November 8, 2017, 12:09 PM · The British magazine, The STRAD was founded in 1889. My subscription started around 1967 and I let it run out this August (a 50 year-run for me). But much of the information in this magazine that attempts to cover everything about bowed string instruments, the people who make them, the people who play them, the people who love them, and notable concerts and recordings, etc. is available at the website: www.thestrad.com .

Why did I let my subscription end? Two reasons, when the annual tab finally rose to $125 I was finding (1) repetition with articles years past AND (2) insufficient technical information in technical articles (even compared to some of their on-line stuff). (Also, my wife wanted me to get rid of ~ 600 issues accumulated while I was still alive and able to pack and lift the boxes and get them to happy new owners. But I already did that over the past year.)

Why am I boosting it here? Because it is still a great magazine and I also wanted people here to know about the website because (unfortunately) the articles available there only go back 10 years - so the sooner you link to it, the more info you can get over the coming years.

Replies (24)

November 8, 2017, 12:45 PM · I wonder if they've moved sufficiently with the times? I don't know the journal well but the issues I've read seem to perpetuate the conformist, elitist attitude that I used to find off-putting each time I dared venture into certain London dealers' temples!
November 8, 2017, 12:52 PM · Steve, I don't understand. What are you saying?
November 8, 2017, 5:51 PM · I have bought one or two issues a year for thirty years or more but they are so expensive. I have always enjoyed reading them and looking at the pictures of fine old instruments which I drooled over dreamed of owning some day when I was older. I never saved any as after unread them cover to cover I always gave them away for someone else to enjoy.

I wonder if sites such as our Violinist.com and Maestronet has cut into the volume sold of paper magazines such as The Strad. A lot of the book stores I visit use to have huge magazine racks with a thousand or more mags for sale but now most of these stores have downsized to fewer than a hundred or so to select from.

Edited: November 9, 2017, 2:18 AM · I was just asking whether you feel the Strad has adapted at all over the years? The issues I read a few weeks ago (admittedly from the 1980's...) seemed distinctly ossified in their attitude to violin making, teaching and playing and didn't seem to acknowledge any role for the violin outside classical music. I'd love to think that today's journal would address more of the issues that interest young players of modest achievement - like this forum as Jeff suggests.
November 9, 2017, 2:38 AM · As a viola maker, I agree with "insufficient technical information in technical articles". I would like more in depth articles. But that seems to be a trend in the media in general.

They cancelled also the free posters, and that was really irritating.

Edited: November 9, 2017, 3:02 AM · The Strad operates on a very small budget as do all print publications these days, so whatever they do is commendable. Also, some articles are written by contributors; for example I wrote an article on Stradivari's cases in the April 2008 issue. As contributors all have their own style, I would say that the publication is adapting to the times almost by default.

And, Luis, they are still giving away free posters! Last month it was the Mara cello if I recall correctly.

November 9, 2017, 3:34 AM · All those beautiful pictures of instruments most of us will never get their hands on makes the Strad sounds a bit like the old Playboy but with models made of wood. In fact exactly like... Coming down to the world I inhabit, did they ever do an article on Chinese violin factories?
November 9, 2017, 3:55 AM · Good to know the free posters are back Dimitri!!!

Perhaps the reason I am not interested in THE STRAD anymore (or even getting more violin books) is that I am making just a personal viola model for decades now, and not developing new models. I basically copy myself. And I am too busy to read or study more.

But perhaps I just got old and grumpy!!!

November 9, 2017, 4:16 AM · Good for you, Luis. We all get to a point where we stop doing things for others and start doing things for ourselves... Look at the last works of Bach and Beethoven, and you'll see you are in good company :-)
November 9, 2017, 4:59 AM · Ha Dimitri, that's it!!! Ma è una cosa un può strana, qualche volta mi sento come un eremita....
November 9, 2017, 5:11 AM · ...solo così si può Creare...
Edited: November 9, 2017, 5:52 AM · Well, they do at least seem to be trying to reach the masses! The first video I clicked on after registering with the site compares a $62 violin with a few less affordable ones


Edited: November 9, 2017, 6:13 AM · Whenever I buy a copy of The Strad, my wife makes humorous remarks about violin porn.
November 9, 2017, 7:43 AM · I too let my subscription end a while ago, primarily due to the lack of technical information that I could use as a maker, but also the cost, and also several bouts of annoyance trying to renew my subscription.
Edited: November 9, 2017, 8:36 AM · Don, I must echo your comment about diffulties in subscription renewal, although not recently.
Edited: November 9, 2017, 10:10 AM · Steve, I see your point. But there are other mags for those elements - STRINGS covers the spectrum. FIDDLER covers a more narrow area. Is there a rock-violin magazine? At least there is this: http://www.fiddlingaround.co.uk/rock%20violin/

I like STRINGS, it is definitely affordable (its offices used to be less than a mile from my house and I know the publisher - an amateur cellist). But the old-school focus of THE STRAD suited me perfectly - and would suit all the people I play music with.

November 9, 2017, 10:56 AM · It must be a couple of years since I last went on their web site but it does now seem a lot less stuffy than before. I guess that won't suit everyone; I'm not sure it suits me.
Edited: November 9, 2017, 1:21 PM · I can't afford dozens of magazine subscriptions; nor can I afford the time to read them! I suspect the latter is the more important factor for many of us. These days much more our entertainment time is occupied typing things (and reading what others have likewise typed) into little rectangles.

One publication that I still insist on getting in print -- perhaps more than any other -- is my local newspaper, even though that particular paper (The Roanoke Times) is not the world's best. I think it's important to support the local press and local investigative reporting. Also, the digital edition doesn't have all the same content.

November 9, 2017, 2:33 PM · I've found that over the (recent) years The Strad has gone simultaneously in 2 directions - it's become more expensive, and it's become thinner. I seem to find less and less content as each year passes. As noted already, less technical content, but also in other areas as well.

Having said that, I still buy it when I can afford it, and will probably switch to the digital edition when/if I can afford a full subscription.

What can I say, it is viola porn, and it does still have some class.


November 9, 2017, 2:39 PM · I miss the Simon Fischer articles
November 10, 2017, 7:19 AM · I agree with you Marty, but I think he realized he had finally written everything he had to say and could keep all the royalties from his books.
November 10, 2017, 12:26 PM · I agree, Andrew. Of all the ways to make serious money, writing a damned good book is still one of the most wholesome. And rare.
Edited: November 11, 2017, 4:40 AM · About the magazine becoming thinner, that is also a conseguence of less advertising.

I remember when the L.A. Times could be over 800 pages, of which 80% advertising - anyone see it lately? Now it's usually well under 100 pages.

Most if not all companies are now dividing their print advertising budget with online presence.

November 21, 2017, 3:55 AM · Once, quite a few years ago, I wanted to look at an old issue of The Strad, so I ordered it in the British Library. They told me the issue was too rare and fragile for anyone to be allowed to handle it, but I could view the microfiche. That valuable antique was from as far back as September 1984...

A run of The Strad like that is surely the best single resource for anyone interested in the history of violin and violinists.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

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

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop