Have you ever cried by just tuning a violin?

Edited: December 18, 2018, 5:11 PM · I can not help it. I have to share this with someone.

I am in the market for a better instrument. So I called up this old gentleman who is selling his violins lo and behold - one ow them was a Gasparo da Salo from 1595. (Others included a Maggni and 2 modern Italian instruments)

The soundpost had fallen on the Da Salo and stings were ancient.
But when I repositioned the soundpost and started tuning the instrument, the heaven opened.

Before I knew it, tears were flowing down my face as if I was meeting God himself. I spent the next 2 hours playing that instrument crying and laughing, not beleiving. The instrument made an average schmoe like me sound like one of the great soloists of our time.

I refuse to believe it. It’s impossible that the instrument itself can make you sound like a great master. Yet, I am sobbing like a little kid...

I have seen heaven, but can probbably not enter it.

Replies (87)

December 18, 2018, 5:18 PM · Time to start saving up.
December 18, 2018, 5:30 PM · For lottery tickets.
December 18, 2018, 5:43 PM · What's the asking price Tony?
It's one of the oldest surviving instruments out there.

I won't buy it given my tendency to break up things and that the instrument can damage as easily as egg shells. (uber sour grapes)

December 18, 2018, 5:53 PM · Asking price is 30K eur, and matches the fact that there is no provenance on this instrument. No paperwork, no nothing. And the gentleman broke the top plate in the 70s, but it’s expertly repaired by the luthier that made my current instrument.

I will contact Beare in London about the instrument.... the sound iself is worth it even if it’s a copy....

December 18, 2018, 5:56 PM · 1900 markneukirchen copy, I can appraise this without seeing it!!
December 18, 2018, 6:20 PM · Yeah, with no provenance I don't think the actual value of the instrument could possibly be even 30k.
December 18, 2018, 6:41 PM · Yes Lyndon, I agree, probably a copy. In which case the possibility of fraud somewhere along the chain of ownership should also be considered. Testing the wood for its age would be helpful.

Edited: December 18, 2018, 6:51 PM · yes, immediately after peeling an onion!
December 18, 2018, 8:07 PM · In reply to your question - yes I've cried, when my once stand partner tuned his violin... :o
December 18, 2018, 8:13 PM · "Have you ever cried by just tuning a violin?"

Uhhh, no.

December 18, 2018, 11:37 PM · That might be a great encapsulation of the impassable gap between luthiers and violinists, lol;)
December 19, 2018, 12:20 AM · I haven't cried, but my first time trying a Strad was a thing of wonder and beauty. Ditto a Tourte bow.
December 19, 2018, 1:16 AM · Well. With a price tag 30K it’s not going to run away. That’s for sure. Beare could have a say weather this is even remotely a real da Salo and that should determine weather I dish out that kind of money. I may be emotional, but I am not naive.

I don’t even know weather it sounds like anything really... I never played a real Strad or Gesu, I only heard them in concert. The best Instrument I ever played was new instruments from Daniel Musek, which go for about 25k and this old one kind of sounds better to my ear.

As a violinist I could not care less about weather it’s a copy or a real thing, but as the investor I ONLY care about that, so In this price range, the violinist steps down and investor kicks in.

But the piece of wood still sounds like it was made by God himself...

December 19, 2018, 1:43 AM · "I may be emotional.."

No may be. I think you eloquently proved it :)

Edited: December 19, 2018, 2:32 AM · The old gentleman seller is crying too, because of his incredible luck at having found somebody that easily duped, I'm sorry to be blunt.
December 19, 2018, 3:03 AM · Herman. You were blunt, but also right. On the other hand... the instrument rules.
December 19, 2018, 6:25 AM · "Asking price is 30K eur, and matches the fact that there is no provenance on this instrument. No paperwork, no nothing. "

Running to sell my no-label violins right now.

But seriously, I hoe you don't ever buy an instrument in that price range without a certificate of authenticity.

Edited: December 19, 2018, 6:42 AM ·

I've haven't cried, but I have played instruments that had more power over me than I had over it.

December 19, 2018, 6:52 AM · I will cool down and stay away.
But damn it, if I have to wait and live to find an other fiddle of this quality, I will be at least 90... May even classify as immortal :)
December 19, 2018, 7:21 AM · Well, I actually have photos of the instrument.
Is someone reasonably adept to spot a Markneukirchen copy?

Mind you. I have played several Markneukirchen violins and while they did sound like 500-1500 EUR fiddles none of them even remotely sounded like this one.

December 19, 2018, 7:26 AM · post a link to the photos, does it have a neck scroll graft, that's a must.
December 19, 2018, 8:03 AM · I play viola.

When I tune, the people around me start to cry...

December 19, 2018, 8:41 AM · There are possibilities that are not just a German copy, too. It could be an unknown maker of the era, or even a talented copyist of a later era. You'll often see those kinds of fiddles sold for the $10k-20k range.

I would caution about getting over-enthusiastic, though. It doesn't sound like you have enough experience with good instruments to really know how exceptional this one is for its price range.

December 19, 2018, 2:49 PM · Following Lydia's wise comment: do you have a friend, acquaintance, teacher, etc. that can take a look to the instrument? I'm sure you must know at least one person that can offer some guidance.
December 19, 2018, 3:14 PM · Well, I have almost cried - but over stuck tuning pegs - and that was mostly in the 1st half of the 20th century.

I had that amazing feeling when my Spanish fiddle arrived to me in California from England in 1974. Slightly detuned, it made the most amazing sounds as I tuned it up while plucking the strings. Finally in tune it continued to deliver on that promise as I bowed it. Made in 1971 by a well-respected 20th century Madrid luthier, Fernando Solar Gonzales, it became my main violin for the next 40 years from that day on. Not quite as easy for me to play now as the violin I was given 22 years earlier, but it still has incredible richness all the way up on all strings. I have played it and the older violin in the presence of Strads and Guarneris and gone home without envy ( well maybe $$ envy ).

December 19, 2018, 3:33 PM · This discussion makes me wonder: how many truly *great* violins does any particular luthier make in their life? Even amongst strads, there is a great deal of variance and only perhaps 10-20% could be considered really exceptional.
December 19, 2018, 5:01 PM · Gudance I can get, no problems there, but I have decided not to go this way. Tis violin is above my financial possibilities, and that’s that.

Also some comments suggest I am a naive student or kid, but in fact I am a 45 year old professional violinist with some 100-120 gigs a year. I do not play in asymphony orchestra, but in a quartet. My substitue though plays in Ljubljana symphony orchestra and I have many proffessional friends from the field (teachers, violinists, cellists, pianists)

I talked to the owner again and there was a misunderstanding between us. He has a lot of 4 violins and 30K was for the lot. The violin In question would be about 10k. With the lot or about 15K separately.

Also - no scroll and neck grafts tell me this is not even remotely a genune article. It is a phenomenal instrument ad it will take me some time to get over it, but it was an out of this world experience for sure.

Thanx for all the comments, even the blunt and uninformed ones. I am sure they were all ment in good spirit.

December 19, 2018, 5:05 PM · >Also some comments suggest I am a naive student or kid, but in fact I am a 45 year old professional violinist with some 100-120 gigs a year.

I read you with the voice of a teenager.

You must be young at heart!

December 19, 2018, 5:09 PM · No, i was just in love . With a piece of wood. I really did cry. And did not sleep that night.
December 19, 2018, 5:12 PM · In “Hotel transylvania” cartoons they say you only “Zing” once in life.
I zinged with this fiddle.
That’s it :)
December 19, 2018, 5:35 PM · Did the varnish smell funny? Maybe they rubbed some shrooms on the chinrest?
Edited: December 19, 2018, 6:25 PM · "I talked to the owner again and there was a misunderstanding between us. He has a lot of 4 violins and 30K was for the lot. The violin In question would be about 10k"

So after you come back with a more informed opinion, the seller said he confused a 10K violin with a 30K one. Hmm.

I wonder if he put on that 30K price tag before or after the sob show ...

December 19, 2018, 11:09 PM · I would hardly call this thread a more informed opinion, but yes.

I did however not tell him that I searched for a more informed opinion though. They guy is some 90 years old and he is Hungarian. He speaks half German, half Serbian, so I assume our communication might not have been 20/20.

But what do I know? This might be his personal instruments (as he claims) or he shifts 100 old factory violin shaped objects a year to unsuspecting violinists with prices based on client’s vehicle and attire price range.

I might not have the expertise on old, quality instruments, but I know darn stinking well how the majority of violins sound in higher registers, how beastly the wolfs can be on D and G string, what’s weak A and how unmanagable E string becomes above 8th position. I know perfectly what’s the difference between sluggish and lightning response. I also know ergonomic aspects of a violin, as long playing hours do show that rather painfully.

So - the instrument is exceptional. Period.

December 19, 2018, 11:18 PM · Where is this violin at? You made me want to try it.
Edited: December 19, 2018, 11:26 PM · I na stupid remote village on Slovenian Austrian border. The adderss is Podvelka 47, Slovenia.
Gps position:
(46.5738232, 15.3204848)

Takes a 2 hour drive from Ljubljana.

December 20, 2018, 12:13 AM · They better play the violin in heaven. My teacher and I are in agreement that we want to hear Bach play solo violin:)
December 20, 2018, 12:19 AM · There was already enough cringe here without that addition, Jason.
December 20, 2018, 1:53 AM · Luthiers apparently win in both worlds...
December 20, 2018, 1:55 AM · Tony, I think you took the light-hearted comments a bit seriously.

Kids normally don't cry out of admiration of a violin's beauty. It takes a mature musician to do just that.

But not every mature musician is an informed buyer. And when they are, not at all times. Smart buyers can make irrational purchase decisions, especially when faced with something of outstanding value to them.

Now that the violin turned out to be 1/3 of its price (and may decrease further) I wish you could have it mate.

December 20, 2018, 3:21 AM · I’ll sleep on it for sure. But facts are creeping on me.
Top plate has ben damaged at some point, the neck is not grafted and this somewhat lowers it’s real value. With this price and remoteness of location... it’s not hot. I can wait.

Meanwhile, I uploded the photos of the fiddle here

This was the best I could do with an Ipad in low light oditions.

December 20, 2018, 3:35 AM · I'd be curious to hear a recording of it.
Edited: December 20, 2018, 4:18 AM · Did not make one. Unfortunately. I might though go there again just for the sake of it. It takes me a 4 hour round trip though...

If I can describe it....
G string is thunderous and gritty if you hit it hard, but does not seem to ever reach it’s limit.
D string is sonorous like a good baritone male voice.
A string sings and in higher octaves almost seamlessly blends into what E produces in lower positions.
E string rings like a bell even in 8th+ position.

It reacts vividly to tiny featherweight bowing as well as hardcore pounding. All the time the energy of the sound is the same. Even in piano, the voice penetrates through walls. It’s sensitive to vibrato as hell, you don’t even have to move and it reacts promptly. I have a feeling you can not play out of tune with it. Everything sounds right. Double stops, chords, everything...
And. On top of that - it has a shimmering hiss to it. Not from the bow (I know my bow, I use it a lot). The gritty overtones that scratch the ear are present in piano and fortissimo. They do not change with loudness.

As per ergonomy... for a lack of a better word... it plays itself.

And the thing is - it was not even set up properly. I put the soundpost up personally and I am no expert. I can only imagine what a real luthier could do to this instrument.

December 20, 2018, 6:26 AM · If the seller is this old, and he lives in a remote village, it's not like he has a lotta options.

Why don't you make your best offer?

5000 dollars in hand is better than four violins under your bed.

December 20, 2018, 6:50 AM · Well, I need to muster up some balls to drop the base like this. I do not want bad karma for milking the old man dry.
I'd rather have a clear conscience than all the kingdoms of this world. I know it's a looser's point of view, but that's the way I am.

Of course the owner of the violin might just be playing that note... But then again, I have the money and he has the piece of wood. So it's a fair game.

December 20, 2018, 7:17 AM · I think it’s the winner’s point of view Tony. I would pay a price that’s fair enough for the seller.
December 20, 2018, 7:21 AM · I suspect the owner might be very pleased to receive 3000 euro for this violin.
Edited: December 20, 2018, 7:36 AM · Matt - you are absolutely right. I think the price 10K might be the most unfair price for both parties. If the instrument was original, it would be worth 20 times that price. So the price is not fair to him. If it's a Markneukirchen VSO, than the price is not fair to me. Only in case it was made by a reputable maker as a copy and it had some provenance, 10K would be justified.

I will simply tell him that it's above my capabilities and that I can get a František Križ with provenance from a reputable source for half of this. Which is true - and the instrument is glorious.

If he is stretching it based on my neediness, he will make me an offer. If not, it's not meant to be.

Edited: December 20, 2018, 7:42 AM · Martin Mcclean: I kind of doubt that. He has a Enzo Arrassi 1910 and Paulus Morara 1930 in his batch. They are both fine Italian instruments which can go for around 6K - 8K.
But this "da Salo" thing outplays them all by a large margin. And he knows it...
Edited: December 20, 2018, 8:10 AM · I like the pronounced pear shape. I like the hand-carved edges of the f-holes. Haggle.

Obviously the guy wasn't born yesterday in any sense of the expression.

Edited: December 20, 2018, 8:44 AM · "He has a Enzo Arrassi 1910 and Paulus Morara 1930 in his batch. They are both fine Italian instruments which can go for around 6K - 8K.
But this "da Salo" thing outplays them all by a large margin. And he knows it..."

Well, if the Arrassi en the Morara are genuine (which is a big if) they would be worth more, and the German fiddle with the Maggini purfling less. Provenance determines the price, not whether it sounds nice on a given day.

5000 is a lot for an unidentifiable German violin which just happens to sounds terrific.However, that's what I would offer. You made a mistake by effusively showing your enthusiasm for the instrument, but on the other hand you can say you were confused by the label, and now you know better. Keep in mind that at this age the seller doesn't have much time anymore to realise a sale and to use the money realised.

December 20, 2018, 11:54 AM · Herman you are right about the provenance and price. The unidentifiable violin is worth less then the known counterparts. Also about the age and time. Definitely.

I do not think it was a mistake, showing emotion. I know myself well enough to separate the wallet from emotion. If he gets other, better offers, he can sell any time. If anything he will always sell it to some heartless person and the guy who really loved it didn't have the cash for it. If he is offered 5K by someone else, he will call me.

But let's wait and see.

December 20, 2018, 3:02 PM · Your description of the sound is just like the vuillaume that I played and loved. If I found an equally good sounding instrument that wasn't 250k, I would definitely buy it.
December 20, 2018, 3:31 PM · look like a 100 year old trade fiddle, if it sounds really good $3000 tops
December 21, 2018, 8:11 AM · I agree that $3k for a German trade violin with a terrific sound is a perfectly reasonable purchase. Indeed, $5k might even be okay if you recognize that your eventual resale value is $3k. (Or $10k, if you have that kind of money, and you are willing to write off the delta in value.)
December 21, 2018, 8:17 AM · If it takes a cheap german misshaped violin to achieve that knd of sound.... yes. I want it.
Although great violinists achieve that sound with normaly shaped violins. But they are masters and we mere mortals :)
December 21, 2018, 8:25 AM · Lydia - you are right. I do not want a big delta in price. I can not afford big deltas. I want it as fair as it gets. Will let this sit for a while. Call him up, thel him my findings and he will either shrug me off or rethink his options.

In the mean time I’ll enjoy the christmas hollidays as much as possible and try to get over it.

December 21, 2018, 2:10 PM · @Lydia and others, side thread question: not long ago Smile Hsu started a thread which asked for the average price of a professional grade instrument, and the popular opinion seemed to be that it’s around $10K.

Would a $3K German trade violin with terrific sound be considered a ‘professional grade’ instrument? If I don’t care about its provenance or origin etc?

December 21, 2018, 2:47 PM · well, the asking price was a lot more than three thousand.
December 21, 2018, 2:54 PM · $10k is not the average price of a professional-grade instrument. It's about the least you can pay in order to get one.

Yes, people sometimes luck into less-expensive instruments that can be used professionally, but that requires a lot of searching, persistence, and luck. It's possible that the violin that the OP is coveting is good enough for professional use.

December 21, 2018, 2:59 PM · @Herman no, not this particular instrument.

I was surprised as $3000 doesn't seem like a lot of money even compared to modern instruments (even factory instruments can be pricier).

But if $3-5K seems reasonable for a German terrific fiddle, I will be on the look for it.

Edited: December 21, 2018, 3:09 PM · I'm a bit confused now. If 3K is what buyers should be willing to pay for any great sounding German trade fiddle (as per the popular opinion here), how come 10K is the least you can pay in order to get a professional grade one?

The only conclusion I can draw from this thread to make things logical for that matter, is that German instruments, even the very good ones, hardly make it to professional grade.

Edited: December 22, 2018, 1:44 AM · The average price of a "professional" violin will very much depend on what level of professionalism one is talking about.

MAJOR US orchestras, some of which pay very well? I'd take a wild guess that it's around 300 K.

December 21, 2018, 3:14 PM · David, in other words, German trade violins would never make it to major orchestras?
Edited: December 21, 2018, 3:43 PM · If one violinist had a $10,000,000 violin, and 30 others had $30,000 violins, then the average cost would be about $352,000 per violin. What does that tell us? Perhaps a median price would be more informative. Then there's the question of whether you believe a high level professional orchestra violinist really needs to spend $300,000 on their violin. How much of the cost is an "image" thing, not to mention investment potential with depreciation, interest deduction, capital gains, etc. But from a strictly utilitarian perspective, is it necessary?
Edited: December 21, 2018, 3:52 PM · I think my questions made the thread become a bit political. I'll stop my topic here.
Edited: December 21, 2018, 4:28 PM · $300k for a major orchestra? I don't think so. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra owns a Lorenzo Storioni viola that is used by its principal violist. The record auction price for a Storioni viola is $246k.

My guess is that the typical instrument in a major orchestra is closer to $30-40k. $300k is international soloist territory.

December 21, 2018, 4:33 PM · Matt, I don't think your comment comes across as political, but it just doesn't make sense. In a logical fallacy, you're trying to apply a statement about 'German TRADE violins' to equate to "all German violins." There are excellent German makers whose instruments are played in the best circles, but they are not 'trade' violins by any stretch of the imagination. Trade violins are made in workshops, usually in some type of assembly-line fashion.
December 21, 2018, 4:39 PM · In general, regardless of country of origin, workshop violins (trade violins) tend to be priced in the $2k - $5k range. They are typically suitable for students and non-picky amateurs. You may occasionally find a violin of this type that can be used professionally, but it's extremely rare.

There are German-made professional violins, but they are not trade fiddles in this price range.

Edited: December 22, 2018, 12:35 AM · Erik, are you giving up playing for woodworking?
December 22, 2018, 1:42 AM · Mark and Andrew, I think many of them own very expensive instruments partly because it's an investment vehicle which they can personally relate to.
Edited: December 22, 2018, 2:06 AM · Two things:

1) Considering how many high-end violins are owned by collectors and private foundations, there probably aren't enough $300k violins left in the world for an appreciable fraction of the violinists in major orchestras to own one. I strongly doubt that more than two or three violinists in any orchestra play $300k instruments.
2) Remember, major international soloists generally do not own the instrument they play. Many of them seem to spend $50k to $100k on a backup violin, which is also the most expensive instrument they actually own. Why would a section player, even in a major orchestra, spend more?

Edited: December 22, 2018, 3:46 AM · Andrew, a teacher at a nearby college owned a Strad, and another teacher at a nearby college owned a Carlo Bergonzi. And neither even did much performing.

Keep in mind that even a Vuillaume can sell for 250K these days, and the number produced of those alone would be more than enough to furnish every violinist in every MAJOR orchestra.

Edited: December 22, 2018, 3:51 AM · Fewer and fewer top soloists actually own the Strads or GdG's they're playing on. I have a sneaking suspicion that guys like Kavakos who is filmed visiting the top London violin shop in order to spontaneously fall in love with yet a more exquisite Strad is not really making a purchase, but is rather loaning those instruments in return for the advertising he's doing for Leonhard.

Why would sectional players own 300K instruments is maybe not the right question. HOW would they do this, unless they have been loaned these instruments, too (which does happen sometimes)? Apart from the concert master playing the occasional solo, tutti strings need to blend in rather than stand out. Of course, the irony is that every luthier is dedicated to making loud, standout instruments, because everyone wants to drive a Ferrari rather than a BMW.

The thing with Tony's instrument is that it may be that one in a 100.000 trade German violins that has the character of a big soloist fiddle. Which is extra strange because it wasn't even properly set up. It makes me wonder whether it's like that wine one drinks on vacation in Italy or southern France; it tastes absolutely gorgeous in that restaurant, on that wonderful last night. You buy a couple bottles to take home. And then it tastes like the ordinary cheap wine it really is.

December 22, 2018, 4:00 AM · We don't know whether Tony's instrument sounds like a big soloist fiddle, or not. What is his frame of reference? He mentions that he has never played a Strad or Guarneri.
Edited: December 22, 2018, 8:10 AM · Remember that lots of section players in major orchestras are old. You used to be able to buy antiques for much more reasonable prices.

Heck, in community orchestras with a lot of doctors (and other people who made good money early in life), you may find an abundance of instruments that are easily into the six figures now.

I'm less convinced of the $300k figure, but I could easily believe more than $100k.

A really great violin can also blend, by the way. I can easily change the character of the sound that my Vuillaume produces in order to blend into a section, match in a quartet, or punch out in a solo. It will always have some high-frequency float, but if it's in a texture with other good instruments in a normal performance venue, it won't stand out if I want it to blend.

(The "if" can be important. My community orchestra did a mall performance of Beethoven 9 recently, and with video captured from an iPhone, some distance away, you can not-infrequently hear a very pure float of a single first-violin line that cuts through the chaos. But it's not audible in the normal concert performance the next day.)

Edited: December 22, 2018, 8:58 AM · "Remember that lots of section players in major orchestras are old. "

Not in the major orchestras I'm aware of, such as the Concertgebouw or the various Berlin symphony orchestras.

The majority of players are between thirty and sixty years old, with a lot of players in the thirties.

December 22, 2018, 3:33 PM · 300K is indeed a wild guess - it appears to be inflated for any orchestra.

But I doubt if anyone wouldn't have to guess. From my somewhat limited interaction with orchestra violinists, they generally are very reluctant to tell others about the cost of their main violins. Also, I doubt if any surveys into this area, if conducted, would be reliable.

My initial questions specifically asked for German trade violins (sorry for not being clear on every instance).

But extending this population to any violins out there without provenance or a reliable track of origin (whose median prices fall into $3-5K range), I wonder how difficult or easy it is to find a professional grade instrument.

My conjecture is that the quest for it may not be as hard as it may seem, at least outside of the US, where market anomalies and mispricing are observed more frequently.

Perhaps violins without provenance are mostly factory-made, and therefore are less likely to sound really good. But even if only 10% of factory made violins managed to sound as good as 90% of individually hand made violins, there could be more of the former that are as good as the latter, simply because there are a lot more factory made violins than handmade violins throughout history.

December 23, 2018, 1:22 AM · Speaking of nice-sounding instruments, I was listening to random instrumental Xmas music today from some online stream, and a solo violin track came on. Some cover of "white Christmas" or something. Generally violins in recordings don't really catch my attention, but this one had just an amazing tone and color. Exactly my ideal sound for a violin.

I went over to the phone to see who it was, and, unsurprisingly, it was good old Joshua Bell.

Not the first time I've thought "now that's what a violin should sound like!" and then realized it was the Gibson strad. I wish I could get myself a violin with that range of colors! On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't be underestimating the role the player has in this spectrum of coloration. Perhaps he's just doing things I'm unaware of.

Edited: December 23, 2018, 6:14 PM · Lydia, I'll hazard a guess (hopefully a reasonably well-educated one) and say that the violins in the LSO have a market value of 10% of those in the NY Phil or the Chicago Symphony. Is the LSO in any way inferior in terms of artistry, tone or importance?
December 23, 2018, 9:58 PM · I've never heard the LSO live.

Now, I know the Berlin Philharmonic generally prefers its string players to play antiques -- indeed, they did a video on helping their principal cellist obtain a very expensive antique. Is this more unique in European orchestras?

Edited: December 23, 2018, 10:34 PM · I did a quick scattershot look through the bios on about a dozen major US and UK orchestras' websites. Some of the bios list instruments that the players are using. (Admittedly, the vast majority do not.)

In orchestras at that level, concertmasters and principal players, and in some orchestras all the players in titled seats, seem to almost universally play expensive antiques. In most cases those instruments are owned by the orchestra and loaned to the player.

On the other hand, from the relatively few mentions of instruments in section players bios, it looks like most play instruments from the first half of the 20th century. In fact, outside of the New York Philharmonic (where I saw that multiple section players play instruments from prominent 18th and 19th century makers), I didn't see a single section player's instrument mentioned that dated from before 1890.

December 24, 2018, 7:55 AM · I stumbled on this recording of James Ehnes playing Greensleeves on a viola, thought it sound pretty awesome, it's a da Salo viola.

Here's the link:

I'd like to think that equipping the orchestra with spectacular antiques makes a difference live but not so much in recordings. Of course the antiques have mystique that can be used in marketing as well.

December 24, 2018, 10:22 AM · JI
"I'd like to think that equipping the orchestra with spectacular antiques makes a difference"

Wouldn't spectacular 'instruments' do just as well?

December 24, 2018, 11:49 AM · Martin,

Sure thing, but in general I've noticed to prefer antiques, they seem to have more commonly some more depth/color to the sound, probably placebo, but I'm happy to experience it.

Bottom line is, if it sounds good, it's good! Great instruments still need great players.

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