Carlo Bisiach

May 11, 2018, 4:36 AM · Hi all.

I have been trying out a Carlo Bisiach at my local violin store. I was amazed and blown away by the clarity, depth of tone, and color. I had searched around the archives on and I could'nt find much information.I was wondering if it is worth it, as the violin is priced at around $80k.

Any information would help a lot.


Replies (68)

May 11, 2018, 4:59 AM · According to Tarisio, the top auction price for one of his violins is around $60K...auctions are wholesale, so $80K from a shop is not surprising. There is more information in his wikipedia article:

There is actually quite a bit of information about this maker online.

May 11, 2018, 5:14 AM · If you were blown away, I'd say buy it. It's only money, right?
May 11, 2018, 9:21 AM · It's disconcerting that there isn't a whole lot of information on Carlo even in Eric Blot's book "Liuteria Italiana 1860 to 1960 Volume 11-Lombardia e Veneto".
In the biography for his father Leandro, it states,
" Bit by bit(from 1931 -1932) he left the business in Milan in the hands of his sons Giacomo, Leandro Junior and Andrea(Carlo had established himself in Florence)."
That's the only mention of him anywhere in the book...
You can ask Jeffrey Holmes who is extremely knowledgeable on the subject of modern Italian makers.
May 11, 2018, 9:38 AM · I'm not surprised about $80k which is something like €67k in Europe. One of the three finest instruments (by far) I was able to try yet was a Carlo Bisiach. The price tag was not far from yours (€65k), and it definitely wasn't far from the Giuseppe Antonio Rocca it shared the shelf with. (Both instruments regularly played until only a few months ago.)
May 11, 2018, 12:32 PM · I've never played a Carlo Bisiach, though I've tried a few Leandro Bisiach violins that I've liked (Carlo's father).

I would ask: How does it compare to other violins you've played in that price range, as well as well-regarded contemporaries? You can get a Zyg starting at $85k, for instance, as well as a Curtin, Alf, etc. (Not to mention the plenty of other fine contemporary makers priced below that.)

May 11, 2018, 12:47 PM · I've never tried a Carlo Bisiach either, but I did try out a Giacomo and Leandro (II) Bisiach violin not long ago and was pretty impressed with it. I was even more impressed with another violin that had a much lower price tag on it; the Bisiach ended up in 2nd place by the time I got around to making a purchase. Personally, I would try other violins and make sure that this is absolutely the one you want.
May 11, 2018, 5:19 PM · If you're thinking of it as an investment then make your decision according to your assessment of the market value now and in the future. If it's sound you're interested in then there's no reason why 80k would buy you more or less than a violin at 20k or 150.
Edited: May 12, 2018, 12:42 AM · "I was wondering if it is worth it..." or to say something similar to the above post by Martin Mcclean, it probably depends on what you mean by "worth it." Probably one of the least desirable Strads in poor condition that few people want to play, for ten times the price has a better resale value. Does that make it 'worth it'?

If you are interested in possible resale price, the value may depend on the quality of any certificates, condition report and provenance documentation.

Edited: May 12, 2018, 4:40 AM · A little update on the Bisiach:

It is now priced at €75k.

Nuuska: Thanks for the comparison! I now know that not all the big names are always the best.

Lydia: I have tried one Zyg, 1 Curtin, 1 Alf, a David Gusset, and a David Van Zandt. I have felt that, in each of the violins, there was something missing, ie tone. The Bisiach ticks all the boxes that I am looking for. I feel that it takes at least 20-40 years for the varnish to crystallize, and then the sound will be better, so I'll just wait :).

Jennifer: Yes, I have tried other violins also, a NF Vuillaume, a Landolphi, a Rocca, and a Scarampella.

Martin: I think that there has been a steady rise in prices for Bisiach violins, and there is value to it. Other than looking for sound, I have been looking for value too.

John: Yes, the violin has dendro done by Peter Ratcliff, and has a certificate from Florian Leondard.

May 12, 2018, 1:07 AM · "Value" for a normal mortal like me might include resale value (and therefore depending on documentation of provenance etc.), beauty, sound and playability. For a young professional targeting on a soloist career, playing an instrument with a "name" may be helpful to draw attention and thus contribute some "extra value".

That's why I don't need a great Italian name but I'm happy with my wonderful Markneukirchen Violin from the 60ies.

May 12, 2018, 3:23 AM · I was going to say make sure you have a good certificate for the violin as there are lots of fake Bisiachs out there.
May 12, 2018, 11:15 AM · Do you have it for a trial already?

If you seriously consider it, I would get a second opinion on the value (condition, quality and year of building, ...) and make sure that you want it long time. The latter for me involves that the sound has not only one catchy attribute, but the whole spectrum of virtues, and that there is not an unticked box which will keep you looking around (e.g. if actually you always wanted an old Italian but now have a modern one or something else).

If you do not know it super well by now, you could try a blind test.

With the other names you have tried, you seem at least to be on the safe side that you did not only fall in love with the maker's fame.

Edited: May 12, 2018, 11:49 AM · For an instrument of this value, you should have no problem getting a two-week trial, and there may be a strong argument for a four-week trial. (Neither a shop nor an individual owner with a consigned instrument is going to balk at a longer trial unless for some reason someone else is wanting to immediately look at it.)

I'm going to assume that unless you're extremely wealthy, even a "readily affordable" $80k is a sum of money that you don't casually spend. Thus, you do want to try it in a wide range of venues and circumstances. Ensure you try the violin in every circumstance in which you ordinarily play -- with piano, with your quartet, in an orchestra, etc. (You probably aren't lucky enough to be able to try it as a soloist with orchestra, but if you concertmaster, hearing it in a concertmaster's solo is a pretty good proxy.) Make sure that your colleagues hear you play it side by side with your usual violin.

For most players, their own personal sound significantly dominates the sound of any given violin, but especially in a large hall, you'll hear differences.

I disagree with Nuuska. I don't think that Carlo Bisiach has sufficient name cachet for it to make any difference in people's perception of the sound when it's listed on a program -- i.e., the name won't impress anyone.

You (the OP) don't have a bio on this site, so it's hard to know what your purpose in buying this violin is. If you're an amateur with plenty of money, and $80k is worth it for the pleasure this instrument gives you, go for it; it should appreciate over the years, too. If you're a professional, I would probably weigh the expense of this against other things you might want, and decide whether or not it's worthwhile in the grand scheme of your priorities. If you have budget set aside for a professional tool, and this seems like what you want, thumbs up -- but don't forget that you might want to swap bows to something that's an optimal tonal match, too.

Do get a formal condition report, preferably from an appropriate shop. (If your "local shop" is Florian Leonhard's, that would be fine. If your "local shop" is in podunk nowhere that normally sells student violins, I'd get the condition report done by someone who knows better.)

May 13, 2018, 9:47 PM · Thanks Lydia for the helpful input.

I am just an amateur, that wants to upgrade my violin, and want to have fun while doing it. I think that I will enjoy it.

May 13, 2018, 9:57 PM · Is there any more advice from you guys?

I plan to have the violin for trial in a month. I'm planning to take it out for 3 weeks.

May 13, 2018, 10:56 PM · Having a violin by Bisiach family is one of the best early 20th century Italian names you can have as an investment, especially if the tone and response is desirable. Carlo's instruments definitely have a particular style in the making as he worked on his own, compared with his father Leandro Sr, who employed and taught many of the best 20th century makers. There are some instruments I wouldn't say are fakes, but they are certainly influenced by other hands and came from the Leandro Sr. workshop, much like the Vuillaume workshop a century before. He also experimented with a lot of different models.

That being said, Carlo's instruments are definitely rarer than the father's and more consistent on the whole.

I've owned a Leandro Bisiach Sr. and performed on it for several years in the past, but I would be equally and just as happy having a rarer Carlo Bisiach example, with the price tag being a bit better as well!

Its nice that you got an agreement with the shop ahead of time to try it out for 3 weeks.

Edited: May 14, 2018, 2:28 AM · The violin is really responsive and there is a wide range of tone. The label reads, " Carlo Bisiach Di Leandro Milanese , fece in Firenze l'Anno 1948. " There is his signature, and a stamp that says CB



May 14, 2018, 3:06 AM · At this price range, isn't it necessary to have a certificate from a dependable evaluator?
May 14, 2018, 3:13 AM · He said he had a certificate on it from Leonhard.
May 14, 2018, 3:39 AM · Oops. Missed that part.
Edited: May 14, 2018, 9:01 PM · I'm an amateur who indulged in buying a violin even more expensive than the one you're looking at, Andrew, and it pretty much makes me happy every time I take it out of the case. It's really a joy to play, even if it's also sometimes more challenging to work with. So I figure it was totally worth it, and the appreciation over my lifetime is a bonus.

So if you figure that it's going to make you happy, and you can afford it, and you've tried plenty of other great instruments and are confident that this one is the best thing you can get for the money, and your technique is mature enough to take advantage of what the violin has to offer you... if you're still enamored with it at the end of the trial, no reason not to buy it. Just remember you probably will need a new bow too. ;-)

May 14, 2018, 9:35 PM · I believe that the violin will also lead me to new heights that I have never experienced, and it will be a great teacher for me. I hope I still like it at the end of my trial ;-).
May 14, 2018, 9:35 PM · By the way Lydia, what violins do you have and which is your favorite?
May 15, 2018, 5:42 AM · I've owned three violins and tried a lot of instruments. My current violin is a JB Vuillaume. I used to own an Enrico Marchetti (modern Italian, late 19th century). And I have a Rafael Carrabba (contemporary American, made under Carl F Becker's direction) from my childhood.

The JBV is vastly better than the other two, and is easily the best thing I've tried under the high six figures, including other JBVs. (My luthier also thinks it's the best-sounding violin he's seen under the high sixes.) I've had it for about three years and I'm still learning how to exploit it properly.

May 15, 2018, 9:03 AM · Lydia next time HH is in the area you should try to arrange a grouping of regional JBV owners to compare instruments -- blind test, HH plays, JBV owners listen. That would be amazing. I bet she would do it, and I bet you could find half a dozen willing owners. Luthier could inspect them and talk about differences in how they're made, and a nice article could come out of it for a magazine like Strad.
May 16, 2018, 4:36 AM · I think that I have learned quite a lot from this thread, and I think that the best way is to try out more violins from different shops and luthiers. I will be in San Francisco and New York soon for business, I think that I will have time to visit a few violin shops there. Any recommendations for me?


May 16, 2018, 5:23 AM · I just feel like trying more before I take the violin out for trial, so I can get a good comparison.
Edited: May 16, 2018, 8:14 AM · Hah, Paul. There are a couple at shops in the area currently, I think, and at least three local readers who own JBVs. :-)

I've heard Hahn's JBV up close before (she stuck around at the signing table after a concert some years ago, with a couple of Maestronet players and their violins, in the days).


In the San Francisco 'burbs, try Ifshin's -- it's the biggest shop in the area and you could easily spend a whole afternoon there, if not longer. New York has an embarrassment of riches; try Reed Yeboah and Rare Violins of New York to start. For instruments in this price range, call and make an appointment first, and they will make an effort to ensure that you have a quiet environment and the attention of an appropriate salesperson.

However, I would do your trial first, and then if you need a second trial, do it after your trips. The trial is not an obligation to buy, and you'll learn a lot by spending at least a week with the violin in your normal environments. I would say that a week is long enough to determine if you definitely don't like the violin -- it may fail to please you in some particular circumstance, or simply feel less delightful after a week. But you may need more time to decide if you really want it.

By the way, Andrew, what's your current playing level ("amateur" is vague), and under what circumstances do you expect to use the violin?

May 17, 2018, 11:42 AM · Hi Andrew,

If you're going to be in the San Francisco area, I would be happy to show you violins here. My contact info is on my avatar.


May 24, 2018, 10:15 PM · Thanks Lydia and Thomas for the helpful advice.

May 24, 2018, 11:53 PM · My next step is to try other makers from around the same time period. What do you guys recommend?
May 25, 2018, 12:04 AM · Carlo Oddone? £54000 is the record auction price, retail will be more obviously. There's something spontaneous, individual and stylish about a nice Oddone.
May 25, 2018, 7:13 AM · I agree Martin.I had one for about a year made in 1898.It had a sweet "chewy" core to the sound with an orangy yellowy varnish put on thickly.Loved it...
May 25, 2018, 8:24 AM · I would recommend not restricting yourself at all. Violins are very individual. Furthermore, even though you have tried violins from a number of different makers, and didn't like them, it actually means next to nothing about whether or not you might like a different instrument from the same maker.

Go to as many shops as possible, and play as many violins as you can, from about $15k to somewhat beyond your target price range. If you know what you're looking for in a violin, you can tell the shop and they can sort of tier the violins into waves of what they think you'll probably like best.

May 26, 2018, 12:09 AM · Peter Carter
May 25, 2018, 7:13 AM · I agree Martin.I had one for about a year made in 1898.It had a sweet "chewy" core to the sound with an orangy yellowy varnish put on thickly.Loved it...

Sounds lovely Peter. I hope you moved on to a del Gesú!
Lydia's point regarding consistency is well worth taking on board, especially regarding old violins in varying states of repair which have been worked on by various different shops etc.

May 26, 2018, 4:32 AM · Sorry for budding in so late, but If I was buying an old violin I would also ask for a thickness report on top of the condition report.
In the case of this Carlo, I think it's overkill as it's not that old to have been re-thicknessed in its life.
I'm also among the ones who own a J.B. Vuillaume, in my case a Guarneri copy in perfect condition with sound to match. Recently I bought sight unseen a French Jacquot C1830-50 in excellent condition from the auctions which after setting up proved to be the equal of the Vuillaume.
If an important name is not required, it pays to shop around for the best sounding instrument which will also be way more affordable than an equally good sounding named Italian. Provenance comes with a hefty price.
May 26, 2018, 4:54 AM · Is $80 k worth it for the Carlo Bisiach? That is the store's asking price


Edited: May 26, 2018, 5:07 AM · it's not cheap, I would buy it if it's in great condition, an exceptional example of the maker's work and from his best working period. One at Bromptons sold for $50000 back in 2016.
May 26, 2018, 5:26 AM · The label reads, " Carlo Bisiach Di Leandro Milanese , fece in Firenze l'Anno 1948. " There is his signature, and a stamp that says CB

The condition is great.

Edited: May 26, 2018, 6:56 AM · Prices of violins in this range are definitely negotiable, and you should try to negotiate if you decide you want this violin. People with instruments on consignment might be particularly willing to negotiate if the instrument has sat without selling for some time.

(When I bought my Marchetti, it was for about 20% below the seller's asking price, as it had been for sale for some years. When I bought my JBV, the violin had been on sale for just a few months, and I agreed to pay the seller's asking price -- but in installments over a year, rather than all at once.)

Edited: May 26, 2018, 10:22 AM · If you're paying top retail price for an instrument it probably isn't realistic to see any financial return on you money within the next decade or so. However if you love it, enjoy playing it and appreciate it for what it is then that is an investment in itself. Only you can assess how much you appreciate it!
I haven't played the instrument but I'd imagine you could find an instrument which plays as well or better for a lot less.
May 26, 2018, 12:34 PM · I do agree with Martin above, that if you are expecting a return in the short run, you most certainly will not make a profit, let alone getting what you paid for it back. A dealer will sell at the highest price they can not leaving any room for profit. This is understandable as they are responsible for the instrument down the road if something happens that is not the buyer's fault. They are also accountable for selling the violin with the right description and attribution.
If you wait a decade though and your maker is still in fashion, then you will make a good return on your investment. Vuillaumes have been in vogue for the last 10-15 years and they have increased in price well above inflation. I remember in 1983 I was offered a good Vuillaume for $25000. In 1990 I bought mine for 35000 stg. I bet Lydia who has one will be laughing all the way to the bank, come selling time. Having said this though the Italians have always been in fashion and it's the done thing to own an Italian violin and an old French bow.
Edited: May 26, 2018, 12:46 PM · Martin I had to give up the Oddone since I couldnt sell my Johannes Cuypers at the price I needed in order to get the Oddone.I finally got my teeth into a 1925 Ferdinando Garimberti in mint condition.This was all done in 1997.Has it been a good investment? I would say it's as good as my RRSP and has helped my career somewhat.I'll find out when I toss in the towel and sell it in 9 years.
May 26, 2018, 12:50 PM · I think old French bows have been a better investment than the violins since they are much more fragile than fiddles with a higher rate of attrition.I had buy a less expensive violin in order to concentrate on bow inestments(Charles Peccatte,Prosper Colas and Jean Joseph Martin).
Edited: May 26, 2018, 1:45 PM · Yes I do agree that old French bows are a better investment as they tend to break irreparably, more often than violins do and indeed I had made a note of this a couple of decades ago, so today I'm proud of my bow collection that includes a Sartory, a Voirin, a J.J. Martin, a Simon Fr. among some lesser French ones. Most proud of them all though I am of my newly acquired Jacquot violin that I picked up for a song a few months ago. I cannot put it down. So good it is and in excellent condition.
May 26, 2018, 5:22 PM · Peter, I wish you every success with your investment. It sounds like you are winning in all regards. One of my clients had a Cuypers on loan. He loved it but reluctantly accepted that he was at a point in his career where nothing less than a guadagnini would be a sufficient calling card!
He has the Guadagnini but prefers his modern violin, which he uses the majority of the time. He's a fine player and was placed in one of the major violin competitions. It's a fickle world.
May 26, 2018, 7:18 PM · In some ways, because buying a professional-class violin generally means purchasing something that will hold or increase its value over your lifetime, what you're mostly deciding is the price point you're buying in at. You're getting the use of the violin "free".

You do want to make sure that the violin is fairly priced -- which is to say, it is priced similarly to other instruments of the maker that have similar attributes (era of work, condition, provenance etc.). You also have to keep in mind that it's illiquid -- i.e., if you were to sell it later, it might take months, even years, to sell. Playing properties have zero to do with the price, but an instrument whose playing properties would be attractive to a wide range of players will be quicker to sell later.

However, that's not to say that you shouldn't buy a violin that is attractive to you. What you want in playing properties might not be what other players want, and that's okay. The whole point of this exercise is presumably to get something you love. If you're looking for an investment vehicle, this is probably not a great price range for it.

You'll probably have to think about whether or not your playing needs will change in the future, as that will affect how long you'll keep this violin. When I bought my Marchetti, I wanted a quick-responding violin that would work well for effortless orchestral playing, with an orchestral player's sound-production technique (more air in the sound, faster bow, less weight on the string). But both my sound-production technique and the circumstances of my playing have changed, so a different violin has suited me better.

May 26, 2018, 11:19 PM · Thanks everyone for the deep and meaningful advice!

My luthier says that the owner would be looking for around €75k to €85k ( how much is that in USD???). He also says that if the owner wants to sell the violin for higher, it would not be worth it. I think that the violin will suit my playing for quite a while, as I do need a quick responding violin that would work well for orchestra, and also solos.

Do you guys have any thoughts on the price?


May 27, 2018, 1:41 AM · That's $87000-99000. For this amount, it should suit your needs for the rest of your life and then some.
May 27, 2018, 5:04 AM · Thanks !
May 27, 2018, 6:32 AM · You said, "I do need a quick responding violin that would work well for orchestra, and also solos."

These two things can be a bit at odds with one another, and careful testing of the violin under your playing circumstances is really important.

My JBV blends fine when I play in a large section, or with strong players that have reasonably nice violins. I have to put in effort to make it blend otherwise; otherwise it can tend to stick out of the section sound. It's perfectly capable of doing it, but I need to apply the technical adaptation. It also requires a little more effort to play in orchestra.

The flip side: It basically requires no effort beyond a soloist's sound production approach, to project for a concertmaster's solo, a concerto, or a recital-work with a big grand piano with the lid fully open. The power is always there to be readily tapped, and that means that I end up noticeably less tired at the end.

I could get that kind of power with, say, a $30k Feng Jiang contemporary violin, though. I don't think that anyone hearing the one that I tried (at the last VSA Convention) would have been able to distinguish it from an antique.

In the price range you are looking at, there are tons of choices. (For somewhat more, you could also buy the father's very fine work -- I've liked several Leandro Bisiach violins quite a lot.)

May 27, 2018, 7:00 AM · Did you buy it yet?
May 27, 2018, 6:30 PM · Thanks Martin.As with others on this thread, I figured I would rather play on a portion of my retirement and enjoy it fully then just a bunch of numbers in an investment (GICs ,RRSPs,index funds etc.).
My only advice to you Andrew is not to put all your eggs in one basket.Get going at your 401K or any other investment vehicles of your choice.I know many people in the orchestra who have done better than myself with monetary investments but play on mediocre instruments.
May 28, 2018, 8:00 PM · Paul: No, I'm getting it probably in June or July. Its not on trial yet.

Peter: Yeah, I'll be sure of that.

May 30, 2018, 4:56 AM · Hi All,

Last Question for you guys: How would Carlo Bisach's work compare to others, (eg. Fagnola, Antoniazzi, Garimberti, Ornati.... etc.)

May 30, 2018, 6:50 AM · What do you mean? In craftsmanship? I'm inclined to think that anyone who can't see the differences in workmanship should probably not worry about it when purchasing the violin, and focus strictly on the tonal properties.

Admittedly, I don't have a collector's mindset; I treat my violin and bow like tools.

I would add another piece of advice to the investment bit: I think that anyone purchasing an antique now, especially in this price range that's not hugely attractive (too much for many working pros, not enough for investment-minded collectors), shouldn't assume that the violin will sell, potentially decades from now, at the same or higher price as it was bought for.

Edited: May 30, 2018, 10:14 AM · So a Carlo Bisiach, Ferdinando Garimberti or even a JB Villaume might not be worth more decades from now?
Wealthy collectors may not think a single violin is worth buying so they buy them a half dozen at time and lock them away.I had to move quickly when I bought the Garimberti back in 1997 for this very reason.
My violin and bows are tools of my profession but with one eye towards appreciation in the future.
May 30, 2018, 11:56 AM · ..........."So a Carlo Bisiach, Ferdinando Garimberti or even a JB Villaume might not be worth more decades from now?"
Maybe, who knows. Remember that these violins have appreciated well above inflation since the 1960's. One could buy a superb JBV for $ 6000. What goes up may come down.

Looking at the European antiques market: prices skyrocketed in the 1970's and 80's and now have almost totally collapsed. Except for the very top quality pieces.
Reason: the younger generation is not interested. So how about the interest of the younger generation in classical music?
I would think that the rapid expansion of the East Asian market is the main reason violin prices have gone up so much in the last decades. Who knows if this will continue.

May 30, 2018, 11:56 AM · ..........."So a Carlo Bisiach, Ferdinando Garimberti or even a JB Villaume might not be worth more decades from now?"
Maybe, who knows. Remember that these violins have appreciated well above inflation since the 1960's. One could buy a superb JBV for $ 6000. What goes up may come down.

Looking at the European antiques market: prices skyrocketed in the 1970's and 80's and now have almost totally collapsed. Except for the very top quality pieces.
Reason: the younger generation is not interested. So how about the interest of the younger generation in classical music?
I would think that the rapid expansion of the East Asian market is the main reason violin prices have gone up so much in the last decades. Who knows if this will continue.

May 30, 2018, 12:10 PM · My reasoning is the same as Hendrik's.

Soloist-quality instruments and major collector items -- Strads down to JBVs, say -- will probably continue to do pretty well, although there's a possibility that valuations will plateau and/or come down.

But instruments intended for players? There have to be players who can afford them, and are willing to choose them over more economical alternatives. More and more violins come onto the market every year. Great-playing violins will still be in demand, but how much of a premium will they command? More violins coupled with fewer players likely means declining values.

Edited: May 30, 2018, 1:01 PM · True Hendrick.Nobody has a crystal ball.I was thinking of selling the Garimberti in the East Asian market.
The economy also has a lot to do with price.
May 30, 2018, 1:08 PM · We just won't know until we both sell our instruments Lydia.I agree with you that great sounding instruments will always be in demand.Thats what attracted me to this instrument as it will some other buyer in the near future.Good points Lydia and Hendrick.
May 30, 2018, 1:38 PM · It should be pointed out that collectors dont just collect Strads down to JBVs.The semi modern Italians from the early 20th century have always had a strong following
I just chatted with my Toronto dealer who was chomping at the bit to sell my violin.He said the Turinese makers are in heavy demand from the early 20th century although Milanese is good too.
May 30, 2018, 1:54 PM · My Turin-made violin sold recently to a collector. I'm not worried about the market today. I'm worried about what it will look like in 30 to 40 years. Maybe 20 years, if I decide in my older age that I'd prefer a 7/8ths to a full-size.
May 30, 2018, 1:57 PM · Was that the Marchetti Lydia?
May 30, 2018, 3:07 PM · Yup, it was. Took more than a year to sell.
May 30, 2018, 4:19 PM · I played on a lovely one at Shars in 1997.It had a beautiful "growl" to the sound.Real cool maker...
June 4, 2018, 7:00 PM · I once tried a Carlo Bisiach at an auction showing. It sounded beautiful and had a kind of unforced intensity and red-blooded quality. I liked it more than the Strad that was being offered at the same auction. A knowledgeable colleague of mine who was there felt the same way and said that there was something strangely thrilling about it.

The only problem for me - apart from the price that I couldn't begin to afford - was its small size - I think a body length of about 350 mm or possibly even less. Yes, I know that many del Gesus are 'short', too, by what has come to be regarded as a standard length of about 356-357. But for my relatively long arms, and relatively large hands and fingers, not ideal. My 2nd teacher had a nice Leandro Bisiach.

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