I was listening to Rachel Barton Pine's podcast, and she had luthier Jan van Rooyen on. He said something that got me to thinking. He said that basically we shouldn't be asking Stradivari what his secrets were.......we needed to ask the last guy that worked on one of his violins. All the Strads (and really, all the classic big names) have been modified from their original Baroque setup. I thought it was an interesting question: How much of the way they sound is creditable to Stradivari, and how much belongs to the luthiers that have made the changes through the centuries??
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