Frustrated Violin Shopper : (

November 2, 2021, 7:13 PM · I am a DMA violin student who plays professionally with several chamber orchestras and occasionally does some adjunct teaching at universities. I have been playing on a 1925 Roth since the age of 14. At the time, my family bought it for about 6 or 7K. It's a good, solid fiddle, but certainly has its limitations. For one thing, the G string is very underwhelming and sounds choked in high positions, and the instrument has a pleasant but rather weak and sometimes muffled tone. It does not respond well to fast bow speed, and seems to need a heavy bow stroke to produce a full sound. When playing in a chamber ensemble, I have to fight to be heard, and feel that my dynamic range is limited by my instrument. My professors have been saying for years that I need a better instrument, and now that I am almost done with my DMA, I feel ready to take the plunge.

I have been searching for about four months now at violin shops on the East Coast, (mainly NYC, Philly and Baltimore,) and am feeling frustrated and depressed. The only instrument I have found so far that I really like, a Charles François Gand, is way, WAY out of my price range (35K and under.) Instruments in the 20-30K range, including a lot of the ones I tried in the recent NYC contemporary violin makers expo, are often underwhelming, and don't seem to be a significant improvement over my Roth, which violin shops estimate would "only" sell for around 12-14K these days. (Still seems like a big chunk of change to me!) My professors say I will reap the benefits of a better violin immediately, and the sooner I get one, the sooner my playing and career opportunities will get a boost. My husband and I could probably manage a loan for a 30-35K instrument now, more if we wait until I am completely done with my DMA and have a full time job again. Should I keep looking for the best thing 20-30K can buy now, or wait until I have a full time job and spring for the 60K+ dream fiddle?

-Frustrated violin shopper

Replies (72)

November 2, 2021, 8:00 PM · Have you tried The Violin House of Weaver yet? There are some excellent French violins in your range as well as some great modern Italians for less.
November 2, 2021, 8:19 PM · Weekend trips to Boston And DC shops?
Would have suggested the contemporary show if you had not mentioned it....
Edited: November 2, 2021, 8:31 PM · I haven't tried the House of Weaver. I will look it up! Haven't gone to Boston or DC shops yet, but I forgot to mention that I have also checked Potter violins. I am planning to perhaps meet up with my professor in Chicago over winter break to check out some shops there that he is familiar with.

The few instruments that I did really like at the modern violin expo were by the husband and wife team Grubaugh & Seifert and a viola by a maker named Ryan Soltis (he didn't have any violins in the show so I tried his viola instead. It was fantastic!) There were also instruments by Wiebe and LaPorte which were very nice but did not quite have everything I am looking for in my next instrument.

November 2, 2021, 8:36 PM · It does seem like a contemporary violin from a well known maker....
Like Burgess. I have never understood if you get on a waiting list how you can know whether yours will be the best of what a maker can do, there must be variation in sound quality.
The best ones least likely to end up in a shop, as they are kept and used.
Edited: November 2, 2021, 8:51 PM · I sympathize with your difficulty. Violin shopping can be maddening. I have a few thoughts for you.

Have you played any of your fellow DMA students' violins? Were they better? Who made them, and what did they cost?

What about your professor's violin? Have you tried that? If it's a priceless Italian antique and your professor raves about it, then maybe that would help calibrate the upper limit of your expectations. It seems quite possible, from my vantage, that you are simply hoping for the impossible. Put another way, if you're not finding violins more than a notch or two better than your current violin in the range of $30,000, then maybe the violins aren't the problem -- maybe your expectations are. Or maybe you're playing violins that are $5000-sounding violins with $30,000 price tags because of their investment value as French or Italian antiques. Do you ask salespeople to show you a variety of violins, or do you exclude violins made in Germany, China, or Eastern Europe? Or is the salesperson excluding those because they don't have much inventory in German, Chinese, or Eastern European violins above $20,000?

Your post suggests to me that you have placed a high priority on having a LOUDER violin. Of course I know you want tonal depth and color, balance, good playing qualities especially in the vaunted high-G-string area, but one thing I have noticed about Chinese violins is that they're loud.

Regarding Matthew's suggestion about purchasing from a living maker, if a respected luthier makes a violin for you, and then you don't want to buy it, there's bound to be an escape clause in the commission contract. You might lose a deposit. For you the bigger problem with ordering a violin from someone like David Burgess is the amount of time you'll have to wait for it.

A while back Raphael Klayman had a couple of modern Italian violins for sale, which he said were very good violins. Maybe you can track him down and see if they're still available.

November 2, 2021, 9:46 PM · I love my Cison! Under $20K
November 2, 2021, 9:58 PM · Two words: Jeff Holmes

https://holmesviolins.com/

He has violins in your price range, but he's three months out on appointments. He also has a great ear, great advice, and most importantly, doesn't particularly care if you buy something from him or not. Seriously, schedule an appointment. You will not regret it, even if you don't buy an instrument that day.

November 2, 2021, 10:50 PM · In response to Paul Deck, I definitely want a violin that projects better, but I want everything else, too: fast response, easy playability, the quality of what I call 'scoop-abilty' of being able to really carve and shape the sound, a beautiful sound quality even when played quietly, roundness of sound, the ability to create a wide tonal palette, etc etc. I admit that I am incredibly picky! The Charles François Gand had all those things, but it also cost 75K!!! I haven't necessarily asked violin shops to only show me old French instruments, although the majority of violins they have set up for me to try have been French violins from the 1800's and 1900's as well as modern Italian instruments from the 1900s and later, plus usually a handful of American instruments made 1950 or later. I have asked some of my colleagues, both in DMA and in the orchestras I play with, what they play on. Many of them are lucky to play on very fine (but very expensive!) instruments in the 60-200K range that are far out of my financial reach right now. Many of them had help from their families to purchase their instruments, which, sadly, is not an option for me.
Edited: November 2, 2021, 10:53 PM · I am planning to try some Robert Clemens violins this month. They are in the low 20K range. I tried one owned by a friend and liked it a lot, so I am hoping that I may be able to find one that fits me well. Has anybody else tried any of his work? I wonder how consistent his work is instrument to instrument.
November 3, 2021, 12:40 AM · Seriously, Liz, look at Bronek Cison violins. He’s in Chicago. They’re wonderful. I think we have five Cison instruments in my professional orchestra.
November 3, 2021, 2:40 AM · Another thumb up for Ryan Soltis. In the US, Howard Needham and Tom Croen are also making very fine work. But try lots, and ask questions of owners (as mentioned above).
November 3, 2021, 4:07 AM · I second Mary Ellen Goree’s mention of Bronek Cison. I’ve tried a handful of his instruments and they are fantastic. They play like they should be more expensive than they are and they are quite consistent in terms of quality. I don’t own a Cison personally, but I wish I did. His violins are the first ones I’ve tried where I felt that I could do everything I wanted and it felt like an extension of my voice. A Cison will be the first maker on my list to try when I am financially able to purchase a significant upgrade. My current violin is okay, but it isn’t a Cison. They’re that good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and continue to wish that my violin was a Cison….
Edited: November 3, 2021, 4:56 AM · You might consider making a trip to Carriage House Violins in Newton, MA. It is located just outside Boston. Several years ago I purchased a bow from them. They have a large assortment of violins. I found them to be first rate and extremely professional. I dealt with one particular person whose name I would be happy to share if you want to email me. If I were in the market to purchase a violin, I would definitely be looking at them.

You don't say where you are located. But since you mentioned the east coast, you might also look in the DC area - check out Potters Violins (Takoma Park Md.), and Brobst Violin Shop (Alexandria, VA.)

Good luck to you.

Edited: November 3, 2021, 5:55 AM · Check out David Bromberg's shop in Wilmington, Delaware. In addition to the store's regular inventory, he is personally selling his American violin collection. He has some fabulous violins in that collection from well-known and not so well-known early 20th century violin makers that are quite affordable.
November 3, 2021, 6:29 AM · It seems like the moment you look to antique violins, things other than sound drive pricing.
If you look over on Maestronet, you will regularly hear that sound is way down the list.
Also, I have heard you can find better pricing of both antiques and contemporaries in Europe and UK, if travel is an option.
Sounds like you should schedule Cison into your Chicago trip!
November 3, 2021, 6:38 AM · My daughter tried some bows and violins at Carriage House in Newton, MA last weekend.
The people could not have been nicer.
Reuning, though mostly higher priced than your range.
Robertson's in Alburqueqe, NM
November 3, 2021, 6:57 AM · Someone mentioned Holmes, you could include Ann Arbor in your Chicago trip, lots of good makers there..... and Shar has a limited number of higher end violins, I think.
November 3, 2021, 7:36 AM · Me again.:)
If you go to the VSA website you can find a list of "Hors Concours" makers who have won a Gold Medal in all three categories, and can no longer compete.
Also lists of prior years winners......
Edited: November 3, 2021, 7:52 AM · The latest Tarisio sale just opened in NYC; even though an auction is caveat emptor by nature, there are dozens of instruments to play.

We have a great instrument by Kelvin Scott who is one of the Hors Concours makers Matthew mentions; his violins are at the lower end of your price range. But it's always going to take time and work to go from a good instrument to a fantastic instrument that suits you and not pay over budget. Best to just enjoy the ride :-).

November 3, 2021, 7:52 AM · The collectors’ value of old instruments can work in your favor if you find something that is merely unfashionable. But there is often a reason that makers fall off the radar.
November 3, 2021, 8:01 AM · May I suggest Guy Harrison, an outstanding Canadian violin maker, working in Ottawa, Ontario. (https://guyharrison.com/)
Edited: November 3, 2021, 8:30 AM · Liz, since you liked the violins by Grubaugh & Seifert, have you tried contacting them? They are much respected makers amongst those in our making trade.
November 3, 2021, 9:11 AM · Good suggestions for makers- if I were looking for a new violin, I'd emphasize makers over shops. I bought mine from a local maker, Pablo Alfaro. Lots of good makers these days! Besides great instruments, the prices are very competitive (mostly better!) than older violins in shops. Maybe time to broaden the search to all the good makers out there!
November 3, 2021, 11:28 AM · I adore my 2001 Cison viola but have not tried his violins although I know they are well regarded. Take a look at Andranik Gaybaryan in Boston. I have one of his violins (2015) and love it - I chose it after auditioning dozens of other violins in a similar price range. His instruments are starting to push your price cap, but I think they are still under 35K.
November 3, 2021, 12:27 PM · Some other makers that have either recieved praise for their great sound, color, etc without causing you to sell your soul on this site as well as other makers I've come across are:

Wojciech Topa
Gary Garavaglia (Chicago/ William Harris Lee)
Stanley Kiernoziak (Also Chicago/William Harris Lee)
Ran Dim (William Harris Lee)
Tetsuo Matsuda
Vanna So (William Harris Lee)

I don't know much about Kiernoziak's violins, but his violas are fantastic. My girlfriend plays a Kiernoziak viola and it's to die for. Warmth, projection, ease of playing, so much color.

I tried a Garavaglia a few years ago and it was a really great instrument. At the time they ran for around $14,000. This was about 2 or 3 years ago.

Topa violins have recieved a lot of praise on this site.

Vanno So is a good maker as well. His violins (in my opinion) are better than his violas, but it could just be the one Vanno So viola I heard was out of adjustment. The Vanno So violin one of my friends played is amazing.

Edited: November 3, 2021, 1:48 PM · Thank you so much, everyone! I will definitely check out Bronek Cison and all the other makers people suggested.

I did try Carriage House violins and the customer service did not sit quite right with me....

November 3, 2021, 2:03 PM · In response to David Burgess, yes, I did contact Grubaugh & Seifert. They were very nice and offered to add me to the top of their waiting list, even though I accidentally called them very early in the morning because I forgot that they are on CA time!!
November 3, 2021, 2:44 PM · The one weird thing about Grubaugh and Seifert is that they really don't do commissions. They like to be inspired by their latest great idea, so the thing there is to hang around the shop and see what they have brewing, and if you like it.
November 3, 2021, 3:30 PM · Carriage House can be good to work with. Sortof the opposite of Reuning, the bespoke salon with a super low-key and super helpful sales approach (which actually did have a couple of things in a price range for mere mortals like me including a very cool Aitchison cello). Carriage House is definitely selling. But the cello guy over there is good, and another salesperson I wasn't so pleased with initially actually turned out to be super helpful.

I thought Grubaugh and Seifert may be above $35K but I could be confusing that with the cellos. Same with some of the other folks recommended.

Edited: November 3, 2021, 3:58 PM · Christian mentioned Wojciech Topa, a modern Polish maker. I own one of his violins, for which I paid $8500 and have had it appraised at $14000 (an insurance appraisal, however) by Dalton Potter. It's a good violin, but I have to say it's not a spectacular violin. I might be due for adjustments, but those aren't easy to come by around where I live. My instrument is a 2006, however, and I have played more recently-made Topa violins and they were quite good. Yixi Zhang, another violinist.com member, also plays a Topa.

Another maker that I really like is Jonathan Vacanti in Charlottesville, Virginia. I played a couple of his violins when I was in his shop a year ago for some work on my daughter's cello, and I was very impressed with what I played. I would have gladly traded my Topa for one of them. And I think he is asking in the $12000 range. Several pro violinist in that region (central VA) have Vacanti instruments. Plus Jonathan is just a real gem of a guy.

Sorry for adding to what is already a list that is way too long. It would be good to have a little conversation with yourself about how many violins you really think you expect to try before you buy. If it's a hundred, then you need a strategy and a calendar and a lot of money for gas. You can't do 20 violins in a two-hour visit to a big dealer. By the time you play 5-6 violins you will become saturated. At least that was my experience visiting dealers. YMMV.

And remember that after you choose a violin you're going to face an even more maddening task of choosing a bow. And after that comes rosin.

Edited: November 3, 2021, 5:19 PM · I doubt many of these makers being mentioned are going to be any better than a good 20s Roth
November 3, 2021, 6:37 PM · If you are considering Grubaugh and Seifert you might also look into Anthony Lane, also in Petaluma, CA. I remember looking out the window of his workshop and seeing the cows in the field.
Edited: November 3, 2021, 7:02 PM · Wow. Grow your own glue, I guess.
Edited: November 3, 2021, 9:57 PM · Lyndon Taylor, are you referring to all the makers that have been listed in this thread so far, or just the ones right before your comment?

As far as the makers mentioned in this thread, I have only personally tried a Ryan Soltis viola, a Grubaugh and Siefert violin and a Clemens violin so far, but I think all of them were far superior to my 1925 Roth in responsiveness, playability, tone color, projection, etc. I haven't tried instruments by any of the other makers mentioned yet, though I suspect that most contemporary makers that currently price their instruments below 15,000 would not sound as good as the Roth. It seems like the going rate for really top-notch contemporary instruments is between 25-35K.

November 3, 2021, 11:15 PM · Having just bought a contemporary instrument in the past month that I am absolutely in love with (Antoine Nédélec 2020), I agree with your thoughts on the budget range. I started out with 18k in mind, but advice received within the past couple months has convinced me that 25k+ will greatly open up your options. Instruments I tried below that range were certainly better than the $6000 violin that got me through school, but not "better enough".
November 4, 2021, 1:17 AM · What I mean is the very high quality of a few top modern makers does not necessarily spill over onto the cheaper modern makers, A high quality 20s Roth is a pretty good violin, yours may not be at the top level for Roth, I have no idea, but from your description it doesn't seem to be.
Edited: November 4, 2021, 6:59 AM · I have been told that my Roth is one step down from the highest-quality Roths, and since I had work done on the setup this summer, (re-setting the neck angle to bring the string height down since it was nearly 2 mm too high (!!!) plus a new bridge, thinner sound posts substituted, resurfacing the fingerboard, etc.,) it is now sounding and playing a lot better, but still not my 'dream' instrument. The luthiers who worked on it told me that it is really not a bad violin, and is a nice example of a Roth, but that no Roths can compete with the best contemporary instruments (or fine 19th or 20th c French instruments, for that matter.)
November 4, 2021, 6:56 AM · In response to Aaron Blackman, I forgot to mention that I tried a Nédélec at the violin maker's exhibition in NYC and thought it had a really beautiful sound! It was one of the violins that I enjoyed a lot. Definitely one of the better makers represented at the show.
November 4, 2021, 7:01 AM · Re: Paul Deck, "And remember that after you choose a violin you're going to face an even more maddening task of choosing a bow. And after that comes rosin." I know! I don't even want to think about that yet! Hahahahah. But of course you are right, at least about the bow. I love my Salchow & Sons rosin and don't think I will want to part with it!
November 4, 2021, 7:20 AM · What's the Stradivari year on your Roth, that gives the model number
Edited: November 4, 2021, 8:47 AM · Sounds like there is at least one individual (a dealer, no less) for whom the name "Roth" triggers an assumption that it should (or could) be a very fine violin. If that respect for Roth is justified and shared by others, that's good news for Liz because it means she can possibly finance her next purchase by selling her "step-down-from-highest-quality" Roth violin to a buyer whose needs and desires are balanced more toward investment value, whereas Liz needs something she can play for the next several years of her career.
November 4, 2021, 9:21 AM · Tetsuo Matsuda violins are in your price range. I have heard one that's about 30 years old and it's great.
Edited: November 4, 2021, 9:47 AM · Don't wait. I recently purchased a nice violin and paid about 60 cents on the dollar because of COVID. Another reason to purchase now, nice violins are going up in value. By waiting, something affordable now could be out of reach financially later.

As for really beating the bushes, I tried a few in the $20K-$30K range, and didn't care for any of them . . . except one. It had quite a beautiful voice and was made decades ago by the luthier from whom I purchased. So, there could be a gem out there waiting to be discovered.

Consider looking in weak geographic markets. (Does this make sense?) My geographic area fits that category, and my luthier showed me some very nice violins that had been on the market for quite some time.

My input: Look hard, and look now.

Edited: November 4, 2021, 10:02 AM · (Guanerius) year on my Roth is 1734. Another question to pose to you all: sell my Roth to finance my next purchase or not? One of my former teachers, who plays in the Met, told me that "under no circumstances should I sell my Roth, because I will never get enough money for it to make it worth parting with it." He says that when he bought better violins in the past, he always ended up selling his current instrument and now regrets it. He says that the Roth will be worth far more to me as a back-up instrument, or as a high-quality instrument I can loan out to talented students in the future. Thoughts? I would tend to agree with my teacher, assuming I can find something better in the 20-35K range. I would be able to purchase that without selling my Roth. I feel like my Roth outperforms much higher-priced instruments.
November 4, 2021, 10:05 AM · After doing a little research online, it seems like my Roth is not even close to one of the "top" models. It is what is known as an IIR model, which is one of the lower-quality models.

https://violin4sale.com/2021/02/23/ernst-heinrich-roth-violin-why-so-popular/

November 4, 2021, 10:07 AM · But perhaps 14K was actually a good estimate of what the instrument would sell for. (Of course, I would probably only receive 75-80% of that amount after paying consignment fees, etc.) I found a Roth from the same year/grade as mine for sale for 14K here:

https://www.metzlerviolins.com/eh-roth-1925-violin-guarnerius-1734-model-markneuk.html?source=googlebase&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=&scid=scplp39728369&sc_intid=39728369&gclid=CjwKCAjwiY6MBhBqEiwARFSCPv9ShPXASvpTIM6DBWxyxOzRGynki_z0-4y03_EkUHvHnhPs38w4YxoCxrQQAvD_BwE

Edited: November 4, 2021, 12:20 PM · Sorry but the dealer is dead wrong, 1734 Guarnerius Roth is the second to bottom of their 10?? level line, just above the basic 1700 Strad, It would have a value of about $7-8.000 IMHO
, only the much higher level Roths would be worth $14,000. and Metzler's shop has very high prices for the business, their website has Strad label violins made in Germany going for $4500. The Roth Guarneri models that are much higher, are the 1732 and the 1736, maybe the dealer made an honest mistake and got his dates mixed up
,
November 4, 2021, 12:08 PM · But even the basic level Roths from the 20s are pretty good, some may even be exceptional, some people even claim that the different models are very similar, not clearly superior for the highest level models.
November 4, 2021, 1:42 PM · In the sub-$35k range, contemporary violins are your best bet. However, there are plenty of modern makers who charge more -- for instance, IIRC, a Burgess now costs more than that.

You just need to go try a LOT of violins. The lower your budget, the more instruments you'll probably have to try in order to get lucky.

In addition to makers already mentioned, I suggest you try a Feng Jiang.

November 4, 2021, 1:51 PM · Re: Lyndon Taylor, yet another reason it may not be worth selling my Roth. Since it's likely to fetch less than 10K, I would rather hang on to it as a backup violin, since it's pretty decent-sounding. It would certainly be good enough to use for outdoor summer gigs and things like that in situations when I would prefer not to use my 'good violin,' whatever that ends up being.
November 4, 2021, 1:54 PM · Re: Lydia Leong: Wow! I just checked out Feng Jiang's website. He has some serious heavy-hitters playing his instruments! I will have to check out his work if I am able to make a trip to Ann Arbor. Thanks for the recommendation. All those fantastic artists can't be wrong.
November 4, 2021, 11:35 PM · Ann Arbor is home to plenty of living makers, as well as the inventory to be seen at Shar. If you make a trip out there, you might as well visit Chicago as well, with its abundant shops and living makers.
November 5, 2021, 9:50 AM · Yes, I think I am going to try to make one trip to Chicago/Ann Arbor and a separate trip to Boston/Great Barrington, MA to try some makers up that way, probably over winter break when I have more free time.

Edited: November 5, 2021, 10:20 AM · Ann Arbor is a great town for violinmaking, but you need to be aware that Joseph Curtin's violins start at $56000 and David Burgess can't be too far behind. There's a reason they charge so much: Because they can! It's the first rule of capitalism -- charge what the market can bear. They're only doing their patriotic duty to help drive the American economy, and I'm being entirely serious about that. The best of today's makers might not have unlocked the "secrets of Stradivari" such as his varnish recipes or whatever, but they don't need to. With a secure basis in the great European traditions, they have developed their own knowledge and methods, and they are producing comparable violins. If I won the lottery I would be investing in violins entirely by commissioning them from living makers.
November 5, 2021, 1:04 PM · There is always that guy in the alley behind Shar who can offer you a gently-used Burgess from the breast pocket of his trench coat. Unrecognized value-- only $100!
November 5, 2021, 2:01 PM · Most crafts people or artists can point back at decades of minimal wage while honing their skills and personal voice. God forbid their lifetime earnings end up close to your average CPA's.
November 5, 2021, 3:22 PM · If you want an older violin look at the English makers (used to be the French ones.) I've got a Thomas Kennedy from c. 1840 originally bought as a Vincenzo Panormo by the former conductor of the NC Symphony which is appraised for $40. It sounds as good as a Vuillaume (1865)that I had before.Here is a musical sample: from a student I lent the violin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7DXcgIx3Ks

Let me know if you are interested. Bruce

November 5, 2021, 4:07 PM · Liz wrote:
"Yes, I think I am going to try to make one trip to Chicago/Ann Arbor and a separate trip to Boston/Great Barrington, MA to try some makers up that way, probably over winter break when I have more free time."
____________________________

You are welcome to come to my shop in Ann Arbor, with a prior appointment, (since my circadian rhythm doesn't happen to align well with normal business hours). LOL

I would expect to have at least one example to try, but nothing to sell, if trying more violins would help expand your horizons.

Feng Jiang is a wonderful guy and maker, and Jeffrey Holmes is only about 15 miles away.

I agree that the many shops and makers in Chicago should be a one-to-three-day stop.

November 5, 2021, 4:33 PM · Re: David Burgess, yes, I will definitely make an appointment to try one of your violins if I visit Ann Arbor!

Re: Paul Deck, yes, I know Joseph Curtin violins are out of my price range. I tried one at the NYC contemporary makers exhibit and noticed the price! Very nice fiddle, though!

November 5, 2021, 7:19 PM · Hello Liz, Geary Baese is certainly worth contacting. The standard he sets for himself is that of a fine intact Cremonese masterpiece....and when I say 'Cremonese' I'm referring to the method, not the location. I'm not sure if he has anything available for immediate sale but I think he has an instrument or two nearing completion. I believe him to be the most important, knowledgeable and talented maker working today....mind you he has orchids, metallurgy and classic car restoration to attend to also. Good luck in your search, make sure you enjoy yourself!
November 6, 2021, 8:42 AM · Looking for a new violin should be fun! The advice I can give as a maker at a shop and a player would be to find a violin within your budget from a shop that has a full trade in policy that has adequate inventory in your budget as well as where you would like be. This allows to have an instrument that can be more competitive than your current one for the next steps in your career and easily move to a forever type of instrument.
November 6, 2021, 9:25 AM · @Christian P - Sometimes there's quite a disparity between the "ought" and the "is". For me looking for a new violin in London was far from being fun until I found a dealer with an encyclopaedic practical and historical knowledge of the business who seemed not to resent spending many hours one-on-one with an amateur player. He was happy for me to try (and borrow) instruments at prices ranging by a factor of three and didn't appear at all put out when I finally settled for one at the bottom of that range.
November 6, 2021, 9:31 AM · Does anybody know how to get in touch with the maker Collin Gallahue? I believe he is the office manager for Zigmuntovicz, but also makes instruments of his own. He was highly recommended to me, but I can't seem to find a website or contact info anywhere.
November 6, 2021, 9:40 AM · https://www.afvbm.org/profile/colling/
November 6, 2021, 9:48 AM · Thank you!
November 6, 2021, 11:17 AM · On another note, does anybody know of any organizations or competitions that either loan instruments to young artists or award grants to go towards purchasing an instrument?
Edited: November 6, 2021, 12:02 PM · https://www.rareviolins.com/news/2018/10/09/consortium-launched
November 6, 2021, 12:05 PM · Laurie's past blog post is worth checking out.

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20189/27462/

November 6, 2021, 12:09 PM · Have you seen this article?

https://stringsmagazine.com/players-guide-to-instrument-appreciation/

Edited: November 6, 2021, 1:26 PM · One of my kid's good friends received a loan of a high quality contemporary instrument from some organization -- maybe the Maestro Foundation, but I'm not sure (I'll reach out and post again if I can get more specific info).

I’d also like to second the recommendation of Kelvin Scott (ksviolins.com). He’s not in NY, Chicago, or Ann Arbor (although he did do some time with Greg Alf very early on – along with then-fellow-apprentice Feng Jiang). His website has his bio, but suffice it to say that he’s hors concours at the VSA. My child has a Kelvin Scott violin (purchased in junior year of high school) and is currently finishing an MM with a very well-known professor who has loved the violin from its birth – coincidentally, as it turns out, one of this prof’s previous MM students purchased this violin new (also coincidentally, he was a one-time prolific poster on violinist.com). He left the world of violin playing, contacted Kelvin Scott, and we eventually (after waiting for the player to send it to KS and then a little TLC) obtained the violin through him. The violin has only ever received compliments (well-respected violinists have approached my child at auditions and other settings to ask about it). A trip to Knoxville may not be in the cards, but it might be worth a phone call/email to see if he has anything on hand to send out for trial.

November 6, 2021, 1:22 PM · Just heard back. It wasn't the Maestro Foundation; it was the Virtu Foundation (virtufound.org) that loaned the violin.
November 6, 2021, 3:24 PM · Thank you, Sean and Christian, for so many helpful resources! Coincidentally, I just realized that Christian P. works for Robertson & Sons Violins, which is where I rented my 1/2 size violin from as a kid. I remember that the half size violin had an excellent sound, even for a fractional instrument! My professor at the time was blown away by it and joked that he was going to borrow it to play his next recital : )


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