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Best living maker ?

~ Ben Conover

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I think you can only call a contemporary Violinmaker "the best" or put him in the top range when he reached a high age and you can take look back about his life-time achievement. Actually mediahype or high saleprices at auction can only be a suggesting.

One of my favorites still living and working makers is Mittenwald based Joseph Kantuscher. I think he is now over 85 years old.

He start at Mittenwald 1946 and reached opus no. 500 in the year 1985 by his own hand (yes he had some help).

He won prices in the 60`s and was a past VSA and other competition judge member.

But away from others today he create a unique and personal style, and get highly recognition with it. Model, arching, and most his famous "baroque" style on the edgework and scroll.

His style is constantly the same from the first Instrument to the present day wich makes him absolute unique today.


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  • 10 years later...
On 10/15/2010 at 2:52 PM, JohnCockburn said:

I'm saying nowt as it would seem creepy to name your friends but might cause offence to name someone else!

But while you mention it I've seen a gentleman called Victor Unsworth described as "one of the best living English makers" by a UK dealer. I have never heard of him or seen any of his instruments. Anyone know anything about him?

I have seen two Unsworth violins, which I also had a chance to play. Both good instruments with a great sound. Here you can see one: https://www.isabellesviolins.org/unsworth/, good making, but nothing that others couldn't do. I am not fond of his varnish, but this is a matter of taste.

For violas and UK I have seen many by William Piper which had an amazing tone.

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On 10/15/2010 at 9:09 PM, Roger Hill said:

perhaps OT, but give us your impressions of the Bergonzi and Testore compared to the Strad. And, BTW, which ones were they? Thanks,


On 10/14/2010 at 12:04 PM, ~ Ben Conover said:

When I look at the work of Roger Hargrave I'm amazed.
There's so much to learn from his writing, and to see from his work.

Here's some of his work, if you haven't already seen it :

Most amazing about Roger Hargrave is his scientific approach and his ability to describe what he does and how. With this alone he has left a legacy. I have seen one of his instruments which was also very nice, both in workmanship and sound.

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