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  1. Hi Everybody, I recently decided to commission a violin bow from a well known local maker. The waitlist is about a year, and I am really excited. However, I have not yet decided what style of mountings to get. I am aware there are a ton of options, including the style of the mother-of-pearl inlays on the frog (or a blind frog), gold versus silver hardware/windings, metal/silk/whalebone windings, exotic leathers for the grip, or even different materials for the tip plate. Which materials and styles do you prefer from a functional and aesthetic point of view, and why? I would prefer gold mounting, since I have sweaty hands and my silver mounted bows tend to become tarnished quite quickly, although gold is quite expensive these days. Also, I really like some of the really bumpy lizard skin grips, as they give excellent traction for the thumb. As for windings and the eye, I am undecided; obviously a blind frog is one less thing to worry about. It seems a blind, gold mounted bow would be pretty bulletproof. Anyways I am curious what people here find most beautiful, function, and/or elegant. I appreciate any thoughts and comments. Best, Jason
  2. I found this nice schematic of different string tensions: https://www.violinstringreview.com/tension-chart.html I've used Dominant, Evah Pirazzi, and PI before. PI is definitely powerful, although I generally stick to dominant as it is reliable and pleasant. Evah Pirazzi is awesome but the winding seems to fall apart more quickly than dominant. I just started using a set of PI so I cannot report on longevity yet. I have a set of Tonicas on my backup violin because it is cheap, but I honestly never felt that it was worse than the other strings. Maybe I should try Tonica on my main violin to save some money.
  3. Some updates on the violin search! I managed to try a bunch more violins recently. The two that stood out the most to me were local makers Andrew Ryan and Ben Ruth, if anybody here knows them. One violin made by Dietmar Schweizer under the supervision of Zygmuntowicz was also excellent, and it also curiously had no antiquing. It was a bit of a surprise because most of the time, mentally speaking, one expects an orange, blemish-free fiddle to come from some mail order catalog and sound very squeaky, but of course this was not at all the case. The vintage violin I liked most was one by Gabriel Adolphe Thibout, seemingly a lesser known 19th century French maker. I also tried multiple violins by Grubaugh and Seifert, but I found their sound to be incredibly deep and dark, almost viola or cello-like. I tend to prefer a more direct, focused, tone, so that type of sound was not to my preference, but it also led me to realize how subjective matters of tone can really be.
  4. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Looks really cool. One day, after the pandemic is over... I don't doubt that there are slimy dealers out there. But as Jeff said, one should not generalize. A shop I have had repairs and appraisal done at is Mr. Roland Feller's store in San Francisco, and he also did not upsell and was definitely an upright businessman. Tangential to this "controversy", one thing that I have always been curious is whether prices are at all negotiable? Would it be very tacky to ask for a discount... perhaps if I buy a nice bow at the same time? I am speculating, but perhaps it also depends on whether the violin is shop-owned or on consignment. I do trust that reputable dealers are not ripping people off with crazy prices, but is there any "wiggle room" in the prices so to speak?
  5. Yes, in fact the two contemporary American violins that I liked were made by two staff of the Reuning workshop! The violins were outstanding, and the very polite sales associate did not upsell or pressure me, so I can definitely speak very highly of this shop. Perhaps next time I should ask to try some of their other fancy violins like their Carl Becker for comparison.
  6. Thank you for your thoughtful reply, I appreciate it. What you said sounds completely reasonable to me, and is in agreement with what I have been wondering but have not been able to put to words. I agree the workmanship definitely seems better on moderns, dimensions also more standardized and less "weird", so to speak. I think tone is subjective, but I also find moderns to be very good. Many people in this thread have suggested to try more violins, which could only be a good thing! My experience is that when I call a shop, they ask for a price range and then prepare a handful of violins from the back for me to try. Would it be very strange if I told them them "let me try everything you have in this price range"? Also most of these shops require an appointment so it feels awkward for me to go frequently, they might remember me as the guy who keeps visiting but never buys anything. Or am I overthinking again? Maybe I should visit Tarisio? I heard that you can try violins as you wish there. Although I live in Boston and not New York so that would be quite a trip.
  7. I disagree. When one pays tens of thousands of dollars of hard earned money for a violin, is it so ridiculous to consider resale value as one of several factors? I have zero interest in buying a collectible that sounds bad, but I would like to avoid purchasing a fine sounding violin that is one day difficult to sell. This is a large sum of money and the soundness of the financial decision is important to me.
  8. I appreciate the helpful suggestions here! When shopping for my first violin from $5-$10k, I felt the new violins did not compare well to the old Germans instruments. At $30k, I feel the roles have reversed and new violins seemed to me (a little) better. (Would it be in good etiquette to disclose some of the makers of the violins I tried?) I will try and test more violins, and thankfully I am not in a rush to get a new instrument. As GeorgeH mentioned above, when my budget is stretched higher there are some nice vintage options that I have not had the chance to try. This is what I am curious about, as I've also seen some references to Becker and Gemunder. Those who have tried, did you like them? But I suppose to ask more directly, with $50k in your pocket, would you rather buy a Gemunder (or comparable), or a modern violin from an esteemed maker plus one or two nice bows? And what would your reasoning be?
  9. Hi Everybody, I am an amateur violinist who has been playing since high school (over 10 years ago) on a German trade violin purchased for about $8k. Although it is not a valuable instrument, my teacher and I picked it out of many instruments on the market, and I find that it has a powerful tone that exceeds its price. My playing has not yet exceeded the instrument's tonal limits, but a bit as a personal reward for myself and just out of love for music and instruments, I am considering getting a new, better violin. I have set a wide budget at this time, from $20k up to $50k at the absolute maximum. I am still figuring out what I want and need, but the purpose of this post is to gather some input on that side of things and also to ask for suggestions to look out for. I recently went to a well known shop and tried six violins around the $20-$30k range. Out of these, two I disliked and four I liked. To be honest, out of the four I liked, I would be hard pressed to rank them, as they were all powerful and beautiful in tone. Perhaps it is my inexperience playing fine instruments that I could not rank them. I would say the four I liked were indeed slightly better than my current violin, but not drastically so. Power was similar, but the instruments seemed to have a bit of a sweeter tone and faster response. Surprisingly to me, three out of those four were new fiddles made within the past year and the two I disliked were old Germans. So in this price range, the violins by new makers were indeed very appealing to me. Given that I already own an old German, I decided to discard the one German trade violin I liked from consideration (I believe a fine example of Roth) and focused on the three new fiddles. The cheapest (surprisingly) was made in Italy, for $20k. The other two were by modern American makers and had won prizes in America, they were priced close to $30k. The sales assistant told me that competition in Cremona for new construction is fierce, which means new Italian instruments are often priced more aggressively than the American violins. I did note however, that at the $20-$30k price range, if the goal was to get an antique, it seemed far too low to get a fine French or Italian fiddle. I must admit, that when I was a violin student, I only cared about quality of sound. Now that I am older, making my own money, and playing only for hobby rather than performance or competition, I must disclose that my motivations are more impure, as I am now also somewhat concerned with the issue of collectability and appreciation in conjunction with sound. I wonder if I were to extend my budget to $40-$50k, what types of violins would become available? I am also aware that at the higher end of the price range in the title it is also possible to acquire a new violin from one of the more well known new makers. So to distill my thoughts into a series of questions. 1. What antique violin makers are available in the range of $40-$50k? Some Italian makers I have heard of include Poggi and Scarampella, although I fear my price range is much too low? 2. Do you find antique instruments in the $40-$50k range to be better, worse, or equal to modern violins (speaking in huge generalities, of course). I unabashedly claim that the modern violins I have tried in the $30k range to be tonally outstanding and perhaps superior to antiques in the same price category. 3. From an economic perspective, do you expect a modern or antique violin in this price range to hold value better (or perhaps even appreciate)? Of course for violins like my current one, the issue of collectability is a moot point. Thank you for reading this long rambling post, I would love to hear everybody's thoughts. Best, Jason
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