The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #30334   Message #1069206
Posted By: treewind
10-Dec-03 - 07:36 AM
Thread Name: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
I think it's a shame that valuable instruments find their way into museums if it means they don't get played any more. (ditto private collections, which happens a lot too)

Most Strads, Amatis, Guarneri etc. are superb instruments, even though there is a huge markup for the name. A friend who is a violin maker went to one of the London auction houses recently to look at one (a Guarneri I think). He has a photo of himself holding nearly a million pounds worth of instrument. They let him play it too, and he says it really was lovely to play. He had a genuine reason for the visit - to take detailed photos for his own work. Makers can learn a lot by studying good instruments closely, and deliberately copying them is a common and respectable way of improving their own craft.

My cello is unlabelled, but I'm told it was made by Fent. It seems likely that Fent was a London based maker at a time when many English violin makers were turning out really excellent work, but none of their names have quite the same price on them, which is a good thing because it means you can get good instruments to play at a more realistic price.