Giovanni Gammuto?????


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I was tempted to buy a Giovanni Gammuto violin off E-Bay. But I found the probability of a $900 fiddle being a handbuilt instrument very low. I was put in contact with five different Gammuto owners and all had their fiddles appraised as Chinese factory instruments. One person paid $5,000 for a professional quality instrument that turned out to be a reworked Chinese white.

So what's the deal Giovanni, are all these people crazy? Or did they all take their Gammuto fiddles to incompetent appraisers?

There are two scenarios here, what I heard is correct and you're a fraud and should refund the people you defrauded. Or I am totally out of line and heard from disgruntled owners of your fiddles.

Either way maybe you could clear it up by saying who you studied with, and where you studied. I can't find anything on you anywhere other than your site.

Does anyone else know anything about this guy? Some people are buying these violins for thousands of dollars and I'm hearing from multiple sources they are reworked Chinese instruments. Do you experts here have any opinion? His violins are below:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...=tab%3DWatching

http://cgi.ebay.com/FINE-ITALIAN-AMERICAN-...id=p3911.c0.m14

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I have seen one of this brand. I'll say no more.

Looking at the web site I am very interested in the image of violin in the 'professional instruments' option which is the second image as you scroll down the page. It looks much nicer than anything else available.....Maybe someone smarter than me can explain this.

EDIT

24 hours later the image described on that page is no longer there. I saved it and will post it below.

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The VSA competition violin has varnish stretching from the scroll an unusually long way down onto the neck.

Exhibiting and announcing your VSA competition (or any other competition) entry before the competition sounds like a good way to be disqualified.

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I have seen one of this brand. I'll say no more.

Looking at the web site I am very interested in the image of violin in the 'professional instruments' option which is the second image as you scroll down the page. It looks much nicer than anything else available.....Maybe someone smarter than me can explain this.

The varnish seems a lot nicer, not nearly as thick and glossy as the other instruments, the f-holes appear much more elegant too, the fittings appear to be Les Bois d'Harmonie and much nicer than the other violins fittings, the carving and purfling apears to be much more refined to my eye. I'm no expert so take this with a grain of salt.

If I was out of line with my original post I apologize, but I was very close to dropping $900 bones on an instrument under what may very well be false pretenses, and I see folks buying them for $6,000+ and I fear they may be naive amateurs like myself and getting taken. If that is the case then it is very wrong. If I am wrong than I apologize.

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I have seen one of this brand. I'll say no more.

Looking at the web site I am very interested in the image of violin in the 'professional instruments' option which is the second image as you scroll down the page. It looks much nicer than anything else available.....Maybe someone smarter than me can explain this.

EDIT

24 hours later the image described on that page is no longer there. I saved it and will post it below.

Here it is.

post-23531-1224371939_thumb.jpg

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The gentleman in question is currently a sponsor over at violinist.com, and seems bent on..., well I will leave the interpretation to you. :)

Yes I saw that, I wonder if they research companies on violinist.com before accepting sponsorship from them.

It is interesting since this topic I've witnessed the student violin in question suddenly sold to an undisclosed buyer, the jgammuto.com website redesigned with the picture I was talking about gone, and I no longer see the statement where Giovanni Gammuto says he is the sole maker of this violin for the "master soloist" model.

Maybe I'm being hard here, but selling violins that you in fact did not make from scratch as handmade instruments for nearly $8,000 to me is fraud and theft and it should be illegal. If I am proven wrong in my suspicions I will apologize and ask this thread be removed from the internet forever.

Caveat emptor...

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He used to run this photo of a listing about him in his eBay auctions. I inquired a couple times as to where this listing came from, but never received a reply. He does not appear in my reference books, but they are far from complete or up to date

This looks like a Henley or Woodcock entry but it is not any of those volumes in my library

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Many of the Henley entries were written by the luthiers themselves.

Ron, I've read somewhere that Henley himself wrote the original descriptions, but later editions of Henley (after he died) included descriptions written by luthiers themselves. However, these later, self-aggrandizing descriptions are still quoted as though they came from an objective source. (To whatever extent the original Henley was objective.) So, do you have more information on the later Henley books?

You could direct me to another thread -- don't mean to derail the Gammuto critique. (Regarding Gammuto, his feedback reports and return policies seem to put him in a better light than some of the other writers are suggesting.)

DF

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Regarding feedback, not specifically his (I have no idea who he is or what his violins are), and customers' perceptions of who the "good guys" are: there are several dealers around me who have terrific reviews from their customers, along the line of "As soon as I pointed out that X-pert said it's not real, he immediately dropped the price--I think that's more than fair". They forget to remember, of course that if X-pert hadn't said that, they'd have paid full price.

Sometimes graciously backing out of something when confronted is nothing more than "Oh, I'm really sorry--I'll take this hideous fake right back [and sell it to some other sucker]."

One customer gleefully told me what a great deal he got when he bought a violin for about $20,000 from a dealer who'd originally asked $60,000, but dropped the price when confronted with doubts from another dealer (not me). That didn't change the fact that it was only a $3000 violin for which he'd just paid $20,000, which was the amount he told me he felt was appropriate to get robbed for a violin he particularly liked the sound of--a train of thought I wasn't able to follow (I know, I know; this doesn't even sound like a real story, but it is--the customer was a broker or something and rolling in dough.) You only need a couple of customers like that every year to make a very good living.

There's an quirky cultural trust element in this story that I won't get into that facilitates this fellow's business style.

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Replying to dfowler's question. I'm sorry I don't have more information. I recall reading this about Henley years ago in an article probably in the Strad. Almost certainly, most or all of the entries about living American makers would have been from material that was submitted to him. The later volumes by Cyril Woodcock are a terrible mish mash of stuff that should have been carefully edited and wasn't.

Ron

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Not exactly a reliable source of information then, eh? "Joe Blow is a first-rate luthier whose meanest output compares favorably with Stradivari's best. And if you don't believe that, just ask me because I'm Joe Blow and will tell you the Cremona-varnished truth" :)

Henley was a very accomplished violinist in his day. The 'Dictionary' was published after Henley's death in 1957, compiled by Cyril Woodcock from the author's notes. Evidently Woodcock wanted as many entries as possible and so invited descriptions written by the luthiers themselves. Check out the entry for A. H. Merrill, an extreme example. It's a really fun article in the October 2003 Strad.

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I have so many things to say about this person (and do I sound cynical enough?), but let me stay on other matters for the sake of public forum for now.

Sometime last year (around the middle of year I think), I saw a thread on another popular violin forum, in which someone asked about the quality of this maker's violin, and the answers were that his violins were low-quality Chinese. As almost all posts on that forum do, the thread was one of the top search results on Google if someone googled his name. Then several days later, the thread was deleted off of the system. No reasons why. Just gone. In retrospect, I should have saved the thread, but it never occurred to me that a thread could disappear so easily.

Until that time, his website touted how great a furniture restorer he was, and had just a few extra pages about the violins and the special polishing products he produce.

Then several months later, he set up his shop page on that forum and started to post very actively. His website was now completely devoted to violins, not furniture restoration. Maybe the eBay business turned out to be more lucrative than furniture restoration?

See here for comparison: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://jgammuto.com

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