Tone Evaluations by Martin Swan
Review of violins by named makers

As a part of my business I spend a good deal of time at auctions and in violin shops, and I make a point of playing every violin which is in playable condition. I’ve got into the habit of writing down basic observations about tone and taking note of the estimates of the instruments I play. I started collecting this information just for myself – as a way of building up a picture of the tonal qualities of instruments made by different makers. I decided to put it on the website because it challenges all the received wisdom about what’s a “good violin”.

>> Criteria for Violin Tone Evaluations


Makers:  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

KEY to tonal ratings
  Three star
  Two star

  One star
  Not worth rating

Sale date   Auction Estimate
10/2011 Franco Albanelli Bologna c1960 £7-10K
10/2012 Albert & Merke Philadelphia c1900 £2-3K
10/2012 Franco Albinelli Bologna 2003 £4-6K
06/2011 Armando Altavilla Naples   £8-12K
11/2011 Antonio & Girolamo Amati Cremona c1620  
03/2011 Amati Brothers Cremona   £40-60K
10/2013 Girolamo II Amati Cremona 1710 £200-300K
05/2013 Nicolo Amati Cremona 1658 £200-300K
03/2012 Nicolo Amati Cremona 1682 £250-350K
10/2012 Vincenzo Anastasio Naples 2006 £2-3K
03/2011 Vincenzo Anastasio Naples 2003 £2-3K
03/2011 Vincenzo Annanaruma Salerno 1932 £10-15K
06/2013 Gaetano Antoniazzi Cremona 1879 £30-40K
03/2013 Riccardo Antoniazzi Milan c1890 £25-35K
10/2012 Riccardo Antoniazzi Milan c1890 £25-35K
03/2012 Riccardo Antoniazzi Milan c1890 £50-70K
03/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Milan 1900 £9-12K
10/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Cremona 1907 £8-12K
03/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Milan 1908 £20-30K
03/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Cremona 1909 £25-30K
10/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Cremona 1914 £12-18K
06/2011 Romeo Antoniazzi Cremona 1924 £25-40K
10/2012 Georges Apparut Mirecourt 1947 £2.5-4K
10/2012 Georges Apparut Mirecourt 1939 £1.5-2K
06/2010 Georges Apparut Mirecourt 1944 £2-3K
10/2012 Job Arden Wilmslow £900-1.2K
10/2012 Claudio Arezio Firenze 2003 £3-5K
06/2010 Aldebrano Armagliani Gerona 1839 £8-12K
05/2013 Rowan Armour Brown Cremona 1975 £800-1,200
10/2011 William Atkinson Tottenham 1887 £3-4K
06/2011 Joseph Aubry Le Havre 1933 £1.2-1.8K
03/2011 Luigi Auciello Milan 1942 £2.5-3K
03/2011 Nestor Audinot Paris 1892 £5-7K
03/2011 Nestor Audinot Paris 1896 £10-15K
03/2011 Victor Audinot Paris 1925 £2-3K
10/2013 Paul Bailly London 1891 £60-80K
10/2013 Paul Bailly Paris 1898 £5-8K
06/2013 Paul Bailly Mirecourt c1890 £4-6K
06/2011 Paul Bailly Paris c1880 £3-5K
03/2012 Paul Bailly London 1899 £7-10K
10/2011 Paul Bailly Mirecourt c1900 £6-8K
05/2013 Paul Bailly (workshop) Paris c1900 £4-6K
10/2011 Luigi Bajoni Milan 1877 £18-25K
05/2013 Dante Baldoni Buenos Aires 1948 £2.5-4K
05/2013 Benjamin Banks Salisbury 1778 £8-12K
10/2011 James & Henry Banks Salisbury 1810 £3-5K
06/2010 Bruno Barbieri Mantua 1983 £3-5K
03/2011 Enzo Barbieri Mantova 1981 £3-4K
03/2013 Paolo de Barbieri Genoa 1959 £18-25K
10/2012 Paolo de Barbieri Genoa 1920 £6-9K
10/2012 Paolo de Barbieri Genoa 1946 £23-35K
03/2011 Paolo de Barbieri Genoa 1925 £18-25K
10/2011 Paolo de Barbieri Genoa 1945 £15-25K
03/2012 Giuseppe Bargelli Florence 1937 £4-6K
12/2012 Francois Barzoni Mirecourt c1900 £700-1K
10/2012 Francois Barzoni Mirecourt 1907 £1-1.5K
10/2012 Francois Barzoni Mirecourt 1910 £1-1.5K
03/2012 Alfio Batelli Florence 1930 £5-7K
10/2012 Gustave Bazin Mirecourt £1.5-2K
03/2011 Alan Beavit Scoraig 1984 £2-3K
05/2013 Carl Becker Chicago 1952 £14-18K
10/2013 Mario Bedocchi Reggio 1924 £18-25K
10/2011 Vittorio Bellarosa Naples c1940 £7-10K
03/2012 Vittorio Bellarosa Naples c1950 £6-8K
10/2011 Vittorio Bellarosa Naples 1952 £10-15K
03/2011 Vittorio Bellarosa Naples 1962 £10-15K
10/2011 Giuseppe Bellazzini Bonferraro 1929 £4-5K
10/2012 Corrado Belli Cremona 1981 £4-6K
03/2012 Giuseppe Beltrami Cremona 1917 £9-12K
05/2013 Auguste Bernardel Paris c1850 £10-15K
03/2012 Gustave Bernardel Paris 1892 £10-15K
10/2012 Leon Bernardel Paris 1932 £2-3K
03/2012 Père Bernardel Paris 1851 £25-35K
03/2012 John Betts London c1790 £7-10K
03/2012 John Betts London c1814 £4-6K
03/2011 Secondo Bianchini Salo 1950 £2.5-4K
10/2013 Otello Bignami Bologna 1970 £20-30K
10/2012 Oscar Bischofbergerer Zurich 1941 £4-6K
06/2013 Carlo Bisiach Florence 1922 £25-40K
03/2012 Carlo Bisiach Milan 1928 £25-35K
10/2011 Carlo Bisiach Florence 1940 £18-25K
06/2013 Giacomo & Leandro Bisiach Milan 1963 £20-30K
10/2013 Leandro Bisiach Milan 1904 £30-40K
06/2011 Leandro Bisiach Milan 1897 £30-50K
03/2012 Leandro Bisiach Milan c1910 £25-40K
06/2011 Leandro Bisiach Workshop Milan c1935 £22-30K
10/2013 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1909 £7-10K
03/2013 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1887 £10-15K
10/2012 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1912 £10-15K
10/2012 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1879 £10-15K
10/2012 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1906 £3-5K
03/2011 Paul Blanchard Lyon 1891 £6-7K
05/2013 Albert Blanchi Nice 1931 £10-15K
03/2011 Emile Blondelet Mirecourt 1924 £1-1.5K
10/2011 Emile Blondelet Mirecourt 1927 £1.5-2K
06/2011 Tonino Boga Turin 2006 £1.6-2.2K
06/2011 William Booth Leeds 1853 £1.8-2.5K
03/2011 Emile Boulangeot Lyon 1926 £6-8K
10/2012 Charles Boullangier London 1882 £6-7K
06/2011 Charles Boullangier London c1860 £15-20K
03/2011 Charles Boullangier London 1888 £5-7K
10/2012 Jan Boumeester Amsterdam 1664 £15-20K
10/2012 Maurice Bourgignon Brussels 1932 £3-4K
10/2013 James Briggs Glasgow 1907 £3-4K
03/2013 James Briggs Glasgow 1923 £4-6K
03/2012 James Briggs Glasgow 1927 £1.8-2.5K
10/2013 Charles Brugere Paris 1927 £4-6K
2011 Carlo Bruno   1921  
03/2012 Carolus Columbus Bruno Turin 1913 £4-6K
05/2013 Bernardo Calcagni Genoa 1741 £20-30K
03/2012 Camillo Camilli Mantua c1740 £30-50K
06/2011 Antonio Capela Espinho 1974 £3-5K
10/2011 Antonio Capela Espinho 1974 £4-5K
10/2011 Antonio Capela Espinho 1977 £3.5-5K
05/2013 Gioffredo Cappa Saluzzo c1700 £30-50K
10/2011 Vincenzo Carcassi Florence c1800 £8-12K
10/2013 Caressa & Francais Paris 1912 £4-6K
06/2013 Caressa & Francais Paris 1904 £5-8K
10/2012 Carlo? Carletti Pieve di Cento 1923 £15-18K
06/2013 Genuzio Carletti Pieve Di Cento 1930 £10-15K
03/2012 Nullo Carletti Pieve de Cento 1948 £3-5K
06/2013 Assunto Carloni Forli 2004 £2-3K
06/2013 Assunto Carloni Forli 2009 £2-3K
06/2011 Serafino Casini Florence 1932 £2.4-4K
06/2013 Paolo Castello Genoa 1770 £70-90K
06/2011 Paolo Castello Genoa c1786 £20-30K
06/2013 Enrico Catenari Turin c1680 £25-40K
10/2012 François Caussin Neufchateau c1850 £6-9K
10/2011 François Caussin Neufchateau c1860 £1.5-2K
03/2013 Antonio Cavalazzi Ravenna 1971 £10-12K
10/2012 Antonio Cavalazzi Ravenna 1974 £7-10K
10/2013 Aristide Cavalli Cremona 1923 £3-5K
10/2011 Giovanni Cavani Spilamberto c1920 £7-10K
03/2011 Vincenzo Cavani Spilamberto 1942 £10-15K
03/2012 Emidio Celani Ascoli Piceno 1888 £3-5K
12/2013 Constantinus Celanius Ascoli Piceno c1900 £12-18K
12/2012 Constantinus Celanus Asculi in Piceno 1938 £2-3K
06/2013 Giuseppe Ceruti Cremona c1824 £25-40K
05/2013 Giuseppe Ceruti Cremona 1832 £50-70K
10/2013 George Chanot Manchester 1899 £5-6K
05/2013 Georges Chanot Paris c1840 £20-30K
03/2011 Georges Chanot Paris 1840 £15-20K
03/2012 Georges Chanot Paris c1845 £12-18K
06/2011 Georges Chanot Manchester 1896 £7-12K
03/2012 Georges Adolph Chanot Manchester 1898 £6-9K
03/2011 Joseph Chanot London 1889 £12-18K
10/2011 Joseph Anthony Chanot London 1906 £3-5K
03/2011 Augustin Chappuy Paris 1774 £1.5-2.2K
03/2012 Augustin Chappuy Paris 1775 £5-700
10/2011 Victor Joseph Charotte Mirecourt 1913 £3-5K
10/2013 Frederic Chaudiere Montpellier 1992 £18-25K
10/2012 Frederic Chaudiere Montpellier 1997 £18-25K
03/2013 Joannes Chiaravalle Faleroni c1820 £20-30K
06/2011 Gaetano Chiocchi Padua 1871 £20-30K
03/2012 Alessandro Ciciliati Ferrara 2005 £4-6K
10/2011 Albert Coad Penzance 1937 £1-2K
03/2011 Collin Mezin Mirecourt 1929 £1.2-1.8K
06/2013 Charles JB Collin-Mezin Paris 1888 £3-5K
10/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin Mirecourt 1887 £4-6K
10/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin Mirecourt c1890 £3-5K
06/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin Mirecourt 1900 £4-6K
03/2012 Charles JB Collin Mezin Mirecourt 1907 £1.8-2.5K
10/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin Mirecourt c1910 £2-3K
06/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin père Mirecourt 1895 £3-5K
10/2012 Charles JB Collin-Mezin fils Mirecourt 1931 £4-5K
06/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin fils Mirecourt c1927 £1.2-1.8K
06/2011 Charles JB Collin Mezin fils Mirecourt 1928 £2-3K
10/2011 Romano Comastri Imola 1973 £3-5K
06/2010 Stefano Conia Cremona 1979 £3-5K
03/2012 Primo Contavalli Omola c1946 £5-7K
10/2013 Alfredus Contino Naples 1929 £20-30K
03/2011 Alfredus Contino Naples 1921 £15-18K
03/2012 Alfredo Contino Naples 1929 £15-22K
03/2012 Pietro Antonio dalla Costa Treviso c1750 £50-70K
10/2011 Charles Cramond Aberdeen 1830 £1-1.5K
05/2013 George Craske Stockport c1880 £3-5K
12/2012 George Craske c1870 £3-5K
10/2012 George Craske c1870 £3-4K
06/2011 George Craske London c1850 £2.5-4K
03/2012 George Craske   c1870 £2.5-3.5K
03/2011 George Craske Manchester 1874 £2.5-3.5K
10/2012 Anselmo Curletto Turin 1948 £12-18K
10/2011 Johannes Francis Cuypers Amsterdam 1799 £15-20K
12/2011 Salvatore Dambra Messina c1820  
10/2012 Silvio Danieli Bonferrato 1929 £6-9K
10/2013 Eugenio Degani Venice 1898 £25-35K
06/2013 Eugenio Degani Venice 1893 £18-25K
05/2013 Eugenio Degani Venice 1894 £20-30K
06/2012 Eugenio Degani Venice 1896 £18-25K
03/2012 Eugenio Degani Venice 1897 £15-20K
10/2013 Giulio Degani Venice 1901 £15-20K
05/2013 Giulio Degani Venice 1898 £20-30K
05/2013 Giulio Degani Venice 1901 £20-30K
03/2013 Giulio Degani Venice 1898 £18-25K
03/2011 Francois Delprato Mirecourt
£2-3K
05/2013 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1870 £8-12K
12/2012 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1870 £5-8K
03/2011 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1840 £15-20K
10/2011 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1850 £3-4K
03/2012 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1855 £4-6K
06/2012 Honore Derazey Mirecourt c1855 £14-18K
10/2012 Juste Derazey Mirecourt c1890 £2.5-3.5K
06/2011 Juste Derazey Mirecourt
£2.5-3.5K
10/2011 Juste Derazey Mirecourt c1880 £10-15K
03/2012 Juste Derazey Mirecourt c1880 £3-4K
03/2012 Juste Derazey Mirecourt
£2-3K
10/2011 Justin Derazey Mirecourt c1880 £3-5K
03/2012 Giuseppe Desiato Naples 1896 £12-16K
10/2012 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt 1950 £2.5-4K
06/2011 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt c1920 £2-3K
06/2011 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt 1933 £1.8-2.5K
10/2011 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt 1934 £3-5K
10/2011 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt 1940 £3-5K
03/2012 Amédée Dieudonnée Mirecourt 1944 £2-3K
10/2012 Alfred Dixon Folkestone 1941 £2-3K
03/2013 Marco Dobresovitch Alexandria 1934 £18-25K
06/2013 Thomas Dodd London c1820 £10-15K
05/2013 Thomas Dodd London c1795 £2-3K
10/2012 Hermann Dolling Jr Markneukirchen c1900 £2-3K
03/2012 Richard Duke Jr London 1792 £4-6K
06/2011 George Duncan Glasgow 1880 £1-1.5K
06/2013 Guldbrand Eger Copenhagen 1870 £5-8K
10/2012 Annibale Fagnola Turin 1890 £40-50K
2011 Annibale Fagnola      
12/2011 Annibale Fagnola Turin c1900 £30-50K
10/2011 Annibale Fagnola Turin 1927 £40-60K
10/2011 Annibalotto Fagnola Turin 1928 £20-30K
10/2012 Auguste Falisse Brussels 1916 £3-5K
06/2011 Auguste Falisse Brussels 1909 £3-5K
10/2012 Celeste Farotti Milan 1901 £5-8K
10/2011 Celestino Farotti Milan 1970 £7-10K
06/2011 Giovanni Fichera Naples 1978 £3-5K
03/2011 Leon Fichesser Paris 1906 £10-15K
05/2013 Johann Ulrich Fichtl Mittenwald 1763 £1-1.4K
03/2011 Giuseppe Fiorini Munich 1897 £30-40K
10/2011 Giuseppe Fiorini Zurich 1919 £50-70K
10/2011 Benoit Fleury Paris 1761 £3-5K
10/2013 Arturo Fracassi Cesena 1956 £12-18K
10/2012 P Franot Mirecourt c1870 £1-1.5K
10/2011 Rodolfo Fredi Rome 1929 £10-15K
10/2012 Matthew Furber London 1785 £3-4K
03/2012 Matthew Furber London 1811 £5-800
10/2012 Giovanni B Gabrielli Florence c1760 £40-60K
06/2013 Gaetano Gadda Mantua 1948 £20-30K
10/2012 Gaetano Gadda Mantua 1930 £15-20K
10/2012 Gaetano Gadda Mantua £25-35K
10/2012 Mario Gadda Mantua 1991 £3-4K
10/2012 Mario Gadda Mantua 1987 £2-3K
10/2012 Mario Gadda Mantua c1980 £7-10K
03/2012 Mario Gadda Mantua 1976 £6-8K
03/2012 Pierre Gaggini Nice 1938 £3-5K
03/2011 Pierre Gaggini Nice 1943 £6-9K
06/2013 Alessandro Gagliano Naples 1709 £150-250K
05/2013 Gennaro Gagliano Naples 1760 £60-80K
03/2012 Gennaro Gagliano Naples 1743 £60-90K
10/2012 Giuseppe Gagliano Naples c1800 £80-120K
10/2013 Giuseppe & Antonio Gagliano Naples c1790 £50-80K
10/2012 Giuseppe & Antonio Gagliano Naples c1800 £20-30K
03/2012 Januarius Gagliano Naples 1722 £30-50K
10/2012 Nicolo Gagliano Naples c1760 £50-70K
10/2011 Nicolo Gagliano Naples c1750 £140-180K
03/2011 Raffaele & Antonio Gagliano Naples
£20-30K
10/2013 Giovanni Baptista Gaibisso Alassio 1941 £7-10K
00/2013 Giovanni Baptista Gaibisso Alassio 1908 £5-8K
05/2013 Giovanni Battista Gaibasso Alassio 1941 £8-12K
10/2011 Giovanni Gaida Ivrea 1933 £10-15K
03/2012 Charles Gaillard Paris c1875 £3-5K
10/2012 Pietro Galinotti Solero 1929 £10-15K
06/2011 Antonin Galla Brno 1955 £2-3K
10/2011 Claudio Gamberini Bologna c1920 £7-10K
03/2012 Gand & Bernardel Paris 1878 £10-15K
06/2011 Gand & Bernardel Paris 1882 £8-12K
10/2012 Richard Gareis Graslitz £3-500
10/2013 Ferdinando Garimberti Milan 1978 £40-60K
10/2011 Eugen Gartner Stuttgart 1901 £5-7K
06/2012 Franciscus Geissenhof Vienna c1808 £8-12K
10/2012 George Gemunder Long Island 1888 £8-12K
03/2012 Riccardo Genovese Montiglio 1924 £18-25K
05/2013 Emile Germain Paris 1908 £4-6K
03/2013 Emile Germain Paris 1883 £3-5K
10/2011 Emile Germain Paris 1894 £2-3K
12/2012 Antonio Giacci Osimo 1979 £2-3K
03/2011 Alfredo Gianotti Milan 1975 £3-5K
10/2011 Senio Giovanetti Turin 1988 £2-4K
03/2012 Ludovico Giovannetti San Benedetto 1950 £4-6K
10/2012 William Glenister London 1918 £1.5-2K
10/2012 Antonius Goeting Amsterdam 1929 £2-3K
06/2011 Eduardo Gorr Cremona 2003 £1.5-2.2K
10/2012 Anselmo Gotti Ferrara c1929 £6-8K
10/2012 Emile Gourrien Mirecourt 1928 £1.3-1.7K
10/2011 Gugliemo Govoni Bologna c1970 £3-5K
05/2013 Antonio Gragnani Livorno 1784 £12-16K
05/2013 Antonio Gragnani Livorno 1771 £30-50K
10/2012 Antonio Gragnani Livorno 1778 £20-30K
10/2011 Antonio Gragnani Livorno 1779 £25-35K
06/2013 Giovanni Grancino Milan 1699 £70-90K
11/2011 Giovanni Grancino Milan 1697  
06/2011 Granjon Père Mirecourt c1870 £1-1.5K
03/2012 John Greaves Edmonton c1810 £3-5K
03/2012 Francesco Guadagnini Turin 1937 £40-60K
10/2012 Lorenzo Frassini Guado Cremona 1992 £2-3K
10/2013 Andrea Guarneri Cremona c1675 £60-80K
03/2013 Andrea Guarneri Cremona 1674 £80-120K
10/2011 Dante & Alfredo Guastalla Reggiolo Emilia c1920 £15-20K
10/2012 Dante & Alfred Guastalla Reggiolo Emilia 1924 £10-15K
10/2011 Dante & Alfredo Guastalla Reggiolo Emilia 1924 £12-18K
06/2010 Fratelli Guastalla Reggiolo 1928 £5-7K
03/2011 Guastalla Bros Reggiolo 1932 £6-9K
10/2011 Louis Guersan Paris 1747 £6-10K
06/2011 Gottfried Hamm Markneukirchen c1790 £600-1K
10/2013 Thomas Hardie Edinburgh 1844 £3-5K
06/2011 Charles Harris Addebury 1826 £3-5K
03/2011 Hart & Son London
£3-6K
10/2012 Jacques W Hakkert Rotterdam 1913 £2.5-3.5K
10/2013 Joseph Hel Lille 1883 £13,200
10/2011 Joseph Hel Lille 1901 £15-20K
06/2013 Pierre Hel Lille 1932 £13-18K
05/2013 Pierre Hel Lille 1883 £10-15K
10/2011 Pierre Joseph Hel Lille 1901 £8-12K
03/2012 Eugene Henry Paris 1861 £4-6K
12/2012 JB Herclik Mlada Boleslav £1-1.2K
03/2011 Thomas Earle Hesketh Manchester 1910 £3-4K
10/2011 Thomas Earle Hesketh Manchester 1933 £4-6K
12/2011 Thomas Earle Hesketh Manchester 1939 £2-4K
03/2012 Thomas Earle Hesketh Manchester 1939 £2.5-3.5K
03/2011 Thomas Earle Hesketh Manchester 1958 £4-6K
06/2011 W E Hill & Sons London 1919 £6-9K
10/2012 Matthys Hofmans Amsterdam c1720 £15-20K
10/2012 TJ Holder £3-4K
10/2013 Jacobus Horil Rome c1750 £30-50K
05/2013 Joseph Hornsteiner II Mittenwald c1820 £3-5K
10/2011 Hendrik Jacobs Amsterdam 1694 £10-15K
03/2012 Edward P Janson Manchester 1856 £2-3K
10/2013 John Johnson London 1757 £8-12K
10/2011 John Johnson London c1756 £3-4K
06/2013 Paul Kaul Paris 1933 £3-5K
10/2011 Thomas Kennedy London 1842 £5-7K
03/2012 Cornelius Kleynman Amsterdam 1683 £12-18K
10/2013 Aegidius Kloz Mittenwald c1780 £3-5K
10/2013 Aegidius Kloz Mittenwald 1791 £4-6K
05/2013 Aegidius Kloz Mittenwald c1780 £4-6K
10/2011 Sebastian Klotz Mittenwald c1750 £3.5-5K
03/2012 Sebastian Klotz Mittenwald c1750 £7-10K
12/2011 Sebastian Klotz Mittenwald 1802 £2-3K
03/2012 Paul Knorr Markneukirchen c1930 £4.5-6K
10/2012 Oskar Krahl Meerane 1931 £2-3K
10/2011 Joseph Kriner Mittenwald 1790 £1.5-2.5
10/2012 Luigi Lanaro Padua 1980 £6-9K
12/2012 Umberto Lanaro Padua 1976 £5-7K
06/2013 Carlo Landolfi Milan c1755 £70-100K
10/2012 Alfred Lanini San Jose 1920 £3-5K
10/2012 Alfred Lanini San Jose 1931 £3-5K
05/2013 Jean Larcher 1928 £4-600
06/2011 Lorenzo Latelli Cremona 2008 £2.5-4K
10/2011 Emile Laurent Brussels 1905 £8-12K
03/2012 Emile Laurent Bordeaux 1913 £3.5-4.5K
06/2011 Lauriol Bordeaux 1862 £1-1.5K
06/2013 Jean Lavest Montlucon 1929 £2-3K
10/2012 Claude Lebet Rome 2011 £4.5-6K
10/2012 Dino Lelle Cesena 1996 £1.5-2.2K
03/2012 Joseph D Lete Paris c1835 £9-12K
12/2012 Lete & Denis Turin c1830 £3-5K
05/2013 Lorenzo Locatelli Cremona 2002 £3.5-5K
10/2013 Paul Lorange Lyon 1900 £4-6K
05/2013 Paul Lorange Lyon 1900 £5-7K
06/2012 Antonius Lucca Verona 1915 £10-15K
03/2013 Giuseppe Lucci Bagnacavallo 1938 £12-18K
03/2011 Giuseppe Lucci Bagnacavallo 1946 £6-9K
10/2011 Giuseppe Lucci Rome 1963 £15-22K
10/2011 William H Luff London 1973 £4-6K
10/2012 Nicolas Lupot Paris 1800 £80-120K
06/2011 Nicholas Lupot Paris 1799 £80-120K
10/2012 Gustav Lutschg Berne 1930 £4-5K
05/2013 Charles Le Lyonnais Nantes 1915 £1-1.5K
10/2011 Cesare Maggiali Carrara 1932 £6-8K
06/2011 Cesare Maggiali Cessena 1963 £5-8K
05/2013 Giovan Paolo Maggini Brescia c1620 £25-35K
06/2011 Erminio Malagutti Milan 1982 £8-12K
10/2011 Salvatore Mangiacsale Torino 2001 £3-5K
06/2011 Edoardo Marcheti Turin 1922 £18-25K
10/2013 Enrico Marchetti Turin 1883 £25-35K
05/2013 Enrico Marchetti Turin 1885 £15-20K
06/2011 Enrico Marchetti Turin 1882 £12-18K
10/2011 Enrico Marchetti Turin c1890 £7-10K
03/2011 Enrico Marchetti Turin 1908 £25-40K
03/2012 Enrico Marchetti Turin 1923 £24-28K
03/2011 Guiseppe Marconcini Ferrara 1800 £15-20K
10/2013 Ludovico Mariani Pesaro 16?? £15-20K
10/2012 Olivier Marissal Lille 1933 £800-1.2K
10/2012 Claude Miremont New York 1862 £10-15K
06/2011 Oreste Martini Mantua 1921 £4-6K
05/2013 Charles Maucotel Paris c1840 £15-20K
12/2012 Justin Maucotel Mirecourt c1880 £1.5-2K
10/2012 Justin Maucotel Mirecourt £1.5-2K
10/2012 Carolus Maurizi Bologna 1929 £5-7K
10/2011 Edwin Maxwell Wimbledon 1938 £1-1.5K
10/2012 Walter Mayson Manchester c1900 £2.5-4K
03/2012 Walter H Mayson Manchester 1888 £2-3K
10/2012 Karel Van Der Meer Amsterdam 1929 £2-3K
10/2011 Alessandro Mezzadri Ferrara 1701 £45-60K
10/2011 Adolfo Melli Reggiolo 1934 £3-5K
10/2012 Emile Menesson Reims 1881 £7-10K
10/2011 Charles Mennegand Paris 1879 £3.8-5K
10/2013 Mauirce Mermillot Paris 1895 £6-8K
12/2011 Janos Michelberger Budapest 1926 £600-1K
10/2013 Plino Michetti Turin 1932 £18-25K
10/2011 Plino Michetti Turin 1941 £10-15K
10/2012 R & M Millant Paris 1947 £2.5-3.5K
10/2011 Roger & Max Millant Paris 1939 £3-4K
03/2012 Claude Auguste Miremont Paris 1880 £7-10K
10/2011 Mino Mirizzi Bari 1955 £1.5-2.2K
03/2012 Max Mockel Berlin 1934 £2.5-3.5K
03/2011 Louis Moitessier Paris/Mirecourt 1810 £2-3K
10/2012 Max Moller Amsterdam 1943 £5-7K
06/2010 Domenico Montagnana Venice 1723 £250-400K
10/2012 AC Monteverde Cremona 1923 £3-5K
10/2013 Giovanni Baptista Morassi Cremona 1973 £10-15K
03/2012 Giovanni Baptista Morassi Cremona 1998 £12-18K
06/2013 Giovanni Baptista Morassi Cremona 1972 £12-18K
10/2013 Felix Mori Costa Parma 1807 £50K
10/2011 Georges Mougenot Brussels 1882 £5-8K
06/2011 Leon Mougenot Gauche Mirecourt 1902 £3-5K
10/2012 Hans Muller Vienna 1935 £1.5-2K
10/2012 Ernest Mumby London £4-600
03/2012 Romedio Muncher Cremona 1924 £3-5K
03/2011 Romedio Muncher Cremona 1929 £1.8-2.5K
10/2012 Umberto Muschietti Udine 1925 £6-9K
10/2011 Colin Nicholls London 1992 £1.5-2K
03/2013 Didier Nicolas Mirecourt 1831 £3-5K
10/2012 Didier Nicolas Mirecourt c1800 £5-8K
10/2012 Didier Nicolas Mirecourt c1800 £3-5K
10/2011 Didier Nicolas France c1780 £2-3K
10/2013 Natale Novelli Milan 1947 £15-20K
03/2011 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone Turin 1905 £40-60K
03/2012 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone Turin 1918 £50-70K
10/2011 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone Turin 1930 £45-60K
06/2013 Giuseppe Odoardi Ascoli Piceno 1780 £18-25K
10/2011 Archimede Orlandini Parma 1965 £4-6K
10/2013 Giuseppe Ornati Milan 1921 £35-50K
10/2012 Louis Otto Dresden 1898 £3-4K
06/2011 John W Owen Leeds 1924 £1.5-2.5K
10/2011 Aldo Pagliacci Rome 1985 £2.5-4K
10/2013 Edward Pamphilon London c1680 £8-12K
10/2012 Giovanni Panizzi San Remo 1947 £7-10K
10/2013 Vincenzo Panormo London c1790 £20-30K
10/2012 Vincenzo Panormo London c1790 £30-50K
10/2011 Daniel Parker London c1720 £6-8K
10/2011 Piero Parravicini Milan 1931 £8-12K
06/2013 Joseph Pauli Linz c1800 £4-6K
10/2012 Giuseppe Pedrazzini Milan 1947 £30-40K
03/2012 Giuseppe Pedrazzini Milan c1945 £22-28K
10/2011 Raimondo Perotta Milan 1926 £1.2-1.8K
05/2013 Thomas Perry Dublin 1823 £1-1.5K
03/2011 Thomas Perry Dublin 1770 £3-5K
06/2013 Ernesto Pevere Ferrara 1928 £7-10K
10/2011 Bruno Piastri Gabbice 1995 £2.5-4K
03/2011 Armando Piccagliani Modena 1938 £5-8K
05/2013 Claude Pierray Paris c1725 £12-18K
Bo Paulus Pilat Budapest 1926 £3-5K
03/2013 Paulus Pilat Budapest 1928 £3-5K
03/2011 Francois Pillement Paris/Mirecourt 1830 £1-1.5K
10/2011 François Louis Pique Paris c1800 £20-30K
10/2013 Francois Pique Paris 1788 £20-30K
10/2012 Piroue Paris c1830 £1.5-2K
10/2013 Giovanni Pistucci Naples c1900 £28,800
10/2012 Giovanni Pistucci Naples c1900 £30-40K
03/2011 Walter Plain Glasgow
£800-1.2K
10/2013 Andreas Postachhini Fermo c1810 £40-50K
10/2012 Andreas Postacchini c1835 £70-100K
10/2013 Vincenzo Postiglione Naples 1910 £12-18K
05/2013 Vincenzo Postiglione Naples 1910 £15-20K
10/2012 Vincenzo Postiglione Naples 1871 £30-50K
12/2012 Thomas Powell 1794 £3-5K
06/2013 Giovanni F Pressenda Turin 1828 £200-300K
03/2012 JF Pressenda Turin 1825 £80-100K
10/2011 George Pyne London 1893 £1-1.5K
03/2012 Janos Racsinczky Budapest 1941 £1.5-2K
10/2011 Othelo Radighieri Baveno 1987 £4-6K
10/2012 Andreas Renisto 1931 £1-1.5K
10/2012 Charles Resuche Lyon 1894 £2.5-3K
10/2012 Arthur Richardson Crediton 1928 £3-5K
10/2011 Arthur Richardson Crediton 1920 £2.2-2.8K
12/2011 Arthur Richardson Crediton 1927 £3-5K
06/2011 Arthur Richardson Devon 1928 £5-7K
10/2013 Romano Marengo Rinaldi Turin 1900 £35-50K
10/2011 Carlos Roberts Cremona 1997 £3-5K
03/2011 Stanley Robinson Plumstead
£6-800
10/2013 Enrico Rocca Genova 1898 £40-60K
10/2012 Enrico Rocca Genoa 1915 £40-50K
03/2012 Enrico Rocca Genova 1894 £50-70K
10/2013 Sesto Rocchi San Polo d'Enza 1977 £12-16K
10/2011 Sesto Rocchi Milan 1933 £7-10K
10/2013 Giovanni Baptista Rogeri Brescia c1680 £70-100K
06/2013 Giovanni Battista Rogeri Brescia 1703 £100-150K
10/2011 Giovanni Battista Rogeri Brescia c1705 £140-180K
10/2012 Peter Rombouts Amsterdam c1712 £25-40K
06/2012 Giuseppe Rossi Rome 1921 £7-10K
12/2011 Giovanni Rota Cremona 1800 £18-25K
10/2012 Ernst Heinrich Roth Markneukirchen 1937 £1-1.5K
10/2012 Ernst Heinrich Roth Markneukirchen 1944 £2-3K
03/2011 Ernst Heinrich Roth Markneukirchen 1923 £800-1.2K
10/2011 Ernst Heinrich Roth Markneukirchen 1928 £1.5-2.5K
10/2011 Luigi Rovatto Buenos Aires 1929 £4-6K
10/2011 Tullio Rovescalli Cremona 1930 £6-7K
03/2012 David Rubio Cambridge 1992 £3-5K
10/2012 Carl Ruffe Markneukirchen 1931 £1-1.5K
06/2011 Vincenzo Rugeri Cremona 1717 £80-120K
10/2013 Francesco Rugeri Cremona c1690 £150-200K
10/2012 Francesco Ruggeri Cremona c1680 £60-90K
12/2012 Benigno Saccani Milan c1880 £4-6K
10/2012 Benigno Saccani Milan 1910 £6-10K
06/2013 Jean-Baptiste Salomon Paris c1760 £2-4K
12/2012 Luigi Salsedo 1932 £1-1.5K
06/2010 Luigi Salsedo Naples 1925 £2.5-3K
03/2012 Luigi Salsedo Italy 1927 £3-4K
10/2011 Vincenzo Sannino Naples 1918 £18-25K
06/2012 Vincenzo Sannino Naples 1927 £18-25K
10/2011 Vincenzo Sannino Rome c1930 £30-40K
06/2013 Stefano Scarampella Mantua 1898 £65-85K
06/2013 Stefano Scarampella Mantua 1905 £70-100K
05/2013 Stefano Scarampella Mantua 1898 £45-60K
03/2013 Stefano Scarampella Mantua 1919 £55-60K
10/2012 Stefano Scarampella Mantua 1896 £60-80K
11/2011 Scarampella Workshop Mantua 1921  
10/2011 Lucien Schmidt Grenoble 1938 £3-5K
03/2012 Iginio Sderci Florence 1939 £20-30K
06/2011 Iginio Sderci Florence 1948 £10-15K
06/2011 Iginio Sderci Florence 1951 £10-15K
10/2011 Iginio Sderci Florence 1976 £8-12K
06/2013 Iginius Sderci Florence 1971 £15-20K
10/2012 Sanctus Serafin Venice c1730 £70-100K
10/2011 Paul Serdet Paris 1912 £6-8K
10/2013 Elio Severgnini Cremona 1989 £2.5-4K
06/2013 Giuseppe Sgarbi Finale Emilia 1878 £15-22K
10/2012 Gaetano Sgarabotto Parma 1931 £5-7K
06/2011 Pietro Sgarabotto Parma 1949 £30-40K
10/2011 Pietro Sgarabotto Parma 1949 £18-25K
10/2011 Pietro Sgarabotto Cremona 1960 £20-30K
06/2011 Giuseppe Sgarbi Rome 1885 £8-12K
03/2012 Etorre Siega Venice 1914 £2-4K
03/2012 Hippolyte Chretien Silvestre Paris 1889 £5-7K
2011 Hippolyte Chretien Silvestre   1889  
10/2011 Hippolyte Chretien Silvestre Paris 1898 £8-12K
10/2011 Pierre Silvestre Lyon 1846 £18-25K
10/2011 Pierre & Hippolyte Silvestre Lyon 1834 £4-6K
10/2012 Silvestre & Maucotel Paris 1900 £5-7K
10/2011 Amadeo Simonazzi Reggio Emelia 1946 £15-22K
10/2011 Andrew Smillie & Son Glasgow 1907 £2.5-3.5K
06/2011 Ettore Soffriti Ferrara c1892 £15-22K
03/2011 Ettore Soffriti Ferrara 1920 £30-50K
06/2013 Spiritus Sorsana Cuneo c1736 £40-50K
10/2011 Rumen Spirov Kazanlak 2010 £2-3K
03/2012 Rumen Spirov Kazanlak 2011 £1.2-1.8K
2011 George Stoppani Manchester 2010  
05/2013 Lorenzo Storioni Cremona 1774 £150-200K
04/2012 Lorenzo Storioni Cremona 1792 $280-350K
04/2012 Antonio Stradivari Cremona c1705  
05/2013 Jean Striebig Mirecourt 1949 £7-1,000
05/2013 Michael Strobl Berlin 1924 £3-5K
10/2013 Bela Szepessy London 1889 £10-15K
10/2011 Giuseppe Tarasconi Milan c1900 £20-30K
03/2012 Giuseppe Tarasconi Saronno c1900 £20-30K
10/2012 Giovanni Tedesco Naples 1909 £7-10K
10/2012 Claudio Testoni Mantova 2011 £5-8K
10/2013 Carlo Antonio Testore Milan 17?? £80-120K
10/2013 Carlo Antonio Testore Milan 1756 £55-85K
05/2013 Carlo Antonio Testore Milan 1738 £50-80K
05/2013 Carlo Giuseppe Testore Milan c1720 £25-35K
06/2011 Paolo Antonio Testore Milan c1740 £50-80K
03/2012 Pierre Thibout Paris c1840 £6-8K
03/2011 Charles & Samuel Thompson London 1772 £3-5K
10/2013 Richard Tobin London c1830 £8-12K
10/2011 Carlo Tononi Bologna c1718 £90-120K
03/2011 Rudolfo Tramonti Forli
£6-8K
06/2013 Pierre Triffaux Cremona 2010 £3-5K
06/2011 Nicola Utili Castel Bolognese 1932 £5-8K
03/2011 Giovanni Valenzano Valenza 1821 £10-15K
03/2012 Gyula Varady Budapest 1920 £4-6K
06/2011 Ferrucio Varagnolo Milan 1904 £11-15K
10/2012 Alfons Vavra Prague 1952 £2-3K
03/2012 Lorenzo Ventapane Naples 1828 £50-70K
03/2011 Lorenzo Ventapane Naples
£18-25K
03/2011 Pasquale Ventapane Naples 1840 £10-15K
12/2012 Dario Verne Turin 1982 £3-5K
10/2011 Alfred Vidoudez Geneva 1924 £5-7K
06/2013 Holm Viertel Aachen 1912 £1.2-1.8K
03/2012 Gennaro Vinaccia Naples 1780 £60-70K
10/2013 Alfred Vincent London 1924 £3-5K
10/2013 Alfred Vincent London 1936 £5-7K
03/2011 Alfred Vincent London 1926 £3-4K
10/2011 Arnold Voigt Markneukirchen
£800-1.2K
03/2013 Voller Bros London c1900 £18-25K
03/2011 Voller Bros London 1900 £12-18K
03/2011 Chipot Vuillaume Mirecourt
£800-1.2K
10/2013 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris 1866 £100-150K
06/2013 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume Paris c1830 £50-80K
05/2013 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris 1847 £60-80K
10/2012 Jean-Baptiste Vuilaume Paris c1830 £70-100K
10/2011 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris 1829 £75-100K
10/2011 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris c1845 £65-75K
03/2012 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris 1845 £80-120K
03/2012 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Paris 1873 £70-100K
06/2013 Nicolas Vuillaume Mirecourt 1863 £15-22K
10/2012 Nicolas Vuillaume Brussels 1871 £10-15K
10/2012 Nicholas Vuillaume Mirecourt c1870 £8-12K
03/2012 Nicolas François Vuillaume Brussels 1833 £8-12K
03/2012 Nicolas François Vuillaume Brussels 1844 £15-18K
10/2011 Frank Watson Rochdale 1900 £800-1K
03/2011 Emmanuel Whitmarsh London 1910 £1.5-2.2K
03/2011 Leopold Widhalm Nürnberg 1775 £10-15K
05/2013 John Wilkinson London £3-5K
10/2012 John Wilkinson London c1935 £3-4K
10/2011 John Wilkinson London c1935 £5-6K
10/2013 Georg Winterling Hamburg 1909 £4.5-6.5K
10/2012 George Wulme-Hudson London c1930 £9-13K
10/2013 Aldo Zani Cesena 1931 £8-12K
10/2012 Francesco Zanoli Nonantola 1987 £2-3K
10/2012 Francesco Zanoli Nonantola 1988 £1.5-2.2K
03/2012 Francesco Zanoli Nonantola 1982 £1.8-2.5K
06/2011 Bruno Zobboli Pieve di Cento 2001 £1-2.5K

Criteria for Violin Tone Evaluations

I have to point out that many of the instruments one meets in auction rooms are poorly set up, the strings can be old, and sometimes there are other problems. But I take these factors into account – I make a judgment about how far off its ideal set-up any particular instrument might be. And if the set-up looks good, I assume that minor changes won’t essentially alter its character.

I try to play the instruments before looking at the label, the catalogue, or the estimate, so that I’m not prejudiced by the price tag – sometimes this isn’t possible (for instance Tarisio arranges its instruments according to value), but often I have a friend or colleague who holds the catalogue and keeps that information to him/herself!

I should also point out that my idea of good tone is subjective, but I do have consistent criteria and they are by and large the same as any professional player's. A great violin is one you find yourself making great music on!

I suppose the constituent parts are generally (and not in order of importance):

  • The absence of irregularity or nasty artefacts that have to be played around
  • Complexity and abundance of good high harmonics throughout the register (often discussed in terms of projection)
  • Volume in all parts of the register
  • Sustain or continuity of response
  • Plenty of information making its way to the player's body (resonance)

With a good violin the tone doesn't seem to come from anywhere in particular, you feel yourself to be part of it and it to be part of you, and the sound occupies the space you're playing in. I'd say the greatest testament to a good violin is that you forget about it – same with bows. With both violins and bows, a good tool immediately opens up the possibility of better musical ideas & forms of expression. I suppose this comes down to a general rather nebulous quality of "responsiveness".

As for determining whether one instrument is superior to another, it comes down to the quality of relaxation I experience when playing the instrument. The more relaxed you feel, the more you can communicate.

I confess to some idiosyncrasies - I'm not overly bothered about sonorous G strings, I like very loud violins, and I'm very fond of new violins.

Most experienced players with some technique share these ideas/ideals. Learners have a rather different agenda, as good articulate response is often the last thing they want!

Here's a really good account of tone/playability by someone who's handled a lot of the best instruments in the world, Michael Darnton. He seems to define it in exactly the way I do, though he claims only early Cremonese violins have these qualities!

"Great violins ...

  • Respond instantly. Each note starts quickly and cleanly, without any initial noise at all (not even an icy harshness), with almost an initial pop. In quick passages each note stands out individually, not smeared into the others, even in slurred passages. It's difficult or nearly impossible to make a bad attack – what you hear in the audience is an unusual cleanliness to the beginning of each note and separation from the previous one (which stops sounding instantly without lingering into the next note), and that's something that's particularly easy for a listener to catch, once you tune your ear to it. It's also a major contributor to higher playing quality in a player, since he doesn't have to spend energy making sure all his attacks are just right to compensate for the violin's own lack of good temper. When I was selling violins on a daily basis players would use the same several pieces for testing, and I grew accustomed to internally cringing in anticipation of several specific notes in each piece that seemed universally difficult to execute cleanly and beautifully. Not a problem for a great violin, though, which would sail through those notes perfectly. (One of the problems with listening tests is that a good player will automatically compensate for those notes, which are the same ones every time, and you'll never know how bad a violin really is – that's why someone like Kreisler could play on anything and make it sound great.)
  • Lack dissonance. Every note is clear and clean, internally (the harmonics) in tune and smooth, without anything dirty or extraneous. That's also something listeners can pick up, though it's harder – it's a little like hearing an in-tune piano vs an out-of-tune one (where one of each of the three strings that make a note is slightly out), but much less obvious.
  • Have presence. This is the hardest thing to hear. It expresses itself in the violin "appearing" to the ear to take up a lot of stage territory, and it can be slightly difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the violin. A side component of this is a particularly enveloping beauty of tone that's very subtle and difficult to characterize. I have heard a lot of nice violins, but I have *never* heard a violin that wasn't Cremonese that did this last thing, and this is also the most difficult aspect to hear.
  • Can be heard. This is not ear-painful volume, which may or may not carry; it's genuine carrying power: the ability to stand out against a number of other instruments. Generally raw, dissonant, or bright violins may appear to have more volume, but against other instruments, tonal purity and higher output in a particular small band of harmonics around 2500hz wins, even though the violin may see inadequate or even veiled on its own. I don't much like listening to recordings of violins for the purpose of listening to the violin itself. I rarely get an impression from a recording that's even vaguely similar to the real thing."
    Michael Darnton, originally posted on a Maestronet forum.

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