so I was wondering if anyone else plays one, or has any experience with Kono violins.  If nothing else, I wanted to recognize him for his outstanding work.

 

Replies (24)

July 17, 2010 at 12:13 PM ·

I know nothing about this maker, other than I believe his last name is spelled "Konno" with two n's. You may want to change that in the thread title just so the information is more accessible via Google or other searches.

That said, there doesn't seem to be any information on the internet about this maker. Where does one even get his instruments?

July 17, 2010 at 03:55 PM ·

I think entering  "Hiroshi Kono + violin"  in the search window/box brings up quite a few hits for Hiroshi Kono. I'd like to know, though, if Hiroshi Kono is/was a luthier, or a luthier running his own workshop, or if "Hiroshi Kono" is a trade name like Karl Knilling, etc., where, "Karl Knilling" really does not exist.

July 20, 2010 at 01:21 AM ·

I actually bought a 1/2 Hiroshi Kono about six months ago which stood out in a trial with a Jay Heide, and a 1900 German. It was the loudest and sweetest of all. On top of that it was fitted with Vision strings where some other violins were fitted with louder Evah strings.

 

 

July 21, 2010 at 01:24 PM ·

There is one for sale at J.R. Judd, and it says "Hiroshi Kono, Luthier"

http://www.jrjuddviolins.com/instruments/violins_int.html

I don't know if that means he or she is a real person, though.

December 7, 2010 at 04:00 PM ·

My son just upgraded to a 1/4 size violin and we tried several fiddles between $1000-$2000 and Hiroshi Kono won hands down.  So far, this maker is not very well known, but for high end student instruments, he offers a pretty compelling product.

 

December 7, 2010 at 09:03 PM ·

My god, you are spending a lot of money on a little fiddle! I thought spending $2000 on the 3/4 was pushing it (which must have been the case--I haven't sold it in over a year--or is it two years...)

 

Are you comfortable with the market for a 1/4 size with that sort of price tag?

December 7, 2010 at 09:12 PM ·

Smiley,

So did you purchase the Kono's fiddle? If you did, I would like to know how you selected the matching bow for that small fiddle.  

December 7, 2010 at 11:45 PM ·

I am working through Steve Kanack at TheStringHouse.com.  They offer 100% trade in policy.  As long as my son keeps playing violin, and I keep trading up, I am basically getting free use of the fiddle.  The trade in policy at the local shop is a joke so that is why I am working with an out of state shop.

Regarding the price, one fiddle was a Mittenwald, made in 1880.  That was the fiddle priced at $2000.  It was not even close to the Kono in tone or projection.  The Kono was on the cheaper end of the price range.

Regarding the bow, The String House sent me two bows to try; both pernumbuco.  I picked the one that worked best for spiccato and sautille.  There was not much difference in sound as far as I could tell. 

 

January 2, 2011 at 03:06 PM ·

There was no answer about if Hiroshi Kono is a luthier himself, or just like kalr Knilling. I found this page via google weaversviolins.com/vendors.htm

According to the page, Hiroshi Kono is just a new line of product like the well known "Rudolph Doetsch", right?

January 3, 2011 at 01:09 AM ·

[deleted double post]

January 3, 2011 at 01:09 AM ·

According to Bill Weaver, the biggest importer of Kono instruments, there is a real person named Hiroshi Kono in Japan and he has two apprentices working for him.  Bill Weaver gets the instruments white, and he does the varnish and setup.

January 3, 2011 at 02:14 AM ·

Thanks Smiley!

My friend is coming to Japan, he is going travel around there so he'd love to buy an instrument from "Hiroshi Kono". Any chance you have any clues to give out?

January 3, 2011 at 08:40 PM ·

Hi Phuong,

I wish I could help, but I do not have contact information for Mr Kono.  They are starting to get pretty popular, and since Bill Weaver is buying them up, you might have better luck finding one here in the US rather than Japan, but I can't say for sure.  Sorry, I wish I could be of more help.

January 5, 2011 at 06:03 PM ·

Wasn't he a classical guitar maker in the eighties?

May 21, 2011 at 01:13 AM ·

I am selling a wonderful 3/4 size Kono, which you can find on the "For Sale" page of this website. 

September 19, 2011 at 08:29 PM ·

My son is doing a home trial of several 3/4 instruments -- a Hiroshi Kono Tokyo/ anno 2006 among them.  The label also has two Japanese characters meaning "beautiful sound" on it.  So far this Kono has been the best sounding among the $1,750~$3,250 range instruments he is trying, and I am very eager to know more about him.  I read and write Japanese so did a search with Google Japan/ Yahoo Japan with no luck... does anyone know anything about Hiroshi Kono? 

November 24, 2011 at 05:56 PM · It appears that the Hiroshi Kono violins come from the shop of the House of Weaver. The same company that sells the Jurgen Klier German shop violins. Bill Weaver's family created the Doetsch line of violins.

Owned a Jurgen Klier and it was a fine violin. Impressed with the workmanship and sound of the Klier. Nice to know that the Kono comes through Weaver's company as they and my dealer have gained my confidence over the last year.

Here is a Hiroshi Kono (left) and a Jurgen Klier (right) that I will be evaluating next week. Of course, neither are set up in these images but this at least gives one an idea of the instruments general appearance. The always look different in person and the camera flash hides their genuine appearance.

I prefer the Klier in terms of looks alone, but what's most important to me is sound and playability. The Klier is less antiqued and has a characteristic German look and workmanship about it.

The Kono is heavily antiqued, almost appearing abused and somewhat wilder, but it's gotten such excellent reviews from those who own them that I am likely to leave the shop with it instead. The Kono has a one piece back which may be an advantage in terms of sound, but I'm not sure.

I can't remember if the tone woods on the Kono come from Europe or not. Maybe someone can clarify.

Kono (L) - Klier (R) Front

Kono (L) - Klier (R) Back

Kono (Bottom) - Klier (Top) Scroll

I would appreciate highly your comments and opinions regarding the above images in terms of appearance and finish. On appearance alone which instrument do you prefer?

Do any of you Kono owners have pictures of your instrument that you could post?

November 24, 2011 at 06:57 PM · Thank you, John. Would the peg hole positions on the Kono cause tonal problems, and maybe even structural problems in the long term?

November 24, 2011 at 08:18 PM · Yes, I do see where you're going. It was drilled and is primed for a peg box failure at some point. Someone in Japan wasn't paying attention to their work it appears.

The holes on the German Klier appear to be spaced properly. The Klier just looks better built and finished to me. Having owned one already it's a known quantity. It that one sounds and plays as well as my last then it's likely coming home with me.

November 24, 2011 at 08:44 PM · @John: Yes, I see the "blueprint" for the Viotti scroll and markings for the peg holes. My hand made Strad copy and the J.Klier in the above image(s) are consistent with what I see in the Viotti diagram.

November 24, 2011 at 09:40 PM · I think Laurie Niles plays a Hiroshi Kono. I could be wrong though. I remember reading this somewhere.

May 11, 2014 at 01:38 AM · Since I first started this thread, my son has upgraded to 1/2 size then recently 3/4. In each case, Hiroshi Kono was the best instrument we tried.

For the 3/4, we looked at 5 instruments ranging in price from $2000-$4000. Most were older instruments (1800's). Once again, Hiroshi Kono won hands down. Compared to the other violins on trial, the 3/4 Kono has a more complex sound and also a little edge. So it was not only warm, but projected better than the other fiddles.

We did our tests at home. My house has a large open space with very high ceilings -- not exactly a concert hall, but as close as you are going to get in a home setting.

September 6, 2016 at 10:24 PM · I know this is years later, but if someone is researching like I was, it might be helpful. We just purchased a 3/4 Kono from Potters Violins (sister business to House of Weaver) and agree it was the best of the lot. We tried several Luttigers (Potters brand - good value for money), a Haide, and older & far more expensive German, and the Kono sounded the best. My daughter had a Klier in the 1/2 which we also liked (no 3/4 Kliers in stock), but we were happy to grab the Kono. Apparently they are hot & don't stick around for long.

September 8, 2016 at 10:41 PM · Hi Gretchen, Glad you like the Kono. My son is now playing a full sized Kono after having 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 Konos. His full size Kono is an awesome instrument: great projection, warm and smooth tone and really easy to play. Initially, the bridge was too high so we had it lowered and it is a lot easier to play now. I think it is easier to play than my beloved Laura Vigato.

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