Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violins


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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

We have makers who regularly contribute to this form who should be added to the so called 'top of the heap list".

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

I have tried both makers, but I would not be a reliable source for answering the questions you ask as I am not a trained violin player. I participated in a blind player test at Oberlin this summer and thought Josephs violin was made by Sam, without knowing if any of their instruments were in the test. It could take a lot of bow. I thought it did sound a bit shallow, but the frequency response indicated that it had a strong A0. I think Joseph want the instrument to be able to be played close to the bridge. Sam is very interested in the transient response, and test the instruments playing short and fast notes on the G string.

I think they make very good violins indeed. I have tried two by Joseph, but only by Sam. I have heard many instruments by them in listening tests at Oberlin and in Cambridge last autumn.

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

Interesting question.

I have not tried one - I'd love to - just to see for myself what "the best" are up to...

I think I'll wait awhile till someone else answers this, before I dig myself a hole that I can't climb out of.

I will say this, "the best" are usually "the best" for a reason.

I'll also venture to say that every violin is a gamble, in many ways.

For what it's worth, I'll put my own violins up (racing for pinks, in a way...) against any violin - head to head - in a live setting with a professional player and listeners...

the worst that can happen, is that I might have to realize that I still have much to learn. (in real life in doing so, I always learn something that will help me improve, from makers who seemingly are free with advice about what works for them and why it works...)

Lets see what others have to say.

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

I've played a Joseph Curtin that was on display at the "Masters/Innovations" section of the 2008 VSA convention. I really liked that fiddle, could hardly put it down. I have not played a Zygmuntowicz.

I don't think in trying to choose a violin A over violin B that relying on a single criterion, such as maker, works. Each fiddle is an individual entity that needs to be judged individually based on all the selection criteria that you can bring to the selection process: tone color, response, projection, comfort, price, appearance, workmanship, maker's reputation. The checklist could, no doubt, be made longer. And in the end you have to somehow weigh the individual importance for you of those various criteria items, put it all together, and come up with a holistic, emotional judgment that is very subjective, and specific to you and to that single violin. The next violin you try by the same maker may evoke a very different reaction.

In short, I do believe that Curtin's and Zygmuntowicz's very high reputations are well deserved. That's been established by people who know more and play better than I do. But selecting a violin based solely on a maker's reputation strikes me as short sighted.

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

On what do you base your criteria for who's the best maker? For example, what about Joseph Curtain's former coworker Greg Alf? I think I know Sam quite well from having worked with him. He is a very experienced and meticulous person. He fully deserves his reputation. That said, there are many others that may equally well deserve recognition. I also agree that Luiz Bellini is a very fine maker. He is one of many.

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If the top makers could reproduce the sound of the Leduc Guarneri, then we'd have nothing left to talk about, regardless of price.

If any one alive can it would be Luiz Bellini

Let's see... could it be that maybe, possibly, you like Luiz's instruments Stern?

He's surely a great maker, one of the best, but it's amazing to me that you, of all people, would make an unqualified statement (as you did a few posts ago). You're not thinking of becoming a music or art critic next, are you? :)

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The one maker whose work I'm familiar with that comes closest to a Del Gesu sound and response is Michael Darnton.

Having said that I would wholeheartedly agree with skiingfiddler...

But selecting a violin based solely on a maker's reputation strikes me as short sighted.

Oded

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everyone knows old violins sound better amatis and stainers sounded better than new stradivaris back in the early 1700s the only people in complete denial of this fact are a lot of the new makers, their bottom line depends on convincing you newer is better, and did i mention; new makers you can argue with me but your opinion doesnt count; you have a conflict of interest, and as to above whats the difference between complimenting luis bellinni and michel darton, a lot it seems, sincerely lyndon :) :) :)

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Have any of you tried a Sam Zygmuntowicz or a Joseph Curtin violin?

Seems they are the top of the heap of modern violin makers.

How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

Do you think they just get all the recognition because of some of the famous clients they have?

I am just curious what you guys think.

+++++++++++++++

Why only two top makers ? I would include more makers then I have trouble to stop the list. It is not fair

to exclude others. It is also not fair to choose between these two, one winner system. How about two winers. buy both? :)

PS. You buy a violin you like. There is no such thing the "best violin" you like. "The best" is a varibale of time and with changing

experience. It takes months to know a violin. Who get the time? Be real.

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Let's see... could it be that maybe, possibly, you like Luiz's instruments Stern?

He's surely a great maker, one of the best, but it's amazing to me that you, of all people, would make an unqualified statement (as you did a few posts ago). You're not thinking of becoming a music or art critic next, are you? :)

Do I like Mr. Bellini's instruments? To believe he is the finest living maker I would think that is quite evident. I have seen and played violins by many living makers including those listed in this thread. One only has to play and see Mr. Bellini's violins and spend some time with him to come to this conclusion.

"Unqualified statement"? Not with my personal experience of viewing, examining and playing violins worldwide.

Am I a critic? Aren't we all? Certainly as I occasionally visit this forum it seems to be filled with "critics".

After all this is just one person's opinion-my own. You are certainly entitled to yours. I am sure many would say there is no one best living maker and that may be their opinion which may be a valid one- I do not discount that.

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How different are their instruments compared to what the typical maker here on the forums is making.

I wonder what would be considered the typical maker here?

I've played maybe half a dozen Zygs, maybe the same number of Curtins, and maybe three Bellinis. I don't think any two instruments were the same, but all except one reminded me of what I think is in the ballpark for a fair number of makers. On the one, I'm guessing there was something wrong with it, because it was just weird... didn't sound or act at all like what I consider a good violin, or like other violins I had played from that maker.

I was at one sort of "shootout" which involved two violins from one of the above makers. and three violins (one each) from three other fairly well known makers. With the exception of one, which was probably too dark for a solo situation, they were all pretty similar sounding in the hall.. surprisingly so. In this particular situation, with this particular group of instruments, I happened to like an instrument from one of the other makers the best. The player preferred a different one, and it happened to be the one the player owned. Take different examples from the same makers, and quite likely, preferences could have been shuffled around a bit.

The "dark" violin? There are probably a lot of fine major orchestra players who would have preferred that, over the instruments which came across better in this soloist type testing situation.

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Do I like Mr. Bellini's instruments? To believe he is the finest living maker I would think that is quite evident. I have seen and played violins by many living makers including those listed in this thread. One only has to play and see Mr. Bellini's violins and spend some time with him to come to this conclusion.

"Unqualified statement"? Not with my personal experience of viewing, examining and playing violins worldwide.

Am I a critic? Aren't we all? Certainly as I occasionally visit this forum it seems to be filled with "critics".

After all this is just one person's opinion-my own. You are certainly entitled to yours. I am sure many would say there is no one best living maker and that may be their opinion which may be a valid one- I do not discount that.

Luiz Bellini finest maker alive today and student of Sacconi. All you need to do is see and play one of his violins. No question.

Hmmm... Don't see an opinion there. As a matter of fact, your kinda' telling me what I need to do.

My post was partly in jest, but I'd suggest that "he's the finest maker alive" is unqualified and "I believe he is the finest" has a qualification. So does "I think he's the best".

About "One has only to..." With all due respect, I mentioned I thought he was a very fine maker. I've played a good many of them.

Personally, my "favorites" change from time to time and example to example, but I've never said "the best alive", unqualified, about any.

Let's not get into who's-examined-what between us, shall we? I've done this quite a while myself, and I wasn't belittling you... I was just surprised you'd be so rash... maybe I shouldn't have been.

Yes, we all are critics, internally, I suppose, but expressing an idea, unabashed, as a fact is what I'm used to seeing presented by the pros (critics that is). :)

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Hmmm... Don't see an opinion there.

My post was partly in jest, but I'd suggest that "he's the finest maker alive" is unqualified and "I believe he is the finest" has a qualification. So does "I think he's one of the best".

Yes, we all have the capacity to be critics I suppose, but expressing an idea, unabashed, as fact is what I'm used to seeing presented by the pros (critic that is). :)

Jeffrey, not mentioning varnish, workmanship, and other visual factors:

Do you think we could all agree that there is a kind of maximum quality a new violin will have? I think that is what David was suggesting.

After that, one plays and maintains over years.. The question for me would be how much do they change as they age and are played? Also, of course, don't most makers feel that the Great violins when new would have been similar to the best modern violins, the ones that David played and heard ?

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Jeffrey, not mentioning varnish, workmanship, and other visual factors:

Do you think we could all agree that there is a kind of maximum quality a new violin will have? I think that is what David was suggesting.

After that, one plays and maintains over years.. The question for me would be how much do they change as they age and are played? Also, of course, don't most makers feel that the Great violins when new would have been similar to the best modern violins, the ones that David played and heard ?

Some makers try very hard to avoid the "maximum" quality definition of the past... and maybe they have a good point. Use, A pitch and tastes have and do change.

I suppose there are some generalizations in how violins develop/change over time... and it's a good question... but I think I'll duck answering that question for now. Too much thinking involved for Saturday evening. :-)

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If the top makers could reproduce the sound of the Leduc Guarneri, then we'd have nothing left to talk about, regardless of price.

Oh, I would find that unlikely... folks could argue for hours whether or not it really DID sound like the Guarneri (with no final conclusion). :)

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the idea that modern makers, more than one are producing violins a good as brand new stradivaris is a little ridiculous, the whole 1800s passed by without a single maker comparing to strad i suspect the same will be true for the 20th century when they have sufficiently aged to compare, those who think there as good as strad dont usually know what made strad so great or even care there off in their own little world. three hundred years may not be so kind to their violins as they have been to strad, but by then the strads will be 600 maybe starting to sound played out who knows, sincerely lyndon :) :) :)

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Some makers try very hard to avoid the "maximum" quality definition of the past... and maybe they have a good point. Use, A pitch and tastes have and do change.

I left the idea of "maximum quality" open for debate, of course. I realize what you are saying.

It boils down to making one's own best violin as he sees it. After that, I think there is a certain kind of result we tend to get. After that it is a "new" violin and most assume that it will develop.

What I am getting at is that in the end it is a materials problem. All of the investigation into sound of a violin is rather pointless after answering some of each person's questions. I have my questions about new violins, and I know what to experiment with.

but by then the strads will be 600 maybe starting to sound played out who knows, sincerely lyndon

That begs the question of what is "played out." Somewhere between new and played-out must be "broken in." I keep asking what that IS.

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The question for me would be how much do they change as they age and are played?

I don't really know. Inexpensive, simple, high-quality home recording hasn't been around for that long. There are plenty of opinions and anecdotes, but I don't trust those as much as good record keeping. Since I started recording with good quality and consistency, one thing I'm embarrassingly in touch with is how much I can fool myself.

I'm fairly confident at this point that something happens with time. So far, I haven't been able to validate (from recordings) that much happens from "playing in". I'm working on isolating the two, but playing in always involves time. Time needn't involve playing. There's more work to be done.

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the idea that modern makers, more than one are producing violins a good as brand new stradivaris is a little ridiculous, the whole 1800s passed by without a single maker comparing to strad i suspect the same will be true for the 20th century when they have sufficiently aged to compare, those who think there as good as strad dont usually know what made strad so great or even care there off in their own little world.

Lyndon, I think you need to factor in that there was a long period of time when the financial incentives weren't so good. Such incentives aren't the be-all and end-all, but it can make the difference between churning out some quick stuff to put food on the table, and carefully pouring over years of notes when making the next violin.

There's some darned good modern stuff out there.

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the mystique of stradivari was so much more than the sound it was also the consumate perfectionism, and so artistic experimentalism with form not to mention incredible varnish and wood, now if someone were to ask me if any one could be as good as del gesu, that sounds more do able but stradivari, no. im not just talking about one or two violins as good as strad but a consistent output of hundreds as good as strad thats what it takes, anyone up to that, i dont think so... :) :) :)

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Let's see... could it be that maybe, possibly, you like Luiz's instruments Stern?

He's surely a great maker, one of the best, but it's amazing to me that you, of all people, would make an unqualified statement (as you did a few posts ago). You're not thinking of becoming a music or art critic next, are you? :)

Jeff,

My understanding is the Mr. Bellini is only doing bench copies. Have you ween anything recent?

Joe

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