Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stradivarius

Written by Andy Fein, owner and luthier, Fein Violins:

Stradivarius. If there is one thing most people know about violins, it is Stradivarius. The name is almost like a knee-jerk reaction mantra. "I'm a violin maker." The response is often "Stradivarius." But with good reason.

Antonius Stradivarius (or Antonio Stradivari in Italian) really was one of the greatest makers. His wood selection,
artistic design, ergonomic structuring, attention to detail, and knowledge of tone production make his instruments incredible tone machines for great players.

He was a real guy. He lived, worked and died in his hometown of Cremona, Italy. Born in 1644, by 1666 he was an accomplished maker. His best period was during the years 1700 to 1720, when he was already an older man. In 1736, he wrote in a violin "D'Anni 92", or, "at the age of 92". He died the next year.
The "Hochstein" violin, made by Antonius Stradivarius, 1715-1716

Between those years, Stradivarius headed a busy workshop with his two sons and several other makers. In Stradivarius' workshop there were master makers, apprentices, and shop boys, and all of them had a hand in most of Stradivarius' instruments. That is, Stradivarius did not work alone, hunched over a solitary workbench for decades, painstakingly hand crafting every detail - what the British call "a one off." Certainly his hand was in every instrument, but many other hands were as well.

Click here to view one of Stradivarius' most famous violins - The Messiah. Enjoy!


"The Messiah" Stradivarius

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