Interesting Website


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38 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

Nice site indeed! It seems she loves big violins, the first 6 ones are 359mm and over.

Very well done.  And an interesting collection.   Regarding the large violins, it is well known that there is considerable variation in size in violas, but it seems there is quite a range in violins, too, even among those considered full size.  Just in these we go from 351 mm body length to 371 mm body length, about 3/4 inch!  The tone descriptions seem to say that good tone can be obtained at all these body lengths.

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17 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

Yes, there is a much bigger variation with violas. But big violins (that some call "oversized" violins) in general suffer a devaluation in the market. The same for big violas. Some Del Gesù violins are 351, and even 349, and that is ok too.

 

Definitely - it seems a lot of people aren't aware that a violin over 360mm is generally devalued, and it gets worse the bigger the violin becomes, to the point where for instance a Vuillaume of 367mm would be worth less than half what could be asked for one of 357 or so ...

You can hardly give away a Richelme of 370, as evinced by the fact that there is one at T2 :)

Long pattern Strads likewise worth significantly less.

Things start to get small at 351 - we sold a Nicolo Gagliano at 351 for a bit less than 2/3 of what it would have been if it was 353! 

Many Italian 18th century makers made small and grand patters - the Tononis or Dalla Costa for instance. The grand patterns (357-359) sell for twice the price of the small patterns (350-351).

Of course, none of this has anything to do with sound.

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45 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Definitely - it seems a lot of people aren't aware that a violin over 360mm is generally devalued, and it gets worse the bigger the violin becomes, to the point where for instance a Vuillaume of 367mm would be worth less than half what could be asked for one of 357 or so .

I had the pleasure this spring of working with violinist Shannon Lee. We read the Chapuis and Juon piano trios( each is a great piece) At the time she was playing a large Maggini-pattern Vuilluame(a gorgeous violin.) She loved it but complained it was too big, and she eventually traded it for another Vuilluame of much smaller size.

so you are correct.

Edited by PhilipKT
Typos
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59 minutes ago, deans said:

I prefer long violins. I have very long arms and the difference between 363 and 353 is noticeable. I would love to take a look at the Hill that's up at Bromptons.  

Funny - I am 6'3 with very long fingers and yet find that 353 is an ideal size. 

I have played the Midori del Gesu quite a bit (it's 350) and find it very comfortable. 

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2 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Funny - I am 6'3 with very long fingers and yet find that 353 is an ideal size. 

I find that ones physical size doesn't always correspond to the instruments they prefer. Look at someone like Lillian Fuchs. Nonetheless, I'm taller than you by a few inches and mostly play viola, all violins just seem small to me sometimes. I do have a "Klotz" that's 353, after playing it a while it seems OK, but I don't think I'll ever buy anything smaller.

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3 hours ago, martin swan said:

Definitely - it seems a lot of people aren't aware that a violin over 360mm is generally devalued, and it gets worse the bigger the violin becomes, to the point where for instance a Vuillaume of 367mm would be worth less than half what could be asked for one of 357 or so ...

You can hardly give away a Richelme of 370, as evinced by the fact that there is one at T2 :)

Long pattern Strads likewise worth significantly less.

Things start to get small at 351 - we sold a Nicolo Gagliano at 351 for a bit less than 2/3 of what it would have been if it was 353! 

Many Italian 18th century makers made small and grand patters - the Tononis or Dalla Costa for instance. The grand patterns (357-359) sell for twice the price of the small patterns (350-351).

Of course, none of this has anything to do with sound.

Although I presume the smiley means you've exaggerated a little for humorous effect, this doesn't surprise me.

I connect this to sound in one way: size is a price one has to pay for sound, but people are unwilling to pay any more of that price than they have to.

Even on the site discussed, she herself says "As far as comfort goes, I've got other violins to play in concerts"... despite also saying its sloped shoulders reduce the impact of its size.

Precisely because she doesn't dismiss everything out of hand that isn't at least a Guadagnini, though, her site is very informative. (Her comments on the choice of strings for the Sgarbi, for example, are illuminating; I was properly surprised to find out that her choice of E string, Lenzner Goldbrokat, is actually an inexpensive brand.)

That one can snap up violins of 351 mm for bargain prices is more surprising to me; and while the devaluation of larger violins has "nothing to do with sound" in the sense that they're devalued even despite sounding good, I suspect that the devaluation of smaller ones is because people fear or suspect that they won't sound as good, even if at 351 mm that suspicion is unwarranted.

Edited by Quadibloc
parenthetical about strings
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56 minutes ago, Quadibloc said:

That one can snap up violins of 351 mm for bargain prices is more surprising to me; and while the devaluation of larger violins has "nothing to do with sound" in the sense that they're devalued even despite sounding good, I suspect that the devaluation of smaller ones is because people fear or suspect that they won't sound as good, even if at 351 mm that suspicion is unwarranted.

I believe for violins it has become a market force that continues to reinforce itself. I think one factor for Martins observations (which I believe to be correct) are peoples awareness of the value implications itself.  I'll bet many people  have found the perfect instrument for themselves at 351mm, or 361mm,  but could not pull the trigger because they did not want to go outside the safety zone. For violas it might be more complicated, fortunately the range is much broader.

 

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14 hours ago, deans said:

Interesting coincidence with lot 58 now on T2 right now.

Although lot 58 has no strings or tailpiece, I am surprised that with an opening bid of $1,300, and believed to be authentic, it has received no bids.

However, the instrument, although it has a body length of 370 mm, comparable to the one on the Isabelle's Violins web site, is billed as a "Violin/Viola" - as though they don't know which one it is. But then, a short 370 mm viola would sell better than a long 370 mm violin, and, of course, it's whichever one you like depending on what strings you put on it.

Ah; it comes with a fingerboard, but even that has had the glue come off. So some restoration is needed. (But no cracks, apparently. However, the central seam is apparently more pronounced in the lower part of the belly, so just maybe that does need fixing. It does have a few scuffs and scratches. Perhaps more importantly, the ebony nut has deep grooves made in it by the strings, and that may need fixing for it to perform its function.)

Perhaps more to the point, though, I looked to see about violins by Sgarbi and Chiocchi. In the case of Chiocchi, he made both Maggini and Stradivarius pattern violins, and only the Maggini ones were as large as the one on the Isabelle's Violins site. Another violinist, who had a Sgarbi on loan, gave it high praise. Auction records are in the neighborhood of $50,000 for both makers.

Edited by Quadibloc
Qualification to no cracks comment
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7 hours ago, Quadibloc said:

However, the instrument, although it has a body length of 370 mm, comparable to the one on the Isabelle's Violins web site, is billed as a "Violin/Viola" - as though they don't know which one it is. But then, a short 370 mm viola would sell better than a long 370 mm violin, and, of course, it's whichever one you like depending on what strings you put on it.

I have been wondering how a Maggini-style ~370mm would sound if strung with viola strings. Does that just sound like typical fraction-sized violas or something better? Anyone tried that?

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I don't think anyone mentioned that there are a couple of American fiddles there. At times it has been suggested that no European would want such a thing.

So we have someone who likes big violins, fancy violins, and American violins. Amazing what a stint in Texas will do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for sharing this website - the violins are gorgeous and I’m so curious about her eye for visual appraisal since she’s made some fine online purchases (and references that if the proportions are right and the materials/craftsmanship are good, a violin is bound to sound good).  

And the T2 auction lot 58 synchronicity has me very very curious! I was interested enough to request a condition statement. Pertinently, it states that in addition to “minor edge cracks” on the top plate, it also has “saddle and wing cracks.”  I can’t actually see a wing crack - they look like varnish craqueler (also mentioned in the condition report). I presume that thing in the lower middle is the saddle crack (is it a crack or a separated seam?). 

Are these issues dealbreakers in your opinion? I am well aware that some restoration is needed to get this violin playable, but I could use some more experienced perspective on this if you please. 

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