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Alejandro

Zhang Shu Mei workshop - Beijing

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Greetings to all,

Just to wish to know if anyone out there owns or at least has heard

anything about the Beijing-based luthier, Zhang Shu Mei. I have

searched the web and have not found much on him and about his

workshop. For now, it seems that he does not have a website

(yet).

I would certainly appreciate any first-hand experience with his

instruments or any information on his works.

Thank you

Alejandro

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I'm sorry to all. I belatedly just did a search on him on previous threads and found out that there has been quite an animated discussion about him already and that there has actually been some controversy about him and the Amati Foundation. Thus, I will not be surprised anymore if there are not much replies as so much has already been exchanged about him.

In any case, I do have a Soloist version done by him (or Zheng Quan or Chan Chong if I got the names right from the previous threads) that is uspported by a certificate and I am very happy with it despite having tried so many other violins.

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I hope you did not pay a lot for your violin and now are happy with it. That is all it counts.

Right? I paid $4k for a violin which I believe is about yours in quality (sound and look).

I overpaid a lot. My advice is " enjoy playing it as long as it serves your need". When

you know more about violins (by playing a lot of different made violins), you will know its

value.

PS. Do not expect that your violin is made by one pair of hands alone. Unless you are prepared to pay $15K-20K.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Cytorrak

I'm sorry to all. I belatedly just did a search on him on previous threads and found out that there has been quite an animated discussion about him already and that there has actually been some controversy about him and the Amati Foundation. Thus, I will not be surprised anymore if there are not much replies as so much has already been exchanged about him.

In any case, I do have a Soloist version done by him (or Zheng Quan or Chan Chong if I got the names right from the previous threads) that is uspported by a certificate and I am very happy with it despite having tried so many other violins.

Hi Cytorrak,

Sorry for the belated response; this is the first time I visited any forum since January. In any event, I have a couple of violins by/from Zhang & his workshop. For the price I paid, I think I've got great deal/great value.

Hi yuen,

Nice picture! I'm now convinced you were a handsome looking young lad as you claimed. I disagree, however, with the statement "knowledge without power is a pusscat"--power is within oneself!

All the best!

from exceedingly happy miles...

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"... or Zheng Quan or Chan Chong ..."

No sure abbout Zhang Shu Mei but you can call Zheng Quan the father of violin making in China. He brought back knowledge and experience from Cremona and almost singlehandedly raised a new generation of violin makers. Zhang is very well respected in China (at least among the better informed ones).

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quote:


Originally posted by:
warren

"... or Zheng Quan or Chan Chong ..."

No sure abbout Zhang Shu Mei but you can call Zheng Quan the father of violin making in China. He brought back knowledge and experience from Cremona and almost singlehandedly raised a new generation of violin makers.

I respectfully disaggree with the claim. The violin research institute/training school in QuangZhou area was formed in the late 70s. There is at least one master who received awards as early as 1980. Many of the graduates from that school have received many awards in US and in Europe.

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Yes, Quang Zhou (captital city of a southern province, China) has quite a long history

of violin makings. Of course it was interrupted by the culture revolution in 1960.

This fact may not be known to the West and other part of China. A lot of West (Europe and US) cultural had influnces of this part of China. I have a book which contains a picture of violin shop dated back in 1943 and pictures of violin teachers and concert performance in the city. The teacher mighty get his education oversea (out side of China) but came to China to teach and to open violin shops.

Low quality violins (VSO) were all over in Hong Kong in 50's , when European violins were too expensive

for local people.

High quality string intruments are only recent phenomena. It is interesting to see how far violin

makings in China will go. Right now it seems taking a consumer driven direction. I wish a concept the pride of making a superior instrument will play a more important roll.

western

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Hello Cytorrak. I am more of a readerf here than a responder but I felt a need to respond to you. I have purchased a number of Zhang Shu Mei instruments, as I am a violist, and find them to be excellent. I own 3 violas and 3 violins by Zhang Shu Mei. I bought 1 of the Zhang violins about a 2 years ago for teaching because they were not expensive. It was so good that I wanted a viola by Zhang Shu Mei too. It turned out to be spectacular. I then started reading as much as I could here on Maestronet on the subject, which got quite heated at times, that was very enlightening. Miles is q delightful person...my kind of gal...(smile) I also own 3 classes of Gliga violas. I won't go into comparisons, though I do like them.

I just felt compelled to respond to you because I just received a new viola today from China. It is not labeled inside ,which has been mentioned in earlier post about some Chinese violins, and it too is excellent. It is from The Old Violin House on Ebay.It is maintained by an industrious fellow who goes by the name of Jehpin I believe. The sound is like an old Roth viola that I tried recently. It also came with a extremely fine case...as good as my finest viola case.....all for $300.50 plus $80.00 shipping....a bid situation. The violas go for about $533.00 and the violins sell for about $490.00 plus $80.00 shipping for 'Buy It Now'. I mentioned this because if you consider what is happening with industry right now in China and consider what was happening in Germany or Europe when Roth was turning out great instruments there may be some parallels, historically....just a feeling I have.

In any case, if you were thinking of getting a Zhang Shu Mei violin I wouldn't hesitate. They are wonderful instruments if you go simply for sound quality. They are even in all registers, even with the crappy strings that they come with. The violas however need a change of strings because the ones that come on the violas are like cables to play on. Zhang Shu Mei's can be gotten on Ebay, as I'm sure you know, and Andrew Wong is a joy to deal with. Good luck!

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I wonder if I'm going to cause a firestorm by weighing into the ZSM debate but here goes.

I'm a wannabe luthier based in the UK and I've just come back from China on a fact finding mission. No one in the luthier community in China has heard of this guy.

The violins being sold from ebay by the likes of A****** and Y*** look like mass produced upper end instruments from manufacturer Taixing Fengling in Jiangsu province. Look in alibaba.com and type in 'violin'. In my opinion the fittings and the cases give it away. There are only so many models from that neck of the woods. That said, Taixing buys a lot of their better instruments from private makers who work out of their homes. There are LOTS of them in Taixing city. This might explain the variation in quality. I bought an amazing violin for just 50 bucks which looks like some of the ones sold on ebay. Flamed wood, hand made, spirit varnish, the works. Good, but not the same as a 10k instrument from Europe. I suspect some of these ebay guys buy from them and put their own labels on them and sell on using made up names. Mislabelling is as old as the violin business. Ruggierris were labelled as Amatis, 1800s German shop fiddles with Strad and Steiner labels, it goes on.

Just my two bits.

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If I have $200 to spare, I would not spend it on "facts finding mission"

Seriously, I think the fact that a violin maker does not know another maker in a big

city is not uncommon. One graduate of a violin making school does not know

another graduate of the same school. How often does this happen? That is why, their names should be published. You need an accountant to keep track of them.

If you care about who makes what, you need a fool-proved registration system.

$200 is simply not enough.

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"If I have $200 to spare, I would not spend it on "facts finding mission"

Could this be because you are not an aspiring luthier who is interested in knowing something deeper about market forces in your selected industry?

Or should I say chosen profession?

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Luthiers or violinists are artists whom I have great repect.

The question has two parts. "Is Zhang Shu Mei a luthier in Beijing?"

and "Did he make your violin?" (I don't know the answer of each )

Not every luthier has a store front. I met one luthier in Europe. He works inside

his home. (if you are interested, I could find out where he lives. Then you put

yourself in the spot if you are not that serious)

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