Oldest surviving violin

February 14, 2020, 11:10 AM · Thought to be oldest surviving violin with label


Replies (18)

February 14, 2020, 12:13 PM · Lovely violin. Is this the one at the Met Museum? I had the great privilege of being loaned an Andrea Amati c. 1560 from the Wurlitzer Collection, for 2 years. They’re mostly on the smaller side (almost 7/8 size) with very distinct f-holes, and slightly higher arching than Nicolo Amati’s violins. I remember the instrument I played on, had a beautiful focused sound, that wasn’t large in a small room, but in a concert hall, it had lots of power and projection.
February 15, 2020, 7:04 AM · No this is from the Ashmolean museum Oxford England
February 15, 2020, 7:23 AM · Someone ought to take it for a spin on Turkish Airlines.
February 15, 2020, 8:02 AM · What's that in here? Hey guys it's a cricket bat! Let's test it out.
Edited: February 15, 2020, 8:09 AM · Oh yes, that one from the Hill collection (I went there a few weeks ago). There are several Amatis, all of them exquisitely carved. Of course they have Strad's "Messiah" too but that's been copied so many times it looks rather commonplace - even a bit gaudy in its pristine red/orange varnish. I don't think many museum visitors realise that if sold it would surely raise in excess of £10 million, then go straight into a bank vault.
February 15, 2020, 9:13 AM · Nate,
I am fortunate to have an 1626 Brothers Amati, which is a little bit less than 14", but projects like crazy in a big hall. Not as much as a strad or del gesu, but with a great quality. The G string on mine was a bit weak until I discovered the Arbutus tailpiece.
February 16, 2020, 1:33 AM · Bruce, can you explain the effects of this tailpiece and how it has improved your G string,please.
February 16, 2020, 8:54 AM · Kypros - perhaps the Arbutus tailpiece deserves its own topic - a search failed to come up with a dedicated one on V.com...
Edited: February 16, 2020, 9:35 AM · The Arbutus tailpiece makes the fixture "tuneable" to the frequencies of the top of the instrument. This is done by moving a small brass rod on the underside of the tailpiece until maximum resonance is achieved. I have had them put on my Amati, Cappa, and Kennedy. All were improved tonally. It is similar to having the soundpost adjusted, but you can safely do it yourself I highly recommend it. I found out about it from my local luthier who had attended the Oberlin VSA workshop. They found they were able to make the Rode Strad sound even better with it. The fittings are not very expensive. Bruce https://arbutusfittings.com/
Edited: February 16, 2020, 9:36 AM · violinist.com member Marco Brancalion has his own version of an adjustable-afterlength tailpiece. He has posted pictures of it here before.
February 16, 2020, 9:50 AM · The Arbutus does not adjust the afterlength of the tailpiece. It adjusts the position of the mass of the tailpiece.
February 16, 2020, 10:51 AM · Sounds like a fascinating instrument Bruce! Some of the Guadagninis and Del Gesus are also slightly under 14”. What type of strings do you like using on it?
Edited: February 16, 2020, 11:00 AM · The data on Arbutus' own website shows that you can alter the vibrational modes of the tailpiece significantly by adjusting the afterlength and tailgut length. The whole system with the weight seems superfluous to me; the adjustable tailpiece I made already has more than enough parameters to adjust to achieve "maximum resonance".

The difference is subtle, anyways. Was the Arbutus not designed to kill wolf C#'s? I'm not sure it would interact much with the rest of the range of the instrument.

February 16, 2020, 10:59 AM · PLEASE put the tailpiece on a separate topic! This violin deserves its own.
February 16, 2020, 12:16 PM · I've heard that Amati violins tend to have high bellies. True?
February 17, 2020, 1:24 AM · Yes, until Nicola Amati produced his flatter "grand" design that inspired Stadivari and the rest
February 17, 2020, 2:59 PM · Paul, no way can anyne who knows anything about cricket mistake a violin for a cricket bat - a tennis racquet, perhaps (though it's just as well Heifetz knew the difference)?
February 17, 2020, 7:03 PM · Amatis are not overly arched like some of the German imitators. Mine likely saw the hand of Nicolo, since at the age of 30 he was the prime luthier in the shop (so I've been told.)

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha YVN Model 3
Yamaha YVN Model 3

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases


Aria International Summer Academy

Meadowmount School of Music

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine