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zhiyi_zhang617

The best sounding violins

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I don't believe anything except blind testing done by players. 

Attached is a study done with 10 instruments of different prices, ages, and country of origin.  It was done to see if there was any correlation between admittance measurements and player preferences (none). I plotted their player preference vs the violin price ($2,000 to $250,000) and found there is also no correlation in that price range spread. 

Dealers often work on a percent commission on sales price so they naturally don't want to sell inexpensive violins.

violin preference vs. violin price.jpg

nantes2012_saitis.pdf

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I am sure some others feel as I do,  I did not read all of the replies carefully.  No offense,  but I think that perhaps you are primarily a maker without much skill at actually playing the violin.

By all means,  if you visit shops, do not wear a sandwich sign quoting your expectations for prices of these various categories.  In fact, I would say that good wood and skills readily available to many makers will make about the best violin you could expect for less than $10,000.  If you buy a second-owner of such a violin,  expect to pay $3000-$5000.  I don't believe in many "secrets" or esoteric making methods.  Or invest in a few dozen white violins and do your own experiments.   

I have done a lot of experiments with white Chinese and European violins with varying qualities of wood.  Or rather,  I should say "properties of wood" because it seems (to me) that there are not actual physical properties that have been found to work one better than the other.

My experiments find that good fillers with various minerals and their binders count for a lot in final sound.  All you need to do is buy a dozen or so good Chinese (or Polish) violins and experiment with the various fillers.  After that,  the varnish should be kept thin and colored to your taste.  I have done all of this and am also a decent amateur player.  I can sort out what are pretty much the best that one can expect from a new violin.  A few months of playing makes a VERY nice violin.

I do not look for details of 'timbre.'  I want response and playability using my own playing skills.  And I can adjust these.

So, sell the lesser ones at a little over cost,  and you will have a very good violin for $500.  That is my thinking,  and I am sticking to it after dozens of years of experiments.

(You will say,  so who is John Masters ?)  I hardly care.  I simply believe that your price scale reflects extreme naivite and it is the sort of mentality that keeps the violin market so inflated.  Ignoring questions of provenance and collectibility,  of course.  

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

You have no need to “study” the instruments of Anton Lutz, since they were from Schönbach and had a dealership in Vienna, selling Schönbach violins. It is no wonder really that the 19th C. Viennese makers didn’t make many violins, but were more dealers and repairers, since the demand for instruments, to satisfy the fashion for instance to play string quartets at home as a private pastime was largely satisfied by the likes of Lutz or Gebruder Placht etc. I wrote up Lutz for a customer who wanted it, and suggest you use Google translate or Bing if you are interested:


 

Anton Lutz

 

Anton Lutz wurde am 31. Oktober 1814 als Sohn des Geigenmachers und Meßners Ignatz Lutz in Schönbach bei Eger (Böhmen) geboren.

 

1869 wurde Anton Lutz, gemeinsam mit seinem 1843 in Schönbach geborenen Sohn  Ignaz Lutz und seinem Onkel Josef Fuchs Geschäftsnachfolger des Franz Hoyer.

 

Im Jahre 1815 ersuchte Franz Hoyer (vor 1800 in Schönbach bei Eger geboren) gemeinsam mit seinem Bruder Johann Hoyer erfolgreich um eine Bewilligung zur Eröffnung eines „Verschließgewölbes“ in Wien, obwohl die bürgerlichen Geigenmacher Wiens gegen die Entscheidung der Behörde Rekurs einlegten. Unter „Verschließgewölbe“ ist vermutlich vorwiegend Handel mit Instrumenten aus der Egerländischen Heimat zu verstehen.

 

Bereits 1818 sind die Brüder Hoyer in der Rotenturmstraße mit dem Firmennamen „musikalische Instrumenten Fabrik Gebrüder Hoyer“ zu finden. Man nannte sich im 19. Jahrhundert gerne „Fabrikant“, bzw. die Firma „Fabrik“, obwohl in Wahrheit keine Fabrik im heutigen Sinn bestand, sondern nur eine Reihe von Heimarbeitern, die Ihre handgemachten Instrumente zulieferten.

 

Johann Hoyer starb am 22. Feber 1820 in Wien, und die Firma „Gebrüder Hoyer wurde1821 aufgelöst. Zwischen 1821 und 1831 wurde eine „Verkaufsniederlage nächst der Kellnerhofgasse im sog. Graßhof, nur während der Marktzeit“ gemeldet. Im Jahre1832 wurde am alten Fleischmarkt, Haus Nr.695 gemeinsam mit einem weiteren Bruder, Andreas, eine Firma „Gebrüder Andreas und Franz Hoyer“ protokolliert. Das Sterbedatum des Franz Hoyer ist nicht bekannt, 1869 wurden jedoch Anton und Ignaz Lutz, sowie Josef Fuchs seine Geschäftsnachfolger.

               

Der Firma Lutz  & Co sind protokolliert am Fleischmark Nr. 10 von 1869 bis 1875. 1876 wurde nach Fleischmarkt Nr. 6. umgezogen, wahrend Die Fa. Wenzel Placht und Co. die Adresse Fleischmarkt No. 10 übernahm. Ab 1883 gab es auch eine Filiale in der Rotenturmstraße Nr. 29. Im Jahr 1889 wurde der Sohn, Ignaz Lutz alleiniger geschäftsnachfolger des nunmehr nach Schönbach zurückgekehrten Anton Lutz. Das Geschäft wurde bis zum Ableben von Ignaz Lutz im Jahre 1907 weitergeführt.

               

Anton Lutz wurde mehrmals ausgezeichnet, u.a. 1871 Medaillen in London, Graz, Eger, Linz und Triest; 1872 in Moskau; 1873 ein Silberne Medaille in Wolkersdorf, Bistritz und Paris sowie ein Verdienstmedallie bei der Wiener Weltausstellung im Jahre 1873.

 

Diese Bratsche wurde, vermutlich in Schönbach, im Auftrag der Wiener Firma Lutz, zwischen 1869 und 1875 gebaut, und trägt einen gedruckten Originalzettel im Inneren des Bodens:-

A.      Lutz & Comp.

Musik Instrumenten - & Saiten Fabriks

Niederlage

Wien Fleischmarkt 10

 

Der einteilige Boden, Zargen und Schnecke sind aus geflammtem Ahorn, die Decke aus mittelbreitjähriger Fichte gebaut. Das Instrument ist mit einem braunroten Lack überzogen.

 

                Die Bodenmaße über der Wölbung gemessen sind:-

 

                Länge                                                    393 mm.

                obere Breite                                         183 mm.

                mittlere Breite                                      126 mm.

                untere Breite                                        227 mm.

 

                Das Instrument bekam von uns einen neuen Baßbalken Griffbrett, Steg, Stimme usw. und befindet sich in einem sehr guten Erhaltungszustand.


 

 

 

How do I do this? (translate).  I tried highlighting and then right clicking, hoping to find a "translate".  Sorry for such a lame question, but I'd like to read this.

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Wow, thank you very much for all the responses, which are all informative one way or the other.

However, I would be keen to remind that OP is mainly referring to the best sounding in each price bucket. Once again, for a simplified example, we have many sources for student violins ($1,500 - $5,000), including modern Chinese, e.g.,  Jay Haide, Scott Cao, and Ming Jiang Zhu, just to name a few, non-name 1920s -1930s Europeans, and turn of the century (≥100 yrs old) factory, etc, JTL, Schuster, etc. While they are all in the same price range, which one would be more likely to have a slightly higher probability for the potential of a better tone. I believe it would not help me that much as I am not so fond of this category. However, it would help the students and/or their parents to acquire suitable violins for their growth curve. To be very specific, which one is potentially a better buy for the acoustics only among 100 yr-old factory, just say between a J B Schwartz copy (German) and a F Caussin copy (French)?

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3 minutes ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

However, I would be keen to remind that OP is mainly referring to the best sounding in each price bucket.

It is a ludicrous question.

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18 minutes ago, Jeff White said:

How do I do this? (translate).  I tried highlighting and then right clicking, hoping to find a "translate".  Sorry for such a lame question, but I'd like to read this.

copy and paste to here http://www.reverso.net/translationresults.aspx?lang=DE&direction=englisch-deutsch and click on "translate"

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54 minutes ago, Little Blue Bird said:

OP, I think what other posters are telling you is that violins aren't like cars and you will not find a meaningful list of "best of price category."  

 

Really? As long as they are all commercial, the rule applied for car purchase would be also applicable to violin acquisition. Only based on the tonal quality, a modern Chinese, in student category, would be hard to beat! in fact, anything under $10K, a Chinese would likely be a winner.

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jay haide and snow or scott cao is a hit or miss, i played 5 jay haide including european wood, only 1 of them was decent, the others did not project and felt heavy. maybe they are ok if you are on suzuki 3 where you can't really push the violin. 

i lucked out finding my recent purchase when looking for a back up fiddle, this luthier make his own but he travels to china often and took back a white body to finish, the completed violin was in my opinion better than most violin i tried sub 8k range, all the while being fraction of the price. 

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14 minutes ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

 in fact, anything under $10K, a Chinese will be an easy winner.

Is this a commercial competition now?:lol: Just we found out that a Lutz from Vienna/Schönbach was the best. So no way.:ph34r:

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21 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Is this a commercial competition now?:lol: Just we found out that a Lutz from Vienna/Schönbach was the best. So no way.:ph34r:

There are not in the same price point. While Lutzs have been sold in auction for approximately $6K to $10K these days, I would expect those ones, in good condition, would be at least asked for 20K in the shops, wouldn't they?

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2 minutes ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

There are not in the same price point. While Lutzs have been sold in auction for approximately $6K to $10K these days, I would expect those ones, in good condition, would be at least asked for 20K in the shops, wouldn't they?

You can buy my Anton Lutz Viola for €3,500

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10 minutes ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

There are not in the same price point. While Lutzs have been sold in auction for approximately $6K to $10K these days, I would expect those ones, in good condition, would be at least asked for 20K in the shops, wouldn't they?

You’re confusing the Californian Ignaz Anton with the Anton & Ignaz company. These are a quite different matter.

Not to mention that a viola like Jacob’s would be higher priced as a violin.B)

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15 minutes ago, Blank face said:

You’re confusing the Californian Ignaz Anton with the Anton & Ignaz company. These are a quite different matter.

Not to mention that a viola like Jacob’s would be higher priced as a violin.B)

Was Californian Ignaz Lutz from the very same Lutz family in Vienna/Schönbach?

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Here is the translation, if anyone cares:  (funny how the translator works in that what it calls the  back,rids and neck)
 
 Johann Hoyer, successfully requested permission to open a vault“In Vienna, although the bourgeois violinists of Vienna opposed the decision of the authority Rekurs. The term “lock vault” refers mainly to trade in instruments from the Egerland country.



As early as 1818, the Hoyer brothers can be found in the Rotenturm Street with the company name “Musical Instruments Factory Gebrüder Hoyer”. In the 19th century, it was often called a “manufacturer,” or. The company “Fabrik,” although in reality there was no factory in the present sense, but only a number of home workers who supplied their handmade instruments.



Johann Hoyer died on 22 February 1820 in Vienna, and the company Gebrüder Hoyer was dissolved in 1821. Between 1821 and 1831, a sales loss was reported next to the Kellnerhofgasse in the so-called Graßhof, only during market time. In 1832, a “Gebrüder Andreas and Franz Hoyer” company was recorded together with another brother, Andreas, at the old meat market, house number 695. The date of the death of Franz Hoyer is not known, but in 1869 Anton and Ignaz Lutz, as well as Josef Fuchs, became his business successors.



The company Lutz & Co are logged on the Fleischmark No 10 from 1869 to 1875. Wenzel Placht and Co took over the address Fleischmarkt No 10. In 1889 the son, Ignaz Lutz, became the sole successor to the business of Anton Lutz, who has now returned to Schönbach. The business continued until the death of Ignaz Lutz in 1907.



Anton Lutz has received several awards, including 1871 medals in London, Graz, Eger, Linz and Trieste; 1872 in Moscow; 1873 a silver medal in Wolkersdorf, Bistritz and Paris as well as a merit medal at the Vienna World Exhibition in 1873.



This viola was built, presumably in Schönbach, on behalf of the Viennese company Lutz, between 1869 and 1875, and carries an original printed note inside the floor:-

A. Lutz & Comp.

Musik Instrumente - & Saiten Fabriks

Defeat

Wien Fleischmarkt 10



The one-piece floor, frame and snail are made of plaited maple, the ceiling is made of middle-width spruce. The instrument is covered with a brown-red lacquer.



The dimensions of the ground above the arch are:



Length 393 mm.

upper

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30 minutes ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

Was Californian Ignaz Lutz from the very same Lutz family in Vienna/Schönbach?

He was - Here's a link that you'd find interesting:

Ignaz Lutz

I've seen a couple of his violins, which were very well-made and had wonderful varnish. Here is the Stradivarius that he owned, which he frequently copied:

Lutz Strad

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On 11/3/2019 at 12:13 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I don't believe anything except blind testing done by players. 

Attached is a study done with 10 instruments of different prices, ages, and country of origin.  It was done to see if there was any correlation between admittance measurements and player preferences (none). I plotted their player preference vs the violin price ($2,000 to $250,000) and found there is also no correlation in that price range spread. 

Dealers often work on a percent commission on sales price so they naturally don't want to sell inexpensive violins.

violin preference vs. violin price.jpg

nantes2012_saitis.pdf 946.05 kB · 3 downloads

Which were the four instruments with preference scores ≥0.5. All of them appear to be reasonably affordable (≤25K).

These data could be valuable, although the expansive ones were too few to be used for correlation thus generalization (just one at $250K and another at near $50K).

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On 11/2/2019 at 10:24 PM, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

I have a life-long dream to own,  and thus endlessly search for a great sounding violin in the price range I would be able to afford.

Have you heard of Walter Mayson?

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18 minutes ago, Three13 said:

He was - Here's a link that you'd find interesting:

Ignaz Lutz

I've seen a couple of his violins, which were very well-made and had wonderful varnish. Here is the Stradivarius that he owned, which he frequently copied:

Lutz Strad

That is exactly what I expected. His instruments appear to be handsome and Cremonese.

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9 hours ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

That is exactly what I expected. His instruments appear to be handsome and Cremonese.

And there's nothing I can find at them (based on the Cozio archive photos) excluding that they were made from Schönbach white boxes, too.B)

BTW, in my eyes it's legitimate that one finds Chinese violins are the best in their range, as well as someone from Paris will tell you that a Medio Fino will beat everything.

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Too many variables to come out with over simplified categories. Certainly the more mass produced instruments should vary in sound enormously. They are less likely to be selecting wood based on density/stiffness and just using the next piece that came off the pile. As such it's perfectly possible to come across one where 'all the stars align' and it sounds way above what one would expect. 

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On 11/2/2019 at 3:24 PM, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

The key here is sound; and only sound, nothing to do with provenance!  

There are other things that matter.  I am aware of a hobbyist maker who consistently makes excellent sounding violins... but with very strange arching, bad varnish, and horrible setup.  You could probably get one very cheap.

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On 11/2/2019 at 3:24 PM, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

I have a life-long dream to own,  and thus endlessly search for a great sounding violin in the price range I would be able to afford.

What exactly is your "price range?"

I agree with most that placing an arbitrary price point on makers is a horrible idea.  If this was a question for a student of mine, I would tell the student, or parent, to tell the shop what they can afford and let them try out instruments.  I am pretty sure that this is the standard practice.  Sound above all else.  But even if you can, let's say for example, afford a $250,000.00...does that mean if you find a $15,000 violin that sounds amazing, you should still go straight for the more expensive one?  Also, I don't know many people who go into a shop and say, "show me all of your Cao, Klotz, Vuillaume violins."  

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23 hours ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

BTW, I, based in part on one of your comments, bought a very nice violin in an auction a while ago. Many thanks for that too.

I thought you said that you had a "life-long dream to own."  

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