Laura Vigato?

February 25, 2016 at 02:04 AM · Hello!

I play Carnatic music professionally, and I am looking for a violin in the 15K budget. I have a JB Collin violin, which I will always be using for down-tuning, as it has an amazing bass, and powerful and resonant tone.

I need another violin which will be very close to western classical tuning. For this one, the one that immediately caught my eye and ear was a beautiful violin by Laura Vigato. Any opinions? The bow I use is made by Douglas Raguse. It is an amazing bow as well! Thank you so much.

Replies (41)

February 25, 2016 at 12:34 PM · Can somebody please help ;)

February 25, 2016 at 01:19 PM · I played 2 Vigato's, one has refined round sound but lacking in power. Another one belongs to my colleague and this one has much broader dynamic range where it can go quite powerful when pushed, it handled heavy bowing quite well. Both has the similar refine rounded sound.

Not the most powerful sound though, not enough focus for my taste - somewhat not very strong in overtones for lack of better word. However this maker gain her recognition worldwide so if you're worry about how it'll hold its value overtime I think it'll be a safe purchase.

February 25, 2016 at 03:23 PM · When you mean lacking in power, do you mean projection?

February 25, 2016 at 03:37 PM · I play a Vigato and am quite fond of it. Click on my profile and read the blog about my violin search. My Vigato is not the easiest to play. Some notes, especially C, take coaxing to draw out the sound. It also does not have the projection to power over a full orchestra. For practice and chamber music, it is the perfect instrument -- beautiful sound with lots of overtones. Best sounding violin I have ever played. Her instruments like all makers can vary from one to the next, so you cannot generalize on one instrument. It is like kids. Parents with multiple kids will tell you they all have characteristics of their parents, but they are all unique in their own way. Violins are the same. You have to try a few to find the one that works for you.

February 25, 2016 at 03:48 PM · Kamalakiran,

Smiley is right, all violins won't be exactly the same and if possible, ask for approval to take the violin out for trial, and only you can answer the question of your own.

Personally, my experience with Vigato's is that they don't have quite the focus to cut through, if it's what you need. Every violinist wants a soloist violin but as a matter of fact not everyone need it, so it's up to you to decide. For me, I do more solo works than ensemble/orchestra, so I won't go for Vigato (at least the ones that I played).

It's said that Itzhak Perlman played a Vigato, and the video below resembled my experience with Vigato but it sounded much more gorgeous in his hand! So...it's not entirely about the violin.

February 25, 2016 at 03:55 PM · Thank you so much! When I played about 30 violins in that range, the one that appealed to everybody in the room and myself was the Vigato. I think it would be amazing for my style of music as well! I can definitely see that each violin is different, as the one I played on was surprisingly easier to play on compared to the violin I already own. I will bring it home for trial, and update from there. If you have any other suggestions in that range, please let me know! Any other updates about Vigato violin's are much welcomed as well. Thank you so much!

February 25, 2016 at 04:27 PM · I'm pretty sure that Perlman was playing his del Gesu in that video - which he has since sold. And it is very true that you can't generalize too much about the sound of a maker's violins - especially if they make different models. I've tried about 8-10 Strads, 3 del Gesu, a few Amatis, etc. - and found them to be all different.

I tried a Laura Vigato once at an auction and I liked it. It had brilliance, sheen and a good, bright timbre. But it had unusually elongated corners - to the point that I think it would be hard to fit that fiddle into many cases. Maybe it was an experiment.

If we're talking contemporary Italian makers, then I can't resist a plug for Vittorio Villa. He's an excellent maker and a fine gentleman - and I'm the proud owner of two of his violins, which are also quite different from one another. I have a blog about them called "A Tale of Two Fiddles". His prices are very reasonable and he has a lot of integrity. Villa violins may be found in the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Shanghai Quartet, in the hands of the noted solo virtuoso Massima Quarta, etc. And now, one of them will be seen and heard on a tv commercial played by yours truly. (See my blog "The Day I Shot a TV Commercial").

It's always helpful if you don't have to make a cold call, so if you contact him and mention my name it will expedite things a bit.

www.violini-villa.com

February 26, 2016 at 01:40 AM · Thank you so much! I will definitely look into that. Playing on the Vigato on trial blows my mind every time. I love the resonance, and the overtones. It is really the definition of a violin singing, but I want to make sure it is that in all places. The combination of my Raguse bow and Vigato violin seems to be working really well!

February 26, 2016 at 01:41 AM · Thank you so much! I will definitely look into that. Playing on the Vigato on trial blows my mind every time. I love the resonance, and the overtones. It is really the definition of a violin singing, but I want to make sure it is that in all places. The combination of my Raguse bow and Vigato violin seems to be working really well!

February 26, 2016 at 01:49 AM · Raphael,

I stand corrected! The two vigato's I played were del gesu model perhaps they resemble the sound.

Kamalakiran,

If the violin rings your bell, it's all that matter. Try arranging for a mini concert, playing with at least a piano (Or your usual setting for the type of music you play) as well as with some audiences present. I found that empty hall doesn't really reveal much, almost every single time an actual concert with audiences was a painful reality check.

February 26, 2016 at 12:08 PM · BTW Raguse is a good bow maker.

February 26, 2016 at 01:53 PM · Thumbs up on the Raguse. I have one that I'm trying to sell, currently on consignment at Bein and Fushi. :-)

February 26, 2016 at 07:06 PM · Raguse is really wonderful. Balanced sound, and just feels like an amazing extension of my hand!

February 26, 2016 at 07:58 PM · Vigato rhymes with legato, spiccato, staccato, martellato, pizzicato...

Can't go wrong with having one!

I tried one of her violins a few years ago. It was a good instrument.

Bear in mind that even the best makers have ups and downs, so always, always put the name aside and listen! If you are lucky, you may get one above her average opus. On the other hand, you may end up owning one under (still good as an investment in the long run).

February 26, 2016 at 09:11 PM · So far, it is sounding really good. The varnish is amazing as well! I love the sound, it is making everything sing. The prices are bound to go up soon!

February 26, 2016 at 10:35 PM · One other question. On the violin itself, the dominants are already set up. Do you recommend me to change it to whatever string brand I plan on using, and see how it sounds with that brand?

February 26, 2016 at 10:35 PM · One other question. On the violin itself, the dominants are already set up. Do you recommend me to change it to whatever string brand I plan on using, and see how it sounds with that brand?

February 26, 2016 at 10:55 PM · You say "legayto" and I say "legahto"

You say "Vigayto" and I say "Vigahto"

"Legayto", "legahto"

"Vigayto", "Vigahto"

Let's call the whole thing off!

;-D

February 27, 2016 at 02:04 AM · If you have the instrument on trial, they will not want you to change the strings without permission.

February 27, 2016 at 04:21 AM · Vibrato rings well with Vigato!

February 27, 2016 at 04:29 AM · I am a supporter of Laura's work! She makes powerful sounding violins, with a lot of clarity and resonance. I will be her West Coast importer in the USA with my new shop in San Jose, CA, Bay Fine Strings! In fact, I have a commission to be delivered in May. Let me know if any of you will be interested in trying it. I hope you find a violin that matches what you're looking for.

February 27, 2016 at 12:13 PM · Now Casey, just as I was getting better and back on my meds, you got me started again:

You say "vibrayto" and I say "vibrahto"

You say "staccayto" and I say "staccahto"

Uh oh... an ambulance just pulled up...have to run..ta ta!

February 27, 2016 at 12:18 PM · I hope they are not dressed in white and carrying a straightjacket?

February 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM · Regarding strings, I have tried a few with my Vigato, and I have decided that Dominants seem to be an excellent choice (I.e., compromise). Laura ships her instruments with Dominants, but Bill Weaver frequently changes them to Evah Pirazzi. I prefer the lower tension and warmer sound of Dominants. I use either Evah E string, or Pirastro Wondertone Gold label. Never use the Dominant E, squeals like a pig.

February 27, 2016 at 03:43 PM · Kamal,

already not happy with strings, eh!?

Leave them on: they are in the middle of the spectrum and always a good starting position.

You will

a) lose precious time while new strings (and the instrument under changed tension) settle

b) have a wrong impression if you put previously used strings

Always consider that the prospective instrument is at its best "as is". Leave all hopes for sound improvements behind.

If, however, it does come over time, it will be the icing on the cake (or rosin on the top plate).

R

February 27, 2016 at 03:52 PM · My experience with new fiddles from Italy has been that I was happy with Dominants for a decade or so but then would often switch to Obligatos if the instrument happened to be "bright".

I tend to prefer a warmer sound and Obligatos remind me of those gut-cored strings I used way back in time. I was an orchestral section player - maybe I'd want Pirazzis if I was a concertmaster or soloist.

BTW I tried a new Vigato violin in 2011 - on a visit to Italy a maker I know, Guido Trotta, had made a violin he was able to offer me but I arranged to try the Vigato as plan B if I didn't like Trotta's fiddle - I didn't want the journey to be wasted ! Laura's violin was very good, a Guarneri model with a dark and strong sound but Trotta's instrument was brighter and more evenly balanced. I couldn't have afforded 2 violins on that day and stuck with the Trotta violin.

BTW I prefer the gold-plated "E"s (e.g. Obligatos) as they proved to resist perspiration well but they are inclined to whistle or fail to speak sometimes - not a problem when playing in an orchestral section.

February 27, 2016 at 04:56 PM · Thank you so much for all the input! If Dominants work, then PI should also work right? I will leave the strings as is for now! Looks like I am going to be buying it, but going to try it at some other places before my trial end on Wednesday. This is a 2015 Vigato and I am so excited for it! It has a bright, even and powerful sound. Thank you so much!

February 27, 2016 at 06:35 PM · PIs are a lot higher tension than Dominants. You'll probably get good results with Infeld Red or Blue if Dominants sound good on your violin, but Visions or PIs might or might not sound good.

Also consider Warchal's range of strings, which are in about the same price range.

February 27, 2016 at 11:00 PM · I tried out a Vigato when I was shopping too a few years back. It was clean generated a sound easily and the one I had was quite loud. However, I found that what it had in ease it lacked in subtlety - at least for me it was difficult to generate a broad range of colours. The Vigato was not alone in this I had the same issue with two or three modern italian instruments. Open, responsive - but lacking in nuance. I did eventually buy an Italian but this one is walks to a different strummer - an Alceste Bulfari.

February 29, 2016 at 03:56 AM · It really looks like I will settle for the Vigato. It just is a mindblowing sound. I will update later. One more question, (I know this has nothing to do with buying the violin, as I base it only on sound and not name) but is Laura Vigato as good as some of the excellent contemporary makers of USA (I.E. Burgess,etc)?

February 29, 2016 at 05:40 PM · What I mean to ask is...sound wise and quality wise the violin seems to be in the league of some of the best contemporary American makers, but why is the price less?

February 29, 2016 at 07:41 PM · Shhhhhhh!!! Stop asking silly questions and buy the instrument while the price is still right.

March 1, 2016 at 04:22 AM · :D got it...we are getting it on Wednesday!!!

March 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM · ".....the violin seems to be in the league of some of the best contemporary American makers, but why is the price less?"

Because so many of the ancient Italian fiddles are sold for astronomical prices, and even some of the nearly-new ones originating from there have appreciated in value, folk are inclined to believe that a new violin from that neck-of-the-woods will be very expensive.

My local maker creates beautiful looking and sounding violins, yet his prices are nearly double what I paid in 2011 for a very nice new Cremona-made fiddle.

Maybe the fact that there are so many makers working in Italy forces them to be competitive price-wise.

Anyway, as Smiley wrote, Shhhhhhh!!!.

March 1, 2016 at 01:20 PM · Thank you so much! :D I can't wait for this new instrument!

March 1, 2016 at 07:34 PM · Word of caution, get all your work and chores out of the way. Once you get the new violin, you will be playing it all the time and won't have time to do all that other mundane stuff -- at least that's what happened with me :-)

March 1, 2016 at 07:47 PM · :D Planning for that! Good thing too, I have a concert this weekend in Chicago! This violin's first flight! :D

May 19, 2016 at 07:25 PM · I realize it has been a while since I have updated. I am simply in love with this violin. I cannot stop playing it! Smiley was completely right, I have no intention of ever stopping. It has such a smooth, but powerful tone. Every time I play it, it still blows my mind away, and it is a good fit with my style of music as well. Thank you all so much!

May 19, 2016 at 09:15 PM · "One other question. On the violin itself, the dominants are already set up. Do you recommend me to change it to whatever string brand I plan on using, and see how it sounds with that brand?"

You'll probably do better by sticking with the strings which gave you such a good impression of this violin, than by switching to a brand which worked well on some other violin. String choices can be rather instrument-specific.

For example, Evahs can get more power out of some violins, and choke others. If you're happy with the sound of the violin, I wouldn't recommend second-guessing things too much. I've seen many people end up in a downward spiral by trying to improve something which was already pretty good, eventually winding up at the door of some really good (and probably really expensive) luthier, asking,

"Can you get things back to the way they were originally?"

May 20, 2016 at 12:55 AM · Thank you so much! I do not plan on switching! The way it is right now, I am in love with and I cannot take any chances ;).

May 20, 2016 at 12:56 AM · Also speaking of Luthiers, what do you all think of John Montgomery in Raleigh NC?

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