Where to find the best $7,500 Violin?
We looked all over london however the violins while nice, were overpriced. Will new york be the same way? Looking for a late 1800-1900 French or German instrument for conservatory
if you're trying only the big name shops that might be a problem, I would suggest trying some smaller shops though you run the risk that the set up is not quite as good.
I would leave yourself open to any type of violin. Resale and appreciation value in that price range is minimal at best, so get a violin that works for its playing qualities and forget provenance and whatnot.
At a specialist auction, provided you're careful and are looking for an instrument that is good to play rather than a sure investment. I've booked myself several "private" auditions at Brompton's and Ingles & Hayday. The milieu is anything but private and on one occasion I wasn't quite careful enough, but the two violins I've bought play as well as any I've auditioned at London dealers at several times the price. Remedial work and setting up added about 25% to the cost. The downside is their cosmetic state - OK but not exactly "showroom".
Eastern Europe. For example you could go to Zakopane in southern Poland. There are a number of great luthiers in that area whose violins have not yet reached critical acclaim.
Look up Fevrot workshop violins. I have a Fevrot workshop viola, which was in the $4000 range, and it is a fabulous sounding instrument.
I'm not sure where he's working now except that he is in Chicago; I got mine through a local violin shop in San Antonio (Terra Nova).
The seller said he was looking for an antique violin, and he's in the UK, something almost all the posters seem to be ignoring!!
Don't forget about private sellers. Either someone selling after an upgrade, probably even a postgraduate or alumni of your conservatory, or a pro unloading a number of instruments and bows after retirement. Especially with former conservatory / university profs I've been lucky - my violin, although bought through a luthier, was at least 10% below common retail, and recently I purchased a fine bow from a professor emeritus collection which obviously be "the one" for a relevant number of years at least.
The OP mentioned New York so it seems reasonable to assume a willingness to look in the U.S.
So far in my experience, the best violins I've found in the $5-$15k range have been Polish made. I started working with JR Music about 5 years ago - and all their violins are excellent. Their owner personally goes to Poland and works with all the best makers. There is some great feedback on the Topa violin here on violinist - just type in "Topa violinist.com" into Google and you should find some good information. I would describe the sound as very colorful, rich, warm, and very responsive. Thick tone and easy to play.
plugging businesses you work for is a no no here, also making outrageous statements about how new Polish violins you sell beat all antiques in their price range???
"$7500 is an awkward price cap."
I suppose Michael Sanchez could instead plug Lyndon's shop and explain how his antiques are all better than contemporary instruments?/
Michael Sanchez, first of all, I see that you have been posting here recently after what seemed to be a rather long gap. If that observation is correct, welcome back!!
I trialed many violins (old and new) in the $5k-$12k range (in NYC) and ended up purchasing an instrument from a musician in my preferred price range. The cosmetic state is not ideal, but I got the sound and playability that I wanted.
Another thumbs-up for contemporary polish, czech and eventually slovakian makers!
If you are not adverse to a new fiddle I actually have one posted for sale for about 7k here:
Alex A (the OP) lives in New York, doesn't he? I remember he was going to NYSSMA. He currently owns a William Wilkanowski -- in the $4k-ish price range? I'm guessing that $7,500 isn't going to represent enough of an upgrade over that.
What part of looking for an antique violin do you not understand???
Anyone looking to maximize a budget of under $10,000 should be looking at every possible violin option--antique, living maker, high-end workshop--everything. There are great-playing violins in this price range but you might have to look at a lot of instruments to find one, and ruling out an entire class of instruments (whether new or old) can reduce your chances of finding that elusive object by a factor of two.
The notion that players of a certain ability should be looking for a violin (preferably a brand new one) at a particular price point seems to be prevalent in the US but is quite alien in my part of the world. It's tantamount to saying "crap players should be satisfied with crap violins - they won't know the difference".
It is possible to find a nice instrument under $10K. It's also possible to find a crap instrument well over $10K. The odds of finding a nice enough instrument go up along with one's budget but it isn't linear.
"...plugging businesses you work for is a no no here..."
Since London is mentioned, I might guess UK is an option. Personally I am a big fan of Martin Swan Violins (bought there three times so far).
For what it costs to fly a kid and his parents to London and stay there for a few days violin-hunting, the OP could add significantly to his budget and buy a much nicer violin locally in New York.
7.5k isn't much of an upgrade over 4k. At this point Alex, you might get more return on your investment by acquiring a better bow.
At the current rate of exchange $7500 = £5775.
Honestly if you live in NYC you should perhaps head over yo Tarisio. They’re having an auction going and many instruments are predicted to be in your range. Audition is scary it scares me too. But if you can play it and find an instrument that is good now ( don’t base it on the potential you think an instrument May have) you could get a fine fiddle for great value. From looking they have a large selection of antiques (German, English, French) and also a surprisingly large amount of modern Italians. From the albeit few I’ve played the modern Italian makers seem to be producing good things. If possible I think it may be a good choice to at least heard over to play the fiddles you might fall in love and get a fiddle that is made by one person rather than a workshop for less than your budget.
I think, if I were Alex A's parents, it would be hard to take a risk on an auction, with no certainty about how much work needs to be put into the violin (i.e. $$$) or what its real value might be.
Points I try to keep in mind when buying a violin at auction:
As someone who's bought at auction (for myself) quite a bit, I can tell you that one downside is that it can be hard to quickly tell whether the instrument is going to feel comfortable for longer periods of time.
I agree with Lydia. If I were buying an instrument for my child and had a fairly firm budget of $7500, there is absolutely no way I would risk an auction. I would spend the time necessary to play as many violins in that price range as possible--antique, modern, high-quality workshop, private sale, reputable dealer--and spend the money on the best one I could find that way.
Also if you do buy from a dealer make sure they have a trade-in policy. I bought my first violin after returning for about what you are spending from a dealer in Toronto. As I improved I out-grew it - and the dealer gave me 100% trade in on a different (more expensive of course) one. Its in their interests as they keep the customer and still get a profit on the new instrument.
... unless you're going for one of the big name stores, where 7,5k may be the "basic level" they've got on stock.
I heard about an up-and-coming luthier known as Daved Burjez who's gonna pump out a violin in 10 hours. It might be right in your price range.... His name isn't really established yet.
Did you try Bridgewood and Neitzert in London?