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Which maker do you prefer and why


Violinist1828
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10 hours ago, martin swan said:

You're quite right - I was wondering about adding a qualification to the effect that in the last 20/30 years violin-making has become like that ...! But this is a very recent development, and many busy contemporary makers are still operating a workshop system, even if their branding suggests otherwise.

I can see how claiming that most high-value old makers used a workshop system, is mighty appealing to contemporary makers who do that. ;)

One of the common arguments has been that Stradivari couldn't have made around one to two instruments per month. But I think that anyone who has known a fast, efficient, hard-working, and highly skilled maker will be able to disagree with that.

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13 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Do you think that it would be relatively easy to create a fake Burgess violin 20 years from now? (A sincere question)

People are occasionally trying to sell fakes of living contemporary makers, right now! I've run across one fake Burgess on Ebay, and another that someone was trying to sell to a dealer in China (the dealer emailed photos to me, asking if it was genuine). Some other makers I know have had similar experiences.

I think it's a better strategy to fake the work of a dead maker, so the maker can no longer personally opine on the authenticity of the instrument. :lol:

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15 hours ago, martin swan said:

We are so enslaved to this notion of a violin as an authentic artwork made by a single pair of hands, and yet violin-making has never really been like that. If dealers were a bit braver, and just started talking about violin-makers as they really are/were (ie. someone in charge of a small team) then we wouldn't get into this sort of mess.

 

14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I'm not so sure about that.

While I have in the past employed helpers to do things like plane plates flat, rough out archings with a gouge, rough out graduations, and make lining stock, I've done everything myself for at least 20 years.

 

3 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

People are occasionally trying to sell fakes of living contemporary makers, right now! I've run across one fake Burgess on Ebay, and another that someone was trying to sell to a dealer in China (the dealer emailed photos to me, asking if it was genuine). Some other makers I know have had similar experiences.

I'm one of these, I've already had 4 or 5 cases of forgery and that's why I always invite those who have the opportunity to buy my violins to contact me for clarification (which I give for free, of course:)).

I also add myself to the violin makers who do everything by themselves (I've never allowed anyone to get my hands on my job, not even for roughing).

Maybe we are not the majority, but I do so because I am convinced that this is an added value to guarantee the full quality control.

Of course this numerically decreases production and lengthens waiting lists, but I like to think that this can create job opportunities for other promising young makers who may need more than me to sell and make known the quality of their violins.....:DB)
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42 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I can see how claiming that most high-value old makers used a workshop system, is mighty appealing to contemporary makers who do that. ;)

 

You are trumpifying! It's not a "claim" more a well documented truth ...

does anyone dispute that Stradivari instruments were made in a workshop? 

I do accept that in our post-industrial world, people put a premium now on something that's the work of one pair of hands, but I think that's more of a buyer preference than to do with quality of work. And I think it's a mistake to try to reshape history to suit the preferences of the present day.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

You are trumpifying! It's not a "claim" more a well documented truth ...

does anyone dispute that Stradivari instruments were made in a workshop?

That depends on what roles you think Francesco and Omobono played.

“In 1824, the Cremonese biographer Vincenzo Lancetti, who had interviewed Count Cozio di Salabue in compiling an account of violin making in Cremona, described the work of Stradivari’s sons; according to his account, paraphrased by the Hills in their 1902 book on Stradivari, they “principally confined their efforts to repairing and adjusting instruments, aided in the varnishing and general management, so that the master might be free to devote himself unremittingly to the construction of his instruments."

The above is from page 185 in the first volume of “The Conservation, Restoration, and Repair of Stringed Instruments and Their Bows”, article written by Hebbert.

By the way, only Americans are allowed to use the term "trumpifying". :lol::P

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And yet they morphed very fluidly into good makers on their own account ...

But in a way my argument was more that if we weren't so hung up on the myth of a single maker, we wouldn't be so traumatised by some of the anomalies that the workshop system has thrown up.

While there are plenty of examples of makers (current and historical) who like Arnie "voerk alone", this in itself is not a factor in whether a violin is a good violin or not.

 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

People are occasionally trying to sell fakes of living contemporary makers, right now! I've run across one fake Burgess on Ebay, and another that someone was trying to sell to a dealer in China (the dealer emailed photos to me, asking if it was genuine). Some other makers I know have had similar experiences.

Thanks for the reply!

So, is there anything that you can do to make it harder to fake your violins? I am thinking like planting a RFID in the scroll that has an encrypted serial number or even a using a bar code or number written on the inside rib with a public/private key.

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25 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Thanks for the reply!

So, is there anything that you can do to make it harder to fake your violins? I am thinking like planting a RFID in the scroll that has an encrypted serial number or even a using a bar code or number written on the inside rib with a public/private key.

George, I don't know. Apparently, RFID chips can be copied, and much more easily so than making a convincing copy of a violin.

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3 hours ago, martin swan said:

I never thought it was a list of great sounding modern makers.

If it was, then Poggi would be up there, but Fagnola would have to be way down that list.

As a matter of fact there was a member of the NHK orchestra who started to push sales of Fagnolas in Japan when the bubble economy was booming here. I think this explains to 90 percent the inflated prices for Fagnolas.

Besides he sold most of them  to his colleagues it seems, so at that time probably half of the violins in the orchestra were Fagnolas

 

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Well ... E Degani is quite inconsistent, most are lightly built and underpowered, but a great one is great!

My personal list would be something like Fiorini, Enrico Rocca, Poggi, Leandro Bisiach ... a great Scarampella can be outstanding but most aren't great, and an early Oddone might sound pretty good. Then there are various "hit and miss" makers who managed something decent-sounding one time in three :P

But I don't think this is neccessarily the best place to spend 6 figures - does it have to be Italian? Some Piques are amazing, and for the price of your Degani you could have had a violin by Gand, Aldric, or various other top class French makers, Jacob or Martin Fendt, a Panormo etc etc ...

I would definitely and wholeheartedly exclude Fagnola, unless you are prepared to go looking for the needle in the haystack. There are many great 18th and 19th C Italian makers who are undervalued too ...

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18 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Well ... E Degani is quite inconsistent, most are lightly built and underpowered, but a great one is great!

My personal list would be something like Fiorini, Enrico Rocca, Poggi, Leandro Bisiach ... a great Scarampella can be outstanding but most aren't great, and an early Oddone might sound pretty good. Then there are various "hit and miss" makers who managed something decent-sounding one time in three :P

But I don't think this is neccessarily the best place to spend 6 figures - does it have to be Italian? Some Piques are amazing, and for the price of your Degani you could have had a violin by Gand, Aldric, or various other top class French makers, Jacob or Martin Fendt, a Panormo etc etc ...

I would definitely and wholeheartedly exclude Fagnola, unless you are prepared to go looking for the needle in the haystack. There are many great 18th and 19th C Italian makers who are undervalued too ...

Thank you for your detailed response! Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. The reason I’m not considering French makers, is because, I have a great Guarneri model JBV and wanted to have something Italian as well.

My Degani has a beautiful dark tone, but unfortunately, doesn’t have the power to project in a big hall with an orchestra. 

I have recently played on a great sounding Scarampella. It had a perfect balance of projection and tone. That’s why I was asking about them. 

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52 minutes ago, Violinist1828 said:

 

I have recently played on a great sounding Scarampella. It had a perfect balance of projection and tone. That’s why I was asking about them. 

How may Scarampellas haven't been regraduated? My guess would be very few, if a dealer wanted to get them out the door.

When I started out in the trade, Scarampellas were a dime-a-dozen, gathering dust on back shelves, awaiting the time when market prices could justify the costs of needed interventions.

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13 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Is there a problem with a violin being regraduated, assuming it sounds great ...?

Not being confrontational - just asking what your take is on that.

What I'll say is that a good-sounding Scarampella may not be solely attributable to the talents of Mr. Scarampella, so I wouldn't make brand sound-quality generalizations for that particular maker.

The same may apply to Strads.

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