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An oversupply of fine violins in the future?


andrewuy
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When I think of all the famous players who passed away, and still survived by their violins, I also think that most of us here, will also be survived by our own violin(s) long after we are 6 feet underground. So with the luthiers, all of them are survived by their fine works. Before, when people do not know how to preserve them, many of the fine works were damaged. But now, people in general know more how to care for their instruments, and as expected, more will survive through time. Luthiers nowadays are also producing vast amounts of fine violins. Every year, these productions keep accumulating, and since most of these fine instruments are going to last for a hundred or more years, do you think there will eventually be an oversupply of fine violins? By then, I can speculate that the old Italians' price is going to soar higher and higher, not necessarily for its utility value, but more for its historical value. It is quite unfortunate for the present and future luthiers not to be given their proper credit not because their work is not good, but because there are simply too many good works. And due to its oversupply, I can also see that prices most probably is going to get lower and lower. And most probably, there will be no future for the factory produced violins. Any thoughts on this?

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In my opinion there's not much danger of an oversupply of fine violins, because there are plenty of people ready to buy the good ones the minute they come into their price bracket. I'm glad to see that there appear to be increasing numbers of makers providing good affordable (not cheap) instruments which I hope will take increasing sales from the lower middle end of the antique violin market, where in my opinion there are currently lots of violins which are not worth their asking price (say $5K to $12K?) as musical instruments. If you want to buy these antiques just because they're old, well, that's fine.

I suspect if you run population increase against luthier increase, you may find that there will always be a shortage of good instruments until we get population in check.

Max

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quote:

Originally posted by andrewuy:

...Since most of these fine instruments are going to last for a hundred or more years, do you think there will eventually be an oversupply of fine violins?

One can only hope. laugh.gif

I think most statistics show school orchestra programs and membership on the rise, so factory-made instruments should be in demand as they have been for the past 100+ years.

-Aman

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Look at all of the Supply and Demand variables to the equation:

Birthrate of people

Growth rate of trees. Don't forget purnambuco!

% of People that will take up (play) the violin.

Availability of acceptable wood. See birthrate of trees

Survival of existing instruments.

Plotting all this data against one another it is my speculation that there will be a spread in the quality of instruments. Less fine violins at higher prices and more cheap student kits at competetive prices.

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MRandkin, I think the population is definitely being held in check. Unless you are talking of most 3rd world countries, like some places in Africa, where population remains on the rise. But then, these are people that will most probably not get a violin. Luthiers are always on the rise, and unless they curb down their output, with the present productions, an oversupply is foreseeable. In the past 100+ years, hand-made violins are maybe just a fraction of what we have now (although I have no definite statistics), and besides, many damages were done to them, as proved by the many masterpieces that were rendered unusable. (How many Strads are really playable?). For many of the factory made ones, the owners were beginners, who I suspect just dispose of their instruments after some time. But when we talk of hand-made, good ones, which I am sure we have tons of them right now, they are treasured, and kept, and as I have mentioned, will most probably outlast the lives of its roster of consecutive owners. I just wonder if luthiers have ever give thoughts to this.

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"How many Strads are playable?"

All the Strads and Guarneris I've played were VERY playable (among quite a few other 18th century violins, including my own) and probably will be for a LONG LONG TIME.

Currently, there are more people playing violin than ever before. Not everybody can afford a vintage instrument - or even wants one.

Violin prices go up constantly. Just look at auction reports and violin conferences, where the work of the best modern luthiers is held on the same pricing range as the modern Italians and will only go up as demand for those wonderful instruments increases.

If the accumulation of violins outstripped the demand, then why are all these companies constantly trying to make new instruments? How would they be able to survive the competition of the market if DEMAND weren't as high as it is - and is going to be?

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I suspect Andrewuy was speaking of the Strad's that have not survived to the present time. These would be on the unplayable list. What the percentage is, I have no clue.

My grandfather always has said "You have to creat the antiques of tomorrow, by supporting the high quality makers of today.". Although he was speaking of clocks. I suppose this would hold true for violins as well.

-Thanks, Randy

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Just happened to have Hill's A. Stradivari" opened as I read the above.

Hill suggests Strad made around 1100 instruments of which about 600 could be accounted for (at turn of the 20th cent.) while conceding that a good number were not recorded. But there must be more recent research available.

Omo.

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HKV

Violin prices go up constantly. Just look at auction reports and

violin conferences, where the work of the best modern luthiers is

held on the same pricing range as the modern Italians and will

only go up as demand for those wonderful instruments increases.

If the accumulation of violins outstripped the demand, then why

are all these companies constantly trying to make new

instruments? How would they be able to survive the competition

of the market if DEMAND weren't as high as it is - and is going

to be?

See in the original post that I never downgrade the works of the contemporary workers. Their work were definitely harshly judged by many unjustifiably. Just think why the imperfections (curvature, scroll, etc)of the old masters are frequently appraised as an art, while small deviations of modern works are frequently judged as poor taste, imperfections, disqualifying them from competitions! I do agree that demand increases, and prices are getting higher for those at the top of the pyramid. But what about the lower part of the pyramid, though not as popular as the top, do you say that they are of lesser quality? Even if of lesser quality, they are still good, aren't they? And accumulation through time, which may not be so evident right now,of those who do not make it to the top, don't you think there will be what I called "oversupply of fine violins in the future"?

Just in US alone, how many luthiers are there, compared to let's say 10 years ago. And how many will there be 20 years later. Assuming that their production years is 30 years (humble approximate), and assuming that they make 5 violins a year, multiply that by the total number of luthiers in the US alone, and think of its accrual in 100 years, you know what I mean. Plus the factor that more may be joining the profession through time. Just imagine if all our automobiles last 100-200 years!

If the industry of violin-making goes on at the present rate, I do not doubt the reality of a point in time when natural selection sets in when many luthiers will branch out into different fields, which make the industry much more interesting, and probably a revolutionary change to take place in violin-making concepts. laugh.gif But by that time, all of us here must have been somebody of the past.

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