Buying a Violin in Italy

September 9, 2004 at 12:48 AM · After reading all your response about buying a full size violin in a previous thread, we took a tour of a few violin shops in the area. Our experience has been very very enlightening. In shop after shop, we were told that the country of origin determines a violin's price primarily. We liked the sound of a Czech violin that was priced way way below an unknown maker Italian violin. Maybe we still have to look some more. But, in the meantime, we are confronted with an alternate option. My husband has an Italian friend who will be traveling to Italy soon. He has been kind enough to help us with a violin purchase. In the $1000 price range for a full size, do you think we will get a better quality violin in Italy than here? We have asked him not to buy a factory made one. For us, new or old does not matter so long as it is hand made. In the unlikely event, we dont like the violin AT ALL, we can sell it and fetch a good price, considering that it is ITALIAN. What do you think?

Thank you for all your response.

Replies (7)

September 9, 2004 at 02:06 AM · At the current time, probably not, simply because of the exchange rate. Right now, the rate is about $1.23 to the euro, so you're giving away an immediate 23% in price. Also, in general, the origin of the violin should never take a back seat to the sound quality. You should be able to find an instrument that works for you here in the US.

September 9, 2004 at 04:08 AM · If you decide on buying a violin in Italy, make sure someone who really knows what you're dealing with comes along because an Italian could sell you an instrument that sounds like a table for mucho dinero. Same with Spaniards, they'll sell you anything. Watch out.

September 9, 2004 at 06:20 AM · I would be rather careful before casually slinging such cultural slurs. What you say is true--and as frequently false--the world over.

September 9, 2004 at 08:00 AM · I agree...and that has nothing to do with the fact that I have a lot of Spaniard blood flowing through my veins, and consider Madrid my real home.

Oh, and my fiddle is Cremonese.

;-)

Eric

September 18, 2004 at 04:20 AM · Agreed.

Enosh, as an Italian, I take offense at a racial/ethnic slur which portrays Italians as being somehow dishonest within their buisiness trade.

The same slur has been used time and again at various ethnic groups, including Jewish, German, Polish, Irish, etc. so it is not fair to label Italians/Spaniards that way.

September 19, 2004 at 11:44 AM · I do not think I should devote any time to that racist comment which I read and with which, being an Italian, I was rather disappointed. About the question of the violin, given the unfavourable change and the price of Italian violins at the moment, I do not think it is a good idea to try to get an intrument fot that price. I do have an Neapolitan instrument which plays very nicely, it was made on demand in 1998, and I paid it slightly less than 6000 euros. I think you should rather look at Check intruments, which do not have a bad sound and are very well made. I used to have one, and I don't think I can complain about it. Otherwise, if you are interested in getting a violin from here, I know a dealer in Rome who works for Sotheby's as well as sells other instruments for more affordable prices than Strads! Get in touch if you like!

September 19, 2004 at 02:06 PM · One thing that has not been mentioned here is that labels inside the violin can be faked. It's something that has been done for hundreds of years. Therefore, you may have a violin that says it was made in Italy or whatever country you choose, with a fancy sounding name of the maker when in fact that violin was made somewhere else by a handful of amateur woodcarvers who may not even know what an F hole is.

It's also not uncommon for people to buy violins "in the white" from a place like say a mass production factory in China, varnish it, slap on some strings, and label the violin as their own with a fancy address (like Italy perhaps).

Bottom line, you don't have to spend tons of money to get a good sounding violin. But to romanticize the origin of your instrument or believe that a violin "supposedly" originating from one place is better than another is foolish.

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