jacklinks

Which modern Italian makers between $10-$20k build 100% ..

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Which modern Italian makers in the $10-$20k range build their violins 100% with their own hands vs having certain components built elsewhere (other than bridges, pegs, tailpieces, etc)?

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50 minutes ago, jacklinks said:

Which modern Italian makers in the $10-$20k range build their violins 100% with their own hands vs having certain components built elsewhere (other than bridges, pegs, tailpieces, etc)?

I have no idea, but I know lots of places where you can buy all sorts of nice sounding antique violins (other than Italian, of course) for $1000 to $2000 or less.  This may be the only response close to a straight answer you get, BTW.  [Trots off to grab her anti-ballistic gear, grate Pecorino Romano over a bushel of popcorn, and fill a Camelbak with Montepulciano D'Abruzzo and ice.]  :ph34r::)

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Hopefully there should be many, but realistically what are you expecting people to say?

Unless you actually watch someone make the thing, no one can be 100% certain how it was produced once finished.

I doubt you are going to get a long list of makers replying, admitting they buy them from Bulgaria, then varnish the white boxes in Italy, for example.

All opinions about others working methods will be speculation, and probably unhelpful.

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For a professional  maker, making a violin isn't  the  slow  and tedious  task  that  people  often seem to imagine.  

I know  of many  makers who have  a  staff making for them, and whose  instruments  are absolutely  legitimately  sold  as their own. But most work alone, and do everything  themselves, and the process  of making beautiful  things  is  what drew them to violins  in  the  first  place. For most, making  a  new violin  is  as exciting  as  it ever was. Only very occasionally  have I seen  instruments  that looked a bit fishy from new makers.

I can't  imagine  it would  be  all that different  in Cremona. I hope  I'm not  too naive. 

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Things have become more sophisticated....  a Chinese guy offered copies of my own violas made in China...  I would send them one of my violas in the white, with top and back just lightly  glued, and they would send me as many copies of it I wanted, in the white, so that I could finish and varnish them with my personal touches. I refused the offer.

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A few years ago I saw a Chines Otto Erdesz. Made me wonder about the tons of real ones Ive seen over the years.

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I would like to say something about contemporary making in Italy from my point of view. I am an Italian maker and (mostly, for now) repairer and I was trained in Cremona, had a home-based workshop there for some years before moving south to Sicily.

I believe that many of the instruments that so-called (calling themselves?) "makers" buy in-white from Bulgaria, Romania, China, then varnish and set-up (sometimes badly), are sold in our domestic market, with the assistance of complacent music teachers. I am not saying that there are few counterfeit instruments selling in the US and in other markets, it's just that our students are often the first who pay the price of this situation. Secret commissions are very high and widespread, while "legitimate" shop owners, can only rely to selling their products and services to a smaller, more knowledgeable group of professionals if they want to stay out of that swamp. It takes years, it's very frustrating and that's why I am still trying to move and work in another country. My "plan B" was to move back to Cremona, but having seen how far and long this debate is going among foreign customers and violin enthusiasts, I am asking to myself whether to look for an alternative. This is sad for me, because I really enjoyed living in Cremona for 12 years.   Everyone should keep in mind that Italy is a corrupt nation, and that the enduring economic crisis has definitely made things worse, even in the wealthier and, in some ways, more orderly parts of Italy. The positive commercial reputation that Cremona had made in the past has been eroded and tainted in our own country. How many teachers are traveling there just to find cheap, "attractive" instruments that they will resell to their pupils.

For myself, I have tried to build connections with the United States for a couple of years now.  Perhaps I will specialize in "Skype violin making sessions" or something like that, but I think that wouldn't be very productive. A lot of fun, indeed! Secondly, I am trying to distance myself from the "Cremona standard" with a more personal style and it's true that having many people living and working door-to-door makes some stylistical trends almost ubiquitous; and more, there have been some senior masters who were much in control of the newcomer's market, who used to impose their style and idiosyncrasies upon the young makers in order to get more saleable instruments, especially for the Japanese market. This is not a straight and hard criticism towards all Cremonese makers, "siamo intesi".

And finally, "buyers beware"! Be it for violins, or wine, or Parmigiano Reggiano, one should be aware where he/she is putting their money...

Giovanni

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20 minutes ago, Giovanni Corazzol said:

I would like to say something about contemporary making in Italy from my point of view. I am an Italian maker and (mostly, for now) repairer and I was trained in Cremona, had a home-based workshop there for some years before moving south to Sicily.......... This is not a straight and hard criticism towards all Cremonese makers, "siamo intesi".

And finally, "buyers beware"! Be it for violins, or wine, or Parmigiano Reggiano, one should be aware where he/she is putting their money...

Giovanni

Thank you for a most thoughtful and enlightening post. 

I'd add olive oil and cured meats to your list.  [Sounds of sipping and nibbling]  Yup, one can't be too careful these days.  You might wind up with German prosciutto or something....  ;):huh:  :)

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3 hours ago, deans said:

A few years ago I saw a Chines Otto Erdesz. Made me wonder about the tons of real ones Ive seen over the years.

Yes, but no self-respecting Chinese maker would stoop to Doug Fir for a top and leave copious amounts of pink chalk on the inside to fool anyone!

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2 hours ago, Giovanni Corazzol said:

I would like to say something about contemporary making in Italy from my point of view. I am an Italian maker and (mostly, for now) repairer and I was trained in Cremona, had a home-based workshop there for some years before moving south to Sicily.

I believe that many of the instruments that so-called (calling themselves?) "makers" buy in-white from Bulgaria, Romania, China, then varnish and set-up (sometimes badly), are sold in our domestic market, with the assistance of complacent music teachers. I am not saying that there are few counterfeit instruments selling in the US and in other markets, it's just that our students are often the first who pay the price of this situation. Secret commissions are very high and widespread, while "legitimate" shop owners, can only rely to selling their products and services to a smaller, more knowledgeable group of professionals if they want to stay out of that swamp. It takes years, it's very frustrating and that's why I am still trying to move and work in another country. My "plan B" was to move back to Cremona, but having seen how far and long this debate is going among foreign customers and violin enthusiasts, I am asking to myself whether to look for an alternative. This is sad for me, because I really enjoyed living in Cremona for 12 years.   Everyone should keep in mind that Italy is a corrupt nation, and that the enduring economic crisis has definitely made things worse, even in the wealthier and, in some ways, more orderly parts of Italy. The positive commercial reputation that Cremona had made in the past has been eroded and tainted in our own country. How many teachers are traveling there just to find cheap, "attractive" instruments that they will resell to their pupils.

For myself, I have tried to build connections with the United States for a couple of years now.  Perhaps I will specialize in "Skype violin making sessions" or something like that, but I think that wouldn't be very productive. A lot of fun, indeed! Secondly, I am trying to distance myself from the "Cremona standard" with a more personal style and it's true that having many people living and working door-to-door makes some stylistical trends almost ubiquitous; and more, there have been some senior masters who were much in control of the newcomer's market, who used to impose their style and idiosyncrasies upon the young makers in order to get more saleable instruments, especially for the Japanese market. This is not a straight and hard criticism towards all Cremonese makers, "siamo intesi".

And finally, "buyers beware"! Be it for violins, or wine, or Parmigiano Reggiano, one should be aware where he/she is putting their money...

Giovanni

That's  a  shame Giovanni, I'm sorry  to  hear  it.

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I posted a query about a year ago:

”how many makers make their own purfling?”

I was quite surprised to find out that most makers don’t make their own.

i was looking for the post to share but couldn’t find it.

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9 hours ago, Conor Russell said:

For a professional  maker, making a violin isn't  the  slow  and tedious  task  that  people  often seem to imagine.  

I know  of many  makers who have  a  staff making for them, and whose  instruments  are absolutely  legitimately  sold  as their own. But most work alone, and do everything  themselves, and the process  of making beautiful  things  is  what drew them to violins  in  the  first  place. For most, making  a  new violin  is  as exciting  as  it ever was. Only very occasionally  have I seen  instruments  that looked a bit fishy from new makers.

I can't  imagine  it would  be  all that different  in Cremona. I hope  I'm not  too naive. 

I like your answer. Make beautiful things first.

“money doesn’t make things beautiful, but beautiful things will be worth money.”

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8 hours ago, MANFIO said:

Things have become more sophisticated....  a Chinese guy offered copies of my own violas made in China...  I would send them one of my violas in the white, with top and back just lightly  glued, and they would send me as many copies of it I wanted, in the white, so that I could finish and varnish them with my personal touches.

How did they compare with your “true” violas?

if they are making the bodies, they at least used their own wood, right?

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9 hours ago, Conor Russell said:

For a professional  maker, making a violin isn't  the  slow  and tedious  task  that  people  often seem to imagine.  

I know  of many  makers who have  a  staff making for them, and whose  instruments  are absolutely  legitimately  sold  as their own. But most work alone, and do everything  themselves, and the process  of making beautiful  things  is  what drew them to violins  in  the  first  place. For most, making  a  new violin  is  as exciting  as  it ever was. Only very occasionally  have I seen  instruments  that looked a bit fishy from new makers.

I can't  imagine  it would  be  all that different  in Cremona. I hope  I'm not  too naive. 

I see the whole Cremona business from the point where things are sold in Japan.  

Nobody can actually see the real output numbers and in some cases I have the suspicion that numbers are lowered in the front of the public to give the impression customers want to see for entirely hand made instruments. 

Secondly, as you know from Maestronet,, an increasing number of violin makers works with CNC and I absolutely don't see any reason why this trend should miraculously stop at the door of the busiest violin making place in the world. (The same applies to old fashioned schemes of semi finished parts.) 

If a maker can afford to put his newly made instruments for 4000 Euro (before commission!) at auction in Japan he won't make 6 instruments per year that's for sure. 

My vague guess is that many makers in Cremona economize where it is most reasonable  in their situation: pre made ribs (how wonderful that there is a Strad model every customer in Japan wants to see)  and machine pre carved scroll. (Can't really blame them.) 

Naive are the customers in Japsn who think the bigger the name (= the more instruments made) the better the maker. And where commission fee money is changeing hands, ears are literally turning deaf towards the better sounding instruments. 

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

How did they compare with your “true” violas?

if they are making the bodies, they at least used their own wood, right?

I don't know, I refused their offer!!!!  I continue making everything from the scratch.

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I would like to remember that many teachers are very honest and generous with their students. Recently a teacher in Berlin paid 70% of the price of one of my violas to his student.

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47 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

I would like to remember that many teachers are very honest and generous with their students. Recently a teacher in Berlin paid 70% of the price of one of my violas to his student.

Interest free hopefully.

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On 9/5/2019 at 7:04 AM, MANFIO said:

Things have become more sophisticated....  a Chinese guy offered copies of my own violas made in China...  I would send them one of my violas in the white, with top and back just lightly  glued, and they would send me as many copies of it I wanted, in the white, so that I could finish and varnish them with my personal touches. I refused the offer.

I too have been approached by people offering to "make my violins for me".

The icing on the cake was that they claimed I was "stupid to make my own violins".

Oh well, I guess I'll just carry on being stupid, since that has worked out OK so far. :)

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

I too have been approached by people offering to "make my violins for me".

The icing on the cake was that they claimed I was "stupid to make my own violins".

Oh well, I guess I'll just carry on being stupid, since that has worked out OK so far. :)

Yes, they almost called "lazy" for making few instruments a year!!!

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I too have been approached by people offering to "make my violins for me".

The icing on the cake was that they claimed I was "stupid to make my own violins".

Oh well, I guess I'll just carry on being stupid, since that has worked out OK so far. :)

I just saw a knockoff of a well-known Cremonese builder that must have been done by one of these outfits. I was surprised at how close a lot of the details were.

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It sounded much better than I'd have expected, but needed a neck set. The model, edgework, and f-hole fluting looked close enough to fool someone in a photo, but the finish looked cheap to me.

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