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Maestro Gliga


bryan

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Gliga Maestros are some of the most beautiful stringed instruments you could ever hope to see. They are made with very carefully selected woods and the workmanship in them is flawless. But in my limited first-hand experience, their sound has not always lived up to their apparent potential. Others have evidently noticed this also; there are more frequent favorable comments about the Gammas in terms of pure musical instrument value.

As is the case among all violins, no two in the same price category or even by the same maker will be identical in their sound qualities. Some inexpensive violins are exceptional and some expensive ones are a disappointment. I have a Gliga Gems 1 violin that I went on and on about in a thread a few months ago. The best $485 I ever spent in my life. I have been playing it almost exclusively for nearly a year in favor of violins worth up to four times as much. Based on that, I would expect a Gamma to be a great investment.

As you may already know, you can try out a Gliga with minimal risk. If you see one you like the looks of at www.violinslover.com check to see if Christian Gliga has the same one listed on Ebay, where you can get it cheaper. In either case, a trial period is offered. If you buy one, have the setup done over. It will sound better and be happier. The bridges are too soft and the sound posts are usually too tight. Some Gligas also do better with a heavier tailpiece than the kind they come with.

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Hi Bryan,

If you like a violin and buy it upon your having an

actual trial out, is fine. Don't buy it upon your thought of improving it ,change these or that in future. My experience in many cases, I did not like it on the first day, I would not like it after many months. You can bring it to a shop ,change this or that. Why should you? /yuen/

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Thanks nicolo. I have a Gems 2 that I only paid $200 for from violinslover and I find it the best $200 I ever spent. This is why I am so curious to the Gama and Maestro lines. My hoping is that if a $200 Gems 2 can sound as good as the one I have, the $800 Gama or $1000 Maestro must be just fabulous. I understand and agree with you that no two violins of the same line are the same in tone but I would think that the craftsmanship would be similar. Of course when I make this upgrade purchase I will play several of the same line.

Another note, I have also found that on violinslover if you click on the package price, the price drops significantly from the violin alone price. They have a $900 Gama that if you click on the package kit the price drops down to about $825 and that is with case and bow. Now, you can do better than that by subtracting the case and bow and get the violin down to around $750. Just amazing!!

Enjoy you Gems 1 . . .

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Bryan, I am in the same position as you. I am in the UK and I bid for a damaged Gems 2 from Liz Ward of Elida Trading (they are the sole Gliga dealer in the UK) to see if the violin tone would live up to the good reputation that had been said about them. I was outbid but contacted Liz and she kept me in mind for a future one. A couple of months later Liz offered me a Gems 2 at cost price which she said sounded muffled. I thought, what the hell, I'll give it a try. When the violin arrived I was impressed by the quality of manufacture. Sure enough though the tone was as if the inside of the violin was filled with cotton wool.

The bridge looked very thick. Now I had never done this before but after looking at some threads here in MN I took the plunge and bought a new bridge blank and had a go at fitting a new bridge. When I played the Gems 2 with the new bridge fitted (kept the same strings) the sound totally opened up- now much louder. Then I went and bought a soundpost setter and had a go at moving the post. Think I got the optimum place for the post, at least to my ear. So all this was experimental and educational for me. I've played for years and never really done anything to my fiddles except change the strings.

Friends, family and other fiddling friends all say they prefer the tone of my Gliga to any of my other violins. Another thing is that I really like the playing action of the Gliga, nice and easy up the fingerboard, and even sound across the strings. So for me this cheap Gems 2 has turned out to be my main playing instrument.

Like you, I am thinking if the Gems 2 can sound this good, then surely a Gama or Maestro will be heaps better. From what I've read the Gamas can sound every bit as good as the Maestros and at about half the price. Now I am teetering on parting with money for a Gama. I know that both Liz in the UK and Violinslover in the USA offer a trial period but I would really like to wander into a shop and try out a few Gamas/Maestros so that I could select from the range. That's the only thing that has stopped me from upgrading just yet, the fact that I cannot test a range to make a selection. It's OK looking at all the pretty pictures of the marvelous looking violins on the Violinslover website, but what if the one you choose happens to be the poorest of the selection? The quest continues!

Rob.

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Hi.

For what it's worth, I have a Gama1 and have been very impressed by the sound. After some time , I did change the bridge since, like Rob's experience, the supplied one was a bit on the chunky side. The new bridge has had a marked difference in the sound which is now really quite nice!

Like Rob I'm in the UK and the option of sale or return service given by Elida Trading was a very big factor in my purchase of this violin. That said, I know of two other people who have Gammas and who are very happy with them.

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  • 4 months later...

I have a Maestro Extra from 2002, bought new direct from the factory. It's okay, but overrated in my opinion. The bridge was awful and needed immediate replacement and the pegs were very, very stiff and needed work. More recently I acquired a violin from Michael Koerberling, which is lovely. This really sings in comparison to the Gliga, which feels much duller by comparison - although the Koerberling is admittedly three times the price. But I also realised the string height above the fingerboard was significantly higher on the Gliga, making it harder to play. I took it to a luthier, thinking the bridge needed lowering, and it turns out the whole fingerboard needs raising. Not really what you expect from an instrument marketed as the "Maestro" and supplied with signed certificate of authenticity. I'd carefully compare the Maestro with other instruments in the same price range - I'm not sure they really deserve the hype. I suspect Gliga is a better business man than luthier.

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I have a Gliga Gama 2 viola, which I bought from Elida about 6 months ago. Though I haven't played one of the violins, if they are anything like the violas I think they are excellent value for money. I tried out violas in a wide price range in my search, and the Gama compares well to anything I've played in the £2000 range IMHO.

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There have been several comments about the bridge being too thick on these violins.

This is interesting because it is quite a tricky and time consuming job to optimize a bridge for a violin.

If done properly, one should start with a thick bridge and gradually thin it down testing it out along the way. It's done this way because you can't replace wood if it's too thin but the danger is that if you don't know this, you just think it's a bad violin or sloppy work.

I'm guessing that these violins are sold with the thick bridges to keep the costs down.

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I had a Maestro model for awhile. The wood used for the back was very beautiful. My violin was based on the Strad pattern. I don't think it is particularly well made. Everything about the original set up was wrong. Be prepared to spend some money and time to have it adjusted. After the adjustment, it became slightly more playable, but the sound has not change in any meaningful way. I didn't realize just how bad the sound was until I played other instruments.

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I bought a gliga maestro for my student when it first came out, it looks excellent , from wood to pretty nice craftmanship. Until the neck wrapped in a very very short time. I believe the wood wasnt well seasoned dried. It is very unstable soft wood somehow.

and yes , the back and top are on the thick side.the whole instrument is a little on the large side.

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Quote:

I'm guessing that these violins are sold with the thick bridges to keep the costs down.


I can understand that on their student range of instruments: there's no excuse for a poor set-up on a $1500-2000 fiddle labeled as "Maestro". In any event, it turns out that much more than the bridge needed fixing on mine - the fingerboard needs raising and the pegs reworking. And that's just to make it playable. I'm not convinced the sound of the instrument is the best in its price range.

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Hi, I'm new to this board and a beginner to violin, but have a lot of experience with guitar. I just bought a Gama model a few day's ago. Here are a few comments. I purchased it based mostly on the positive comments I have read about these instruments. Here are some of my observations. The bridge measurements are 5.2mm at the base and tapers on both sides to 1.4mm at the string contact point. String height is 3.25mm at the end of the fretboard on the E string and 5.25mm on the G string. Compared to a old German Stainer Copy I got from my Grandfather, the neck is slightly thicker and the body size is slightly larger. I think the neck angle looks about the same on both instruments. The overall quality looks pretty good, though I could get picky about a few little things I see in the wood and finish. I also think the tuners are a little more sticky than they should be. The sound seems pretty good to me. It has a nice ringing character to it. The volume seems pretty good and about the same as the Stainer. In time, I will know a lot more about what I think of it. I am overall happy with it.

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Brand-new fine tuners need to be lubricated. Candle wax works. Just take out the little screw, grate some wax on the thread, and warm it in with a small flame.

That's one of those little things that would be included in a thorough shop setup, and usually left out of a factory "setup." I've set up a few Gligas and given them a shop label, but don't have anything meaningful to add to what's been said.

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Quote:

Brand-new fine tuners need to be lubricated. Candle wax works. Just take out the little screw, grate some wax on the thread, and warm it in with a small flame.


Ah, that explains things! I replaced my fine tuner to accommodate the Kaplan E string's very small ball end. The fine tuner has been a real buggar to turn. Now I now why.

Note to self: grab a candle on the way into the music room tonight.

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  • 4 months later...

Gee, I have the exact opposite reaction to some on this board. I am not a luthier, but a gigging professional violinist and violist. My travels force me to play in extenuating circumstances, such as changes in weather and humidity. The primary violin I use is a Carlo Bergonzi--need I say more about that one? At any rate, I needed a backup viola for my 1850's German instrument that tends to be weather challenged. I got a Maestro Gliga 16" viola, and with a change of strings (Evah Pirazzi) and a reset of the soundpost, I find it to be FABULOUS in tonal characteristics--sweet, round toned, and ample in projection. So, the upshot is that I played some of my colleagues' violins to get an idea of a good backup to the Bergonzi at a moderate cost. I played probably 25 different fiddles, and chose to buy a Masestro Gliga Del Gesu as my backup---I am NOT disappointed one bit.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Back to the unstable wood topic, I've just had to have the fingerboard on my Gliga Maestro redone, as the wood had become slightly convex, rather than flat or concave, resulting in an E string that was unplayable. It's a beautiful looking fiddle but I really don't find it that responsive or "ringing". It has a fairly restrained sound - OK for the price but nothing incredible.

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I'm not convinced that, once you enter the $900-$1200 price range, buying a mass-produced violin through an online business is a good idea. It *can* work out. But some of the issues of fingerboard, neck set, bridge quality, pegs, and decent strings, if all of those have to be fixed up, adds up to enough money to eat up the savings. Also, here in Minnesota, the drastic climate changes from one season to another bring out *all* such weaknesses. Guaranteed! So, once any of my students gets up to that price range, I generally recommend they work with a reputable Minnesota violin shop. I trust one in particular since their workshop people handle artists' instruments, and do the selecting of the student-level ones too (they'll look at a parcel from a company like Gliga, for instance, and send back those that have flaws even an experienced teacher wouldn't notice until something goes wrong); but there are several good shops with honest, knowledgable people near enough to be convenient, at least for a weekend trip. They know stuff about neck set and construction that tells them whether an instrument will hold up here, plus they guarantee the instruments. A student might pay $100-$150 more, but I think they get the full value of that premium, plus, in quality strings plus reduced repair and down time.

When it comes to instrument selection in the intermediate student price range, supporting your area violin shop may be the best policy.

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Hi,

<BR>

<BR>A decent low priced new violin is about $1200. I would buy an old German violin about $600 and

<BR>would spend $200-$300 to fix it by a professional. (new bridge, sound post, neck set)

<BR>glue the open seams if any, fingerboard raised etc if needed ) Then, I would have a decent violin to practice.

<BR>

<BR>I admit that it may not

<BR>look as nice but the wood is certainly stable. The sound could be quite good and responsive too if you know how to choose.

Also, it is better to have an experienced player to help when you are deciding to buy a violin.

( I could use an advice like that myself )

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  • 2 years later...
Hi Bryan,

If you like a violin and buy it upon your having an

actual trial out, is fine. Don't buy it upon your thought of improving it ,change these or that in future. My experience in many cases, I did not like it on the first day, I would not like it after many months. You can bring it to a shop ,change this or that. Why should you? /yuen/

Sorry to ressurrect this thread but I didn't want to start a new one since one already existed. I owned a Gliga Maestro violin and while visually very impressive I found the tonal charateristics severely lacking. It sounded muted like there was a something muffling the instrument and really holding it back. I got a new set up and it helped but overall I agree with the quoted post about not buying an instrument you don't like in hopes of changing it until you do. If you don't have that warm and fuzzy about a violin don't expect it to come. I never really liked my Gliga Maestro at all, and then sold it at a nice loss, but not too bad considering their relatively cheap new cost. I also learned a valuable lesson about purchasing violins. Twice I purchased violins that looked like works of art but played like ukeleles... Luckily they were relatively inexpensive and I sold them for most of my money back.

Overall I wasn't impressed at all with the Gliga Maestro, these are not professional instruments IMO and should not be marketed as such. Vasile Gliga can make a visually stunning violin no one can disagree with that, but he should train with some VSA award winning makers and learn a thing or two about tone production. No life, very borring fiddles if you ask me.

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