Vuillaume Guarneri vs Strad models

March 5, 2006 at 11:37 PM · What are the differences(Sound,workmanship,price etc.)?

Replies (57)

March 6, 2006 at 12:36 AM · The great Vuillaumes were made in both models as copies of the "Messie" Strad and copies of the Paganini "Canon" Del Gesu.

Ofcourse he made many beautiful instruments as copies of other great instruments as well.

There is a definitive iconography of Vuillaume due for release this fall, by Sylvette Milliot

"L'histoire de la lutherie parisienne du 18e siècle à 1960" Tom 3 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.

There are also other excellent resource books:

Doring's Vuillaume (tabulation)

Millant's Vuillaume book

Stefan-Peter Greiner Vuillaume book

Vuillaume catalogue from the 1998 exhibit in Paris (very informative).

The prices for the "best" examples of such instruments are the same for Strad model and Guarneri models.

He made a little over 3000 instruments.

His third period, the Golden Period, took place during the 1860s.

March 6, 2006 at 01:57 AM · this doesnt have a whole ton to do w/ ur question, but its interesting!! when france wanted to eat greens instead of the potatoes when the plauge came along--well the reason the plauge came was b/c of the "mini ice age" b/c of all the coldness, the wood in trees was especially hard. there happened to be a skilled guy who definitely knew how to make some good violins named strad. and b/c of the especially hard wood...this is why they are so amazing

March 6, 2006 at 02:18 AM · Look at the dates involved: the mini ice age didn't have anything to do with the wood he was using--the makers a generation or two later got it, and you can see what they did with it. So much for that idea....

March 6, 2006 at 02:49 AM · Well it was a good theory. I wonder if my violin is made of ice age wood.

March 6, 2006 at 04:40 AM · In general, Vuillaumes are pretty hot these days. They are one maker whose instruments, if in good shape, can be counted on to sell fairly quickly (i.e. a few months or so). The Guarneri models seem to be priced a bit higher than the Strads. Hilary Hahn plays a Guarneri model. I don't know if that's part of the reason the Guarneris are more popular. I'm not sure you can find either of these models for less than $100k these days (and in NYC or Chicago, I guarantee it will be more).

The violins are generally known for being fairly powerful. The less good ones are maybe on the strident side. The good ones have a big, juicy tone that is good for concerts. A lot of people like them. I'll leave it to others to say if there is really any difference between the Strads ad the Guarneris.

Vuillaume also made some Magini copies that seem to sell for somewhat less than the other two (like $75k or so). Some of these are rather bulky, though I once saw one that was "normal" size.

March 6, 2006 at 01:51 PM · The del Gesu ones are far easier to sell, and I associate about a $25K premium for them, IF you can find one. The Strad models are much more "polite" than the del Gesus, tonally, which some people may prefer.

March 6, 2006 at 02:14 PM · How much of the demand is due to the fact that Hillary Hahn plays one?

March 6, 2006 at 02:19 PM · That demand was there long before she played one.

March 6, 2006 at 02:25 PM · Sure, but somebody mentioned them being hot these days. Some segments of the instrument biz are star-driven.

March 6, 2006 at 03:22 PM · The Hilary Hahn thing probably has helped, but I think Michael is right about the demand being there anyway.

I should add that I think these are probably pretty good investments. At least they have been over the past few years.

On the amusing side, a year plus ago I saw a Strad model in a West Coast city for $100k. Not long after, I was in NYC and stopped by a dealer and saw a Strad model for $140k. There were (so far as I know) no structural issues with either. So I guess the thing to do is to make an arbitrage profit by buying in CA and selling in NYC.

March 6, 2006 at 03:37 PM · No, the thing to do is buy all the Vuillaumes just before HH announces she's going to use one as her regular concert instrument.

March 6, 2006 at 04:03 PM · Hi,

Jim, Ms. Hahn actually has always used that Vuillaume as her regularly concert instrument, and plans on continuing to do so as far as I know.

As for Vuillaume Strad vs Del Gésu models, I think that the difference is in the playing style required for each instrument, in a similar way to the difference between playing a real Strad and Del Gésu. The Del Gésu models require and will take more bow pressure to sound than the Strad models, and on this continent, where people like to dig in, it makes it more appealing, I think.

The Vuillaumes are good investments, and the good ones are actually a bargain compared to the price one is likely to pay for a comparable Italian instrument. Perhaps there increased popularity will push prices further up, but I think that for now the price/quality ratio is where the appeal is, at least from the player's standpoint.

My own very humble opinion...

Cheers!

March 6, 2006 at 04:20 PM · I'm saving up to buy her a strad.

March 6, 2006 at 04:54 PM · Christian-

You can't possibly be more humble than me. Everyone knows I'm the most humble person ever. I tell myself so daily!

March 6, 2006 at 06:34 PM · Jim,

She has been offered to play many great fiddles, but she loves her Vuillaume and plus it has sentimental value (something to do with her teacher.......I won't go into it).

.............................................

Incidentally, when one tries a superb example of Vuillaume in a Strad model or Del Gesu model, there is hardly any difference (in sound production and quality). His best fiddles in both models sound full bodied and dark sounding with a brilliant E string.

My Vuillaume is the Ex-Garcin "Le Messie" copy and it sounds just as dark if not even a bit darker than Hillary's Del Gesu copy.

And I can dig in as much as I want.

And as for popularity of Vuillaume fiddles, they have been popular since the days of Vuillaume.

Many great artists played and owned Vuillaume instruments including Joseph Joachim, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Kreisler, Isaac Stern, Louis Kauffman, Charles de Bériot, Alard, Sivori played the one Paganini gave him as a present, not to mention the many chamber musicians and orchestral players.

I am glad to see that Vuillaume is much aprreciated and celebrated. He is undoubtedly one of the great masters and major influences in violin history.

Provenance, condition etc. also has much to do with price no matter if it is a Strad or Del Gesu model.

These instruments are absolutely a great investment and they have tripled in price in the last 15 years.

March 6, 2006 at 08:34 PM · Are they still only 140k or so?

You talked about trading a Fagnola for it... well, you came out with a super deal.

March 7, 2006 at 01:36 AM · I think mine is a copy of El Canon.

The only thing I don't like about it is that the E isn't as brilliant as I think it can be (needs some adjusting and experimentation on strings.)

I've played numerous other Vuillaumes and consistently enjoyed playing the Guarneri copies/models better, though most of them were quite nice (save a few).

Preston

March 7, 2006 at 02:12 AM · The only thing is that with the great Vuillaumes, it takes a while to get used to what is under your ear. Because it is not the same sound that the listener hears. What the listener gets is much more enjoyable.

March 7, 2006 at 02:55 AM · Haha. $150,000 for a fiddle.

March 7, 2006 at 03:35 AM · Better than 4 million Nes Pas?

March 7, 2006 at 03:37 AM · As Gennardy said, the prices have tripled in the last 15 years.

So the owners are laughing all the way to the bank.

March 7, 2006 at 03:36 AM · I guess those who are selling, sure.

March 7, 2006 at 03:43 AM · For 4 Mil you could have bought the Gibson Strad...or some Porches.

March 7, 2006 at 04:21 AM · BTW I meant to add that one of the greatest sounding Vuillaume's is a Strad copy of the "La Pucelle" Ex- Louis Kaufman.

The original "La Pucelle" is owned by Dr. David Fulton. Another great Vuillaume is the Ex-Sophie Humler Strad copy. The instrument was chosen for his pupil (Sophie H.) by Alard himself.

Sophie Humler studied with Alard at the Conservatoire de Paris where she received the second prize, a very high honor in view of the fact that the first prize went to no other than Pablo Sarasate. Miss Humler met brilliant success as a soloist, touring widely............

"As the friend and son-in-law of Vuillaume it follows that the violinist assured himself that the instrument should posses qualities commensurate to serve the artistic requirements of his protege, and as one who had first choice of his father-in-law's products, he chose the finest available instrument in his stock. As a token for his regard for Miss Humler, there exists a photograph of Delphin Alard by Moulin of Paris which bears the dedication "Souvenir affectueux a Son elev Humler, par Son Professeur, D. Alard." by Ernest Doring

............................

It is widely known that Vuillaumes favorite instrument ever was the "Le Messie" (Messiah) Strad, which he treasured ever since he bought it from L. Tarisio.

He never parted with it. The Messiah Stradivari was sold only after his death.

His favorite model for making bench copies was the Messiah Strad and then everything else.

March 7, 2006 at 04:34 AM · "The only thing is that with the great Vuillaumes, it takes a while to get used to what is under your ear. Because it is not the same sound that the listener hears. What the listener gets is much more enjoyable."

I agree. This is more true for Vuillaumes than most other great instruments. Not necessarily a bad thing but jus something you have to be prepared for or get used to.

Preston

March 7, 2006 at 04:54 AM · Preston I dl'ed your Bach, but it won't play for me. On anything.

March 7, 2006 at 04:58 AM · I believe the only violin Kreisler kept until his death was his 1860 Vuillaume and that he sold all his other violins (quite a collection from just about every italian master) after he retired.

Leonidas Kavakos used to play one and I love his recording of the 24 caprices which is on a Vuillaume.

Unlike strads and other great italian violins that are never just found today...can you still find an unknown Vuillaume?

March 7, 2006 at 04:50 PM · I believe it is the same fiddle (Kreisler Vuillaume) that was used by Jossef Hassid for his recordings (age 15-16). Kreisler loaned him the fiddle for it.

March 7, 2006 at 08:19 PM · Great discussion. I have a Cannone copy Vuillaume from 1874--"digging in" like on a real Del Gesu is just the best!

What strings do people like to put on Vuillaumes? I've been using Obligato with a Hill E--the complete package might almost be too dark. Recommendations?

-Owen

p.s. Preston, I would love to play your JBV sometime. What year is it?

March 8, 2006 at 01:33 AM · My Vuillaume likes either the Titanium Vision or the Pirazzi.

.............................

BTW, I also meant to mention that Louis Kaufman, among the many recordings that he made, recorded a splendid premier performance of the Barber concerto which he performed on his J.B. Vuillaume Strad copy of the "La Pucelle".

Here is a fascinating article about Kaufman:

"A Fiddler's Tale"

How Hollywood and Vivaldi Discovered Me

this is a cool website

.............................

Among other notable owners of Vuillaume fiddles was Toscha Seidel who owned the copy of Alard Strad 1860. Eugene Ysaye owned two strad copies of J.B. Vuillaume 1827 #49 & 1828 #120.

B. Huberman owned a Strad copy Vuillaume #2209 1856

Isaac Stern owned two Vuillaumes:

the very well known Tzar Nicholas de Russie Strad copy 1840 (decorated with coat of Arms)and a copy of "Stern, Ex-Panette" Del Gesu (Vuillaume 1850).

March 8, 2006 at 01:55 AM · Owen,

Yah, for sure! I've liked the sound of your fiddle ever since I heard you guys perform Pierrot Lunaire. I use Dominants on mine (silver D) and a Crystal Corelli E string. I'm trying to find something that brightens up the E string.

Gimme a call or email sometime and we'll swap violins.

Jim, I don't know why it won't play. Sorry, I have no idea what would make it play.

Preston

March 8, 2006 at 02:18 AM · Preston,

Have you tried Titanium E string?

It's awesome! (on my fiddle)

March 8, 2006 at 02:29 AM · The vision?

March 8, 2006 at 04:04 AM · Gennady,

I'll try it. Thanks for the idea!

Preston

March 8, 2006 at 04:19 AM · Pieter,

Yes the Vision Titanium E string.

March 8, 2006 at 05:18 AM · Did you try it with a westminster? I tried the vision and didn't like it on my violin, but we have two different instruments altogether.

March 8, 2006 at 05:24 AM · Up until Titanium E string came out, I used Westminster E string (27). Very good string, but the Titanium E is just amazing. And I use them for my whole collection.

March 8, 2006 at 11:28 AM · I wasn't asking for help. I was saying fix it or get rid of it :)

March 8, 2006 at 04:38 PM · I guess you were reffering to Preston's link to his Bach?

.............................

Anyway, as for examples of the best Vuillaumes, one can see that both models in Strad & Guarneri alike were very popular with the major soloists. In fact in many cases it was the "Le Messie" copies that were more popular among the great artists of the past.

For the most part, Vuillaume numbered his instruments, but the very special instruments which were bench copies, he did not (and left them without number).

March 8, 2006 at 04:37 PM · Yes. Dl it and see if it plays for you...

March 8, 2006 at 04:39 PM · Anyway, as for examples of the best Vuillaumes, one can see that both models in Strad & Guarneri alike were very popular with the major soloists. In fact in many cases it was the "Le Messie" copies that were more popular among the great artists of the past.

For the most part, Vuillaume numbered his instruments, but the very special instruments which were bench copies, he did not (and left them without number).

March 9, 2006 at 01:38 AM · Jim, are you using a mac? B/c it does not download on my Mac but it will on PC's.

Gennady, I did not know that about the bench copies. I always wondered why mine did not have a number.

Preston

March 9, 2006 at 01:43 AM · It downloads fine, but it won't play on either wmp or winamp. Downloaded it twice actually to make sure. Sumthins wrong wit it.

March 9, 2006 at 03:47 AM · Jim,

I misspoke last post. It downloads and plays on both Macs and PCs. I just downloaded it now and it worked. Must be a glitch in your software Jim.

Preston

March 9, 2006 at 05:43 AM · You mean a glitch that doesn't effect any of my other 10,485,994^2 mp3s? Listen here, I engineer like you play fiddle. I say it's your glitch that allows it to play there. Or maybe your player has some special "play broken file" feature :)

March 9, 2006 at 02:23 PM · HAHA! I honestly don't know. Perhaps I have so many glitches that they all cancel each other out and my system ends up working!

P.

March 9, 2006 at 03:26 PM · Preston's Bach plays just fine for me on WMP.

Neil

March 9, 2006 at 04:18 PM · Here's what's up with it. Although it has an mp3 extension, it's not an mp3. I looked at it with a binary editor expecting to see trash but discovered the file is an mp4.

Renaming it to *.mp4 causes Quicktime to play it here since that's associated with that extension on my computer. I presume you have a later version of wmp that supports mp4. I had trouble with the newest version so I went back to an earlier one.

What you should do: rename the file to *.mp4 and upload it again to avoid this problem. Better yet, convert it to a genuine mp3 to allow any hardware or software to play it.

March 9, 2006 at 04:50 PM · anyone care to go back to discussing Vuillaume?

March 9, 2006 at 08:13 PM · I used a Vuillaume on the recording....haha!

NB: The download is hardly worth it. Very out of tune. Don't know why I put it up, I think I intended to put up Shostakovich instead.

March 9, 2006 at 08:27 PM · Haha. It's not out of tune:)

March 13, 2006 at 12:37 AM · "He made over 3000 instruments? Busy boy :)"

I hope no one is suggesting that Vuillaume made all these instruments himself! He may have been busy... administratively........

Regarding the "mini ice age", the same quality wood is available in warmer times. One just harvests a little higher up the mountain.

David Burgess

http://www.burgessviolins.com

March 13, 2006 at 04:01 AM · I am sure everyone is aware that Vuillaume had the greatest makers (of 19th cent.) working & or collaborating in/with his shop including:

Persois, Dominique Peccatte, Guillaume Maline, François-Nicolas Voirin and Joseph Fonclause are among the most celebrated.

In addition to the above-mentioned bow makers, most 19th century Parisian violin makers worked in his workshop, including Hippolyte Silvestre, Jean-Joseph Honoré Derazey, Charles Buthod, Charles-Adolphe Maucotel, Télesphore Barbé and Paul Bailly. The shop turned out over 3,000 instruments during its lifetime.

Vuillaume (for sure) made the best ones himself, and kept his varnish recipe a secret as told by David Laurie in his book "Reminiscences of a Fiddle Dealer".

In 1828, he set his own business at 46 rue des Petits-Champs and began creating his own models.

His workshop then became the most important in the capital. Within barely twenty years, it became the leading workshop in Europe. A major factor in his success was doubtless his purchase of 144 instruments made by the most celebrated Italian masters, including 24 Stradivari and the famous "Messiah" presently kept at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (England), from the heirs of an Italian tradesman named Tarisio, for 80,000 francs in 1855.

Nestor Audinot, a pupil of Sébastien Vuillaume, himself Jean-Baptiste's nephew, succeeded him in his workshop in 1875.

Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume a fine tradesman, maker, restorer, was also a gifted inventor as is demonstrated by his research in collaboration with the acoustics expert Savart. He also invented a viola which he called a "contralto", the "Octobasse", bows with fixed nut and interchangeable hair, and hollow steel bows, particularly appreciated by Charles de Bériot, among others. Other innovations include the insertion of microfilms (!) in the eye of the frogs of his bows, a kind of mute (the "pédale sourdine") and several machines, including one for manufacturing gut strings of perfectly equal thickness.

There is a definitive iconography of Vuillaume due for release this fall, by Sylvette Milliot

"L'histoire de la lutherie parisienne du 18e siècle à 1960" Tom 3 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.

March 13, 2006 at 04:52 AM · The link just closes firefox whenever i try to play it.

March 13, 2006 at 04:54 AM · Looks like you may be on the wrong thread?!

...............................................

I am sure everyone is aware that Vuillaume had the greatest makers (of 19th cent.) working & or collaborating in/with his shop including:

Persois, Dominique Peccatte, Guillaume Maline, François-Nicolas Voirin and Joseph Fonclause are among the most celebrated.

In addition to the above-mentioned bow makers, most 19th century Parisian violin makers worked in his workshop, including Hippolyte Silvestre, Jean-Joseph Honoré Derazey, Charles Buthod, Charles-Adolphe Maucotel, Télesphore Barbé and Paul Bailly. The shop turned out over 3,000 instruments during its lifetime.

Vuillaume (for sure) made the best ones himself, and kept his varnish recipe a secret as told by David Laurie in his book "Reminiscences of a Fiddle Dealer".

In 1828, he set his own business at 46 rue des Petits-Champs and began creating his own models.

His workshop then became the most important in the capital. Within barely twenty years, it became the leading workshop in Europe. A major factor in his success was doubtless his purchase of 144 instruments made by the most celebrated Italian masters, including 24 Stradivari and the famous "Messiah" presently kept at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (England), from the heirs of an Italian tradesman named Tarisio, for 80,000 francs in 1855.

Nestor Audinot, a pupil of Sébastien Vuillaume, himself Jean-Baptiste's nephew, succeeded him in his workshop in 1875.

Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume a fine tradesman, maker, restorer, was also a gifted inventor as is demonstrated by his research in collaboration with the acoustics expert Savart. He also invented a viola which he called a "contralto", the "Octobasse", bows with fixed nut and interchangeable hair, and hollow steel bows, particularly appreciated by Charles de Bériot, among others. Other innovations include the insertion of microfilms (!) in the eye of the frogs of his bows, a kind of mute (the "pédale sourdine") and several machines, including one for manufacturing gut strings of perfectly equal thickness.

There is a definitive iconography of Vuillaume due for release this fall, by Sylvette Milliot

"L'histoire de la lutherie parisienne du 18e siècle à 1960" Tom 3 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.

March 15, 2012 at 09:12 PM · I know many of you will have a hard time to believe this:JB Vuillaume's instruments are among the most under valued ones on the market.

A fine Vuillaume violin is easily the equal of a J.Rocca or a Pressenda.

I do not believe that there are any great differences tonally between the Strad or del Gesu models. There are of course differences between individual instruments.

Vuillaume's instruments are in their prime with fully

satifying ripness in sound ,terrific carrying power and examples in flawless condition can still to be found.

March 16, 2012 at 04:58 AM · Mr Granat, you are probably right. Reasons for JBVs going for less than half the price of a Pressenda or Rocca sr could be that

1 They are not Italian

2 There must be at least 6 times more JB Vuillaumes than say Pressendas

Too bad some of the older post participants like Gennady don't hang around here anymore, they have so much experience.

My experience is very limited but I did play 3 different JB Vuillaumes at different shops and they all stood out. They have huge carrying power and brilliant upper registers, sometimes very bright. The one thing different from some great Italian violins seemed to me to be that the sound though beautiful was more uniform. In my very limited experience high end Italian fiddles often have more range in colour. This was I believe the opinion of one of my former teachers who owned a JB Vuillaume for many years but in the end sold it.

But there may very well be many JB Vuillaumes that have more variation in colour, I just haven't played enough of them.

Another maker that I think made some outstanding violins but is not up there in price yet is Scarampella. The best Scarampellas are bound to get very expensive, they are exceptionally good fiddles and also have great carrying power.

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