Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Maggini Model


Recommended Posts

Hi Guys,

Happy New Year! I'm just curious if any of you have ever tried a Maggini. Since his violins are quite rare, I'm curious what the characteristics of a Maggini model are like, eg: loud sound, sonours g string, etc. Also, I'm wondering why no good copyist, like Vuillaume or Fendt, ever copied Maggini's model


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've certainly seen some excellent Vuillaume Maggini models. I think that there is a bit of prejudice towards them because of the double purfling, and slightly odd model, which means that they are kind of "second-class" but it only allows you to get a great violin for cheaper. They are certainly rarer than others. His have very flat arching, rather like his del Gesu model. But it depends on what you are following. If you are looking at something like the Dumas viola, the arching is a completely different concept.

The June 2003 Strad Magazine had a lovely feature (and poster) of a great Maggini. "Unsullied Maggini", worth having a look before you go further. Slightly over size, I think but lovely!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

N.F. Vuillaume also made a number of Maggini copies; have seen 2 of them, one of them i used to own for years. Both have dubble purfling , are oversized and one has a beautiful pattern on the back. They sound very French , bright upper end and a deeper lower end likely re the larger size.

I have also seen some German Maggini copies with an extra twist on the scroll.

A question:are all of these with an extra twist of the scroll German (Markn/Schonbach) copies or did the French also use this extra twist at times?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive played a few Magginis violin and a viola. I'll speak much higher of the Viola. HAHAH. The one violin recently not long ago was too reserved and laid back for my tastes. No punch or drive. I felt like I had no fun on the A or E strings above 4th position and simply no bell like overtones. This is common as far as i'm concerned with Maggini violins and some of the style of the brescians due to the arch shape, model, and some other aspects of the age and amount of repairs and modifications these instruments have undergone.

The G and D strings were a little bit oddball sounding. Uneven. The G string would growl slightly but reach to the D string and you get a a nice tone but then head to the A string, and you would have to back off on the bow quite a bit but then have to bite hard on the E string to really pull out any even double stops above third position.

Was a confusing violin to my ears underneath the chin to play. Uneven and simply due to the fact unfortunately it had 200 years worth of repairs and cleats and glue and luthiers on the inside of it. Lovely instrument and great condition with excellent documentation. But simply just wasn't something that was going to peel the paint off the back of the concert hall.

The Brescians made good violas, - not the best violins.

Get a good modern Del Gesu and skip over something that is going to sound like 200 years worth of repairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Magginis were once very popular with major soloists (DeBeriot, for instance) and 19th century makers regularly did make copies of them, Vuillaume, Gand, Bernardel as well as the French and German "mass producers." The reputation of Magginis is that the violas are great, but the violins are too viola-like, dark and tubby. My experience is that it's really hard to fix a sound with a maker or a model, there are so many variables that one should not jump to conclusions based on a small sample.

Authentic Magginis are very rare, and I've played on only one that was in "good" condition. It was actually very "Amati-like," very pearly and warm, not too dark, not extremely powerful, though despite the size (nearly 37cm) it was a very agreeable violin to play on. Otherwise I've played 3 other Maggini violins that were either in bad condition or extensively restored, and they were fuzzy, dark, unresponsive, but that surely had more to do with their condition than the model.

At the moment I'm rehearsing a Brahms sextet for an upcoming concert with a violist who has a beautiful Maggini viola and it is actually quite "silvery" and powerful, what you'd expect from a Strad viola, not just warm and dark as the Maggini stereotype would suggest. He used to have an Amati which I have played on and that viola was much darker and tubbier sounding than his Maggini.

I know several colleagues that have bought Vuillaume Maggini "copies" as these tend to sound like Vuillaume Del Gesu models but at half the price. Among my "spare fiddles," I've got a Bernardel père Maggini "copy" that is in very beat-up condition, but it has a very warm and pretty tone. It is dark, and i've always hesitated to use it in a concert situation, but I may just be prejudiced towards the model, because when i have used it in rehearsals, colleagues keep telling me it sounds great and carries fine. I was going to use it on a tour last fall, but some wing cracks opened up and it started buzzing too much. I'm going to do a proper restoration on it and use it more.

The better Maggini copies tend to have a very broad, flat Del Gesu-like arch (Del Gesu seems to have been going after the darker Maggini sound) so they often sound pretty good, but the body length can get very long, and I think for alot of violinists, that can be a barrier. Since the stop usually isn't that much longer, it is worth trying out a good one as they do tend to be cheaper for the same quality compared to Strad or Del Gesu copies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zanjia there is always exceptions though. Filippo Fasser is a fine maker who makes good Maggini violins where probably most modern makers wouldn't today. - He lives in Brescia and makes some really great instruments.

(Edit: Ive heard his violas are stunning from someone here in Utah who has played one of them)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many French Maggini copies, even Collin-Mézin workshops produced one for a while (edit, this is not correct, but Georges Apparut and Charles Bailly did) .... didn't the Dearzey workshop make them too?

I played a lovely Paul Bailly Maggini copy a couple of weeks ago, and I've sold a number of Laberte Workshop Maggini instruments - I have one on the shelves at the moment. The Nicholas Vuillaume instruments can sound stunning but they often have crazy back lengths - the last one I looked at seriously was 36.8cm (I thought better of buying it).

German warhorse copies also tend to be very oversized, whereas most French copies are much more standard length.

I agree entirely with the first half of Oringo's post (the second half tends slightly in the opposite direction!) - I would seriously question the concept that a particular model has a particular sound. I just don't think it's true, and there are far too many other variables at work to ever hear the sonic fingerprint of a particular model. Even the idea (for instance) that high arching is inimical to good projection doesn't stand up to a moment's real scrutiny.

Of the numerous oversized Maggini models I have played I couldn't say I noticed any common factors apart from the fact that they were oversized Maggini models :mellow:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is one Maggini copy by Vuillaume (from the Carriage House Violins website). My impression of Vuillaume's works that they were really working to a more idealised Maggini form, based on Vuillaume's observations of Strad and del Gesu and working backwards instead of creating a true copy, and resultingly it is difficult to find a proper Maggini that served as a prototype even though there are stylistic features that run through them. In my opinion at least, the arching tends to be much closer to certain early instruments by Gaspar da Salo even though it is clear that these were attempts to emulate Maggini (hence the likening of this arching to del Gesu, who was also influenced in this way).


I tend to associate Maggini with a very flat edge extending to the second line of purfling at which point it suddenly enters the arch. One result of this that you will see on photos is that it preserves the original varnish on the back around the c-bouts over a longer zone. Typically on a Cremonese violin you'll get this area running out just above and below the corners, but on a Maggini it runs all the way to the widest parts of the upper and lower bouts. The height of the arching can be extremely variable. Some are so high that you can see right the way through the soundholes despite the bass bar.

Other French Maggini copies by N.F. Vuillaume, Derazey, Bailly, Collin-Mezin etc, etc, are really just copies of Vuillaume's work, as also applies to the cheap German copies of the same period.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...