1910 E.H. Roth violin.
I’ve been looking into a violin from the Roth workshop that dates back to 1910. I’ve done some researching and it appears there’s a lot of talk about Roth violins from 1920 to 1933 as being their “golden period”, however I can’t seem to find much information on the violins before 1920. This violin is listed at $9,500. What are your insights about the value and is it worth it? The link below to Brobst violin shop has the photos as well as a YouTube video displaying its tone. It seems to have the looks and tone quality, but I wanted to see if there are better options below $10,000. I’m looking for a violin with history and has a mature and loud projection to replace my intermediate level violin. Thanks!
its a fraud, the EH Roth company didn't exist in 1910, that was when Roth was in partner with Lederer, and those instruments are no where near as good as EH Roth factory
the violin in question does not even have a label it could have been made anytime. Its overpriced, only a genuine labeled and stamped Roth is worth $10,000
But if you want to talk to a real expert, send a link to the pictures to Wilhelm Roth at the Roth company in Markneukirchen, I think he charges about $100 for an evaluation, but he doesn't always charge.
Lyndon, the information I provided was actually from the Roth Company. Also there’s no way to know if the violin is labeled or not, none of the photos or videos show either way, so you can’t make the comment that it’s unlabeled.
If it had a label they would say so just like they do on all their labeled violins, It may well be some kind of Roth but not in 1910 as I said those are the years of the Roth and Lederer company, and they are production violins of considerably less quality than a genuine EH Roth which started around 1920
here's a 1912 Roth and Lederer, you'll see it sold for $2000, not $10,000
The Brobst description is calling it a 1910 EH Roth, that's not possible because as you correctly stated the EH Roth company wasn't established till around 1920.
I would encourage anyone who is based in the DC area who has $10k to spend to look not just at the DC-area shops, but also the Baltimore-area shops, in Philadelphia, and in NYC if possible. This will give you access to many more possibilities. I think this is a tough price range, given that $4000 spent on a workshop instrument often gets you quite good sound.
Great advice Lydia, I’d totally second your suggestion to look as broadly as possible.. As for workshop instruments, the OP did say he wanted a mature violin with history so I didn’t mention all the excellent workshop violins in the 4-5 k range. For that matter, a bench made instrument is well within reach at 10k.
Lyndon, I looked at a number of new and old German violins before buying my most recent one, in fact I shared part of the list on another post in this forum. I also own an old Mittenwald violin, and have played a number of German and French and Italian violins so I am speaking from some experience.
probably all made in China, most workshop violins under $10,000 are made in China, no matter what the company says
Actually Ruth Obermayer is based in Spain.
Yes, she was trained in Germany and opened her own shop in Spain. She makes all her own violins, not workshop, but each one is bench made by her. I think her instruments are fantastic, some of the best you could find for 10-12k.
Again, spouting off about things you have no idea about, the only way you can make a violin for under $5000 short of giving it away is to have it manufactured ina country where labour is much cheaper, such as China or Romania. A violin takes 200 hrs to make, at $15/hr that's $3000, plus cost of materials, and remember that's a wholesale price, at a dealer is sells for twice that, SO if your local shop is selling a violin for $4000 made by some company in Germany, they're lying, its not made in Germany at all, but somewhere much cheaper, even if it had some finishing touches done in Germany, which as I understand it is all they have to do to legally lie and claim it was made in Germany.
About 7 years ago I had made a fairly long drive to the Brobst shop to look at several violins which interested me, and in particular a Hill violin. I had enough cash to buy it if it met my expectations but this old grumpy clerk was so rude to me I decided not to conduct any business and did not even get to look at this violin which I traveled so far to see and try.
Wow! Thanks for all the quick responses. It seems I was right to question a Roth violin before the 1920 workshop opened its doors. It seems from what I’ve been reading, E.H. Roth worked with Lederer until 1902, when he started work with his cousin Gustav August Ficker. I’ve even read that these violins are generally 5-10k based on the varying quality with most selling around 7k. In honesty, this violin caught my eye with its different varnish color, as most Roth’s have that bright yellow-ish color (which I find appalling). Another thing that caught my eye was the design of the F-holes, they seem to be slightly wider and maybe even shorter than a Strad design. Obviously, I’m no expert in violin makers, is that maybe a Guadagnini style?
Buying a violin by brand or maker alone without playing it seems crazy.
The Roth & Lederer violins that I have seen are in the higher-end of Markneukirchen trade instruments from the period, and manufactured with both quality materials and good craftsmanship. One that I have played was nicer than some of the mid-1920s 120-R violins and later 1700 models.
Evidently Roth and Lederer violins must have come in different levels because the one I have I couldn't justify selling for more than $1500, $2000 tops, I was quite disappointed with it, no where near as good as a 20s Roth.
Lyndon, correct me if I’m wrong. It seems this was a rather transitionary time for Roth. Perhaps he was working with both Lederer and his cousin until he could set up shop in 1920? I do agree that the label is somewhat misleading if that’s what the label really does read. I’m still months away from pulling the trigger on anything, so I will try to get my hands on as many violins as I can in this price range. I like to bring along my DSLR and zoom recorder so that I can get a better listen that it just being under my ear. Also, these recordings help me to compare and contrast what I like and dislike. Brobst does offer a home trial so I’ll see if I can play on it a bit.
The Brobst violin has no label otherwise they would mention it
I take that back, there's some small chance it has a EH Roth label,and they just failed to mention it, but absolutely no date as c.1910 means circa 1910 which basically means they are guessing at the age, may be they just made a bad uneducated guess on the age and it actually is a genuine Roth from the early 20s, I hope for their sake that is true, otherwise the whole thing sounds really fishy for a big established business like them. Early 20s Roths often had no date and had no serial number like the later instruments did.
Lyndon, Brobst carries instruments well above 500k, their policy seems to be only listing labels and attributions online for their top instruments, i.e. over 50k. How it’s labeled is a question for them and I’m sure they’d provide all the info required with a phone call.
Previously, I fell victim to an American “maker”, Wayne Burak who bought a pre-made Chinese violin (a white violin) and sold it as his own. All he did was finish the varnish and setup. He sold it for 5k and claimed it was really worth double (I was 14 and naive at the time). After years of people telling me my previous 2k violin was better, I thought I’d go around and try to sell it off. The highest offer I got for it was 1.5k. So after that whole mishap, I really don’t trust a lot of modern “makers”. Hence why I’m looking for an older violin that pre-dates Chinese factories altogether.
Richard is quite right. There are nice vintage trade violins available for under $5,000, as well as bench-made vintage American violins pre-1950s from lesser known makers for under that price.
There are plenty of new trade violins under $5000 but the vast majority of them started their life in China, no matter what the maker tries to tell you, I guess there's a sucker born every minute on this one!!
Yes, Ben, you're absolutely right. I don't understand why Mr. Taylor feels that it is acceptable to be rude and attack people on these threads.
*My attempt at staying on topic*
Well as one of the only violin shops patient enough to deal with all the questions that come up on this forum for actual information on violin instrument topics, you are welcome to hate me, but unfortunately no other shops have the time to answer your questions perhaps because so many less than knowledgeable posters have to contradict expert advice whenever it is given, while I may have my biases against most modern violins, I try to answer truthfully the questions that are posted on this forum, however it is becoming increasingly difficult with trolls that have to say the exact opposite of every accurate statement I make, you can perhaps understand why I get a bit p'd off being holed up in a coronavirus quarantine, watching the country degenerate into some kind of civil war.
Preston sounds like a very good plan, from my experience Shar is also quite reputable but they tend to be overpriced so you might be able to get it for closer to 10k.
You can't judge the sound quality of two Roths by their comparitive prices, I had a cheap Roth from 1972 that sounded better than a more valuable one from 1925, so keep an open mind, the Shar instrument is VR model which is supposed to be Ruggieri copy?? The Brobst violin looks really nice, if it had a Roth label I would tend to believe it, the main point was the date, circa 1910 just not making any sense.
Lyndon the problem is that your information isn’t always accurate, and your comments tend to devolve into profanity and attacks anytime someone disagrees with you. Some of your statements on this post alone were easily proven to be false, but you don’t acknowledge that.
@Ben, I agree with most of your post except the biased part. On that post, the OP asked about an instrument that I own, and most of the other instruments were ones I had seriously considered when looking. So the only bias I had was experience, and actually owning the instrument I was recommending. The facts I was stating were based on actually owning and playing it every day. My comments about other instruments I stated as my opinions.
well I’m saddened to hear about Wayne Burak’s passing. While I may have gotten the short end of the stick on that particular violin, he did sell many quality instruments as well (which is why I was referred to him in the first place). Anyways, let’s hope I can get my hands on some good quality instruments!
Absolutely, hope you find the perfect instrument for you!!!
There are a lot of very good modern instruments being made by luthiers that are under $10,000 and do not come from China. My shop gets a lot of instruments directly from Cremona. Each of these “workshop” violins is made by a single maker under the direction of the master maker in the shop. They’re excellent value and are made in Cremona by real luthiers. There are also a lot of American makers who charge less than $10,000. We get instruments in from a couple makers here in the U.S. that work alone and make inexpensive but good quality instruments.
Brobst is near me and I've had good experiences shopping there at the higher end, but I've ultimately never purchased anything more than accessories from them. Their trial policies are very reasonable, though. They routinely deal in higher-end instruments, and they're typically the luthier used by the National Symphony Orchestra players, so they are, at the least, a reputable shop. I don't know whether or not there's anyone there who is an expert at identifying the type of violin that the OP is looking at, though.
Just adding a bit more info about the idea of a 1910 Roth -
The only authority on this subject is going to be Wilhelm Roth, in Germany, there's tonnes of misinformation out there about Roths and especially Juzeks.
Preston -- I visited Shar last summer and played on an EH Roth (seen in the link). It may be the same one you are referencing. For what it's worth, I liked this violin the best out of the 10 or so that I tested.
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