violinnoob77

First Italian Violin - Help please?

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Hi, 

I am new to the forum and was looking to get some help. I am from Malaysia and have been learning the violin for 3 years. I am an adult learner and recently decided to give myself a treat by purchasing a new violin. I currently play on a violin from that I purchased in Singapore at a shop Gramercy fo $1500 (USD). I understand this is a Czech instrument but am not very sure either.

I was looking at some Italian violins for 'investment' purposes too and have been reading up a lot. A seller in Malaysia has helped me narrow it down to 3 pieces:

Giorgio Grisales: $19,000
Stefano Marzi: $18,000
Stefano Simoetti: $13,000

I understand that the Simonetti is a workshop violin from the maker Dimitri Atanassov. I have tried the violins and personally, I think it sounds as good as the other 2. However, I cannot find much information about it. Is this a new brand? Anybody have any information that you can share on this? Also, does it mean that even though the sound is about on the same level (IMO), the price will not appreciate?

Thank you and any input would be much appreciated!

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5 hours ago, violinnoob77 said:

I was looking at some Italian violins for 'investment' purposes ...

Thank you and any input would be much appreciated!

This is theoretical and just something to think about.  If I was going to "invest" in violins around your price range I'd look for good prices in old Mittenwald violins.  They've gone up maybe 10x in the last 30 years or so.  Also, as an investment violins sell slowly and you have to pay a big commission to somebody.

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5 hours ago, violinnoob77 said:

Hi, 

I am new to the forum and was looking to get some help. I am from Malaysia and have been learning the violin for 3 years. I am an adult learner and recently decided to give myself a treat by purchasing a new violin. I currently play on a violin from that I purchased in Singapore at a shop Gramercy fo $1500 (USD). I understand this is a Czech instrument but am not very sure either.

I was looking at some Italian violins for 'investment' purposes too and have been reading up a lot. A seller in Malaysia has helped me narrow it down to 3 pieces:

Giorgio Grisales: $19,000
Stefano Marzi: $18,000
Stefano Simoetti: $13,000

I understand that the Simonetti is a workshop violin from the maker Dimitri Atanassov. I have tried the violins and personally, I think it sounds as good as the other 2. However, I cannot find much information about it. Is this a new brand? Anybody have any information that you can share on this? Also, does it mean that even though the sound is about on the same level (IMO), the price will not appreciate?

Thank you and any input would be much appreciated!

Hi, welcome to the forum!  Because of what I'll laughingly refer to as "forum etiquette" and "professional courtesy", nobody of any stature around here is going to give you a straight answer in public.  That leaves it to me..........  :lol:

The first two names you listed are of living makers, the third (as you noted) is a workshop brand name.  All are currently doing business in Cremona.....as are hundreds of others.  Making violins in Italy adds to the price you can ask for your fiddles.  Making them in Cremona adds a further premium to that.  If you wish some guidance to safely negotiating the rocks and shoals of shopping for modern Cremonese violins, I strongly suggest that you contact (by Personal Messenger) our members Davide Sora and Bruce Carlson, who both work in Cremona.  If anyone here knows the conditions on the ground there, they do.

FWIW, as is well known around here, investment/resale value of violins by modern makers is a high-stakes game of chance.  IMHO, especially considering where you are, you'd be better off investing in kerises.  They are much easier to evaluate. 

Gramercy Music is reputedly a good shop.  I suspect that what you are already playing is an "Antonin Dvorak Model 5", which is a modern day "Markie".  There's nothing wrong with that at all.  If you are an adult student with only 3 years experience, IMHO, upgrading to a much more expensive fiddle with nothing objectively better about it but the provenance, is going to be a waste of your money.  I hope my blithering helps you.  :)

 

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13 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

This is theoretical and just something to think about.  If I was going to "invest" in violins around your price range I'd look for good prices in old Mittenwald violins.  They've gone up maybe 10x in the last 30 years or so.  Also, as an investment violins sell slowly and you have to pay a big commission to somebody.

Thank you Bill! Yes in fact I was looking at some old violins too but my teacher did not seem keen as she mentioned that there are a lot of hidden costs i.e maintenance that would be tricky! I will go take a look at Mittenwald!

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13 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Hi, welcome to the forum!  Because of what I'll laughingly refer to as "forum etiquette" and "professional courtesy", nobody of any stature around here is going to give you a straight answer in public.  That leaves it to me..........  :lol:

The first two names you listed are of living makers, the third (as you noted) is a workshop brand name.  All are currently doing business in Cremona.....as are hundreds of others.  Making violins in Italy adds to the price you can ask for your fiddles.  Making them in Cremona adds a further premium to that.  If you wish some guidance to safely negotiating the rocks and shoals of shopping for modern Cremonese violins, I strongly suggest that you contact (by Personal Messenger) our members Davide Sora and Bruce Carlson, who both work in Cremona.  If anyone here knows the conditions on the ground there, they do.

FWIW, as is well known around here, investment/resale value of violins by modern makers is a high-stakes game of chance.  IMHO, especially considering where you are, you'd be better off investing in kerises.  They are much easier to evaluate. 

Gramercy Music is reputedly a good shop.  I suspect that what you are already playing is an "Antonin Dvorak Model 5", which is a modern day "Markie".  There's nothing wrong with that at all.  If you are an adult student with only 3 years experience, IMHO, upgrading to a much more expensive fiddle with nothing objectively better about it but the provenance, is going to be a waste of your money.  I hope my blithering helps you.  :)

 

Hi Violadamore!

 

Thank you so much for your very detailed reply! Haha yes I was afraid that I might not get the answer I was looking for due to 'forum etiquette' hahaha!

Yes, in fact, I will aka your advice and contact Davide Sora and Bruce Carlson! Thank you for that. Yes I understand that it is going to be a game of chance.. which of course scares me. By the way, in your opinion, does the sound of the violin matter at all when looking at the investment 'value'? Or is it just the make and maker? I personally find the Simonetti to be the best sounding of the 3 instruments (my teacher agrees) but I am just afraid that being a workshop violin, there is less value in the long run. It has me caught in this dilemma where $13,000 for the Simonetti violin sounds like a good buy because it punches way above its price but is a crazy and not-so-clever decision and amount of money to pay for a workshop violin..

Wow, you are absolutely right! I play on that exact violin! Actually, I have no complaints about the violin at all but was just very tempted when I saw other violins being played by the other students under my teacher! Thank you again for the advice and this definitely gave me something to think about! :) Hmmm... maybe a fancy watch might make more sense! Hahaha

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13 hours ago, Televet said:

Plus one for Vda's comments.

If you still have a hankering for a quality handmade violin Apostal and Ivan Kaloferov in Bulgaria make fantastic sounding violins for less than half  of what is being asked for the Bulgarian workshop Simonetti.

Thank you Televet! I will go check them out! Looks impressive even just from the website! :) I wonder if Simonetti is even a real person's name actually! Haha

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On 6/14/2019 at 6:26 AM, violinnoob77 said:

Hi, 

I am new to the forum and was looking to get some help. I am from Malaysia and have been learning the violin for 3 years. I am an adult learner and recently decided to give myself a treat by purchasing a new violin. I currently play on a violin from that I purchased in Singapore at a shop Gramercy fo $1500 (USD). I understand this is a Czech instrument but am not very sure either.

I was looking at some Italian violins for 'investment' purposes too and have been reading up a lot. A seller in Malaysia has helped me narrow it down to 3 pieces:

Giorgio Grisales: $19,000
Stefano Marzi: $18,000
Stefano Simoetti: $13,000

I understand that the Simonetti is a workshop violin from the maker Dimitri Atanassov. I have tried the violins and personally, I think it sounds as good as the other 2. However, I cannot find much information about it. Is this a new brand? Anybody have any information that you can share on this? Also, does it mean that even though the sound is about on the same level (IMO), the price will not appreciate?

Thank you and any input would be much appreciated!

Only considering the three makers you suggested, I would say Grisales is the best known and has had a good reputation for a long time. 

If you’re looking for a violin purely as an investment, you could do very well purchasing an old French violin with a good certificate for less. Modern Italians will appreciate, but at a little slower rate than older makers at the same price. As to the condition, there are innumerable old violins out there that are in pristine condition, just right for investment. Don’t let anyone convince you that old violins are going to be in bad shape! They have the advantage of having been aged and played in over the years. There are some new makers that make instruments that sound amazing right off the bench, but they are in high demand, so price will reflect that. 

There are a lot of complexities to violin investment, and there is a certain amount of danger. To minimize the risks, find a shop you can trust that will back up the instrument and get a certificate from a top expert if it’s old or one from the maker of it’s new. Also, find a luthier you can trust to keep your instrument in good shape so that it will fetch a good price when you’re ready to sell. 

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6 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

May I ask which criteria made you narrow it down to those 3 makers? 

And which makers were kicked out for those criteria?

Hi Andreas!

the main criteria was a price of <USD20,000. I am still learning everyday about tone and color and sound so I dare not say that sound quality was one of the criterias. Any advanced level violin sounds better than the one I play on now I guess! Haha!

 

Of course I would have been much happier if the violins were closer to something like USD5,000 but it seems like Italian violins go for at least USD10,000 and up? This was the impression I got from the shops we have here in Malaysia and even when I flew in to Singapore!

 

I tried a violin by Stefano Conia that I loved! But it was way over my budget at $30,000. I understand that he is a big time maker with lots of ‘family history’ and hence the big price tag. Kudos to him for his hard work but that was way out of my budget and probably out of my league too! The other notable (IMO) one I tried was from maker Daniele Tonarelli. Again, it was beyond my budget at $22,000.. 

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1 hour ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

Only considering the three makers you suggested, I would say Grisales is the best known and has had a good reputation for a long time. 

If you’re looking for a violin purely as an investment, you could do very well purchasing an old French violin with a good certificate for less. Modern Italians will appreciate, but at a little slower rate than older makers at the same price. As to the condition, there are innumerable old violins out there that are in pristine condition, just right for investment. Don’t let anyone convince you that old violins are going to be in bad shape! They have the advantage of having been aged and played in over the years. There are some new makers that make instruments that sound amazing right off the bench, but they are in high demand, so price will reflect that. 

There are a lot of complexities to violin investment, and there is a certain amount of danger. To minimize the risks, find a shop you can trust that will back up the instrument and get a certificate from a top expert if it’s old or one from the maker of it’s new. Also, find a luthier you can trust to keep your instrument in good shape so that it will fetch a good price when you’re ready to sell. 

Hi Violin Beautiful!

thank you for your input too! I never expected such a warm response from everyone on this forum!

Yes I agree with you on the antique instruments being somewhat a better investment! I’ve seen and studied the numbers (I deal with numbers in my day job, sadly) and am convinced so too! I think the idea of owning a modern Italian was more appealing to me as I read so many stories of fake violins and certificates! I guess I also just thought it would be safer if the maker were still alive! 

Thank you for the info regarding having a luthier take good care of the violin too! Like you said, I think there are so many complexities when it comes to violin investment. Your reply has reaffirmed my love for the Grisales violin and I am also starting to lean more towards it and trying to ignore the much ‘cheaper’ Simonetti violin. I guess the workshop violins are just not going to cut it especially if we are looking at this just from an investment or demand/supply perspective!

I really hope I make the right decision after considering all the input from you expert

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16 hours ago, violinnoob77 said:

Wow, you are absolutely right! I play on that exact violin! Actually, I have no complaints about the violin at all but was just very tempted when I saw other violins being played by the other students under my teacher!

[Briefly appears to become about 3 feet tall, and green.] Dangerous thinking, young Jedi, this way leads to the Dark Side.....and maybe bankruptcy. ;):lol:

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