News: I have been offered four of these violins, made specially for me, to arrive at the end of September. 4/4 size. The condition of sale is that when they arrive I pay for them immediately so I am taking expressions of serious interest. You will need to be ready to move at the end of September. Expressions of serious interest will be dealt with in order before offering any unsold ones here. The price will be £800 each. You can place a firm order here or you can contact me.
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 and I will not be holding any in stock apart from the lowest priced ones (had to sell the last one at a break even price, hundreds of pounds below what the maker had it at in his shop. I cant make a living doing that!)
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.
Specifically, the differences between his 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)
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.
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 posh 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 and this year he is making none at all. He has a build up of stock to sell in his workshop and that is why he has been willing to work with me.
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). This particular maker is so small that he does not need to charge VAT, and since I am too small to charge VAT too, there's a huge saving to start with. They would cost a lot more elsewhere, either through one of the German dealers or through a big UK shop.
Violas and cellos are also available of course but will only be obtained to order, please contact me if you are seriously in the market for one.
Prices start at around £700 (violin) and an example at that price is shown in the pictures - the price is with factory strings and one adjuster and, of course, the violin only. 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. Full size ones have a lead time of three months because the maker has now sold his existing stock (three of them were snapped up by my customers) and there is very little profit for him in this price bracket. The next price level up - £900 - may be available.
These violins are made down to 1/2 size, but for anything below 4/4 PLEASE make contact before attempting to order. I will need to check the stock situation.
Here is a sound sample. It's a half size played by a Grade 3 player approaching Grade 4. It's the £900 violin.