Although every violin is unique, some are more special than others; those rare instruments inspire even greater playing from their owners.
So many great instruments are available nowadays, those that outstand and are tagged as the best ones in existence are usually from Stradivari or Guarneri. Yes, their names and reputations add a lot to the value, but we cannot deny the expertise of these master makers. After all, the making and knowledge builds the best instruments.
The craftsmanship is the big secret here.
The maker of a handmade violin spends more time creating it than those working at large-scale production facilities. Just as in any other profession, the maker must study, attend violin-making school, practice for years in a workshop, and receive mentorship, among other things, to finally come up with their work of art.
Each material and piece is carefully chosen by the luthier. The wood in the instrument is chosen according to its resonant qualities. Every time a bow touches a string, the entire instrument vibrates. As you play more and more concerts with your symphony, your violin will “open up” and give you a crystal-clear sound.
When you first hear a handmade violin, you may wonder how it will sound. Each detail of the handmade violin is clearly visible and beautiful in its own way. Some of the violins considered the best in existence nowadays are handmade by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesú.
The Lord Wilton Guarneri del Gesù
The Lord Wilton has been played by virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin. The King Joseph Guarneri del Gesù 1737 has been played by Itzhak Perlman, among others.
Constructed with a free execution, this model highlights Guarneri’s extravagant style of his last years, a period full of expressiveness, featuring deeply worked edges and pinched corners. Even at this time, he seemed to be still experimenting with outlines, similar to other examples from this period, such as ‘Il Cannone’ and ‘Alard.
The Lady Blunt Stradivari
A violin made in 1721 by Antonio Stradivari named the “Lady Blunt” sold at auction for 11.6 million euros. The proceeds were donated to victims of the earthquake in Japan. The violin is named after Lady Anne Blunt, granddaughter of Lord Byron, who owned it for 30 years. Its current owner is unknown. This instrument’s special feature is that it is in perfect condition despite its age.