How many Violins?

March 7, 2016 at 09:31 PM · I'm just curious to know. if you own more than one, do you play the other one(s)...regularly, fairly often, very little etc.

feel free to describe them in as much detail as you want, or just give the basics with the numbers.

I've got 2 acoustics and one acoustic/electric. I play both the acoustics regularly for different uses. I have less opportunity to to play the acoustic/electric at this time.

Replies (39)

March 7, 2016 at 09:59 PM · I have 4, well actually 5 playable ....

Eastman 305 * 2

Magini Copy

Henry Clotelle

Albert schroeter (I had abandoned but will give it another go)

Czech older instrument on the way

March 7, 2016 at 10:04 PM · Oops!

March 7, 2016 at 10:05 PM · Two very different violas, one with a mezzo sound, the other a true contralto, but with the same string and body lengths.

Two violins, one warm and the other bright.

Nothing very expensive, but they are all I've got..

March 7, 2016 at 10:05 PM · Seraphim Protos: 1/-12, because this is what infinite sum converges to.

March 7, 2016 at 10:05 PM · I have on beautiful Socia, and I'll be buried with her, dead or alive.

March 7, 2016 at 10:07 PM · Ah, same problem! I've been doing far more double posts and typos since the site layout changed..

March 7, 2016 at 10:08 PM · Hee-hee!

March 7, 2016 at 10:30 PM · I have four Violins and one Musafia Master case. I also have a great old viola but I try to keep that a secret and hidden in the corner.

March 8, 2016 at 12:18 AM · I have two violins (one is strung as a viola). I once had two violins. I bought one online and someone lent me another. It was hard to decide which one I would stick with, and went with the one someone lent me because it sounded better. Eventually, I had to return it to them and discovered the one I bought online was inferior compared to the one I was loaned.

March 8, 2016 at 12:30 AM · Currently on 4 violins:

-The 100+ years-old German, which sounds like a dignified old grandpa (and dark chocolate).

-The new-ish 2005 labeless Romanian, which sounds like a 'standard violin', clean and unobtrusive (and like milk chocolate).

-The Yita 'Cremonese', which sounds nicely rounded, soft, and so incredibly sweet. It's the sweetest violin I've ever had (and makes me think of tiramisu).

-The Yita 'Lord Wilton', which is deep, a bit brash, and loud! I'm still learning this one's moods... and I haven't got food synesthesia for it yet. ;)

I actually find myself a bit overwhelmed with 4 violins around. I used to play the German one for Bach and Mozart and the Romanian one for everything else, but now I find myself with more options! I've been trying the 'Cremonese' here and there to see if there's anything it fits better than the other two, and I have no idea what I'm gonna do with the 'Lord Wilton' and its booming voice. ...Wagner perhaps?

March 8, 2016 at 03:14 AM · I have 5 violins:

1. 3/4 Chinese workshop violin finished off here in the states and formerly a rental from a reputable shop. I bought it from ebay for cheap for use as a campfire fiddle. I don't camp much anymore so I'll probably Craigslist it soon.

2. Late 1890's German workshop 3/4 violin. I played it for the last two years, but it doesn't do what I need anymore so I moved on. That one is going to be sold as soon as I find a buyer for it.

3. Early 20th century, slightly bigger than 3/4 Shulz violin. A friend of mine restored it, and it sounds almost as good as my daily driver so I plan to use it for days when I need a smaller violin or if I'm worried about tuning from the peg (travel, etc.) or want to do some fiddling.

4. 1908 Francois Barzoni 7/8 violin made in France for Beares. It's my baby. It sounds fantastic to me and I play it every day.

5. 2015 Klier full size violin strung as a viola. Weaver regraduated it, and put in a new bass bar. It beat out several other true 14" violas when I was shopping for one.

I'm not interested in buying any more violins right now. My poor husband is a bit overwhelmed with all the stringed things around the house now that the kids play string instruments too (15" viola & 3/4 cello, guitar, ukulele, etc.). It's definitely time to move out the old ones. All the cases lined up along the wall in the living room make my house look like a string shop. I'd love to get some of that square footage back.

March 8, 2016 at 03:40 AM · I actually have three violins and three bows, but I don't want 'em. ;-)

I've upgraded violins twice. One of those upgrades was last year, and I'm now trying to sell my previous instrument. Also, my childhood violin is one that I've been trying to sell forever, and probably should re-consign or auction or sell back to the maker or something.

I own a primary excellent bow, as well as a carbon-fiber bow that I use for any event that has the possibility of damaging a good bow (pit, orchestra col legno, etc.). I also own a bow from my childhood which I'm now trying to sell.

Finally, I own a nice electric violin. This is mostly an art piece, though; I bought it to hang on the wall.

March 8, 2016 at 04:59 AM · Thanks all, for the responses so far. Looks like there are some interesting violins and violas out there.

March 8, 2016 at 03:11 PM · Two.

Violin #1 is 18th century, and has been in my family since 1850. Slightly oversize in length, breadth and depth, but light in weight (396gm), it has projective qualities good enough for solo playing. The lower register has an almost viola-like quality about it, and the notes in the 3rd octave on the E sound clear, depending on the bow being used. I use #1 for all my orchestral playing. I would not dare let it pass outside the family otherwise I'd be forever haunted by my ancestors!

Violin #2 is a 2002 Jay Haide (439gm). It doesn't quite have the tonal qualities and projection of #1 but there is a useful sweetness to its tone nevertheless. I use it for all my folk fiddle playing, a fair proportion of my practice, and it is good enough to be interchangeable with #1, if necessary, for general orchestral playing.

Both violins have identical setups, a useful policy when regularly swapping between them. The strings currently are, and have been for the last couple of years: Pirastro Chorda (plain gut) A, D and G, with a Pirastro Obligato E, a choice I'm well satisfied with. I don't use a CR or SR on my violins.

I've accumulated a number of bows over the years. One fine German pernambuco bow is about a century old and was bequeathed to me along with #1 violin. The other bows include two replica period bows (mid-18th century, as Haydn and Mozart would have used), a modern German pernambuco bow, and a couple of medium-range CF bows (mostly used for folk music). Non-musicians probably think we violinists must be mad to have more than one bow, but in fact, as we know, each bow has it own individual playing and tonal characteristics, and is selected according to playing requirements - "horses for courses".

Highest on my wish list is a replica Baroque violin, with a Baroque bow of course.

March 8, 2016 at 05:03 PM · @Krista, I'm glad you solved your viola conundrum.

As I wrote in the follow-up to the parent of this thread, I used to have two violins but the care and feeding of two didn't justify it for me so I traded in one for a viola when I got the chance. The viola has absolutely spoiled me and I'm at a loss for how to rekindle the love for my violin, which I am now playing more than I used to.

March 8, 2016 at 07:39 PM · I have three violins. I still have my old student violin which my old violin teacher originally got me, it is a Mittenwald violin, probably a bit older than 100 years, lion's head and repaired crack and all. It sounds...old and hoarse. Then my active violin is a powerful Chinese instrument "hand-made to the specifications of the Belgian luthier who is in direct contact with the Chinese workshop, from old European wood, yadda yadda yadda", in other words: nothing special! But it serves me very well, it has a clear, French sound, it is quite powerful and I can do everything with it that I can do, if you get what I mean. We also still have my son's Chinese student violin, he quit when he was 14, but I still have it lying around and I sometimes play it. Funnily, under the ear it is the loudest of the three instruments but the sound is a bit...Chinese.

March 8, 2016 at 10:01 PM · Me too, -1/12, hahahahaha. I actually got it. Did you study maths?

March 8, 2016 at 11:26 PM · I have been studying theoretical physics.

March 9, 2016 at 10:39 AM · I ended up with 2 only by serendipitous circumstance. I've never had more than one at a time for 40 years. I thought that I'd always be comparing the pro's and con's of each, and never get any real practicing done.

It was a bout a year ago, I was busking, and I put my Louis Lowendall made in Berlin 1893 on the opposite side of my van while loading my other busking stuff in and drove away without it. it was a couple of hours before I realized it, and of course it was gone. I was devastated and desperate coz I need busking to supplement my disability income.

....down to the violin shop the next day, the Luthier/dealer had 3 china violins of the same make, all for the same price of $1250.00 Canadian. I chose the warmest of the 3 and got lucky. With a change to different strings I was very pleased with the sound and play ability.

...6 months later I got my German back. I never thought I would see it again, But the guy who found it called in to a different shop to inquire about an appraisal, and said he would bring it in. The shop owner who new the violin alerted me, but there was nothing we could do until he brought it in. 2 1/2 weeks later he came in... the owner took it to the back, called the Cops and an officer was there within 5 minutes. I had filed a police report when I lost it, otherwise I may not have got it back. Howz that for a story?

Trevor mentioned something about identical set-ups. These 2 are very similar and no problem going back and forth.

Thanks again for the further responses. very interesting seeing who's got what.

March 9, 2016 at 07:08 PM · Wojciech Topa violin, hand-made in 2006. That's my main violin, when I need to electrify, which is pretty rare, I mount a Fishman V-200 pickup.

Hermann Jaas violin made in 1895, my daughter's violin, unclear whether handmade or workshop-made. Very full sound in the treble, her teacher says it has a "magic E string."

Claude Watson 1972 violin, 7/8 size, made from bird's-eye maple. Watson was primarily a guitar maker. It was my childhood violin and I would like to sell it. Presently set up for tuning in 4ths. Needs new nut and bridge.

Scott Cao Model STV750, 3/4 size, daughter's previous violin, available for sale. Good quality instrument and good value.

Ming-Jiang Zhu "AA" Model, 16" workshop-made viola, 2015. Nice rich sound, I'm very pleased with it.

March 9, 2016 at 07:37 PM · How many violins?

I reckon most people can get by quite nicely with three or four. One or two in a pinch. ;-)

At the very least, it's nice to have a spare "beater" violin to use in conditions which aren't safe for your "heart-throb" violin, like if you'll take it on a camping trip, or need to perform outdoors.

March 9, 2016 at 09:57 PM · I currently have 5 violins in my permanent collection, and I'm selling 3 others, plus violas, cases, bows, etc. I've lost track of how many bows I have!

March 9, 2016 at 10:58 PM · Raphael, just call your insurance agent. (S)He surely knows how many bows you have, and hopefully (s)he has pictures of each.

March 9, 2016 at 11:27 PM · Three violins -- fully set up and in regular use. I divide daily practice/play sessions about equally among them. This way, they stay well played in and need little or no re-tuning from one day to the next.

Luthiers Léon Bernardel, Joseph Altrichter, and Paul Pilat built them in 1921, 1883, and 1869, respectively. The Bernardel has, to me, a warm-bright sound. The Altrichter and Pilat sound darker. The Pilat, especially, has a viola sound in the low range when set up with Eudoxa stiff G or Infeld Red G.

March 10, 2016 at 12:49 AM · One difference I see here; I have a lot of violins but I'm trying to sell my best sounding violins, seems like all these customers have a lot of violins also but are trying to sell their worst sounding violins, go figure.

March 10, 2016 at 01:17 AM · With all these talks about firewood, I mean viola. I've actually bought one today. I have to say, the C string is pretty darn different, and finger spacing as well. I'll post about it separately in a bit.

March 10, 2016 at 05:24 AM · @ Raphael: are you still using Vision Titanium Solo's on some of them? You probably will not remember, but several years ago I was using them and asked if anyone else was. I believe you said you had them on 3 or more of your violins. I still like them, but just won't work on my current fiddles.

March 10, 2016 at 12:45 PM · For the E, I vary. For the others, I usually use regular Vision Solo, not titanium. I got a couple of the latter by accident and did not sense much difference - except in the price.

I was kind of joking re my bows. It's true that I can't remember off-hand every student bow. But my fine bows include an FR Simon, 2 Bazins, an EA Ouchard, a Hill and a pair custom-made for me by Hang Wong. My violin keepers are 2 Ed Madays, 2 Vittorio Villas, and a Chinese violin. With mixed feelings I'm selling one of my Madays and a couple of fixer-uppers.

BTW violas are not just good for fire wood; they also make good flotation devices! ;-D

March 10, 2016 at 01:59 PM · Steven J check out my blog entry on starting viola...

I tried to send you the link in a PM instead of broadcasting it here but your PM link is not set up in your profile.

March 10, 2016 at 03:02 PM · I have 2 violins and 3 bows that I use on a regular basis.

One is a David Burgess completed in 2014. A beautiful instrument that continues surprise me. I mainly use my Pierre Ives-Fuchs bow on this as it seems the best match. I sometimes use my Benoit Rolland bow which tends to have a darker smoother sound. It has a very forward rich-brilliant sound with great projection. Wears Dominants with a Hill Thick E.

The other is a Ming Jiang Zhu bench violin. I mainly use my carbon fiber bow with this as I tend to play it in situations where I wouldn't take the Burgess (pit, outdoor festivals, around young students). The Ming has a dark sound with good projection. Wears Vision Solo's with a Corelli Cantiga Forte E.

March 10, 2016 at 03:26 PM · Thanks Paul,

I agree with all of your points, except point 4. I haven't explored that just yet.

I should add, harmonics are EXTREMELY easy on viola. Before I take over this thread, I shall start a separate one.

March 10, 2016 at 03:53 PM · Lyndon wrote:- "..seems like all these customers have a lot of violins also but are trying to sell their worst sounding violins, go figure."

I own 6 violins but to me they are "keepers". Anyway, if I did sell any money in the bank ain't a lot of use right now.

March 10, 2016 at 05:43 PM · Steven, okay I'm looking forward to your viola thread. :)

And as for Lyndon's comment about selling our worst-sounding violins, I guess on average that is probably true, although what sounds great to one person might sound terrible to another. And Raphael's worst-sounding violin might be better than my best-sounding violin. Who knows.

March 10, 2016 at 06:38 PM · 3 violins made by amateur italian luthier Bruno Barnes (Padova, Italy).

Their names are "Margherita" (2009, she's a female). Then "Bruno" (2011), then "Adriano" (2014).

I'm currently using mostly 2/3 of time Adriano, and then Bruno, very nice and resonant violins (with Adriano being very loud, and Bruno less loud but very projecting (i mostly play european folk/trad dance music).

These violins are all "brothers", but each one has its own personality.

Bruno and Adriano are equipped with Wittner Finetunes pegs and a custom made tailpiece that allows fine tuning of afterlenght separately for all the strings.

I also have a violin made by luthier Furlan (Padova, Italy) in 1985. Slightly oversized.

I own 4 bows made by Bruno Barnes. The latest 2 ones (Ottavio and Sebastian) are superb.

I also have an old Hofner bow, a carbonfiber bow made by Lupo in 1984 (Rovigo, Italy), a carbonfiber Arcus Sonata.

March 10, 2016 at 06:46 PM · Marco, how do you like the Wittner pegs? Have you tried other gear pegs like Pegheds or Knilling Perfection Pegs, and if so, how do they compare to the Wittners?

March 10, 2016 at 06:54 PM · No, i never had the chance to compare the alternatives.

I have to say that i don't feel the urge to check out other systems. In my opinion the Wittner pegs work flawlessly. Easy to mount, the tuning is more stable than before, a dream to tune, in every situation.

I played many other violins made by Barnes and another local luthier, who are converts to the Wittners. Nobody has ever had a single problem with them.

March 10, 2016 at 11:04 PM · I just sold a violin with an Odoardi label that is not an Odoardi, for less than I paid for it (a lot less). :-(

My current primary violin came to me through a bequest. It is labeled as a Di Muzio (extremely obscure Italian amateur), dated 1832, and it sounds wonderful.

I also own a violin with a Josef Klotz label that has a nice dark sound with slightly less depth than the Di Muzio; it is currently being played by one of my best students. I expect to be selling that violin sometime in the next five to ten years.

And I have the use of a 1980s Kuttner violin, which has a powerful sound. At some point its owner will want it back but in the interim I am keeping it played and very happy to do so.

Violin #4 is a Chinese student violin in the $1500 range that I bought to use as my "picnic" violin (outdoor weddings, primarily). It isn't bad.

And I own a family heirloom violin, an oddsized fractional (1/2 < this violin < 3/4) which was my father's childhood violin and on which I also played as a child.

March 12, 2016 at 12:27 PM · I have three violins and six bows.

A 1857 Guarneri Vuillaume, an excellent 2002 modern S. Soultanian and a late 1700 Viennese.

An E.Sartory, an F.N. Voirin, a J.J. Martin, two C. Bazins and a carbon bow, all certified.

One of the Bazins is for sale to be replaced by a Vigneron pere.

November 13, 2016 at 04:57 AM · I'm wondering if Seraphim will ever come up with a comeback for my remark.

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