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Michael K.

The end of Cremona, the end of 300 years tradition?

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Just catched this article.

 

China is planing to open one or two shops in the Center of Cremona to offer and sale stringed instruments "Made in China", also Violins in "white".

 

The start of a new decade? A break down of a 300 year old tradition?.

 

Let´s discuss. Hope many cremonese makers will join here too.

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That doesn't make much sense. If someone want a Chinese violin they can buy it anywhere or order online. Must of people that goes to Cremona wants a hand made by one person (mostly) that use the local tradition and technique of construction.

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David say´s what most people knows.

 

The city become worry about their UNESCO status.

 

Furthermore the Violinmaking school there graduate 30-40 makers every year.  What kind of future they will have?

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That doesn't make much sense. If someone want a Chinese violin they can buy it anywhere or order online. Must of people that goes to Cremona wants a hand made by one person (mostly) that use the local tradition and technique of construction.

 

For the last at least 30 years many Chinese makers were trained in Cremona, and can do the same as the local guys do. Just much much cheaper. The people who understand this are already buying Chinese instruments because they are (in a price range over $1000) same in quality in many cases with what european makers can do for $10000 or more. 

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For the last at least 30 years many Chinese makers were trained in Cremona, and can do the same as the local guys do. Just much much cheaper. The people who understand this are already buying Chinese instruments because they are (in a price range over $1000) same in quality in many cases with what european makers can do for $10000 or more. 

I agree, a Chinese person (or not) that study in cremona (or any other place) they absolutely capable  to make an very good violin, just take a look at luthiers competitions (also violin playing competition), there are many orientals participating.

I couldn't read the Italian article, but what I could understand it is not the case of an individual artisan but a mass production factory that will open a shop there.

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Absurd numbers of makers today, there should be a ban on mass production. 

Cremona as it was and is.....very different.

Great idea, let's let the government regulate violin making as they are so successful at everything else.

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If they will open a shop in Cremona that will physically manufacture the violin on site, then I guess the prices will be similar with local makers because of labor cost. But if we talk about a shop that will import the chinese made violins to be sold in Cremona, then I guess it will be cheaper and might be good for consumers but not the local makers.

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Compete with Chinese in the low price ranges is always a losing battle, but equal a really high quality is very difficult even for them, because the costs would not be sustainable even for their standards of production.
Unfortunately here in Cremona not all seem to have understood this detail and many insist on low price rather than quality, and this hurts the overall image of the Cremonese violin making as high quality production

But in the end, even in ancient times there were Amati or Guarneri, Stradivari or Ruggeri and so on, with different levels of quality of work and probably different price levels (I think Del Gesù was the bottom line for the price..... :) ),
So basically the story is repeated even if the numbers are quite increased, although it must consider that the "real" Cremonese (born in Cremona), are still very few, and in Stradivari time there were not many foreigners who came to work in town (maybe importing low prices violins from Brescia.... ^_^ ).

 

The article, as is the style of the journalist, says virtually nothing: does not mention any names, and gives no serious indication to understand something.
Just the usual journalistic shot because here in Cremona raise questions about violin making, and the Chinese bad guys that take away our work (?!?) is fashion.

and provides four or five readers more to the newspaper (I know, are tough times for printed paper...).

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Cremona is a name of a town.  Once the greatest violins ever made were made in Cremona.  That ended long ago.  There are some very fine violins being made there today, and no doubt some mediocre ones, too.  IMO to buy a violin today JUST because it is made in Cremona is silly.

 

But, could I be wrong?  You bet, because for as long as I remember Italian violins—as well as French bows—go for more, and go up in value faster than any others.  And "Cremona" on the label probably adds to that factor.  I don't see that ending any time soon.

 

BTW, there is a maker on the west coast of the U.S. who is of Italian heritage and he has a great name for a violinmaker.  He was quite well received for years by the Japanese.  But once he was in an argument about prices (as I recall).  The Japanese said his violins were not worth as much because they weren't Italian.  The maker said, "But I AM Italian!"  And the Japanese gentleman said, "Yes, right name, but wrong location."

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BTW, there is a maker on the west coast of the U.S. who is of Italian heritage and he has a great name for a violinmaker.  He was quite well received for years by the Japanese.  But once he was in an argument about prices (as I recall).  The Japanese said his violins were not worth as much because they weren't Italian.  The maker said, "But I AM Italian!"  And the Japanese gentleman said, "Yes, right name, but wrong location."

 

Yes, I know the guy, and the story... unless there are two of them.

 

Seems like Zygmuntowicz is doing OK, in spite of not being in Italy or having an Italian (or even pronounceable) name.  Maybe he'd get higher prices if he moved and changed his name?

 

Is Greg Alf getting more for his instruments, now that he's in Italy?

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Reason the Chinese moved into Cremona is that location (for what it's worth) is everything. 
Doesn't mean they're any worse or better than the Italians or Americans who also 'work' there. 
(Never been to Cremona but Tuscany is good for a swim)

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Yes, I know the guy, and the story... unless there are two of them.

 

Seems like Zygmuntowicz is doing OK, in spite of not being in Italy or having an Italian (or even pronounceable) name.  Maybe he'd get higher prices if he moved and changed his name?

 

Is Greg Alf getting more for his instruments, now that he's in Italy?

I think the Cremona name is good until it is not. Meaning, as soon as people take to heart the idea that the name is marketing for poorly made instruments, it will cease having the marketing power.

I find Sam's last name very pronounceable.

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I find Sam's last name very pronounceable.

 

Only if you know ahead of time how it's supposed to sound.  Then it's fine.   :)

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If they will open a shop in Cremona that will physically manufacture the violin on site, then I guess the prices will be similar with local makers because of labor cost. But if we talk about a shop that will import the chinese made violins to be sold in Cremona, then I guess it will be cheaper and might be good for consumers but not the local makers.

 

Certainly they can do it on site for much less than several thousand dollars.  They won't be using man-powered saws etc  They will likely have their CNC machines also.....   By the way,  as long as one is copying some given old violin,  why NOT scan with a CNC and a laser range-finder?  The idea is to COPY,  as I understand it. 

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