I have decided to upgrade my violin from a Yohannes Kohr (1999) and have a budget of around $5k. I currently have 4 violins at my house and I'm evaluating them with a Jon Paul Carrera. When I was in High School (1996), my teacher let me perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on a Gagliano; and the year before I performed Mozart #4 on his Peresson so I've had some experience with good violins. Unfortunately my teacher passed away last year, otherwise I would enlist his expertise to help me find a new violin. I'll list them in order of least favorite to favorite. I'm fixing to record a passage on each of the instruments to analyze the sound spectrum.
4. Luther Strings (2018) $5k - They don't make their own violins but it's an antiqued violin they call a "Sarasate". AFAIK, Sarasate had two different strads, and I'm not sure which one this is. It's loud, but the overtones are a bit harsh compared to the other instruments.
3. Joe Neff (Retoned by Schwenk in 1943) $5800 - I'm not sure how to describe the tone other than "sweet" (like sugar), but it feels like it has a muted sound. It does feel very easy to play. It has a repaired crack.
2. Scott Cao 1500 Ysaye (2020) $4500 - This is the one I wanted to love. It has a pretty rich sound on the D, A, and E, but the G is a bit lackluster IMO. I wonder if this is just because the violin is "new" and if that would open up over time. In my small exposure to fine instruments, they all seem to have a similar property in that they play like "butter". That isn't really my experience with this one. Again, I wonder if that's just because it's new. This came from an online retailer and seems like it's been sitting for quite a while. I feel like I should try some newer strings on it to properly assess it.
1. Arno Hendel (1893 according to the label) $5750 - IMO, this is the best of the bunch. It has that buttery feeling where it just feels easy. The G string has a rich tone and it seems like it will project much better than the Neff. The problem with the date is Arno was born in 1880, and all of the instruments I've found online are 1920+. As I was writing this post, the shop called and advised that the label was fudged. The original price on this violin was listed at $10k and he just lowered it to try and sell it to make room for another instrument. Now that i'm looking at the label again, it looks like there was an adjustment made to the date. It appears it may have been 193x and the last number was removed and the 1 was changed to an 8. I tried to get a decent photo of the label, but you can tell there is smudged ink after the date. My thought is out of all the instruments I'm trying out, not only does this play and sound the best, but it would hold the best value if I were to "trade up"
I know for violins currently, this isn't a high budget, but it's still a chunk of change. Any advise or input is much appreciated.