4/4 Single maker superior Master level European Violin, Guarneri Del Jesu model 2016
Specific description for this violin: made in 2016 and fitted with Wittner fine tune pegs and Evah Pirazzi strings. Pictures below. General description follows:
I am sometimes asked what else I would recommend in the Gliga price bracket, and advanced players sometimes ask me where they go after Gliga without spending five figures on a violin. Let me suggest these. The lowest priced ones start towards the top end of the gliga price range. Each one is individually made from start to finish by one person.
This maker, whose name I am not to reveal openly (though his name and signature are on the label of course, and the Master level instruments come with a certificate bearing his name along with photographs of the instrument) was one of the top makers in a very well known European workshop and then started making violins on his own alongside that before branching out completely on his own. Well, not completely on his own, he also makes violins for two German makers who buy from him in the white. Previously he made instruments in the white for an Italian maker whose instruments are well into five figures (as are all Western European makers, and Italy commands a significant premium).
Specifically, the differences between his instruments and the Gligas, which are the nearest you are likely to find readily available, are:
Wood aged longer
Violin aged much longer (because Gliga are now making to order)
Higher quality ebony used for the fingerboard and pegs
Better quality set up, in other words, set up as it would be done by an individual maker setting up his own instruments rather than a general set up done as standard on everything. In short, the sort of set up that would be done by the sort of shop that would normally stock violins in this price range.
Much louder and more resonant and with a good range of dynamics even in high positions, but with the same tone quality as the Gligas. That said, these are not Chinese. They are made with a view to tone not mere volume. If you want it loud, you either need to be looking at something Chinese or at something a lot older. If you want it loud and with this sort of tone then you need to be raising your budget considerably and going to one of the expensive shops.
In the UK right now these are only available from me. If my experience with Gliga is anything to go by, once players start asking for these by name in the well known specialist shops, the secret will be out, the demand will go up and so will the prices. Right now, this maker is making only 20-30 violins per year. This year he was going to make none at all but he very kindly agreed to make five of the cheaper ones for me. He has a build up of stock to sell in his workshop and that is why he has been willing to work with me. In fact I am the only retailer he works with because he got fed up with others trying to make 100% or more profit on his violins. I don't do that (in fact you would probably be very surprised at how little I make on these) and no he will not send to you direct, someone already asked him.
The advantage of buying a violin that has been made a couple of years ago is that any problems it may have as a brand new instrument have already shown themselves. Humidity changes will have matured the wood and improved the sound. All this without anyone having previously owned the violin. It really is the way to do it but of course it can only be done when the maker has a build up of stock and that means either a little known maker or a maker large enough to hold instruments in stock for a couple of years before selling them (and of course that increases the price).
Here is a recording of a violin by this maker at this price point: the player is around Grade 7.
that recording was from when it was new (well, made earlier but not sold). The next recording is after two months. Listen to how much it has opened out!