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How many violins do you own?

Brad Dorsey

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qty size comment

2 4/4 good

1 4/4 parts (czeck junker to learn on)

1 4/4 under construction(doing purfling)

1 3/4 good

1 1/2 good

1 1/2 needs repair(next project)



Ha, thats funny, I didn't know I had so many until you made me count. I am still safe though- my wife has over 30 flutes.

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I have no plans for the data. I just thought it would make a fun poll. I agree that quality is more important than quantity. Many of mine should really be turned into energy (i.e. burned). But instead, I'll stick them in antique auctions, they will be bought by antique dealers, and they will come back to haunt us on Ebay.

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Haha, after reading the other posts I don't feel so badly for being in the "Ummm, I'll have to count" category. I recently sold my three best violins due to a financial need. That leaves me with:

2 that are good to pretty nice ($600-$1,000 each),

4 or 5 that are decent players ($200-$400 each),

4 or 5 that need repair but could turn out nicely ($300-$500 each),

4 or 5 cheapies ($100 range), and

1 student viola ($200).

I plan to fix and sell some of my promising mid-range violins and purchase a single nicer one . . .

My teenage son only has about 6 guitars, but his best two were more expensive than any of my violins!

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Very often "quality" can be read as a distillation of "quantity". As a dealer and luthier I've handled thousands of instruments, of which perhaps in hindsight I might have desired to own a few. If you start out as a collector, rather that a dealer or luthier, you still need some contact experience over a period of time (per instrument) to develop your judgement.

Perhaps an interviewer should ask David Fulton how many instruments he's owned prior to the 17 currently in his collection. Also, he had the financial wherewithall to "upgrade" his collection to keep pace with his accumulation of knowledge about fine violins. I doubt that any of the contributors to this thread so far has kept every single insrument they've aquired simply for the sake of "collecting". If they had, they probably also have a basement full of other useless brick-a-brack, which puts them into the category of "hoarders", not "collectors".

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Jacob, You are so right.

My ineptitude for downloading pictures onto ebay means I have a stack of instruments which are of no interest to me whatsoever. They are purchasing mistakes waiting to be sold.

But they have all served some purpose.

I just bought a cheapie on ebay that looked quite interesting and it is, but not for the reason I thought.

What seem to be lateral saw marks all across the inside of the one piece back lead me to think it was machine pressed.

The lack of a purfling channel supports this.

I have never knowingly seen this type of manufacture before and I would put the date at somewhere in the mid 19thC.

It has no strings and I doubt I will ever attempt to play it so I'm uneasy about including it in any 'count' without defining the categories.

All I will say is the my ratio of clunkers to good playing instruments in regular use is about 3:1

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I have a Charles Boulangier, a Leuner and Hornsteiner (excuse my spelling, never sure, great sound), several Chinese violins, very good, including a Chen Jin Nong (spl?) which won the VSA gold medal, another medal winner violin called something like Leung Wai Ming or something like that, a very good Chinese viola by another guy with two characters, an old German violin, a cheap Chinese cello, these I loan to my sisters kids which formed a string quartet in Australia (something got knocked off!), very good, I play on a cheaper Jiang Hoi Ying (so not to wear out the others, but very good also) which you can hear on a file I uploaded in another message. And there are a couple lousy violins also lying around.

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I don't feal like doing inventory right now!

With my personal instruments, it never seems like I have enough. Luckily I get to play lots of instruments from the shop. Each one has a unique character.

It would be interesting to know how many violins are out there. I read somewhere that 50% of every household owns at least one guitar. Piano was next, but much lower. You would have to specify if the numbers took into account the people that own several.

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