Violin/violin history


newspaper article
newspaper article  
QUESTION: I have attached a picture of a newspaper article about a violin. Can you give me any more information on this particular violin or tell me where I can find more information?

ANSWER: Hi Tonya
Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri who was known as Joseph Guarneri del Jesu is one of the most sought after violin makers next to Stradivari. His instruments are rare and typically auction for $500,000 or more. He only made around 250 instruments with only about 150 remaining today. I don't know of any currently up for auction and they only become available around every 2-4 years. Your best way to find one is to call around to the high end violin shops and auction houses to let them know you are interested. There are entire books written on him and his family.
FYI, he never worked with or for Stradivari. Joseph's father Andrea, studied alongside Stradivari under Nicolo Amati but Joseph studied making with his father.

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QUESTION: This newspaper article was attached to a violin case I have in my possession with a violin inside(photo attached). I was trying to find out if this is the violin the article is speaking of, or how I could find out. If the violin the article is speaking of is currently in someone elses possession, it clearly answers my question. But, do you know of which of his violins this particular article is addressing? Or if there is somewhere I could find out.

Hi again
I can't tell you  which specific Guarneri violin the article is talking about, but I can tell you with no doubt whatsoever that the violin in these pictures is not a real Guarneri.  It was made around 1880-1900 in Germany and although it might be repairable it probably wouldn't be worth it financially. I can't think of any way to find out more of this story unless you could track down when and where the article was written, then there might be people around that remembered the incidence.


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David Lashof


I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)


I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

Awards and Honors
2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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