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Jay Haide L'ancienne?


Steve_W

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I'm wondering if anyone here has opinions on Ifshin Violin's Jay Haide L'ancienne? This is apparently their top-of-the-line fiddle in that series; it's fairly highly antiqued (which I don't like) but uses a better grade of materials than their other models. I'm looking for a fiddle in the $3K - 5K range and this one was one of the ones they handed me to try. I wasn't that impressed with the tone and was leaning towards a couple of instruments made in the mid-20th century; however knowing that Jay Haide violins seem to have a good reputation in this area I'm wondering if I missed something. Also, I tend to favor older instruments rather than brand new ones, but at around $4-5k, are there other current makers I should be considering? Thanks for any thoughts. -Steve

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I would third the suggestion.

For example, I believe a lady has a violin for sale that took second place for tone at the Violins Makers of Arizona International competition. I think the price was between $4000 and $4500. There's a link to her web page off the VMAI website.

Steve Perry has a Bisiach patterned violin for $3500. I have one of Steve's master-built violins and I'm really happy with it.

Both of these makers have websites with pictures and descriptions of the violins on them.

Or you can try and hunt down a local maker. I haven't done a systematic search but I think Joan Balter and Peter van Arsdale are both in Berkeley. I don't know about Joan but I think Peter's violins are in your price range and there may be others in the Bay Area who have instruments in your price range.

I'm sure the Jay Haide instruments are pretty good as are the Scott Cao 1500 models that sells in that same $3500 price range.

But if you're considering new instruments, I think you can do better with a master-built violin without necessarily spending that much more money.

- Ray

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Thanks for the advice everyone. Yeah, everyone who pointed out that the a l'ancienne fiddle is somewhat less than my target range is correct; I must have misheard the price. The fiddles that I preferred in the group I was given to try were an English violin by James Kesterbridge at $3500 and a violin by A. Masterman (from Los Angeles I think) at $4500, but neither really had exactly the tone I'm looking for. Knowing that the L'ancienne was somewhat cheaper than other fiddles in that range makes sense; it definitely wasn't in the same class as the others. Ray, I'll look up Peter Van Arsdale; I know he has a really good reputation with the people I play with; and I'll check out other makers in this area. I assumed that finding a good new hand-built fiddle was probably out of the question in that price range. -Steve

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From what I've seen in the shops I agree with the consensus that seems to be developing here. I'm wary of new workshop instruments when they get much above the $1,000 - $1,500 range. Above that they may get prettier, but whether they really get much better-sounding is questionable. The next real step up in sound does seem to come from individually handmade instruments by makers who aren't yet able to command prices above $4- $5,000. In between the $1,500 and $4,000 price points there just doesn't appear to be a lot of value for money. I face this problem myself as a fairly serious amateur, with a decent Czech violin I've had since I was a kid, but who is increasingly concentrating on the viola. I now play an inexpensive Chinese viola (Kohr K-500) that is very good value for a small amount of money (I paid a little over $500, and there are definitely plenty of $1,500 workshop instruments out there that really aren't any better)and with which I can get by for the time being. When I eventually (I hope- depends on how much orthodontia my kid needs!) can afford to upgrade, I will be looking for good buys in individually crafted violas, not at more expensive workshop instruments.

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Thanks Maeve, they do look like very nice instruments (I don't care for the branding on the back of the scroll, but that's my own preference). This brings up another question: how important do you guys think buying a fiddle from a local dealer/maker is? I'm leaning towards finding something in the SF Bay area (Berkeley in particular) because of the ease of accessibility of the maker or dealer in case of future problems or issues, but would be interested in hearing others' experiences. Do you find buying locally to be a good idea, or a non-issue? -Steve

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Best wishes for your search for a violin. It is fun and exciting and very personal. Regarding the "branding" on the back of the scroll of Ed Dietrich's violins, I believe that is only a logo for the web page. My instrument is not branded, but only has the typical signed and numbered label inside.

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Quote:

... how important do you guys think buying a fiddle from a local dealer/maker is? ...


I was hoping to see other opinions, but I'll just say that I think buying locally is best, if it works for you. However, I don't see the point in buying something you don't like just because it's local. Yes, adjustments can be a problem, but am I the only amateur that never takes their violin in for adjustments? I mean, I change the strings myself, make sure the bridge is on right, even check the afterlength, and have never been into a shop except to have pegs replaced and fitted.

I know there are other issues, and certainly it is a pain if you plunk down a few thou' and need to have something done, which may entail $50-100 in shipping charges - if you buy remotely, you might negotiate one adjustment that included shipping, or a price reduction to cover such. (I once worked with a guy who always shipped his violin back to the shop he purchased it from simply because he didn't trust anybody locally - didn't seem to bother him a bit.)

And lastly, I think some of the concern about trade-in/up value is merited, but I don't believe we've really heard from the dealer side on this. Of course, if I take my 1999 Ima Lootier and try to trade it against almost anything at any shop, I'll probably not get far, but if I have bought something that has recognizable resale, e.g., a nice 1920s Roth, and have owned it a few years, I really can't imagine its trade-in against something in a 2X+ price range would vary hugely from shop to shop. (Now, if you plan to keep turning over your instrument every year or two for something else in a similar price range, that's a different problem.)

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Have you considered trying out a modern Italian violin? With your budget, you can get a very good workshop level modern Italian violin.

I am a violin making enthusiast, currently receiving instruction and advice from Claudio Rampini from Pisa Italy. I have a sample of his workshop level violin here in San Jose. Since you are in the Bay area, we are within driving distance. You might consider giving it a try.

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