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. He has previously made violins for an Italian maker too.
Specifically, the differences between this maker's instruments and the Gligas which are the nearest you are likely to find (I would have said "readily available" except that, alas, these days they are not readily available and that is why I have been forced to broaden my horizons) are:
Wood aged longer
Violin aged much longer (because Gliga are now making to order) including aging of the violin after making and before set up.
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.
Louder and more resonant and with a good range of dynamics even in high positions, but with the same tone quality as the Gligas.
In the UK right now these are only available from me. In fact I am the only retailer this maker works with. He has previously supplied others but does not do so any more because they were marking the prices up too much. He won't sell to you direct by the way, not unless you go to his workshop in person. Others have 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).
They would cost a lot more elsewhere, either through one of the German dealers or through a big UK shop. If you went to the country and visited this man's shop in person, the saving you would make would not cover your travel costs, even with a budget airline.
Violas and cellos are also available of course.
Prices vary but the cheapest 4/4 ones I can get now are £1200. I can inquire about other sizes (but he only makes down to 1/2 size).
I am open to serious expressions of interest in these lovely instruments but please bear in mind that I will be bringing one in specially for you and therefore I ask you not to request that unless you are genuinely in the market for one. Both the maker and I are very small businesses! They can be obtained quite quickly, typically in one week.
These instruments are suitable for advanced playing and have been very well received.
Here is a sound sample. It's a half size played by a Grade 3 player approaching Grade 4. It's the £900 violin.
Here is the same instrument played by the same player three months later: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0996/1626/files/Allegro_Concerto_in_G_-_Riedling1004.mp3?1024534382396588365
and another from a more advanced player playing a 3/4 size (£1200):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uSMXlCBWWw (bear in mind this is a new violin, well, by the time the recording was made it had been played for a couple of weeks at most). Listen to that G string!
and another from the same player.
The lack of volume is partly down to the fact that he is still using a 1/2 size bow - that extra four inches on a full size bow makes a lot of difference.
Incidentally, if you listen to the earlier recordings from this player it is worth noting that they were made using a Zeller. Yes, a Zeller. You see, the player is by far the most important factor!
The cheaper 4/4 violins (£900) are not expected to be available again so I have hidden the product, but the reviews from it are pasted below for reference:
Moving up from a 3/4 to full-sized violin, and Liz was incredibly patient and helpful throughout the process. The build quality is excellent, and the sound is lovely - mellow and clear. The violin itself is beautiful. Thanks, Liz, for all your help and guidance in making this purchase!!
I have had this violin for just over a week and am delighted it. It plays easily with a lovely rich, mellow sound that is very even all over the range. High positions on all four strings are no trouble at all and the E string sings all the way to the top. The violin feels very comfortable under the hand and under the chin, and the fingerboard is properly 'shot' (i.e. shaped and scooped) so that intonation is consistent under the fingers. It came with Tonica strings (similar to Dominants) and a Wittner tailpiece. For me, sound and playing quality are more important than appearance, but this instrument also looks gorgeous with its close-grained front and beautifully flamed back, finished with a moderately dark varnish.
Liz was very helpful, offering a choice of strings and colour, and great to deal with.
I have been thinking for some time of an upgrade from my intermediate Violin and eventually, in my search, I found Elida Violins. What an illuminating experience.
The quality of all the instruments on this website is outstanding and, after a few exchanges with Elizabeth I made my choice.
The instrument which I have now is superb and more than I ever expected to own. The Build quality and sound of the instrument is Marvellous, helped immensely by the string set which is fitted.
The service from this company has been first class from start to finish and I would highly recommend Elida Violins to any potential customer.
We've bought this professional violin for our daughter who is working towards her Grade 4. Our daughter is extremely happy with her new violin because it looks absolutely beautiful and sounds wonderfully mellow.
We were very impressed with the reliable and very professional service from Elida Violins. Thank you so much!