Scarampella Violins

Edited: July 11, 2018, 2:17 AM · Hey all,

What do you guys think about these two makers? Which would you prefer and why?

Replies (33)

Edited: July 9, 2018, 11:29 PM · I had a Stefano Scarampella that I got rid of in 1959 (damn it!) I did not like the overall sound (although there was plenty of it and the open E string felt like it cut through my ear, my brain and out the other side! What the dealer paid me helped pay to get our newborn first child out of the hospital, but was no more than my father had paid its maker for a new American made fiddle 7 years earlier. The American fiddle is still in my "collection."

So I would like to try a Fagnola.

But if I still had the Scarampella today I might be able to sell it for 300 times what that dealer paid me. On the other hand, now, almost 60 years later, an ear=piercing E string might be just what I need.

EDIT: Anyhow, see this:
https://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/7909/
The Scarampella was sold to my father by his violin teacher in the 1930s along with 2 bows (a well-worn F.D. Voirin and a Richard Weichold both very nice) for $125 - I recall being told. His teacher was a Mr. Frisoli, who had had been a violin maker working in the Scarampella workshop before immigrating to the USA. Who knows perhaps he made that "Scarampella" himself? In a biographical article published in the Southern California AAA magazine in the 1960s Frisoli was quoted as saying the Scarampella tops were too thick and needed to be regraduated.

The things one learns too late!!!!

July 9, 2018, 11:42 AM · With respect to what? Probably Stefano, or do you mean Giuseppe?

Personally, if all were priced reasonably, condition, sound and appearance were on a similar level, I would go with the Stefano Scarampella, even though the difference is not super huge.

Fagnola, for me, a great maker of course, is primarily the most successful of various luthiers in Turin at his time following the footsteps of Pressenda and Rocca without having a direct link to them. A Gatti or Guerra would be nearly as good from the "must-have-factor".

Scarampella, on the other hand, is the more "interesting" figure and has more the appearance of a true artist than a great business man.

July 9, 2018, 1:10 PM · All Fagnolas I've played sounded better than the Scarampellas. And looked much nicer too!
July 9, 2018, 2:39 PM · There are a lot of fake Scarampellas out there. I'm not sure about Fagnola.
July 9, 2018, 3:10 PM · everyone is faked
July 9, 2018, 10:08 PM · Michael, I'm referring to Stefano Scarampella. I recently tried one made in 1908, and found it better than the Fagnolas that I have tried.
July 9, 2018, 10:20 PM · Sounds like a dilemma between farfalle and rigatoni!
July 10, 2018, 2:48 AM · Rocky,

LOL

Edited: July 10, 2018, 5:48 AM · Have you read this article?

https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/cozio-carteggio/stefano-scarampella/

So the 1908 would be close to his "golden period" in case it is not one of the quickly made ones.

There is also an article on the Turin makers which sounds a bit, not much, less enthustiastic. If Gindin can be considered to become the Raffin of violins, his opinion will also have some long term value impact.

If you are interested in value perception, NeueTaxe can also be a source (needs payment however).

Again, just my own guessing!

July 10, 2018, 5:48 AM · Michael,

Yes, I have read the article.

Do you guys know if Scarampellas sell quickly? Should I make a quick decision?Is it a good investment?
How about Fagnola?

Lots of questions

thanks
Andrew

July 10, 2018, 5:49 AM · What is price and condition like?
July 10, 2018, 6:07 AM · They say that it is in excellent condition, and I cant show it to you now, but it looks better than the images than I can find on the internet. They are offering it for $150k.
July 10, 2018, 6:16 AM · Certificate?
July 10, 2018, 6:37 AM · Certificate of John Dilworth.
July 10, 2018, 6:46 AM · Sounds good for me.


The price does, to me, not sound as if it would sell extremely quickly, but also not way to high. Maybe there is some room for negotioation.

Investment: You should not expect that you can earn much money with this. Yet, if you needed to get rid of it, you would be able to recover a lot of what you paid... just give me a call ;-)... the later the better for you, and maybe the price level becomes high enough to even get some bonus back.

July 10, 2018, 10:08 AM · In general, nothing in this price range sells quickly. (This should be a consideration for you as an investor, also -- you are generally looking at months, possibly even years, to sell a violin.)

Never let yourself be pressured into making a hasty decision over a violin or a bow. With the rare exception of a shop receiving something that already matches an existing client's search, you're generally not competing against other buyers in this price range.

July 10, 2018, 2:26 PM · There’s a 1903 Scarampella/Gadda that I know about selling for far less than $150,000. It used to belong to Sergiu Luca. Send me an email through my website if you’ll be in the NYC area and would like to try it.
July 10, 2018, 3:33 PM · What is a 1903 Scarampella/Gadda? Aged 3 little Gaetano probably did not contribute much. Hopefully it does not mean it comes with a Mario Gadda certificate. ;)
July 10, 2018, 7:26 PM · Andrew, what was your process for narrowing it down to these two makers?
July 10, 2018, 8:14 PM · "Do you guys know if Scarampellas sell quickly? Should I make a quick decision?Is it a good investment?
How about Fagnola?"

You have to decide if you are investing in an art object or if you are looking for a tool for making music. These are very different things.

July 11, 2018, 2:17 AM · David, my process for lowering it down to these two makers was just taking the violins by these two makers and then comparing it to violins made by other makers in the same period, eg. Antoniazzi, Bisiach. I had a friend do a blind test with me, and the outcomes were that the Scarampella sounded better than the rest.
Edited: July 11, 2018, 9:03 AM · You simply cannot generalize like that. Every instrument is unique, and just because in your little batch of testing, the Scarampella that you have wins, does not mean that it's going to win out over every other violin by those makers.

If you want this particular Scarampella, treat it like any other violin you're evaluating. If it won the shoot-out but for whatever reason you don't want this particular one, continue to search broadly rather than narrowing your search to just Scarampellas.

By the way, is there some reason that you're confining yourself to Italian makers of specifically this narrow period of making?

July 11, 2018, 9:27 AM · Hi Michael, the violin has a Stefano Scarampella label and comes with a certificate from Phillip Kass of Moennig in Philadelphia among other places. The violin is attributed as being a joint effort between the two makers. Really fantastic fiddle!
July 11, 2018, 8:23 PM · Lydia, I'm confining myself to Italian makers of that narrow period of making because the violins made in this period are usually in better condition than violins made 200-300 years ago. The violins in that period can also emulate the sound in the old Italian Masters.

Most of the violins I have tried coming from that period sound better than some Strads that I have tried!

I'm sorry I wasn't clear in talking about this Scarampella, I was making it sound like all Scarampellas were better than others.

One more question: If a violin like this, say, a Stefano Scarampella made in 1908, his Golden Period, in mint condition, selling for $150k, say, approximately how long will it take to sell?

1 year? 2 years?

Edited: July 11, 2018, 8:24 PM · Double Post
July 12, 2018, 12:21 AM · One more question: If a violin like this, say, a Stefano Scarampella made in 1908, his Golden Period, in mint condition, selling for $150k, say, approximately how long will it take to sell?

1 year? 2 years?

July 12, 2018, 1:17 AM · Forgive me for butting in, but it sounds like you absolutely want an old Italian instrument, even though there is no telling whether a 150K Italian is really better than a 75K (or 50K) contemporary instrument - even though looking for a contemporary instrument has the significant benefit the maker can make adjustments for you. And you get to keep a lot of money, which may be better than speculating this Italian will appreciate over time.
July 12, 2018, 4:55 AM · "One more question: If a violin like this, say, a Stefano Scarampella made in 1908, his Golden Period, in mint condition, selling for $150k, say, approximately how long will it take to sell?

1 year? 2 years?"

No way of knowing. At an auction, if no minimum price is placed on it, it might sell right away.

July 12, 2018, 8:42 AM · Also remember that on consignment you'll lose 20% of the purchase price to the dealer, and at auction, there are significant fees as well (and auction prices are usually wholesale ones).

You need to keep the violin for quite a few years to be able to break even on its sale, if you are treating it as an investment vehicle.

Edited: July 12, 2018, 10:09 AM · Hmm, it is of course completely up to you, but my obviously biased opinion would suggest you reconsider your motivation. I am big fan of old Italian instruments as well, and some modern ones such as Scarampella (I have a mid 20th from Genoa), but not because of any particular sound I would expect.

"I'm confining myself to Italian makers of that narrow period of making because the violins made in this period are usually in better condition than violins made 200-300 years ago. The violins in that period can also emulate the sound in the old Italian Masters."

I am sorry to say, but this sounds a bit like self-deception for me ;)

Travel has of course been going on before, but at latest in the 20th century knowledge about violin building was probably not very city or region-proprietary any more.

July 13, 2018, 2:56 AM · The problem is, I don't know when I will be able to visit the shop again, and I am quite eager to acquire that particular violin, so I was wondering how long it would take for the dealer to sell the violin.
July 13, 2018, 3:12 AM · an impossible question!!
July 13, 2018, 9:40 AM · That's really unpredictable. If you're uncertain, just tell the shop to call you if the instrument seems like it's about to sell.


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