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The Best Violin Maker In The World?

Updated on June 9, 2013
Is Stradivari the best violin maker?
Is Stradivari the best violin maker? | Source

While we violinists do love to play the violins, sometimes we do love to know who are the makers of our violins. Furthermore, if you happen to own an expensive violin which cost over a million dollars, you would definitely want to find out if your violin is made by the best violin maker in the world!

In this article, we would want to find out who is the best violin maker in the history of violin, which began almost five centuries ago in 1555.

First Violin In The World

The first ever violin was made by Andrea Amati in 1555. He was also the most famous violin maker in the 16th century in Cremona, Italy. The news about him spread across the city and reaches the French King, who then ordered Amati to make violins for him.

Since then, Amati had also received disciples in wanting to learn how to make violins like him. Of all students he received, the most famous of them are Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri. His two students later become famous violin makers of 17th and 18th century, and with their antique violins still exists today, but in the range of millions of dollars.

So Who's The Best?

While we know that Amati created the first ever violin in the world, it is also known that his violins were not the best ever made violin. His violins were said to be of a bigger size, and with a softer and weak tone, which was not favored by many violinists.

However, improvements were made to Amati's violins by his students, Stradivari and Guarneri. Both of them refined and recreated the new violin models which we saw today. Moreover, both of their violins also sounded louder and deeper than Amati's. The "Il Cannone Guarnerius', which is famous violinist's Niccolo Paganini's prized asset, was praised by the violinist for its loud tone and volume. The Messiah Stradivarius, one of the most famous Strad, is widely praised for its quality and workmanship, though it has never been used for playing before.

Hence, we can really see that while Amati made the first ever violin in the world, it is his students, Stradivari and Guarneri who made the best violins for violin playing and collection.

Music By A Stradivarius

Guarneri or Stradivari?

Now, as we know that Amati's disciples, Guarneri and Stradivari made the best violins in history, is it possible to determine which is a better violin maker among the two of them? I believe many violinists all over the world have come to discuss about their violins and while many opinions are shared, one couldn't complete the conclusion if one is better than the other.

Over the years, many sound tests and experiments have been conducted to test the sound quality between the two sets of violins. However, the results are often inconsistent, and to a great extent, a subjective measure.

While violin lovers around the world couldn't decide which violin is better, one conclusion that they have come together, is that the Stradivarius has a brighter sound, while the Guarerius has a darker tone. Both tones were favored by famous violinists now and then, and many have used these prized violins for performance.

Question: If you're given a choice between a Guarnerius or a Stradivarius, which one would you choose?

Sound of a 1741 Guarnerius

We hope you enjoy learning about violin and music as much as we do. All comments are welcomed below!

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      m.k. 3 years ago

      My personal choice would be Guarneri. I love that deep full rich meaty sound and prefer it over the Stradivari's crystal one so to say. I'm not saying one is better thanthe other but simply I like that darker smoother Guarneri tone more.

    • profile image

      SRC 4 years ago

      Does anyone know the song title being played on the Gua?

    • profile image

      Res.p 4 years ago

    • profile image

      waski 4 years ago

      what do you think of reslee violin

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPoPti0DQNo

    • nbhumble profile image

      nbhumble 6 years ago from Staffs, UK

      That is an extremely interesting question - Guaneri or Stradavari? Well simply it would be amazing to have either. However, if I had to chose one or the other I could not say without taking into considration the qualities of the individual instruments on offer and that would at the end of the day be the determining factor - just as it was in chosing all the violins in my collection (see www.virtuosiviolins.com).

      A further interesting question is, how is that Stradavari is a household name, instantly recognised by many people as a famous name in connection with violins, whilst Guaneri is much less widely known outside the world of 'violin people'?

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