Sign in to follow this  
uguntde

Alternatives to Cremonese and new

Recommended Posts

I often wonder why people only care about Strads and new violins. I find a lot of 19th century old violins that sound great, often look nice, but they are not seen in the same class. Over new violins they retain their value much better. Among my favorites would be Antoniazzi, Derazey, Gand, Bernardel, in a higher price class Oddone, but there are many others.

 

People have compared the sound of Strad and new - but nobody has ever included a good 19th century violin. I always wondered whether such instruments are much worse in sound than those old or some excellent new violins. I have played some good new instruments (I will better skip names) but not many Strads.

 

Has anybody tried this? I am sure many of you have thoughts about this.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I don't want to get into a debate about strads vs. modern.

I don't care.

A fiddle is what it is despite some glorified sales pitch or magical formula.

There are many great fiddles around from all ages of human endeavor.

Living breathing human beings are primarily interested in themselves first and foremost.

So to compare oneself with the best,,,, albeit God Himself ,,,it is the only natural course of action for man to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a difficult one to answer because there is an "antique" value given to a lot of old instruments. But.a good instrument will always be good.It will not suddenly improve with age....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will not suddenly improve with age....

 

hmmm,

That's an interesting choice of words there Kev.

 

I think that I disagree with this statement, in two ways.

I believe that many instruments do improve with age.

In two respects, one is that they must be played when they are first made, in order for them to "play in". (to coin a phrase) Some people believe in this phenomenon, and some don't - but it has proven itself to be true with most of my own handmade violins. I believe that has been noticed by many makers and players both.

They (newly made violins) often  lose many of their initial tonal faults, as they are played for the first, I'd say, about a half year; wolf notes, weak notes, overbearing notes and etc. Many of these type of things dissipate or simply disappear completely in time.

One thing that I advise new violin makers about whenever the subject comes up, is that they cannot criticise and try to "fix" many tonal problems immediately upon completion of a violin - give it some time to acclimatise to the environment, to being strung up, and to being played.

Many of these things disappear in a relatively short time. If not, then go ahead and do whatever you think needs doing. But give it some time.

 

And then, they also often, not always but often, do get better sounding, and perhaps easier playing with more age and use.

 

My belief. 

Why? I don't know why, it just seems to happen this way often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Craig,

I agree with what you have said.I did not choose my words very carefully.What I really meant was that a sow's ear will not become a silk purse over time. Perhaps I have steered this slightly off topic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Craig,

I agree with what you have said.I did not choose my words very carefully.What I really meant was that a sow's ear will not become a silk purse over time. Perhaps I have steered this slightly off topic?

 

No, not really.

You're absolutely correct in that a bad or poorly made violin, will always be a bad, poorly made violin.

I've got no problem with that one. Nothing will change that.

Not even time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But.a good instrument will always be good.It will not suddenly improve with age....

One of mine, a very nicely made, pretty, originally dirt-cheap Chinese I bought in 2007 that initially sounded very muffled (so I put a piezo bridge on it and used it as an electric) suddenly became acoustically impressive a couple of months ago.  Not only I, but all my family and friends noticed, and they kept asking me what I'd done to it.  The answer is, beyond my original setup and frequently playing it, nothing beyond string changes.  Other than the effects of aging and use, I have no explanation for this.

 

My somewhat sarcastic answer to the OP is that IMHO none of the people engaged in the tug of war over new (read "new made by big names and shockingly expensive") versus Cremonese want the issues muddied by including less expensive violins of whatever provenance in the equation.  Some of the major players here can get positively hostile when the issue is raised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of mine, a very nicely made, pretty, originally dirt-cheap Chinese I bought in 2007 that initially sounded very muffled (so I put a piezo bridge on it and used it as an electric) suddenly became acoustically impressive a couple of months ago.  Not only I, but all my family and friends noticed, and they kept asking me what I'd done to it.  The answer is, beyond my original setup and frequently playing it, nothing beyond string changes.  Other than the effects of aging and use, I have no explanation for this.

 

My somewhat sarcastic answer to the OP is that IMHO none of the people engaged in the tug of war over new (read "new made by big names and shockingly expensive") versus Cremonese want the issues muddied by including less expensive violins of whatever provenance in the equation.  Some of the major players can get positively hostile when the issue is raised.

 

This actually happens a lot more than people care to mention and ofc one has to remember that anything from east of the US and europe in terms of violin anything is automatically looked down upon. Lord forbid a chinese violin beats out a western old one in any aspect, that's a signal from god the end times are near (Irony) -_- Students of mine with good instruments from the far east will (it's like clock work) sound better after having the instrument go through a year or 2 with them. It's like the damn violins catch a 6 month long cold and comes out of it in the spring with remarkably clearer voice (I'm the one that tests them out to rule out students actually improving as the cause for the improvement). 

 

A "good" violin is a good violin regardless of it's age or pedigree. Do they improve with age? Yes they do SORT OF and not always, will it make a violin you're on the fence about great in 20 years? Hell no, that only happens when the player adapts to the instrument's particularities, gets used to them or simply messes with the strings/setup in N ways until he/she convinces themselves it's hit the spot. This is often times what people consider "a played in instrument", it has little to do with the poor box of wood and everything to do with those who play it LOL I'm not saying that improvements and changes cannot happen naturally (they do!) but it rarely is as people make it out to be. I've had an extremely picky costumer at one of Lisbon's luthiers who complained about the sound of his damn box and had the sound post/bridge/tailpiece/chinrest etc etc etc changed over and over again, the luthier out of desperation took the violin in for the nth time and said he would make a new post... What he did was simple, he cleaned the instrument without taking off the strings of moving the bridge, waited a week and gave it back... The man was ecstatic once he tried it and gushed about how it was finally resolved and that the luthier was a genius... He didn't accept payment (ofc since he hadn't done a thing to the setup) and the man now just shows up to rehair his bows and chat up a bit :) 

 

My advice is always on the lines of , don't shy away from new just because they're new, you're not going to sound asian or french or italian or wt/e depending on where your instrument is from either so choose regardless of that also.  You have world class makers with a hell of a lot of knowledge at your disposition who are more than capable of making something even better than what you hoped for. If you buy an old instrument, do so knowing that as nice as a violin is, YOU as a player are going to PLAY it and that it is nothing more than an instrument by which YOU can produce music so if the most attractive feature is WHERE or WHO made it and not the sound, you have a problem on your hands LOL. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of mine, a very nicely made, pretty, originally dirt-cheap Chinese I bought in 2007 that initially sounded very muffled (so I put a piezo bridge on it and used it as an electric) suddenly became acoustically impressive a couple of months ago.  Not only I, but all my family and friends noticed, and they kept asking me what I'd done to it.  The answer is, beyond my original setup and frequently playing it, nothing beyond string changes.  Other than the effects of aging and use, I have no explanation for this.

 

My somewhat sarcastic answer to the OP is that IMHO none of the people engaged in the tug of war over new (read "new made by big names and shockingly expensive") versus Cremonese want the issues muddied by including less expensive violins of whatever provenance in the equation.  Some of the major players here can get positively hostile when the issue is raised.

 

How well do you play violin ? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 suddenly became acoustically impressive a couple of months ago.

probably just a center seam on the back came open,

often greatly improves the tone suddenly!

or the back edges in the c-bouts coming loose can loosen up the sound! :lol:

you'll have it fixed in no time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I often wonder why people only care about Strads and new violins. I find a lot of 19th century old violins that sound great, often look nice, but they are not seen in the same class. Over new violins they retain their value much better. Among my favorites would be Antoniazzi, Derazey, Gand, Bernardel, in a higher price class Oddone, but there are many others.

 

People have compared the sound of Strad and new - but nobody has ever included a good 19th century violin.

Actually, violins from different eras, schools,  and prices are compared with some regularity. I rarely sell an instrument without it being involved in some kind of "shootout", which could involve Strads, unusual standout commercial Chinese, a Gand or Bernardel, or whatever. Most comparisons don't make the news.

 

 

My somewhat sarcastic answer to the OP is that IMHO none of the people engaged in the tug of war over new (read "new made by big names and shockingly expensive") versus Cremonese want the issues muddied by including less expensive violins of whatever provenance in the equation.

Most Violin Society of America gold-medal-winning instruments and bows (also winners from other world-class competitions) haven't been from cheap makers. That's not to say that price equals quality, but that maybe we haven't figured out a way to do consistently high quality instruments "on the cheap" yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, violins from different eras, schools,  and prices are compared with some regularity. I rarely sell an instrument without it being involved in some kind of "shootout", which could involve Strads, unusual standout commercial Chinese, a Gand or Bernardel, or whatever. Most comparisons don't make the news.

 

Most Violin Society of America gold-medal-winning instruments and bows (also winners from other world-class competitions) haven't been from cheap makers. That's not to say that price equals quality, but that maybe we haven't figured out a way to do consistently high quality instruments "on the cheap" yet.

 

A maker should charge whatever he sees fit and his market can bear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, violins from different eras, schools,  and prices are compared with some regularity. I rarely sell an instrument without it being involved in some kind of "shootout", which could involve Strads, unusual standout commercial Chinese, a Gand or Bernardel, or whatever. Most comparisons don't make the news.

 

Most Violin Society of America gold-medal-winning instruments and bows (also winners from other world-class competitions) haven't been from cheap makers. That's not to say that price equals quality, but that maybe we haven't figured out a way to do consistently high quality instruments "on the cheap" yet.

It's not the price of materials/nationality or time needed to construct an instrument that needs factoring into the final price but the knowhow of HOW to make those materials into a world class instruments that should up ,and does rightfully, up the price of respectable modern luthier's products. Again people need to understand that when you pay big bucks for a new instrument commission from someone with proven skill they are paying for proven construction and sound without the pedigree or nationality. In my opinion even at 25k for a modern bench made commission it is a much more plausible investment and solidly based investment with more directionality and bang for the buck than paying for something based on it's age and biography (as is the case with anything made before 1970).

 

If people thought about their purchases before hand and realized that the bulk of what is in the 4k to 10k market in old european instruments are all workshop catalogue products the vision would be a lot clearer (I am not dissing the european workshop produce!) and conclusions could be had that would blow up a lot of the myth with old products. 50% of the charges in such markets are based on age alone, if the instrument happens to be well made then the price jumps even further, if it's in a specific time frame then it jumps yet again, lord forbid it be of a specific nation because then it's value sky rocket's to the moon. The sad part is that the actual sound is not the factor which adds to the price but almost a pleasant after thought to finish off the final calculations as if it was nothing but a detail. This cult of valuing and regarding old as divine is beyond my comprehension, it's taking the "time is money" saying and adding some massive inflation God knows why when they could effectively just pay for quality instead of gimmick. It's actually a cheaper option to buy from modern makers when comparing and asking for specific quality within older violins tbh...

 

I might just be weird seeing as I've made a habit of being almost completely cold with my way of seeing instruments and music products and I know full well that I am not like most violinists when it comes to shopping. As I always say, "Im allergic to griffins and unicorns".

 

A maker should charge whatever he sees fit and his market can bear.

 

Perfectly said. If it's realistic and demand calls for it, that's exactly how they should price it :) Either way at least buyers can be assured they ARE paying for what they get without a penny added for the pedigree of the maker's nationality (apart from Italian products, some at least)....

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Guest
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.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.