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Who are the most undervalued contemporary builders?


jacklinks
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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Isn't it more about the sound than about how a violin looks like?

Not completely.  There is on maker I know of who makes violins that score consistently high in tone at competitions... but the workmanship and artistry are consistently near the bottom.

It's a balance of many factors, and one good one won't override all the others.

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Interesting realization. I’ve been a member of this board for years and years and years, and I discovered David Burgess and Samuel Zygmuntovich here. I’ve seen exactly one Ziggy violin( destined for Brompton’s, if I recall) and exactly one Burgess viola, in the hands of a very grateful colleague, but everyone speaks so reverently of each maker, and has for years, that I’d love to try a cello from each, (even though I have my lifetime cello) just to see what the fuss is about.

the takeaway is that when educated people say the same good thing over many years about a maker, it is the best possible endorsement, and would eliminate any possibility of their work being undervalued, or inaccurately valued.

 

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

It all depends on one's interpretation of "value".  

If you're focused on price now vs price later, that's one thing, and incorporates more factors and different weighting than the value as a musician's tool, or as an object of craftsmanship.  Selling value has some chance of being objective, i.e. what it can be sold for.  The other factors are totally subjective and therefore varies far more with who you ask.

I am looking at this in the context of the past to present, bows are a good example.  If we go back even a hundred years and see what the selling price was for certain maker's bows, and compare them to today, you will see definite trends which vary by maker.  I believe over time, the subjective and the objective tend to converge; even though there will always be some examples, both judges and judged, that will be outliers.  So to put it another way, we can look at instruments from a given modern maker and objectively see that all the boxes have been checked in all the right areas,  although right now they look a bit cold and need to be played in.  In comparison, other instruments from a different modern maker look like they were dug up from the floor of a 17th century monastery and sound like the voice of God herself....but objectively, we can tell that everything is thin: varnish, graduations, and structural integrity.  Eventually, both instruments will have the subjective and the objective converge....with the exception of the outliers.

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For those with modest budgets and who are not in the game of buying for future investment value, there is something to be said for finding a lesser known maker whose instruments you like, and commissioning without a long waiting time. You can enjoy the same pleasure of seeing an instrument coming to birth with you input hopefully, and at the same time provide opportunities for makers keen to turn over some trade. I did so with some three violas and two fiddles for students and naturally know of others who have done something similar.

 

 

Edited by Omobono
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I'd say we all are ..... lol.... value is hard to ascribe, do we value the name ? The look the tone? Resale ? How about hourly and materials.? Of course big picture stuff like awards and high profile players help sales, .....varnish and set up , ? My honest question becomes what are people valuing as they consider the purchase of a contemporary violin. .? 

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5 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

I am looking at this in the context of the past to present, bows are a good example.  If we go back even a hundred years and see what the selling price was for certain maker's bows, and compare them to today, you will see definite trends which vary by maker.  I believe over time, the subjective and the objective tend to converge; even though there will always be some examples, both judges and judged, that will be outliers.  So to put it another way, we can look at instruments from a given modern maker and objectively see that all the boxes have been checked in all the right areas,  although right now they look a bit cold and need to be played in.  In comparison, other instruments from a different modern maker look like they were dug up from the floor of a 17th century monastery and sound like the voice of God herself....but objectively, we can tell that everything is thin: varnish, graduations, and structural integrity.  Eventually, both instruments will have the subjective and the objective converge....with the exception of the outliers.

Not so convinced they will converge.

The voice of God will be played, loved, repaired, and cherished.  And will remain the voice God.

The other will simply get older.

 

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7 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Not so convinced they will converge.

The voice of God will be played, loved, repaired, and cherished.  And will remain the voice God.

The other will simply get older.

 

History shows they converge, not only about instruments, but about everything.  Through time, judgements gel.... We can all name things that were not so objectively popular when they were made that eventually were prized, as well as things that were incredibly objectively popular that never caught on.

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17 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

i am, and it looks like Davide Sora is too. Neither of us have resorted to making making copies or fakes, and it looks like both of us are doing OK.

There might be more than one way to skin a cat. ;)

For the two of you, you're instruments are successful and appealing now.  That is also the basis for their futures.

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32 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

History shows they converge, not only about instruments, but about everything.  Through time, judgements gel.... We can all name things that were not so objectively popular when they were made that eventually were prized, as well as things that were incredibly objectively popular that never caught on.

Genre paintings don't become unique  voices with time.

Popular focus can leave one thing and find another.  Often what's popular in its time looks less important across time.  And very often something made with depth in its time but was not noticed then can gain notice time.

But that character of the objects themselves don't really improve or greatly change with time.

Something doesn't become better made with time.

 

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1 minute ago, David Beard said:

Genre paintings don't become unique  voices with time.

Popular focus can leave one thing and find another.  Often what's popular in its time looks less important across time.  And very often something made with depth in its time but was not noticed then can gain notice time.

But that character of the objects themselves don't really improve or greatly change with time.

Something doesn't become better made with time.

 

Of course things do not get better made with time, otherwise, that is exactly what I was trying to say.

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Oops.  Seems I didn't read properly before responding.

I reacted as if you were supporting the notion that modern feaures that differ today from classical will magically morph into what we see in classical stuff.  Or that character differences evident now will age into what see in the best old work.  Those sorts of ideas rile me up and I lose my head.

Apologies.

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2 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Oops.  Seems I didn't read properly before responding.

I reacted as if you were supporting the notion that modern feaures that differ today from classical will magically morph into what we see in classical stuff.  Or that character differences evident now will age into what see in the best old work.  Those sorts of ideas rile me up and I lose my head.

Apologies.

Cheers.

jp

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11 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Not for me, this also gets to the point Alex made.  I am looking as "undervalued" in the context of decades down the road, what is the instrument's significance and how has the market judged the maker.  I see dealers pricing instruments based on who made it, not on sound.

Yes, dealers look on names. One way to do it. 

I just learned that there is sometimes a gap between the dealers perspective to the players perspective.

I would suggest a short cross check. If you have a maker  in your inventory who is in the mouth to mouth advertising and another maker in the same price category who is not. Then if you look how often you have to show the instrument and how long time it takes until it is sold I bet the first beats the second with fewer times showing and fewer days until sold.

i heard as well often stories from musicians how the decision to buy an instrument was made. It was not every time on recommendation from another player, but if this was the case it was basically the only argument summed up as 'instruments of maker X function well.'

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On 6/1/2019 at 1:55 AM, jacklinks said:

This is a spin-off of “the most expensive contemporary instruments” thread.....

Who are the most undervalued contemporary violin makers?

I think this is impossible to answer in any definitive way.

Already a lot of good points made about how to define undervalued, and how it could be interpreted in the future.

Assuming we are talking about quality of workmanship, tone, playability etc. Right now, I would say the most undervalued are going to be poorly known, those with no marketing skills, only known in a small area or by a small circle of players, and perhaps restorers who only have time to make one instrument per year or so. I'm sure this situation will be common in many countries, but to find these people will be very tough.

Undervalued in a financial sense is different, and would require a lot of luck, mixed in with various market considerations. If you find a maker, before they reach any kind of stardom it could be an astute buy, but earlier works are probably never going to be quite so well regarded as those of the successful period.

There will be many makers in countries poorer than USA, working under serious financial restraints, who if given the chance could beat a lot of established names, but their circumstances may never allow a successful career to develop.

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18 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Not completely.  There is on maker I know of who makes violins that score consistently high in tone at competitions... but the workmanship and artistry are consistently near the bottom.

It's a balance of many factors, and one good one won't override all the others.

You think that competitions are so important to evaluate the level of a maker? 

The thing about workmanship is that judges impossibly can get in the situation of a competition a broader view on the style of the maker. If you would see only one Scarampella you would think as a judge 'oh boy, that's low level workmanship.' 

However if you line them all up to get the whole picture, you see the consistency on his work which is a sort of fingerprint like style coming from regarding workmanship as uneccesary for a good sound.

I have been reading about abstract expressionist painters recently. I think, the process of creation goes in the same direction. No one would think it is difficult to imitate Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. It is difficult, because what you see is only on the surface. Behind it was a different invisible intent.

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7 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I have been reading about abstract expressionist painters recently. I think, the process of creation goes in the same direction. No one would think it is difficult to imitate Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. It is difficult, because what you see is only on the surface. Behind it was a different invisible intent.

Comparing instruments or bows to art is not particularly valid, artwork is designed exclusively to trigger the subjective. Instruments and bows perform a function as a tool, art does not.  If you wish to compare instruments and bows to brushes, air brushes, or canvass frames, that would be more apropos. 

Now, once again it is time the arm waving to start.

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12 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

History shows they converge, not only about instruments, but about everything.  Through time, judgements gel.... We can all name things that were not so objectively popular when they were made that eventually were prized, as well as things that were incredibly objectively popular that never caught on.

Would be illuminating if you could give a violin maker example.

i actually would say that George Chanot 1 is a maker who despite his talents as copyist didn't make it (at least in comparison to his peer JBV) because he never got the good sound gossip from players. 

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As I said in the other thread about the most valued makers it is interesting to think about which instruments would sell if the labels were removed. In the future instruments that have enough originality or personality to be identifiable will increase in value while instruments which look like everyone else's will not.

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29 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Would be illuminating if you could give a violin maker example.

i actually would say that George Chanot 1 is a maker who despite his talents as copyist didn't make it (at least in comparison to his peer JBV) because he never got the good sound gossip from players. 

Well, you could look at any catalogue from the 20’s, 30’s’ 40’s, or 50’s.  You will see pretty comparable standard prices for given makers, then look at those makers prices today and see the wildly different contemporary price points.  

Also, your “gossip from players” explanation does not hold water as today a “Vuillaume” bow does not overshadow a Dominique Pecatte bow of the same period, or even with the same brand.

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37 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Would be illuminating if you could give a violin maker example.

i actually would say that George Chanot 1 is a maker who despite his talents as copyist didn't make it (at least in comparison to his peer JBV) because he never got the good sound gossip from players. 

Wasn’t Lupot a Strad copyist who didn’t use his own pattern at all?

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3 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Well, you could look at any catalogue from the 20’s, 30’, 40’, or 50’s.  You will see pretty comparable standard prices for given makers, then look at those makers prices today and see the wildly different price points.  

Also, your “gossip from players” explanation does not hold water as today a “Vuillaume” bow does not overshadow a Dominique Pecatte bow of the same period, or even with the same brand.

Don't have those catalogues. Who for example? 

'Gossip of players' maybe sounds too negative. There are makers whose 'sound quality ranking' gets established amongst players for one or another reason. Didn't say it is water tight but the percentage of success is pretty convincing.

Are you talking about Vuillaume self rehair bows? I thought it was Vuilaume himself who created the gossip about it by taking any opportunity to advertise it?

 

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