For Sale: Howard Needham Violin
First I want to thank Laurie for creating such a wonderful place for violinists to share thoughts. Around 2008 I began a search for a new violin. I was fortunate to own an old Italian from my high school days, but it was one of those reclamation jobs and required constant repair as a result of structural instability.
Partially through violinist.com I came to realize we are in a golden age of violin making. I ended up trying violins by Terry Berman, David Burgess, and Peter Greiner. I was having a hard time making a decision, and on violinist.com I heard about Howard Needham and how some studio musicians in LA claimed his fiddles were better than anyone else's.
I was able to meet Howard in person when he made a visit to NYC to see the Berlin Phil. He is a wonderful man and I consider him a friend at this point. I got to try his wonderful fiddle, and pulled the trigger and commissioned a Del Gesu. It is a wonderful instrument, very easy to get around, and can produce pure sweet tones in Mozart, and sound angry high up on the G string for that D in the Saint-Saens.
Alas it is time for me to let the instrument go. If you are interested in the instrument, and want to know why, please contact me. Howard is currently charging $35,000.
Howard is such a nice guy. He visited me some years ago.
I would like to come and visit your shop sometime Mr. Manfio to see your beautiful violas and drool over them!
Jeff, it's quite a long drive. ;-)
I have some interest, but the PM seems to not be working.
Make sure the violin is supplied with a reputable appraisal/certificate, violins like this are commonly faked.
I'm sure Mr. Needham himself will have made sure to let the violin come along with a certificate of authenticity when Chris bought it. At least the luthiers I know and who are selling in the 20k+ region do so.
Buying from a private party or less than reputable dealer presents a higher risk, sometimes very much so.
I would invite interested parties to call Howard himself to confirm the authenticity of the violin. As part of the recent servicing, Howard provided a letter for insurance purposes attesting to the value of $35,000.
Given that Howard is very much alive and active, I wouldn't worry too much about authenticity of a violin bought directly from the person who commissioned it. Howard can no doubt vouch for it, and if it's missing its certificate, provide a new one.
It's a good thing I already bought my violin because my kids are getting toward college and pretty soon I will be eating ramen noodles or dog food to avoid bankruptcy. LOL
The following threads are probably worth bumping. They made great reading at the time. (Where did those ten years go?!)
Thanks Martin! Those were the threads that initially got me so excited to meet Howard. So nice to read through them again. I have played many fiddles including a couple of Strads, a couple of Guadagnini’s, and some Del Gesu’s and while I can’t exactly claim my Needham bests them, the fact that it competes in their weight class is testament to Howard’s talents...
Certificates are so easy to fake these days (vastly easier than producing a convincing fake violin), that I no longer bother with them. Records of financial transactions, (verifiable though the banking institution), are much harder to fake. So when dealing directly with a maker, I'd recommend asking the maker for information sufficient to follow that financial trail, rather than a "certificate".
Maybe what you need is an initial proof-of-sale packet that includes but is not limited to the certificate, that can accompany the violin in its future journey through owners.
You're more than welcome Chris. There's certainly no doubting Howard's talents and craftsmanship. It is worth noting that Howard himself has always acknowledged the role Geary Baese played in his ability to build successful instruments.
I realize I should have made this explicit in my original post. I live in NYC (Manhattan upper east side). If the interested party is not in the NYC metro area, we can discuss the possibility of shipping the instrument safely for evaluation. Howard has taught me how to do this for the periodic checkups he has performed on the instrument.