Original Master Instrument

Edited: May 8, 2018, 6:34 PM · Just wondering. Is there any original Stradivari / Guarneri/ Amati instrument in existence? I mean, unmodified \ repaired by generations of the best Luthiers in the world, just cleaned up and fitted with gut strings. What would they sound like?

Replies (7)

May 8, 2018, 7:42 PM · The Messiah Strad, I believe. Original save for the set-up, pegs, tailpiece, which came from JB Vuillaume.
May 8, 2018, 8:58 PM · Tx Lydia. According to http://www.cello.org/heaven/hill/messiah/messiah.htm, both Vuillaume and the Hills replaced the bass bar, whereas Vuillaume also modified the neck angle (and by the apparent length of it, perhaps replaced the fingerboard too), not to mention that some scientist claim that the wood age determination indicate that it post-date Stradivari’s death (contested conclusion however for obvious reasons). All that to say that it isn’t in its original condition, but perhaps as close as it gets to original as Stradivari are concerned I suppose.
Edited: May 8, 2018, 9:45 PM · There's a Strad viola in original baroque condition, original nailed on neck.
Edited: May 9, 2018, 12:12 AM · "What would they sound like?"

Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqQRX0ptw3w

The question was a tricky one years ago. Now on Youtube you can find many people attempting to reproduce the sound with original-style instruments and technique, based on careful research and probably reasonably accurate. The only difficulty with answering the question is that you need to be more precise about the period and nationality as this made a difference. From Andrea Amati to the end of Del Gesu's life violin playing and music changed, and so did instruments and bows. (For the theory see Boyden, History of Violin Playing.)

You ask about an original Strad etc. Few of us, experts included, can pick a Strad from another great vioin of the same age when we are listening, and the blind tests where Strads have been confused with modern instruments are legion. So I still think those Youtube videos of violins with baroque setup, bow and technique answer your question, even if the violins are not by Stradivari or another big name.

May 9, 2018, 3:51 AM · this is the viola that Lyndon is referring to: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/property/?ID=41401
May 9, 2018, 3:55 AM · Quite possibly a Strad with all its original parts (bass bar, fingerboard, etc.) might be unplayable. There's good reason why these are replaced every couple of hundred years or so...
May 9, 2018, 8:59 AM · The Lady Blunt Strad is near-original. Some work done on it by Vuillaume: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/cozio-carteggio/the-lady-blunt-stradivarius-violin-cremona-1721/

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