1910 E.H. Roth violin.

May 30, 2020, 8:59 PM · 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!


Replies (46)

Edited: May 30, 2020, 10:00 PM · 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

What you have is an anon Markneukirchen violin that some igoorant or dishonest dealer has attributed to Roth without even being aware that the company didn't exist in 1910!!

Edited: May 30, 2020, 10:46 PM · Lyndon,

Brobst is a very reputable violin shop, in business for more than 50 years, so I seriously doubt they are either ignorant or dishonest.

Also, I’m curious why you think the company didn’t exist in 1910, because Roth actually started his company with his cousin in 1902.

“ In 1902, at the age of 25 and together with his cousin Gustav August Ficker, Ernst Heinrich Roth started his own violin-making business, where over the years he worked in conjunction with apprentices, many of whom went on to become well-known violin makers in their own right.“

So it’s very possible to have a 1910 Roth.

Edited: May 30, 2020, 11:12 PM · 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
May 30, 2020, 11:14 PM · 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.
May 30, 2020, 11:32 PM · 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.

It would be important to know how it’s labeled, and and then to confirm that with the Roth Company as you suggested.

The tone certainly does sound good on the video, not a low quality instrument at all.

May 30, 2020, 11:37 PM · 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
Edited: May 30, 2020, 11:49 PM · here's a 1912 Roth and Lederer, you'll see it sold for $2000, not $10,000


May 31, 2020, 12:19 AM ·
It could be one from the Roth Workshop of his father before he parted from his father’s firm and established his own in 1920. This coming from Brobst’s own website about the maker.

“Ernst Heinrich Roth was born in Markneukirchen in 1877. Roth learned the art of instrument making from his father, maker Gustav Robert Roth. He established his own firm in 1920 and went on to become a widely acclaimed maker whose work continues to be highly sought after.“


May 31, 2020, 12:28 AM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 12:36 AM · 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.
Edited: May 31, 2020, 1:07 AM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 2:50 AM · 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.

Some of the workshop violins that would be in the OPs budget include upper end Klaus Heffler and Conrad Gotz, both of which are excellent, and Giovanni Lutier which is an up and coming group of young graduates from the Cremona school of violin making. Of course there are many more also.

Bench made violins would include at least instruments made by Ruth Obermayer, Francesco Pierotti, Bob Spetz, Sima Trian, Veit Jacob, and Peter White.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:15 AM · probably all made in China, most workshop violins under $10,000 are made in China, no matter what the company says
May 31, 2020, 3:16 AM · Actually Ruth Obermayer is based in Spain.
Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:35 AM · 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.

None of the instruments I mentioned are made in China at all, and there are many other bench and workshop violins under 10k that aren’t from China also. I just mentioned ones I’ve either played or tried out or have some other personal knowledge of.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 7:50 AM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 7:21 AM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 11:44 AM · 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?

In any case, I know the best thing would be to obviously play it and see if it’s right for me. You guys have provided some great suggestions and information. If anyone has any other suggestions for violins sub-10k, I’m all ears. (I prefer a violin with history, but if you know a modern maker that can provide a similar mature sound quality, then I’m all ears too)

May 31, 2020, 11:47 AM · Buying a violin by brand or maker alone without playing it seems crazy.
Even among the labeled Roth’s from the “golden period” there would be many mediocre, even poor violins, I think. Among the great Italian violin makers there are violins worthy of a “meh”. And the occasional production Chinese violin that outplays any Roth. Just what I have gathered no expert.
Every time we have shopped we have set up blind tests. It’s hard to underestimate how the name and maker and other info can make a human brain think the sound is sweeter.
Edited: May 31, 2020, 11:52 AM · 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.

However, I am perplexed about how a dealer can offer a "E. H. Roth Workshop" c. 1910 violin without any explanation as how they arrived at that attribution. It does look a nice Markneukirchen violin, but the asking price seems very high for a violin without a solid attribution..

May 31, 2020, 12:00 PM · 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.

EH Roth was only 25 in 1902, I hardly think he had a whole company Roth And Lederer going in his early 20s and teens, rather the Roth and Lederers I see dated are from 1912 or thereabout.

May 31, 2020, 12:46 PM · 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.

Also update on another finding! This Roth is a 1925 and I’m loving the aesthetics but it’s slightly out of reach price-wise (12k). Maybe I’ll do a home trial and compare the two in a Roth-down!


May 31, 2020, 12:56 PM · The Brobst violin has no label otherwise they would mention it
May 31, 2020, 1:32 PM · 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.
Edited: May 31, 2020, 1:42 PM · 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.

Also your comment that violins under $5000 have to be made in China or Romania is utter nonsense. There are US makers who will do a custom made to order violin for 7k, and a good non-Chinese workshop violin for 4K is quite easy to find.

Last, your comment about what’s required for the Made in Germany label is also wrong. The law in Germany states that to label a product Made in Germany, “ The essential components of the manufacturing process such as development, design, production and quality assurance take place exclusively in Germany.”

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:13 PM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 3:09 PM · 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.

The Roth & Lederer violin that Lyndon linked to earlier in this thread was a very attractive violin for only $2,000.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:24 PM · Lyndon Tayler,

I have seen your post on a few threads and all you seem to do is stir up an argument and spread vague and biased information. You are often rude and heavily opinionated. You claim all violins under 10,000 are probably made in china yet on another thread you said you've sold quality antique violins for under 800. Also you have stated that multiple Chinese produced violin brands are a "Chinese virus" and we should get rid of them. not to mention your use of profanity which has been reported and removed. I am not upset by your opinions as I agree that European violins are definitely superior to Chinese and other mass-produced violins. I don't like starting an argument as I'm sure this will but I am sick of the negativity you bring to this forum.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:25 PM · 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!!

And stop this BS about bench made violins, a bench made violin is a violin made with the original that is being copied on the makers bench, no other option, end of story.

But yes if you get into antiques, $5000 can have you select between tonnes of hand made by one maker European violins, that today might cost $10-15,000 new

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:39 PM · 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.

It is not and should not be acceptable. This is usually a welcoming community.

We're all here to learn and share knowledge about violins and violin playing. It should not be used as a forum for rudeness, disrespect, and attacking other members.

Thanks for your post. I wish others would speak up, too.

Like the bumper sticker says: Mean people suck.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 3:32 PM · double post
May 31, 2020, 3:46 PM · *My attempt at staying on topic*
I really appreciate everyone’s input on the instrument. I will contact Brobst’s shop Monday to inquire about the label. I’m hoping they can even send me a picture of the label, assuming it has one. I have a feeling that the 1925 Roth that Shar is selling for 12k is probably loads better sounding though. I just have to find some way to come up with that extra 2k that’s over budget. I will of course schedule in-home trials and record them. It may be a few more months but I’ll try to upload the recordings and link them in this forum with both the Roth’s.
May 31, 2020, 3:52 PM · 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.
May 31, 2020, 4:03 PM · 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.

Sorry for the bad experience you had with a modern “maker”.. there are some bad ones out there but most are reputable and honest and will tell you if the violin was just finished in the US, and would generally charge far less than 5k for an instrument like that too. Like Scott Caos 950, it’s made in China and finished in the US, at $2100.

I don’t know a lot about Wayne Burak except that he’s known more for cellos, and passed away a number of years ago, he had a shop in the Dallas area that was well respected for decades though.

But also be careful in the used instrument trade too, many less reputable shops will put fake labels on instruments or do shoddy repairs, etc. You shouldn’t have that problem with places like Shar or Brobst though.

May 31, 2020, 4:07 PM · 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.
Edited: May 31, 2020, 4:12 PM · Lyndon,

Owning a violin shop does not make you a luthier. In that case, I'm sure you know a lot about instruments but not a ton more than probably any professional musician. I do have to agree with you about the other biased opinions being annoying especially when this forum is being used to get people to buy a certain product like so on the fiddler man vs Eatman thread. Sharing your opinion is one thing but pushing your ideas and opinions as facts in a pushy and persistent way is what I have been seeing more so lately on this forum.

May 31, 2020, 4:09 PM · 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.

Your opinions are always welcome but you would have a lot less negative comments if you don’t pretend that your opinions are facts, and don’t resort to personal attacks anytime someone disagrees with you.

Edited: May 31, 2020, 4:23 PM · @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.
May 31, 2020, 4:33 PM · 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!
May 31, 2020, 4:47 PM · Absolutely, hope you find the perfect instrument for you!!!
Edited: June 1, 2020, 12:49 PM · 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.

Under $3000 there are some good violins to be had from Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, and Germany. China is certainly a dominant force in the market, but it doesn’t have complete control of the market for new instruments.

May 31, 2020, 11:12 PM · 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.

Lyndon is incorrect about "bench made". What he's referring to is a bench copy. "Bench-made" violins are made by individual luthiers. Laurie even has a post about this.

Edited: June 1, 2020, 2:11 AM · Just adding a bit more info about the idea of a 1910 Roth -

Tasiro and Corilon both agree with the Roth website that Ernst Heinrich Roth founded his workshop with his cousin in 1902: “ Despite the quality of his work, the exceptional value of Ernst Heinrich Roth's master violins was long overshadowed by the major sales successes of his workshop, which Ernst Heinrich Roth jointly founded with his cousin Gustav August Ficker in 1902.”

The Roth and Lederer collaboration was before 1902, as corroborated by violininformation.webs.com

“Roth and Lederer - Markneukirchen, Ge. - late 1800's to early 1900's - firm connected with the August Liebich labeled instruments. Ernst Heinrich Roth collaborated with Max Lederer in his early years before he started the E H Roth firm in 1902 with his cousin Gustav August Ficker. (thanks to Randy Osborne. for tracking down the original registered trademarks and other information, and thus connecting some dots, this was also corroborated by the heirs of E H Roth as well as a Museum in Markneukirchen).”

Since that article has confirmed corroboration and citations, and matches the info on the Roth website, and the Tasrio and Corilon’s sites, I’d take it as definitive confirmation that the Roth workshop was founded in 1902, which lends more credence to the Brobst violin being exactly as represented.

Preston, feel free to check the sources I mentioned, and I hope this helps clear things up.

June 1, 2020, 10:40 AM · 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.
Edited: June 1, 2020, 6:06 PM · 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.


June 3, 2020, 1:37 AM · Hi Preston,

I'm a little late to your post, but it looks like you have your eyes set on a golden period Roth, there are lots of great instruments in that range, and many shops that offer shipped approval trials. I'd like to make known there is a powerful sounding 1923 Roth here at the Bay Fine Strings shop in California, available for trial, and there is a sound demo as well.


You're welcome to contact me about it via pm, happy to assist and answer any questions you have of it here as well.

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