Two questions for your consideration:
1) when choosing a new violin, why would you be drawn to choose a Guarneri pattern over a Strad (or Guadagnini) pattern?
2) what are the most « characteristic » recordings of violin sounds of each maker in your opinion? I am aware there are are considerable limits to the second question (I can recall a few instances where famous owners of amazing instruments failed to recognize another from the same maker in a blind test).
Yes they are intentionally vague and might lead some of you to question the assumptions behind it but pointing it out would not be what I am looking for ;-)
Would be curious to know what makes you excited!
All the best
A very good A/B comparison is The Miracle Makers, put out by Bein & Fushi. Three discs, with something like a dozen violins each by Stradivari and del Gesu, plus one or two wild-cards. I like to say it is a great way to audition sound systems. Adequate speakers make it clear which maker is which. Great speakers make more clear the differences between Strads. Great electronics make is clear which maker the violinist (Elmar Oliveira) prefers.
Comparing instruments made by various makers according to Stradivari and Guarneri patterns, I'd be surprised if anyone, player or listener, could consistently categorise them according to their sound with better than chance success. Size and/or ease of playing could be a more significant factor in choosing one over another.
While there might be barely noticeable differences between a real Strad and a real Del Gesu, differences between copies of the same are going to be completely random and a function of the makers qualities, not Strad's or Del Gesu's.
Thank you Stephen for this most interesting answer which did address my actual question.
Also look for Michael Darnton's posts on the subject. He makes both models, and has a preference but notices that not every player in the market shares it.
@Strphen- Lyndon and Steve both make great points, even for bench made instruments, the quality of construction, wood, the setup, and the strings will make far more difference in sound than whether it’s a Strad or Guarneri pattern; I think that addresses your first question.
Ruggiero Ricci also did a comparison disk. From that record I really liked the sweet sound of a Nicolo Amati and the "woody" sound of a Gaspar da Salo. I could hear the difference between the Guarneris and Strads, but not the difference between instruments by the same maker. What the recordings will not tell you is the projection, the perceived volume at a distance. For copies, I am not a luthier, never owned a quality instrument, only know enough to be dangerous. I suspect that copies of Guarneris tend to be more successful than copies of Strads. A player fortunate to own both would probably prefer to play Mozart concertos on a Strad and the Tchaikovsky concerto on a Guarneri.
I have played 4 Strads and 1 Guarneri, and they have all been very different from each other. That said, Strad generally made larger bodies with thinner plates, and Guarneri smaller and thicker (but then may have been thinned out later). Large/thin and small/thick will play differently.
It's like guessing how fast a car can go from 0 to 60 based on the colour of its paint. Violins are way more complex than can be described with generic models.
"Models" are basically useless for determining the characteristics of a violin unless the maker is doing a bench copy. Saying that this is a "Strad model" vs a "Guarneri model" for a new violin is mostly in the realm of marketing.
I am sure all the above is correct - depending on the instrument and the player. However, I have heard it said (and it seems to work for the two instruments I owned, one a Guarneri and later a Strad model) that you play a Guarneri and a Strad plays you. By that I mean that you can dig-in to the Guaeneri whereas the Strad requires a rather gentler approach to coax it to sing.
I agree entirely with Lyndon on this.
Trying as many instruments in various models is a great way to formulate an opinion, but as the posters already mentioned, the sound varies depending on the instrument. I used to prefer the Guarneri model, but nowadays I'm not partial to any particular model, as there are many wonderful sounding instruments in the most popular and original models.
Large models with thin plates (typical Strad) will be structurally flexible, and require more bow speed and less pressure to play (i.e. gentle touch). Smaller models with thicker plates (typical Guarneri) will be structurally stiff, and tolerate more bow pressure and less bow speed (i.e. digging in). Technically it involves impedance matching, but hopefully it's also intuitive.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.