Looking for violin in 10-12K price range, where should I go?

February 23, 2011 at 02:28 AM ·

Replies (21)

February 23, 2011 at 05:55 AM ·

 I have had great experience at Antonio Strad Violin in San Antonio http://www.stradviolin.com/

Many players from orchestras around the US go there to get their fine instruments. They are very professional and they have a massive collection!

Best of luck!!!

February 23, 2011 at 09:44 AM ·

I bought a modern Cremonese (Gianluca Zanetti) in that range, and am very pleased with it.  It outperformed many violins in higher price brackets.  If you can sample a selection of modern Italians in that range, you may find what you're looking for.

February 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM ·

I have a new Canadian - John Newton - that I love and second looking at modern violins (but do check out the north american ones too).

I would love to see a blind comparison between the modern cremonese and those from elsewhere.  Is there a lingering advantage?

February 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM ·

 Is there a lingering advantage? In a word I'd say no. That is something that irritates the French makers, this lingering perception that as soon as one crosses the border the modern violins become better. Good violins are made everywhere. There's a cluster of makers in Montpellier, and for 10K euros one could get a fabulous violin although given the exchange that translates to a little bit over 12K USD.  

February 23, 2011 at 03:39 PM ·

Little optimistic on the exchange rates Nigel; 10,000E = US$13,767 but at this level and upon falling in love I dare say the difference would not be noticed too much... :)

February 23, 2011 at 04:03 PM ·

 US$1,767 = a bit more than a little bit more, but nowhere near as much as a lot more :)

February 23, 2011 at 08:44 PM ·

Is there a reason you don't want to work with Robertson's to find the new violin? I would think they would allow you to trade in their shop violin towards the purchase of a new violin? I purchased my current setup (violin by a maker in Northeast) from Robertson's, and am very pleased. 

February 24, 2011 at 12:16 AM ·

I looked at Robertsons selection in that region but was less than thrilled with the quality of instruments I found.

February 24, 2011 at 04:39 PM ·

Owen, you are right, looking at my price sheet from 2008, even at that time they didn't seem to offer many options in your range. 

I'm sure others here will have more specific and insightful suggestions on your search, but this shop in New England has a nice search by price tool, maybe this will help you explore some specific makers: http://www.johnsonstring.com/. 

Good luck!

February 25, 2011 at 12:45 AM ·

Owen, how did you decide that 10-12K is what you are going to spend?  You may find that Robertson's selection is fairly typical- not a lot of choices and not all that great.  You may find some instruments for 8K that blow your socks off, like the stuff for 10K less, and then fall in love with something for 14K.  It's a waste of money to spend 10K for an instrument that isn't any better than one for 7K, and it's even more of a waste to buy something in that price range that you really don't like.  Try as many instruments as you can get your hands on, above and below what you think you want to spend as well as in that range.

February 25, 2011 at 04:41 AM ·

The only reason I said in that range was because I wasn't sure which shops to look at. I also have to consider a bow. 

February 26, 2011 at 05:35 AM ·

Another Canadian maker that has been mentioned on this site before is Hermann Janzen. He is a very nice guy and I just tried 4 of his violins. A few were commisioned and most are probably gone to Europe now. The sound is remarkable, full bodied and rich, often with a hint of reediness. Rings throughout. Being brand new they were not as easy under the ear as some instruments but they blow you away at a little distance. They had Eva Pirazzi strings on them which I find harder to get to respond particularly on a brand new  instrument that is still somewhat raw .

Hermann Janzen and Howard Needham have been taught by Geary Baese on the basis of his research of the principles of the  old Cremonese makers and Geary must be on to something. Howards instruments are very popular and Hermann will likely follow. Hermann now charges  14,000 canadian dollars for a violin; will go up soon. There is a youtube video :


of a young Canadian violinist with one of his instruments.

February 26, 2011 at 08:11 AM ·

 You might want to try violins by Boris de Granda.  I tried some of his recently and was very impressed by the craftsmanship and the maturity in the sound.  He was travelling in Colorado when I was introduced to him but his shop is in southern California.  

February 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM ·

You could try an instrument by a student of Geary Baese. You could also do yourself a huge favour and try an instrument by Geary himself.

February 27, 2011 at 03:48 AM ·

Hendrik - thanks for the link you posted, I was pretty impressed by the sound coming out from that instrument (also by the player of course). I think Hermann's violin is in the same league as e.g. Greiner (judging from Tetzlaff's recording), so I think there's a fantastic reason to not spend twice of that amount while Hermann's violin can do/sound just as good.

February 27, 2011 at 05:39 AM ·

Casey  -  you're welcome. Deniz does justice to that violin. I have rarely played instruments that are so interesting to play. ( must say I haven't played that many top instruments , but a few over the years including one very expensive Strad I was priviliged to play on for half an hour, and  JB Vuilleaumes; and a Lupot that I really liked a lot; plus a few modern Italians. I used to own a very nice NF Vuilleaume for many years as my main instrument )  They have great depth and need a lot of exploring to get to know their potential . Unfortunately the time was a bit short.

If you check some of the earlier comments on v.com you see that some outstanding violinists  like Emil Chudnovsky and Robert Rozak rave about Hermann's work. You may also see an earlier comment of mine on one instrument that didn't have this "living piano" . Hermann told me this instrument's set-up had gone a bit wonky when he got it back, so it didn't sound as good when I played it.

February 28, 2011 at 06:24 AM ·

Since you bought your present instrument from Robertson's, why don't you try there since you can trade your present violin in. Other shops may not give you as much, since you didn't get in from them. Robertson's has a large number of violins in stock in your price range and there prices are below Chicago and NYC shops. .

February 28, 2011 at 05:16 PM ·

My method for getting a lower cost instrument of high quality (relatively speaking, $12K is pretty expensive for most folks :-), is to find a world-class maker that looks to be turning out good apprentices, contact a recently "graduated" apprentice and try some instruments they made or are making.

In one way, you're taking a chance working with a young maker with relatively little track record who's instruments are likely to change more as they continue to gain experience making instruments.  But you're also catching someone with a lot of potential early in their career.  You stand a reasonble chance of getting a high quality instrument selling at a lower cost because the person in question hasn't made a name for themselves yet.

I think this approach worked out pretty well for me.  Through sheer luck, I wound up buying a violin from Kelvin Scott for $12K that was part of a quartet that won a VSA Silver for Tone.


March 3, 2011 at 04:14 AM ·

August 2, 2015 at 06:01 AM · Yikes,

'Through sheer luck, I wound up buying a violin from Kelvin Scott for $12K that was part of a quartet that won a VSA Silver for Tone.'

I thought that beautiful sound was your doing......


August 3, 2015 at 01:35 PM · Besides that, he broke up a quartet. Homewrecker.

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