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What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?

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Marion 02 Feb 01 - 07:44 PM
Sorcha 02 Feb 01 - 08:11 PM
Chanteyranger 03 Feb 01 - 02:36 AM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 03 Feb 01 - 05:58 AM
Margaret V 03 Feb 01 - 07:33 AM
Suffet 03 Feb 01 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,petr 05 Feb 01 - 07:40 PM
Lucius 05 Feb 01 - 08:16 PM
Marion 05 Feb 01 - 09:53 PM
Sorcha 05 Feb 01 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,Paul H 05 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM
Mark Clark 05 Feb 01 - 10:41 PM
English Jon 06 Feb 01 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,treymyboytreymyboy 06 Feb 01 - 11:33 PM
Chanteyranger 07 Feb 01 - 12:22 AM
Sorcha 07 Feb 01 - 11:26 AM
Kim C 07 Feb 01 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Monashee 07 Feb 01 - 02:28 PM
Marion 07 Feb 01 - 09:27 PM
DougR 07 Feb 01 - 09:43 PM
Sorcha 07 Feb 01 - 10:28 PM
reggie miles 20 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM
JohnInKansas 20 Jun 02 - 06:10 PM
Catherine Jayne 21 Jun 02 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,Al 21 Jun 02 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,PHIL WRAY 20 Nov 02 - 04:11 PM
NicoleC 20 Nov 02 - 04:23 PM
Efiddler 20 Nov 02 - 04:51 PM
Willie-O 08 Dec 03 - 08:49 AM
GUEST 08 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM
Mark Clark 08 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM
Willie-O 08 Dec 03 - 08:48 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Dec 03 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,pavane 09 Dec 03 - 07:47 AM
treewind 10 Dec 03 - 07:36 AM
fiddler 10 Dec 03 - 08:48 AM
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GUEST,richardkremer@bresnan.net 13 Jul 04 - 05:54 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Jul 04 - 09:22 AM
Mark Ross 13 Jul 04 - 11:14 AM
Marion 13 Jul 04 - 11:34 AM
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Subject: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Marion
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 07:44 PM

I was browsing through the fiddle for sale at Elderly and I noticed that many of them were descibed as Strad models, Amati models, Stainer copy, and so forth. What does that mean? When makes a fiddle a "Stradivarius"? Fiddles all look very similarly designed to me, besides the colours.

Related question: what exactly is a student violin? When I think "student" I think "inexpensive, with fine tuners on all strings" but I wonder if there's a more precise definition or a clear dividing line between a student violin and a concert one.

Thanks, Marion


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 08:11 PM

The names you mention are 17th-18th century Italian violin makers, BIG BUCKS to buy one. The real ones are very rare, and mostly in the hands of collectors and famous soloists. Most were based in Cremona,Italy which is still a bastison of good violin making.

You are spot on about student violins. They are a lower grade of wood, lower grade of workmanship, often machine made (instead of all hand made) and often have set up problems.Consequently, they sell more cheaply.

Each maker has his/her(?) own trademarks,such as size of the bouts, shape/position of the f holes, neck size, scroll shape, etc. Amati's and Amati copies are usually smaller all over than Strads and Guanarius, Strad usually looks more "feminine" maybe, than the Guans, but you have to be really good to tell the difference between models.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 02:36 AM

In addition, the quality of the varnish makes a difference. Many have tried to find the secret of Stradivarius's varnish recipe.

It was common in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries to make copies of famous maker's violins, and stamp the famous makers names inside, w/o revealing who the real maker was. My old violin is a "Guarnerius." Anyone who plays it will hear that it's anything but! My new one was made by a very good American violin maker - modelled on a Guarnerius design, but with no pretensions of being made by Guarnerius himself, the standard practice today.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 05:58 AM

My wife once worked in a violin shop where people would come in with "Stradivari" in a plain paper bag, thinking they had found a treasure in their attic. They would have to tell the person that it is only an imitation.

The different makers made violins that sounded different. The Amati is earlier than the Strad and it has a more delicate, sweeter sound. This is due to its smaller size and its somewhat vaulted belly (top). Stradavarius made a larger body with a less arched belly which resulted in a louder (but harsher) sound. Guarnerius Del Jesu went even further and made a bigger body with a flatter belly and a correspondingly louder violin. Any of these three, plus many others built in the 17 hundreds, whether they have a soft or loud tone carry amazingly well to the back of a big room.

The Stainer has the distinction of not being made by an Italian, but by a German. There is another one called a "Klotz". I remember a friend of ours said she had a Klotz. "Yes," I said, "but what kind of violin is it?". It sounded good in her hands anyway.

Murray


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Margaret V
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 07:33 AM

You might enjoy looking at the website for the Shrine to Music Museum. They have an important collection of early stringed instruments including Amati, Strad, and Guarneri, and if you take their Virtual Gallery Tour of the Rawlins Gallery you'll find some pictures of these instruments. www.usd.edu/smm/

It's a great museum cursed with a silly name. If you're ever in Vermillion, South Dakota, go there. Margaret


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Suffet
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 10:22 AM

I used to know a Jane Guarneri years ago and we used to kid her about having any "family fiddles" lying around. That is until she showed us one!

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 07:40 PM

Id like to add a word on cost, as the cost of an instrument doesnt always correlate to the sound. but in general you will find university level music students playing on instrument from 5 to $20,000 and symphony players around $100,000. many luthiers in the past copied certain makers up to and including the label. Like I have a strad 1728 model although its actually german made from the 20's I rained on someones bonfire once when she insisted she had a strad because thats what the label said.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Lucius
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 08:16 PM

Margaret V, just got back from the Shrine to Music Museum abd you're right--it is a great museum. Since the site is maintained by the University of South Dakota, I'm compelled to cite one MAJOR ommision. There is no mention of the important research on PDQ Bach, or do they save this for the Hoople Division of the University of South Dakota?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Marion
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 09:53 PM

Thank you all.

My great-grandfather's fiddle is labelled Stradivarius 1721 and my late grandmother claimed to believe that it was authentic. I commented that I had read somewhere there there were only about half a dozen Stradivari unaccounted for and she said exactly, there are some unaccounted for and this could be one. But she ignored all suggestions of getting it appraised, so I think deep down she knew...

Marion


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 10:00 PM

I used to have an "Amati" (definitely Amati style) whose paper label said something like---me mano de Amati 17?? Cremona, Italia. The label was garbled Latin and modern Italian, I sold it for $100 US to a young lady who needed a better fiddle. Somewhere on line there is an article about Attic Strads. It was a nice fiddle, but not an Amati.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Paul H
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM

The makers of student violins were not trying to fool anyone by putting Stradivarius labels in the instrument, it was understood to mean "made in the style of".

Years ago as a teenager I bought a Strad at a flea market for $15 with case and bow, and immediately a guy offered me $20.00 for it, so maybe it was a real one (Not). Anyway, I sold it a year later to a friend for $16. She liked it and thought it sounded good.

I now play a Made in Japan fiddle from the 1920's that cost me $150. It has a very piercing, cutting sound that I like. It works well for Irish music and bluegrass. Some instruments are better for classical, some are better for folk styles. I advise anyone to to try a lot of fiddles to find one that fits your hand and whose sound is pleasing to you. The most expensive is not always best.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 10:41 PM

It's should be pointed out (or has it already been?) that there was never any intent to fool or defraud people by placing original looking labels in violins. No one in the industry ever imagined that their mass production instruments would be mistaken for valuable ones. Master violin makers who were trying to make truely valuable instruments always put their own labels in their fiddles, either in pencil or a printed label.

My own fiddle is a Maggini copy from the second half of the nineteenth century. Magginis have two rows of finely inlaid purfling around the top of each instrument and most (but not all) of his scrolls had an extra turn carved into them. As was the practice before Stradiveri, the Magginis have a slightly smaller body with more pronounced arch giving the sweeter tone that Murray was talking about.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: English Jon
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:48 AM

Bear in mind that practically everything that is said about fiddles is bollocks. There is this whole "rare and valuable instrument" mistique. Truth is there are good Strads and Bad ones. The same is true of the copies. Anyway, you can tell a lot about the age of a fiddle by looking at the neck joint.

No instrument is worth x million pounds. Not as an instrument. Maybe as an antique/artefact, but who's going to play something they can't afford to drop?

Anyway even if it is made in cremona/brescia/mittenwald etc it's sound is only really dependant on the quality of the wood, the thickness of the top and the position of the sound post.

And all that guff about the varnish... Oil varnish is exactly the same now as it always has been. Turps and gum arabic with a bit of colour. The reason oil sounds better than spirit is because of it's micro-crystaline structure, which resonates without constricting the wood too much. There's a certain skill to putting it on right, but it's not much harder to do than french polish.

Anyway, as a guide,

good strad et al copies up to £2500 (for a j.t.l) Stainer types/Bourbons etc @£1000 for a good one. Woodier than the strads, a bit louder. Amatis smaller+sweeter, priced as strads Guaneri: as strads Mittenwald (often with carved heads) £500-£1000 for good ones.

There's a lot of good fiddles to be had for £250-£500 though. Or you could just get a Czec "learner" instrument and spend a bit of time fixing the sound post properly.

Oh yes, carve a lot of the spare wood off the bridge and it'll work a lot better. Free your bass up and balance properly though it's whole range. Not too much though, or it will collapse under the string pressure.

Cheers, Jon


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,treymyboytreymyboy
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 11:33 PM

My greatuncle left me his ole fiddle which is signed Stradavarious. I was told that it may be a Checslovakian (or however its spelled) from 1890-1910. Anyone ever heard of this maker? Any insights?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:22 AM

Lucuis -

Did you hear about the museum on WOOF?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 11:26 AM

For those who are interested, I went and found photos:

Guarneri

Stradivarius

Amati instruments

Maginni copy


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Kim C
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 01:18 PM

I have a cheap Romanian made fiddle and it sounds good. It carries very well. Granted, in the upper registers it isn't so great but part of that is me not knowing how to play up there. My teacher said that's the weakest part of the instrument anyway and rarely sounds very good except on very high-dollar instruments.

Her teaching fiddle is a 1920s Sears-Roebuck that used to belong to her granddaddy. Again, it sounds really good. Even a cheap instrument can sound good if it's set up properly, has good strings, and someone who loves to play it. :)


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Monashee
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 02:28 PM

I had the honour of hearing the 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stadivarius played last Autumn,and it was awesome!!! I think I am still holding my breath ;)I currently play a Durro, which was inexpensive,(I think it would have worked out to around 1000 U.S. dollars), but it is a great little violin with a deep resonating voice. I was thrilled to get it because for years I had been playing on (it was all I could afford at the time) a cheap Chinese made (almost toy like) fiddle. A word about those old Strad (etc) 'copies'. They can actually be quite collectable!


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Marion
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 09:27 PM

Thanks for the photo links, Sorcha. I still can't see the difference between the various models; I guess it's something you have to be a connoisseur for (or have someone point out the exact differences).

About that Sears-Roebuck fiddle... I was looking at a reproduction of an old (late 1800's) Eaton's catalogue and was looking at the music section. The gist of their spiel for the the fiddles was "Other stores will try to sell you a fiddle for 45 cents, but it'll be crap; buy ours for $2." It was amusing.

Marion


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: DougR
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 09:43 PM

Much of my life I managed symphony orchestras. I can't tell you how many calls we had to the office by someone who had discovered an Amati or a Stad in the attic. Usually the label would read something like, "Genuine copy."

If you have an instrument that you believe to have been made by one of the Masters, pay the bucks to have it appraised by a Master appraiser. That's the only way you will ever know for sure. There are excellent appraisers in New York and Los Angeles, I know. Also in other major cities in the world, I'm sure.

DougR


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 10:28 PM

Marion, yes, I guess you do have to be a connoisseur, but it helps tremendously to have true size photos/posters with indicators as to what to look for. Belly or back arch is almost impossible to determine from photos, as is neck length or relative size and angulation of the f holes.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: reggie miles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM

Is there an online sight about violin makers that anyone knows of? I found a couple of violins that seem unusual. One is made by Joh. Bapt. Schweitzer. It says: fecibat ferman Heironymy Amati, Pestini 1819 on the label. Which I assume means that it was a copy of a an Amati made in some city by the name of Pestini??? Is Schweitzer a Swiss name? Then I also have one by someone named, Geronimo Barnabetti. Above his name is initialed J. T. L. and below it simply says Paris. Then I have another that says Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis, Faciebat Anno 1730. It's all Greek to me. Perplexed


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 06:10 PM

There are Dover reprints of a couple of excellent books on the subject:

Antonio Stradivari: His Life & Work (1644 - 1737), W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill & Alfred E. Hill, 1963, Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-20425-1 - about $10 US a couple of years ago.

The Violin-Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762) William Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill & Alfred Ebsworth Hill, 1989, dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-23031-5 - about $18 US recently.

The "Strad" book, originally published in 1901, is generally considered - if not the definitive work on Antonio Stradivari - then at least the first such. It includes as biographical information much as is known, and has some discussion of some of the more speculative "theories" about his work.

There has been some conjecture about violins possibly assembled from "Stradivari" parts after his death, but no firm knowledge of who might have "inherited" either any remaining parts or his tools. Any "authentic" Strad may be assumed to have been made by this one man - with the help, of course, of a few apprentices - mostly unknown.

The Strad book gives "principal dimensions" of some 50 or so of his violins, and a few violas, showing the changes he made over the period of his work. For comparison, similar dimensions of a few selected violins by the Amati family, Freancesco Ruger, and J.B. Rogeri are also given.

The "Guarneri" book was published originally about 30 years after the "Strad" book, and includes "133 illustrations, including 16 in color."

Guarneris were made by a family of luthiers - Andrea, Pietro, Giuseppe (son of Andrea), and Giuseppe del Gesu; all of whom produced fine instruments, although the "del Gesu Guarneris" are generally considered the finest exemplars.

From other sources it may be learned that the Amatis were also produced by a "family" of builders, and were produced over a much longer period of time than either the Strads or Guarneris. The complaints have been made that many Amati violins may have been produced entirely by apprentices and "signed" by various of the Amati family, and that certain members of the family did not demonstrate quite as much "talent, diligence, or craftsmanship" as the rest.

It should be noted that there are virtually no "original" examples of any of these instruments. They were designed for the music of the day, and for strings used at the time, and would be virtually "unplayable" in a modern setting. The practice has been to "reset the neck" to rather drastically change the height of the bridge to conform to the needs of modern players. There is a report of one known Stradivari instrument that has not been so modified.

The Stradivari, Amati, Guarneri, and Stainer names have become "public," mostly because their instruments have been played by a few "stars." There are dozens - if not hundreds - of other makers, known only to real devotees of the 'fancy fiddles,' who produced instruments of similar - if not equal - quality.

John


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 04:25 AM

I have a violin which has a label inside with a turtle (I think its a turtle) it also says "copy of Andreas Amati 1901"

Its a nice fiddle and used to be quite quiet. When I went to music college my tutor suggested having the sound post moved. So I did and now its a loud fiddle. It has a nice tone. It was left to me by an old teacher of mine when I got a scholarship to college.

I am so glad that it wasn't stolen when the house was broken into. I wouldn't part with it ever!

Cat x


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 11:42 PM

Stradivari learned to make fiddles from the Amatis. His first instruments after launching on his own had labels that said Amati, not Stradivari. It was the custom then to honor your teacher by using his name on the label instead of your own. But only for a while, of course. Al


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,PHIL WRAY
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:11 PM

I have a violin that I bought from an old woman who had many many old Stradivarious violins. Inside this on, says Antonious Stradavarious Germany, can anyone help me with this?? It is like a stamp not carved.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:23 PM

Phil, it's almost certainly a copy of a Strad model, which doesn't mean anything. Some of the Strad copies are excellent and others are, well, not. Some are old, some new. And like all musical instruments, they are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

If you are looking to sell, you could pay to have it appraised. Any offer a resale shop gives you is likely to be about half of what they will sell it for, but they will probably set it up properly and restore it if it's worth much.

The cruicial question is: How does it sound? I'm in the market for a new fiddle :)


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Efiddler
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:51 PM

reggie miles,

Johann Baptist Schweitzer was an Austrian maker who eventually settled in Budapest. His instruments are reasonably well thought of, but were also copied in Germany (including the label).

Geronimo Barnabetti was a trade mark used by the French firm of J. Thibouville-Lamy & Cie, hence the JTL initials. Again a decent violin, made in Mirecourt.

I use a number of reference books, and dozens of auction catalogues. The most useful for me is the 'Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers' by W. Henley.

efiddler


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Willie-O
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 08:49 AM

Here's an interesting new news story about the wood Stradivarius and the other 17th century makers had to work with:

Secret Ingredient in Stradivarius Violins May Be Heaven Sent

In brief, climatic history of Europe shows it was very cold from 1645 to 1720, so tree growth was slow at that time--producing dense, tight-grained wood which produces superior soundboards.

Since that's the same reason Sitka spruce is favoured for guitar tops, this makes sense. It is not presented as the whole reason for the magic of these instruments, but certainly, having a good supply of particularly high-grade wood to choose from would be a huge advantage for a luthier skilled enough to know the best.

W-O


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM

Fascinating about the little ice age - It is very believable - denser wood will ring better and can be thinner as a result of the extra strength - maybe they should start using wafer-thin tropical hard woods?

One of the crucial aspects of Stradavarius design responsible for the quality of his violins is thought to be geometry. Strad's plans were based on two perfect circles differing in size by the proportion of the "golden ratio" (1.61803399). The smaller cirle became the top half of the instrument and the larger circle, the bottom half. The Golden ratio is responible for the shape of many of the objects we see around us from packaging to buildings because it results in aesthetically pleasing proportions. It also comes into many musical compositions see:

http://www.geocities.com/cyd_conner/music.html

and

http://www.ac-nancy-metz.fr/Pres-etab/CollJLagneau/BLUM_CIBP/13ors/VIOLIN.html

for more details. Interesting stuff!


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM

I've also read that Stradivari and the great makers of Cremona cured their wood by anchoring it at the bottom of the harbor for a few years. Some of the minerals in the sea water found their way into the cellular structure of the wood changing the tone properties of the finished product.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Willie-O
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 08:48 PM

I think I've heard that one too, Mark. You certainly gotta wonder why they thought of it though...perhaps salvaged driftwood, or sunken timber, had produced some good results....


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 09:49 PM

G'day Mark / Willie-O,

I heard something similar a number of years back - relating to a physicist who was also a keen amateur luthier. He had been able to obtain a small chip of woodfrom a repaired Strad (cello ... ?) and used atomic absorption techniques to determine that it was, indeed, higher in chemicals matching sea salts, &c.

He suggested that a lot of the wood used had been cut in the mountains - then floated down rivers ... and on into the Bay of Naples - often remaining there for years before being sold (and that this wasn't commented on, since it was the normal practice of the day). I would have to chase a long way back to find the name and references ... I think I read about it in a copy of Science 80 (or ~'81 ... or so) - the discontinued general science magazine from the publishers of Science.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 07:47 AM

I also remember reading that Stradivarius wrote that you must NOT soak the wood - possibly in attempt to keep his methods secret.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: treewind
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 07:36 AM

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.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: fiddler
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 08:48 AM

Hmm...

When I'm not anoraking here I also anorak on violin things too!

It is amazing how many people think they have found a Strad in the roof!

I've held an Amati in my hands - it was in pieces in a shoe box waiting to be re built! But still a thrill - I need to get out more.

The strength of a good fiddle is you can play it and it sounds nice (good) to you and those around you - fit for purpose. There are some bad Strads out there which you never hear of - so I'm told.


They were / are not made to be valuable but to be played.

Sorchg girl you seem to have a bigger (and sexier) anorak than mine - nice one. I hope loads of people read this thread it contains some good stuff.

Off now - lunchtime - back to the grind.....see real anorak!!!!

A


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Subject: RE: What's a strad? Markings for authenticity?
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 07:29 AM

Had a violin in the family for ages, recently only took interest and noticed a few things about it. Firstly, it seems to be of great vintage which kinda gets you thinking about its markings
1. 'Stradavarius Concert Violin' stamped on underside of neck towards tuning pegs. Kinda hard to read as it has been branded.
2. No paper on inside stating brand or make.
3. Under the fingerboard there seems to be a serial number
marked/etched VIII.
4. The overall features, wood texture and colours (despite looking old)matches what strads are supposed to look like.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,richardkremer@bresnan.net
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 05:54 AM

I have a violin that my grandfather had since around 1917 that has a label ended with a circle surrounding a + sign under which is the initials AS. The rest of the label Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1713, followed by said cirle stamp. How do I find if this violin is authentic?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 09:22 AM

Just because the instrument has one of thefamous names on it, it need not be an original. Many copies were made. You will need to find a competent authority - probably a maker/repairer of instruments - who really knows what they are talking about. Since you didn't say where you were, we can't help much more than that.

Robin


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 11:14 AM

I picked up a fiddle last year at the local flea market. Stamped inside it said HENRY OLSON, FEBRUARY 5, 1935. A local luthier(David Gusset, who made Alisdair Fraser's instrument)fixed it up for me, and it sounds great! Now, I'm trying to find out more about Olson.
Utah Phillips told me that when he used to hang out at Weiser during the contest, at the sessions, someone would say, "Here's a Henry Olson tune." Anybody out there know anything about him? I've been trying to get the skinny on him since I got the fiddle. Help!

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Marion
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 11:34 AM

Mark, I'd suggest starting another thread called "Who's Henry Olson?" - your chances of somebody answering would be greater.

Marion


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 12:50 PM

Thanks, Marion

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,kedricky@aol.com
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 10:02 PM

I have a violin that was my grandfathers. He brought it with him from Denmark in 1944 or 45. He said it was his mom's. It had a paper tag in it when I was young but is gone. I have just noticed it has an A and an S inscribed on the center of the fingerboard. has anyone heard of this. I can't find anything about this on the net.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Davidbrown543@tesco.net
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 05:39 PM

I have recently aquired a tatty looking violin. I live in Nottingham England and wonder if anbody can tell me anymore about it.
The violin has a label inside reading Antonious Stradivarious Cremonensis faciebat anno 1713 and was made in czechoslovakia - on the label is a picture of a lion with the word Agnalone underneath.
another name apearing on the violin reads dresden and my violin is stamped with the number 249 on the head.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 06:02 PM

Just in case Lucius is still listening, he won't find much on PDQ Bach at the University of South Dakota. The school he wants is the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 07:48 PM

PS, David Brown, you might take a look at this page from the National Music Museum website (an outstanding reference mentioned above, back in 2001, by Margaret V) for an explanation of why so many people have "Stradivarius" violins in their attics. It may also give you some leads on how to find out more about your instrument.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 01:50 AM

About a strad.A genuine strad is actually crudly made.There is a violin making school in italy and it is said if someone was to make an exact copy of a strad he would fail.A genuine strad is not perfect in shape, it may have some flat spots in the body ect.A handmade instrument maker never makes the exact samething twice.I should know, i hand make guitars, everything by hand, and no 2 guitars are the same, there is always a difference no matter how small it is.For anyone out there who has a strad, or think they have, if it is perfect in shape ect, it probally isnt a strad, if it has mistakes , it may well be.For all those experts out there with their comments on sound, reason why old strads ect sound so good, is because of the wood.You cant get 200yo wood these days, as the wood ages, it sounds better.Thats the secret, old wood!!


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: treewind
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 09:39 AM

Getting good wood certainly isn't easy. I know a violin maker who lives close to me here in East Anglia (England) and he goes to Germany to buy his wood.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 11:26 PM

Isn't the true test of the difference between a violin and a fiddle that nobody gets annoyed if you spill beer on a fiddle?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 11:13 AM

Supposedly one of the secrets of the old instruments, was that firstly the timber was floated down the river (for transport), then often stored in the water for a while, then kept for many years to season BEFORE the instrument was made.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 04:17 AM

Treewind hit the nail on the head about wood from germany.

All the ebony is found from germany, been sitting around for ages.All the best woods wether maple, fiddle back ect all comes from germany.

I found a violin maker here in australia a while back with ebony that was 100 yo.I bought his last 6 planks , each blank only big enough for 1 guitar finger board , he gave me a discount price of $200 each if i bought the 6.
Bargain, you cannot buy ebony that old.The ebony fingerboard on an old strad is probally the most important piece of the violin, it is irriplaceable.The rest of the body could be repaired.
Once you have worked with 100 yo ebony or older you will know what i mean.
A true violinist will pay big bucks for old instruments on the age of the instrument, the older the violin, the better it should sound.
Theoredically, a 200 yo copy strad would sound as good as a real strad if it was a real copy and made of similar wood and dimensions.
I have a strad copy, it says its a copy, but there is no made in germany or the likes.I know it is hand made by all the mistakes, it sounds fantastic as well.
The only way to tell is to have the wood tested for age, you may find your 200 yo copy would also be worth big bucks.
I know a 1719 yo strad sold for $16 million recently, id be real happy if my copy, which may be as old was worth $100,000.00
and im betting a true violinist would pay that for a 200yo strad copy.
Any takers :)


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,suz
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:40 PM

I used to play my grandfather's violin...alas many years have past..and by just counting those years my violin is atleast 100 years old..inside it says antonio stradavarious 1734..what have I got? a $100 violin or a $1000 violin..any guesses? where can I get it appraised by a reputable appraiser...denver area??

very good shape..need new strings..hard varnish I think keeps it intact and coolish place..


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,michele
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 11:58 PM

i was given a strad violin by my family the marking say

copie de antonius stradiuarius
facie anno 1620

could you please let me know a little about it and the cost value


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 12:16 AM

Lable means it is a copy of a Strad originally made in 1620. Loads and tons of these copies out there....depends on where and when and by whom it was really made by. The sound has NO bearing on value, just the above. I have a Strad copy, machine made by Lyon and Healy in Chicago, US in the 1920's....moneytary value...NONE. Sentimental value....irreplaceable.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Pauline L
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 10:17 PM

I've seen so many posts on so many sites by people who wonder whether that cheap violin they got at a pawn shop or yard sale or their grandmother's attic might really be a Strad. The answer is NO!!! In your dreams! BTW, a real Strad would be worth considerably more than $1K, more like a few $100K. For $1K, you can get a violin which is better than student grade, but nowhere near as good as one played by a professional in a symphony orchestra, which would probably be worth $50-100K.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Pauline L
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 10:21 PM

If I had $1 for each post I've seen by someone who wonders whether their cheap violin is really a Strad, I could buy myself a fine fiddle. :-)


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: freda underhill
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 11:50 PM

for anyone interested in getting a beautifully made violin, its worth checking out Graham Caldersmith's site at Graham Caldersmith Caldersmith

www.luth.org/calder/

the sound is beautiful, violins are made individually on commission and he has sold to some of the world's great violinists.

graham is an Australian scientist and music lover. he has applied his understanding of physics to guitar and violin making. he is a very talented instrument maker and has published over 30 papers in various respected journals concerning music, lutherie, and his accumulated physics-acoustical research.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,Judy Maloney
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 04:38 PM

I have a violin that belonged to my grandfather and I need some information on it, please. On the back are the initials 'F.R.'with a star above the initials. There are no labels on the inside. Any help would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 05:19 PM

Nowhere near enough info....where are you, do you know how granfer got it, and I doubt you will ever find out much. Too many 'home luthiers' out there.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: frogprince
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 09:45 PM

"a 200 yo copy strad would sound as good as a real strad if it was a real copy and made of similar wood and dimensions"

I wish I could cite the source for this now, but a few years ago I read an article by someone who surmised that Stradivarius used wood salvaged from construction beams that were already centuries old.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 10:07 PM

Also allegedly the wood had been stored in the water for years - it was drifted down river and stored until sold.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: treewind
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 05:07 AM

The only way to value a violin is to take it to an expert. They won't take much notice of labels, they'll looks at the type of wood used, quality of construction, and check various alignments for distortion and warping.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 10:11 AM

Yes treewind

a modest well made instrument by an unknown maker that is in good shape, and that plays and sounds well, is worth more than a 'name' one that is in bad condition - unless it is for 'display'.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 12:12 PM

And how they sound has NO bearing on the value. It's all in who made it, when, and where.


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Subject: Antonio Stradavariou violin
From: GUEST,Jody
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 08:35 PM

we have an old violin that reads antonio stradavarious, made in czechoslovakia. It was my husband's grandmother's who was born in 1900. We were wondering if it is of any value.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:16 AM

Stradavarious? It sounds like a fake to me, like those "Rollex" watches :-)


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Sorcha
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:31 AM

Means its a Strad MODEL and probably not worth much money. If it sounds nice, enjoy it for the family treasure it is.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:47 AM

Many 'copies' have been made - of varying quality - using the shapes and often thickness and shaping measurements of famous old violins.

Mr Llellwyn - who was well know in Aussie circles at one time, had templates made from genuine Strads - his grandsons still have those. He made some istruments which have 'turned out nice' and are still highly valued, due to their tone and playability - due to his careful workmanship.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 11:17 AM

Kim C said ".....me not knowing how to play up there. My teacher said that's the weakest part of the instrument... "

Sounds like the comment that the part of a car that's most often faulty is the nut behind the wheel!


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:20 PM

Okay, I might as well join the party. My fiddle has the name LOWENDALL'S CELEBRATED CONSERVATORY VIOLIN. stamped on the head. Inside label give 1893 as year it was made; Berlin the place. Anyone know anything about Louis Lowendall? Any chance he's going to come looking for his Celebrated Conservatory Violin?


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,guest2
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 09:07 PM

I also have one of his celebrated conservatory violin marked berlin 1893, can't say it sounds so rare anymore.


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST,maloar
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:30 PM

Hy!I have a fiddle Amati. If somebody can told me where can i sold it (an how much is aprox. an amati fiddle)... please contact me: maloar@freemail.hu   Thanks


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 05:55 PM

Are there fiddle players who actually use a Stradivarius or Amati violin, or are the ancient and noble violins used only by classical musicians?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM

As I recall, Kenny Baker's main fiddle is an origial Stainer. He bought it for a song (less than $100) many years ago.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 12:59 AM

I have Jacobus stainer in obsom prope onilpon

tom 17and littly65 made in Czechs love orig a Violion marled in thaleabbel tel details


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Subject: RE: What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 02:02 PM

Here's some film from YouTube (a short piece, around 14 minutes from les Blank) of Tommy Jarrell playing a genuine Strad at the Library of Congress. It doesn't sound like a strad, it sounds like Tommy Jarrell. It's the player not the instrument. There was recently a double blind test of great violinists playing different instruments. they coldn't agree as to what was better the old ones or the modrn copies.

My Old Fiddle


Mark Ross


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