Low-cost baroque violin?
Thinking about getting a new "toy". Any suggestions on where to get a decent low-cost baroque violin? There are some very cheap chinese options on ebay, but it seems to me they are merely modern violins with a maple fingerboard. I wanna make sure I get something is actually true to the baroque specifications (neck angle, bass bar, etc). Has anyone heard of the violins by Veritas, Heritage, Lu-Mi baroque violins? Or have any other suggestions?
Quantify low cost.
Jay Haide has a good reputation. But I'd urge you to ask yourself real hard, "I need this because....?" Just because the latest issue of Strings has an article about baroque instruments to pique your interest, that's not a good enough reason, I think. They have an article about electric violins too. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need one of those either.
If there is a local baroque orchestra in your area, you might be able to connect with someone who knows a source. Early music festivals also sometimes have "marketplaces" where people who sell them have a booth. There is actually a range of authenticity in the style of these Baroque-style instruments. Some luthiers take modern instruments and simply set them up for Baroque (as far as I can tell). For example, taking off the chinrest, changing the tailpiece, and putting on gut strings. And don't forget the bow--I was just having a discussion about this with my teacher today and she pointed out that to play in the style of the Baroque composers, you really need a Baroque bow.
Local violin shops may well have a selection of baroque violins ready for you to try, and there may be cheap ones among them.
Occasionally I find early 1800s violins built to baroque specs and fix them up with wedged maple fingerboard and baroque tailpiece, baroque bridge and gut strings, often selling them for as little as $1000-1500, unfortunately I'm plum out of them right now.
Do not forget the quality of sound. Just because someone dressed violin to look like a baroque fiddle, does not mean that it will produce a solid sound. With poor sounding baroque violin, your barque affair will be a short one. I am not quite sure if you can save money on any violin, baroque or contemporary. This is an expensive hobby / profession.
I've had good success with the sound of early 1800s baroque type violins, its the new Chinese baroque knock offs I'd be worried about the sound.
A common example of the importance of the baroque-style bow in playing music of the period: in many modern editions of orchestral works before the mid-18th century, but expected to be played on modern set-ups with modern bows, you may see a diminuendo marked in for the final note of a slow movement, or your conductor might request it. This reminder wasn't necessary in the Baroque era because the baroque bow automatically provides the diminuendo as you approach the tip (unless you have reason to override it by applying pressure).
Lu-Mi might be a good choice unless you want to go for a real antique. They may be made in China, but they are made to the specificatins of Markku Luolajan-Mikkola - who is a Finnish baroque expert.
Ca 1800 Hopf is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about, although they continued making baroque spec necks etc up to about 1840.
I have already paid for a new baroque-style violin from the Boulder Early Music Shop, which I'm waiting to be set up and shipped to me. I paid $2,500 plus $50 shipping. I have confidence it will be excellent based on it coming from the same Charlie Ogle Workshop in China where my bass viol was made last year. I had never even touched a viol before buying it, but after years of lovingly attending early music concerts I knew I wanted to learn it, and now 11 months (and 13 lessons) later, I take deep joy in having made that decision. This "cheap" viol ($3,000) will not make a bad sound no matter what unskilled things I do to it, and so I have confidence their baroque violin will also sound as beautiful as it looks in the pics they sent me. Meanwhile, I've been looking for a violin teacher who specializes in early music, someone who will teach me this different instrument (different geometry, no chin or shoulder rest, different style of playing, etc) because I made as much progress on bass viol in less than a year with a teacher than I've made on violin in 4+ years teaching myself.
Bruno, I see you already contacted my by facebook, we'll be in touch
Bruno, here is a link to a source of affordable early music instruments that I think are very high quality:
Here is the pic of the Deluxe-model Baroque Violin I got via email from the Boulder Early Music Shop:
I'm just about done paying off my CC for last year's bass viol, and in about a year from now when I've paid off this about-to-be-shipped baroque violin, I intend to do it all over again with a Viola d'Amore, again from the Charlie Ogle Workshop via Boulder Early Music Shop. Here are the 2 pics they sent me when I emailed questions on that instrument:
If you click on my name and then my website and go to the restorations page, I have 3 pics of my baroque violins. Also another on the home page at the top right.
After all that, might as well show the only finished instrument I have already in possession from that shop. This is me playing my "Bass Viola da Gamba, Richard Meares Deluxe model." They don't normally come with the carved head pegbox, rather usually a very nice scroll.
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