If the Jay Haide anccient model violin a good violin?

April 8, 2005 at 07:09 AM · Hello!!!!!!!!

I recently entered to www.ifshinviolins.com to look at the Jay Haide anccient model violins.

I want to know if this is a good violin and how is the quality of the sound.

And I whant to know abot it physical appereance.

If the chin rest ,pegs ant tailpiece are in ebony , boxwood or rosewood.

Please if you have tried this instrument describe it to me

Thanks ,Keren

Replies (36)

April 8, 2005 at 10:46 AM · Hi,

Keren: A student of mine bought a Guarneri model Haide. Appearance wise, it's fine with Ebony fittings. But, it is a really nice fiddle with a good full rich sound. It was better then violin 3 to 4 times the prices, so I told her to get it. Don't pay more for less sound I told her. I think that with any violins, the quality can vary greatly, so it is best to try the instrument out. I heard there is also a Strad model, but I don't know anything about that one.


April 8, 2005 at 12:01 PM · A company I'm a partner in sells them. There are three or four different models--I think they're all called either Strad or del Gesu, but they're slightly different, and they do sound different. They have ebony fittings, and the antiquing is really quite nice. Here's a large photo of one from our website: http://midweststringrentals.com/anciennebig.html

April 8, 2005 at 11:55 AM · Michael, you have to type in the following to do it.

< a href="http://www.yourwebsitehere.com">what you want to call the site goes here< /a >

Get rid of the spaces near the letter 'a' but leave the one space before href.

April 8, 2005 at 12:05 PM · Thanks, but I give up. I tried all the possible variations of what I'm seeing (leaving off the end arrows, leaving off the quotes), and failed--it still displays as text, just like yours does. There must be some subtle thing I'm missing here.

April 8, 2005 at 12:08 PM · I will demonstrate:

Who took my frog? Who found my frog?

P.S. No, don't leave anything off.

April 8, 2005 at 12:09 PM · Ancienne Strad model

AHA! Thanks.

April 8, 2005 at 12:09 PM · Bravo!

April 8, 2005 at 02:03 PM · I have a Jay Haide Ancienne. I love the sound, look, and everything about it. It has been a great violin. I have played it now for a year and find that the sound continues to mature. The neck has a very nice feel.. not too thick or thin... The projection and response are excellent. I think Ifshin Violins has a trial policy. You should check into it. I could not find a better violin in this price range... Tim

April 9, 2005 at 03:31 AM · Keren - I know you've been looking for a fiddle for a long time. To me, this one sounds like it might be a good one to try.

April 9, 2005 at 05:08 AM · I have a Jay Haide l'ancienne too. I tried out about a dozen of that model and would have been happy with any of them. At the shop (Robert Cauer Violins in LA) I compared them with American, French and German violins in the same price range and was happiest with the l'ancienne. Mine was about $2400. Its sound is perfect for me and it has a beautiful, dark finish. It was a wonderful gift to myself.

April 9, 2005 at 04:27 PM · MAny Thanks to every one

May 19, 2008 at 09:08 PM · I have a Haide right now as a loaner while my old German Strad copy is getting new pegs. The Haide was lighter in my hands, and the neck seemed a little thicker than 'my old freind'. When I started playing the Haide -- WOW!! what a sound. The whole thing blossomed with each note. It might be the strings (I don't know what's on it now), but I found a few dull spots on the D, but I milked it out with some bow work. I am considering buying the Haide, and letting my German Strad take a rest.

May 19, 2008 at 11:08 PM · The ones I have seen have all been good. None of them sounded bad or played badly, but they did vary a bit. That is ok, we have different tastes.

Good antiquing - very good value. Better than many at 3 or 4 times the price.


May 21, 2008 at 12:17 AM · I have heard that the Haide violin has a very thin top, especially on the bass side. This is designed to give a bigger, more mature sound when the instrument is new.

But, the luthier that explained this to me said the net result is the instrument loses tone quality after a few years.

So, I am staying away from the Jay Haide for now.

May 21, 2008 at 12:30 PM · Hi Daniel

I'll bet a luthier said they had a thin top!!! These violins really scare any violin maker..the quality of work is quite something for such a price that NO maker working for themselves could get close for this price.

The tops I have seen are all normal thickness.

I sell top end violins and I gave my son one of these to play on!!!!


Sean Bishop

May 21, 2008 at 02:26 PM · The violin you refer to comes in 4 different models, and I was able to try them all at Pacewicz Strings in Raleigh, NC. The models sound quite different from each other, and while he didn't have duplicates of each version, the ones of each model that I did try were consistent with each other.

I ended up buying the strad version which had the darkest sound, but that's just my preference. All of the Haide's made the dozen other violins I tried under $6,000 sound shrill and weak.

The idea that the top is thinner and weaker is completely unsubstantiated, especially given how easy it is for a luthier to measure thickness. If someone wants to actually measure one and compare it to a survey of more expensive violins *then* I would believe it.

April 9, 2009 at 03:20 AM ·

 I had the great opportunity to play at least 70 Jay Haide instruments at Robert Cauer Violins last week.  This was done due to my search for an inexpensive instrument that sounded similar to my venerable Cappa and/or S. Klotz violins because I wanted something less expensive that I could feel safe with doing outdoor playing etc.  After a few days of going back and forth and actually playing some really nice Italian instruments at the shop, I was amazed at the tone and consistency of the Haide violins there.  I took a couple of them home to try out along with a few nice older German and Italian instruments.  I asked my musician friends to listen to the sound when I played and it was an amazing thing that all of them preferred the Haide to ANYTHING in my collection!  It played very strong and quite loud with great projection.  But better still was that I could play really soft passages letting the bow's weight alone control the tone and it never sounded washed out or "fuzzy".  

Anyone reading this should know that I'm SUPER picky where sound quality is concerned, and I have to say that the Haide I picked out was a "have to have" instrument!  Amazing what's going on in the Chinese instruments today vs. 5 or so years ago!

May 8, 2009 at 02:27 PM ·


i'm Luca, from Rome and play violin. This is really a fantastic instrument! Time ago I buy a Jay Haide instrument , a l'acienne, Guadagnini model. The sound of this violin is great!  I think in this range of price (and more....) the Jay Haide l'acienne is the "king"...!

May 8, 2009 at 02:49 PM ·

I tried a Jay Haide instrument yesterday.  I don't know which model it was, but this thread is making me think I should try again.  I thought it was the best-sounding one in the price range I was looking for (under $2500), but at least the one I tried was not visually appealing to me at all. 

The salesperson told me that the makers had studied the wear patterns on good, old violins, and were replicating those patterns with the antiquing and the way they applied the varnish.  In principle, I like and respect that approach.  It's a nice blend of art and science.  And with the way the instrument sounded, they seem to be doing something right.  

And yet, unfortunately, that particular violin at least looked like it had spent the last 50 years in the back of someone's garage.  I've been sitting here debating internally whether to type the word "ugly" or not, because the sound is anything but.  It's a surprisingly vexing dilemma.

May 8, 2009 at 08:16 PM ·

Karen, I have had the same dilemma.  I was trying some instruments awhile ago and found one I really liked the sound and playability of, it's price was $8,000.00.  However, even if I had been willing to spend that kind of cash I wouldn't have bought that violin because it was plain ugly.  The maker, imho, had ruined the instrument by 'antiquing' it.  It was a shame because my teacher even favored it but a musician has to retain their self respect and who wants to be seen playing an ugly instrument let alone paying that kind of money for one.   I do know the violin is still unsold so other buyers must have the same feelings towards its appearance.

I don't like the antiqueing that makers of new instruments feel is necessary to make an instrument sell.  

May 8, 2009 at 03:39 PM ·

I don't really get the point of antiqueing string instruments.  After all, Strads and del Gesus would have looked spanking new when they were made.  I've seen a few ghastly modern antiqued violins too and in one particular case it was obvious the instrument would have been absolutely stunning if only the maker had left it "unsullied".   Obviously there must be a consumer demand for antiqued instruments but I think if I was a luthier I'd feel a bit unhappy about doing that type of work.

May 8, 2009 at 03:58 PM ·

This thread has piqued my interest in these violins.  Can anyone give information on the difference between the Jay Haide models and the 'special models' made with european woods?


May 8, 2009 at 04:29 PM ·

I've been playing a J-H (a Guarnerius model) for about a year now and really like the instrument, which stood out from many others I tried in this price range in terms of projection, tone quality, and predictable, even response. I share Tess's and Karen's misgivings about antiquing violins, which simply seems silly to me, and I had to overcome my aversion in order to give the J-H a fair trial. They really take the process to the extreme with these instruments: mine, for example, in addition to the "wear" on the varnish, has a small plug of wood glued into an edge, as if a major ding had been fixed, and deliberate rounding of the sharp edges of the scroll. Happily, it appears they put the same care into all other aspects of the construction of these instruments: mine, for example, has nice touches like a half-dozen rectangular "buttons" reinforcing the back seam inside and a lower rib that is either one piece, or cunningly finished to look like one piece, all around the bottom of the instrument. The varnish is notable, too, for its resistance to nicks.

If you're not buying one of these fiddles solely because of an aversion to "ugly" antiquing, you might ask yourself how  you'd feel about a nice instrument that was ugly in some other way -- a color you don't like, a clunky scroll, or genuine varnish wear from being old. Most string players prioritize tonal and playing characteristics over appearance; it seems inconsistent to single out fake antiquing as a special form of deal-killing ugliness. It's not that I have come to like the antiquing on my J-H. I've just learned to ignore it, 'cuz the thing plays better than I have any right to expect from a shop-made fiddle.

May 8, 2009 at 04:58 PM ·

Violinists saying they don't like antiquing will warm the hearts of many makers who themselves prefer that a new violin be allowed to 'speak', visually, for itself without a costume.

But it is rash to make blanket judgments about antiquing.  Good antiquing is a fine craft with its own set of values.  It is a valid response to the widely valued appearance of old instruments, whether one likes it or not.

Not so good antiquing, well, that's just unfortunate.  :-| 

Oh, and plenty of players have not purchased new instruments they liked because they looked too new.  Being affected by the appearance of something you use as a daily tool is surely also valid even if it is not quite perfectly practical.  ;-)

May 8, 2009 at 05:01 PM ·

Matt, that's exactly what I mean by "maybe I should try again."  Maybe I can get over my aversion to the looks of the instrument because its sound was impressive.  Or maybe I can find another Jay Haide that looks better, to me, than the one I tried.  

But I will say that I don't single out fake antiquing as a unique harbinger of deal-breaking ugliness.  When I was buying my viola, I also had the option of buying my rental viola, which would have been very cost-effective because I could have doubled my rental credit.  And its sound was pretty nice, when I closed my eyes.  But it was dinged up because it was a rental viola--no fake antiquing there, just garden-variety rental dinginess.  And I decided to spend more to get something new that sounded to me just as nice, but in addition was also beautiful (which meant to me, among other things, shiny and smooth and symmetrical, and a nice color).  Something that I would enjoy looking at when I got it out of the case.  Like Andres said, I'm affected by the appearance of something I use daily.  If it's ugly, I won't practice it as much.  I'm not defending that at all, just noting it.

Which is not to say you don't have valid points.  As I said, very vexing.

May 8, 2009 at 04:59 PM ·

The unfortunate fact is that it's very hard to sell a new, un-antiqued violin. It can be done, but many makers wonder why they should sell "uphill" by selling new-looking violins when so few people want them, and  antiqued ones sell better.

May 8, 2009 at 05:45 PM ·

I rented a Jay Haide viola for a few months. I would like to buy one. The sound was outstanding for the price. I personally like the appearance of the instruments as well.

May 8, 2009 at 07:46 PM ·

My Jay Haide à l'ancienne guarneri model looks okay IMO. But I still prefer the look for a flamed no showing of wear on the instrument like on my Eastman VL305. THe Jay Haide sounds fantastic. I had the instrument for about 1 1/2 years now. Visually I wouldn't buy another one since those Ebony fittings and all those scratches especially on the back like the half the body. But it sounds good so that's all that matters for now. With pernambuco fittings my violin looks more visually appealing now then with plain ebony.

May 8, 2009 at 08:24 PM ·

I agree that there is good antiquing and bad.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But I have not seen a newly made-antiqued-to-appear-old violin have the same sense of beauty about it as an instrument that is say 75 years old and has varnish wear and some dings.

It's the overly done/badly done antiquing such as was the case with the $8k violin.  It was just plain tacky.  The back of the instrument was beautiful even with the cosmetic alterations.  I assumed the maker antiqued the top first, and then got better when he did the back.  ;-)


May 8, 2009 at 11:10 PM ·

For the past 10 months I have been playing a Jay Haide, La'annciene Tomaso Balestrieri model.  I purchased the instrument on a trial basis, and when I first removed it from its shipping box, I was a little disappointed with its appearance.  Then I played it.

Perhaps because it has such a nice tone (even and clear), and is so responsive, I even think it looks better. 

Not that it really matters, but mine is a 7/8ths size, which is how it got my attention initially.



May 16, 2009 at 02:30 AM ·

The a l'ancienne (I have a Tomasso Balestrieri version made in 08) was a tough buy for me too -- for a lot of the reasons stated here and here.  I finally settled on it because it was simply the best all around sounding violin I could get in my budget.

I think that had I not been able to go to Ifshin and immerse myself in dozens of a l'ancienne models, I would probably have skipped it for a violin with a more traditional "new" appearance.  I couldn't buy one with what I will affectionately refer  to as a trashed back.  Some of them look like they'd been dragged behind a mule for a few miles prior to being finished at the luthier's...

Once I found a few (only four in the collection that I could find) that didn't have that trashy back, I found the one with the best sound.  I clicked with one violin right away and bought it after a 5 day trial.

My experience at Ifshin was awesome.  They knew they were selling over my budget and they really helped me out -- gave me an almost-new Bobelock case for free (had been used for rentals in their shop), Haide Lin himself rehaired my favorite bow while I waited (during my lunch hour).  Sat and watched some of his students making a cello.  It was really a pleasant day and I couldn't be happier with the purchase.



October 22, 2010 at 02:30 AM ·

Ok, so it's been well over a year with my Haide.  As stated before, I own a very good S. Klotz and other nice violins.  Every single time I go back and play the Klotz, or any of the others for that matter, I prefer the Haide.  And not merely prefer, but seriously prefer.  However, I'm sure you're all thinking that I could have become used the sound of the Haide, so therefore, "preferring" it as stated.  Not so.  All of my musical friends, from quartet members to directors all say that my sound is amazingly more expressive and more precise since using the Haide.  That's what matters after all.  

However, I must state that sound/playability can vary amongst Haides quite markedly.  I've gone to a few local violin shops in a quest to find another Haide (since I now wish to dump my expensive violins for a set that simply plays well) that performs comparably to my original Haide.  HARD to do.  Did I simply "luck out" with my first Haide?  Was this particular Haide an accidental gem?  I would have to say "no".  Even the new Haides sounded great and played well.  And additionally, this is compared to violins in the 20K price range!  For me, it's just a big task to find one that has the same "connection" for me. 

However, in my experience, I would have to say that the antique work on the newest offings is simply awful.  Looks like they tied it on a string connected to the back bumper of a car and dragged it through a gravel pit. Really over-done IMO.  

And one more thing.  I've had the opportunity to check out the "Special Edition" versions that use European woods.  I personally did not notice a better sound.  But they did look a bit better.  But that's only in the few that I tested.  

So at the end of the day, I can not recommend more highly the Haide line of instruments where sound and over all performance is concerned.  

October 25, 2010 at 03:42 PM ·

It's been 6 months since I  bought my Jay Haide a l'ancienne , Chinese wood. Like others I didn't think the European wood made a difference in the sound or playability. Found the quality of about 12 or so I played at the time very consistent and excellent. 

The violin never sounded "closed in" but has opened up even more very nicely. The instrument was very even across the strings except for the e and with opening up it is not as even as it was originally but close enough. Initially had a problem with resonance on the e ; either open e or playing e on the a or d string was not resonating as well. Generally it is the f just above that e that doesn't resonate as well; see for example the resonance patterns of Strads. Actually one of the European wood models had a more attractive sound to me overall but the e-problem was worse and I didn't buy it. In the last 6 months though the e on my violin has much improved. So in that sense the evenness is better.

Regarding thickness: the dealer told me the top was 3.0 mm between the f-holes. That is thicker than a lot of modern instruments ( and  thicker than most Strads). I have been told that wood density , overall graduating pattern, arching etc. all have a lot to do with how well an instrument is made so this alone doesn't tell you enough.  But at any rate, the top is not thin.  I wonder if the back is a bit thinner particularly the lower bout; at least that is the impression from knocking on the back all over. Don't think that's a problem.

What I really like about the Jay Haide is the responsiveness. So easy to play, and easy to get different colours. Also pianissimo still sounds pretty good now that it has opened  up more.( But doesn't have that "living piano".  Few violins I have played have it. The Guy Harrisson long pattern Strad copy that Christian Vachon recently commissioned has a marvelous living piano , and some of Hermann Janzen's violins apparently do, but not the one I recently tried)

As others mentioned it has a pretty big sound and carries well. Not shrill or thin sounding. Not as complex a sound as some better instruments but what a  price difference!  Overall it is an excellent violin. I wish I had had a Haide starting as a young player. For me it was an older  German workshop violin that would easily fetch 4 - 5000 dollars nowadays. It was a one-sound-fits-all kind of instrument , not very resposive and I have played on many similar mostly French and German fiddles. The sound is actually very nice but that's all there  is to it; just unwieldy.

Agree with the comments on the over-the -top antiquing. At least at a distance it looks ok!

The 3/4 size Jay Haides aren't as good a quality as the full size in my opinion.  I actually preferred a few Eastman 100 and 200 series 3/4 size fiddles even though they are quite a bit cheaper.

So overall I would  highly recommend the Jay Haide a l'antique fiddle.



November 14, 2010 at 02:00 AM ·

I personally found the instrument I tried to be loud under the ear, but it carried no better than other instruments that did not sound as loud.

The tone was a little nasal (I could almost say bamboo-ish).

I found it hard to play quietly on the instrument, and it could be unreliable with notes not sounding at anything from piano or quieter.

Overall not the easiest or most enjoyable instrument to play. I've found many cheaper (and older violins) which are better.

November 14, 2010 at 04:29 PM ·

Peter are you sure that was an ancient model ( a l'ancienne) JH? The regular - not antiqued - models sound quite different and more nasal.

November 14, 2010 at 06:49 PM ·

Yes, it was definitely an ancient model ( a l'ancienne) JH.


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