Violin/Stradavarious Violin


QUESTION: I have a Stradavarious Model Violin that was made around late 1800 - early 1900. I've sent off pictures and it was estimated to have been made in Germany, but they could not give me any more information unless seeing it themselves. I know that he had people working for him that also made these violins. My Great Grandfather remodeled this one. Question is, how do I find a reputable expert to give me more information on my particular violin? I can't seem to find anyone who knows anything..

ANSWER: Hi Rachel
I agree with the information that you have already received that this is a late 1800's - early 1900's German factory violin - they are referred to as "trade instruments".  It has no connection to any actual Stradivari instrument (he died in 1737 and never left Italy), it was only labeled as a Stradivari to signify its model in the original catalog that it was advertised in.  There are literally millions of these copies out there (7. Many are worth almost nothing while some can be worth up to around $2000. From what little I can see in the grainy picture attached, I would estimate that it has a value of less than $1000, and depending on what your Great Grandfather did to it, that could have effected the value.

You did not mention where in Florida you live, I might be able to recommend someone to take it to.  But first, you should just Google your town and "violin shop" to see if there's one near by.  Any violin shop will be able to assist you with this. In the Orlando or Melbourne area there is Atlantic Strings.

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QUESTION: I'm in Lakeland. I've googled "Violin Shop" and "Violin Makers" in my area but always come back with nothing. I'm wanting to have it restored, but was not sure exactly where to start. My Great Grandfather was the one who labeled it. I actually remember watching him play it when I was a small child..

Your best bet is to go to Atlantic Strings in Orlando, they will be able to help with both an accurate appraisal and to restore the instrument if you still decide that is what you want to do.,-81.367149&spn=0.2316,0.22625&dg=feature
There is also the Tampa Violin shop -


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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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