Manfred Schäfer Violin

July 27, 2017, 6:19 PM · Hello everyone,

First time poster here from Australia. My daughter has outgrown her 3/4 and we are looking for a full size of the following: Helmut Illner SIR-B/SIR-C, Henrich Gill W2/W3, and Manfred Schafer. I can find plenty of reviews and information on all, EXCEPT for the Manfred Schafer (Germany).

My niece has a Jay Haide (L'ancienne) violin and my son is playing a Jay Haide viola. So this time we would like to try out a different brand.

Can anyone shed some light into this Manfred Schafer violin, please? I couldn't even find the company website from google. Thanks very much.


Replies (17)

Edited: July 27, 2017, 6:26 PM · They're all presumably new made in China violins, marketed by German companies, maybe you should try out some European antiques at a shop, just to try something different.
July 27, 2017, 6:34 PM · Thanks Lyndon. I forgot to mention that my children's violin teacher has another student playing a Manfred Schafer. She is quite impressed with the sound quality given the affordable price (around $AU 2000).

The inside label is: "Manfred Schafer - (signature) - Nauheim anno 2016 - Mod. 803 4/4 Made in Germany"


Edited: July 27, 2017, 7:59 PM · its is logistically impossible at German labour rates to make a violin of any quality for $2000, however if one gets the white violin from China and finishes it in Germany that price is quite possible for a decent violin. All the European factories do this, buy body from China then claim its made in Europe, doesn't say anything bad about the violin, they probably know how to get the best instruments ordered from China.

Same with the Jay Haide, made in China, set up in USA. I know that for a fact. I believe they run their own factory in China, as does Scott Cao.

July 28, 2017, 8:41 AM · I'd try out a variety of affordable violins, pick your top faves and show them to the teacher. Then, you and the teacher can decide which violin is the best fit.
July 28, 2017, 10:25 AM · Lyndon, Jay Ifshin has told me that also, and they have even had at least one "left-handed" cello made to order there for a customer. Jay Ifshin told me and has also been quoted (I believe it was an article in the STRAD magazine) that even some of the Cremona "makers" are finishing white Chinese violins for sale as Cremonese.

One of my cellos is an Ifshin Jay-Haide a l'ancienne (~$5,000) and I would put it up against any of the <$20,000 Cremona cellos I have tried in the past 5 years - maybe not quite against those above $20,000 - but close enough.

July 28, 2017, 2:05 PM · They are from the Sandner workshop.
Edited: August 1, 2017, 11:10 PM · Thanks everyone for your comments. I have some more details about Manfred Schafer violin.

I talked to Nick, the owner of Bows For Strings where the Manfred Schafer violins are sold. Apparently Nick has been in contact for 12+ years with a violin maker in Germany who is a relative (nephew?) of the maker of Manfred Schafer cellos. This man learned the trade, opened his own shop (with a small number of workers), and started to make violins, and Nick suggested him to label his violins as Manfred Schafer. The violins are made in Germany with local/European wood from the same town where Henrich Gill shop is. The violins are shipped directly and exclusively to Bows For Strings in Australia, where the final setup is done. A Manfred Schafer website is coming soon, I was told.

Anyway, I will wait for the next shipment to tryout the Manfred Schafer. In the meantime, I am renting a decent one for my daughter.

August 1, 2017, 5:13 PM · Yeah and the workers work for $2/hr in Germany?????
August 1, 2017, 11:10 PM · For a master luthier (yes, in Germany there is a protected master system for luthiers) its more in the area of $80/hr.
Even luthiers without master (Meister) take commonly more than $50/hr.
August 1, 2017, 11:10 PM · For a master luthier (yes, in Germany there is a protected master system for luthiers) its more in the area of $80/hr.
Even luthiers without master (Meister) take commonly more than $50/hr.
August 1, 2017, 11:10 PM · For a master luthier (yes, in Germany there is a protected master system for luthiers) its more in the area of $80/hr.
Even luthiers without master (Meister) take commonly more than $50/hr.
Edited: August 1, 2017, 11:27 PM · Well, I've known Nick for 8 years, and my children's violin teacher, many years more. I do trust him and his integrity.

Also I've seen the label, indicating the violin was made in Germany. Would it be illegal and against the law to falsify that? The Jay Haide violin & viola only shows the model (l'ancienne), but not the country of origin (China), nor the final setup (USA).

There's a Manfred Schafer violin being offered on Australia eBay (, and the seller has posted an image of the label.

Anyway, I don't know how such a good violin is selling for a bargain, and that's why I'm waiting for the next shipment.

Edited: August 1, 2017, 11:45 PM · No its not against the law to say Made in Germany because its FINISHED in Germany. So at German labour rates that gives them about 10 hours to make your violin.
August 2, 2017, 2:18 AM · Precarved parts from china are usual in this buissines. They get glued together (often even that in China), varnished and set up here. That way its completly within the law to call it made in Germany. Also those workers are propably untrained, so the income may drop as low as $15/hr or something.
The cheapest new violin made by a luthier in Germany I saw yet was at 8000€.
August 2, 2017, 2:30 AM · Also you have to remember that's $2000 retail, the wholesale price to dealers is going to be closer to $1000, then at least $200 in parts and overhead that leaves $800 or less for profit and labour, so say $500 labour at $15/hr that's 33 hrs to make the violin, you can't make a quality violin in 35 hrs, but in China where labour rates are $1/hr you can.
August 2, 2017, 12:58 PM · How do you like the sound of this violin? Are you and the teacher satisfied?
August 2, 2017, 5:42 PM · Ella, I have not heard this violin yet. The teacher is highly impressed with the sound given the bargain price. We did evaluate those German models mentioned above and others, all of which are significantly more expensive. She has strongly advised me to wait for the next shipment. Hopefully the quality would be the same or better, AND the price would not increase much.

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