Which violin would you purchase - Hargrave, Alf or Borman?

October 14, 2006 at 05:50 AM · Assuming these violins are all the same price (virtually), which one would you choose for your instrument - a 1987 Roger Hargrave, a new Gregg Alf, or a new Terry Borman? We are trying to decide which to get, and we are unable to hear/play the new ones right now so we have to go on reputation for these. Which you go for - and why?

Replies (14)

October 14, 2006 at 06:04 AM · would you ask the same question if you were looking to get married?

Which one of the three GROOMS should I choose?

................it is all very subjective, based on your prerquisites and what you want out of them.

The question is, which one tickles your fancy? and gets you excited about making beautiful music together?

October 14, 2006 at 06:08 AM · However good the reputation of a maker is I’d want to see and play any instrument I was going to buy, and if you are planning on spending that sort of money it seems extraordinary that you are not prepared to invest the price of an airfare to go and try these instruments or have them shipped to you to try and compare.

If you really can’t try them then a lot would/should in my opinion depend where you are based, how easy is to get to the maker if there is any after care or adjustment required?

I know Rogers work very well and have an enormous amount of respect for him, a 1987 Hargrave is pretty early for his independent career, this was the period that he made some of the stunning copies that cemented his reputation but I would want to know more about exactly which instrument it is……………

October 14, 2006 at 06:21 AM · Another reason I think it's a bad idea to post this question here is that a lot of makers probably read this site. For example, David Burgess, winner of many awards, contributes regularly and I would think that he and other makers don't enjoy being compared like different brands of cars or computers.

That said, I agree with the previous posters. These makers are all quite well-known, and have each sold plenty of instruments to plenty of performing violinists.

Even if you are looking for a specific quality, like investment value or a dark sound, that can be hard to determine just by asking people on a message board.

October 14, 2006 at 07:18 AM · I have a 1992 Alf so I can recommend it as I know something of the quality of his instruments.

1987 perhaps a little early?

Incidently, which year and what model Alf is it?

One of his I tried was a 2001 Strad model which has pictures on his web site. Magnificent looking instrument- the pictures don't do the back plate justice.


October 14, 2006 at 07:27 AM · I'd be interested in finding out exactly who is actually playing these instruments... you see their client lists with all the famous players, but I know of two specific cases where famous violinists who are listed on more than one maker's website never touch their modern instruments.

Not that a soloist's endorsement matters to me, but I actually wonder who really uses what.

October 14, 2006 at 07:30 AM · Ricci recorded on 18 modern instruments for his Legacy of Cremona cd. Both an Alf and Hargrave were featured.

Ilya Kaler does use his Joseph Curtin.

Tetzlaff uses Greiner.

Henning Kraggerud used to use a Zygmuntowicz.

Emerson string quartet do use Zygs sometimes.

Zvi Zeitlen has done some concerts on an Alf.

Elmar Oliveira has recorded a number of works on Curtin & Alf instruments.


October 16, 2006 at 07:01 PM · "would you ask the same question if you were looking to get married?

Which one of the three GROOMS should I choose?"

I like that answer...

I agree that I would not buy a violin without first playing it!


October 16, 2006 at 07:29 PM · Gennady you are in rare form on this one :-)

"I would think that he and other makers don't enjoy being compared like different brands of cars or computers."

Au contraire. I bet they *love* this. They get to see:

a. how potential customers think

b. how potential customers think of their competition

c. how potential customers think of their work.

I'd say if anything, you are giving away too much of yourself to the makers, not t'other way around!

Then again keep it up. I sort of like living the millionairess' life vicariously through y'all.

October 16, 2006 at 07:31 PM · Gregg Alf will send you violins to try out.

October 17, 2006 at 02:33 AM · You simply must try out a violin and bow. No matter I much I loved a contemporary violin or bow - or an old one for that matter - I might say "TRY this or that". But never BUY one unseen or unplayed. I think that most makers of integrity would tell you the same thing.

October 23, 2006 at 08:18 AM · Zehetmair uses a Hargrave regularly, as is cellist Steven Isserlis. And of course, I use one as well :)

Another great maker is Peter Westerlund - he made cellos for Heinrich Schiff as well as professional musicians all over Europe.

In a recent blind test arranged by Swedish Violin and Bowmakers Association and Swedish String Teachers Association, his violin came out on top before a Gagliano, a Guadagningi and a 1709 Strad.

He is a bit cheaper than Hargrave (around 1100 EUR) and the quality is very good.

Link to the blind test:


November 5, 2011 at 04:45 PM · I wonder which violin they purchased?

November 5, 2011 at 05:11 PM · If I had to guess I would say none of them. Hopefully, they came to their senses and went visited a reputable dealer or directly to a luthier...

November 5, 2011 at 05:52 PM · http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_in_a_poke


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