Jump to content


Photo

Uk Based Violin Makers


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 purple viola

purple viola

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 360 posts
  • Member: 5540
    Joined: 12-December 05
  • Oxford

Posted 27 February 2007 - 15:04

Well the title says it all really.

Please could I have recommendations for violin makers from anyone who has purchased a new handmade instrument from a UK-based maker, or from anyone who knows someone who has just bought or commissioned a new instrument.

Thanks
  • 0

#2 sarah-flute

sarah-flute

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25735 posts
  • Member: 2729
    Joined: 14-December 04
  • Insomniaville

Posted 27 February 2007 - 16:01

The only one that I know is Phil Harding, but I don't think he has a hugely wide reputation, and while I know is instruments are good, I don't know how they compare to others. I do know that he does excellent work as a luthier. I only know of him because I KNOW him - he lives in my town & I was at school with his daughter laugh.gif I do know he makes lovely instruments though.
  • 0

#3 LadyOrchestra

LadyOrchestra

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 827 posts
  • Member: 3914
    Joined: 18-June 05
  • Madrid, Spain

Posted 27 February 2007 - 16:07

Very good makers and experts are Florian Leonhard and Charles Beare.
  • 0

#4 jod

jod

    Maestro

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9899 posts
  • Member: 2939
    Joined: 14-January 05
  • Burwell, Cambridgeshire

Posted 27 February 2007 - 17:24

There are some excellent makers in the Cambridge Area. I know that Music Gallery stock them and could give you more info should you need it.
  • 0

#5 cellocase

cellocase

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 748 posts
  • Member: 7181
    Joined: 17-June 06

Posted 27 February 2007 - 18:43

Yes, Beare's in London is a bit of a Mecca for string players! I went there a few times looking for a new cello, and got to play the most amazing instruments....wub.gif
  • 0

#6 Fibi

Fibi

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts
  • Member: 8976
    Joined: 10-January 07
  • Neither here nor there

Posted 27 February 2007 - 18:57

I came across an interesting-looking website for an English viola maker a while back (called David Milward). Have never heard of him apart from that, but the website did have some articles about his opinions on ideal viola size and so on, that I found quite interesting. Don't know if he also makes violins/cellos/basses - it didn't look like it though.
  • 0

#7 STRINGMUM

STRINGMUM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 576 posts
  • Member: 6262
    Joined: 22-February 06

Posted 27 February 2007 - 19:06

The two I've heard people talk about recently are Neil Ertz in Cambridge and Helen Michetschlager in Manchester.
  • 0

#8 AmandaL

AmandaL

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3482 posts
  • Member: 149
    Joined: 18-November 03
  • Hampshire, England

Posted 27 February 2007 - 23:09

QUOTE(cellocase @ Feb 27 2007, 06:43 PM) View Post
Yes, Beare's in London is a bit of a Mecca for string players!
They aren't violin makers though. J & A Beares are dealers/restorers/repairers.... generally of instruments at the upper end of the market. You won't find them stocking student violins. An advanced student of mine - who was looking at music college entrance - phoned them a few years back. When they asked her what sort of price range she was looking at and she replied with around £6000, they said, "Oh we don't have anything as cheap as that" ph34r.gif

On the subject of makers. Be aware that many English (European and US) makers produce violins in prolific numbers, mainly aimed at the advancing student, grade 6+, but not the Diploma+ market.

While it is tempting to have a violin made on commission, bear in mind that if the violin you've had made to your specifications doesn't turn out to have the sound you wanted, you might be stuck with it. Better to buy from a choice of maybe three of four of the makers standard stock instruments, than to pay £xxxx for a violin you don't like and can't sell either.

QUOTE(STRINGMUM @ Feb 27 2007, 07:06 PM) View Post
The two I've heard people talk about recently are Neil Ertz in Cambridge and Helen Michetschlager in Manchester.
Don't know Neil Ertz, but Helen certainly has a good reputation.
  • 0

#9 oboebunny

oboebunny

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 520 posts
  • Member: 4060
    Joined: 04-July 05

Posted 28 February 2007 - 08:16

I thought I should mention - don't get J and A Beare's mixed up with Beare & Son, who are a different company that also deal in violins.

Here's some info from R.B. Beare's obituary that explains the relationship between the two companies:

R. B. BEARE was a third generation in the family firm of violin dealers. The original firm of Beare, Goodwin - the first ever wholesaler of musical instruments in Britain - was established by his grandfather John Beare in Brewer Street, London, in 1865, selling musical instruments from Jew's-harps at six shillings per gross to symphonions at pounds 36 each (extra tunes, five shillings). Violins could be had for 12 shillings a piece. They also published music and one of the first composers on their list was the young, and completely unknown, Edward Elgar.

The firm later became Beare & Son, specialising in instruments of the violin family and managed by John Beare's younger son, Walter. In 1892 John Beare opened a retail shop in Wardour Street, J. & A. Beare, for his elder son, Arthur, and as such it became one of the best-known international violin dealers.

Richard Barrington Beare, Walter's younger son, entered the business in 1931 and, after war service (four years in the Royal Army Service Corps in North Africa), served as managing director until his retirement in 1978. Under his direction Beare & Son enlarged its sources of supply, not only acquiring stock from traditional centres such as Mirecourt in France and Mittenwald in Germany, but also initiating imports from makers in Czechoslovakia and Romania. He was particularly concerned to find affordable instruments for music students. J. & A. Beare is now under the direction of his cousin Charles Beare, a leading authority on the valuation of stringed instruments world-wide.


I have a violin that I inherited from my grandfather, that originally came from Beare & Son's. He bought new in about 1930 from a violin dealer in Brierley Hill (Staffordshire) after working for two years (from the age of 10 to 12!) to save for it. I have the original certificate provided by Beare & Son's, and here is a scan of it:

Paolo Fiorini certificate

I once got mixed up with the Beare's on a violin forum, and mistakenly said that my violin came from J& A Beare's rather than Beare & Son, and I got totally slapped down because my "inferior violin" (valued at about £4000) would never have come from J & A's rolleyes.gif






  • 0

#10 elidatrading

elidatrading

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1990 posts
  • Member: 2043
    Joined: 06-September 04
  • Huddersfield

Posted 28 February 2007 - 08:21

QUOTE(oboebunny @ Feb 28 2007, 08:16 AM) View Post

I thought I should mention - don't get J and A Beare's mixed up with Beare & Son, who are a different company that also deal in violins.


Ah, thank you! I had been wondering for some time what the connection was.

Liz
  • 0

#11 earplugs

earplugs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 556 posts
  • Member: 7064
    Joined: 05-June 06

Posted 28 February 2007 - 10:05

QUOTE(oboebunny @ Feb 28 2007, 08:16 AM) View Post


I have a violin that I inherited from my grandfather, that originally came from Beare & Son's. He bought new in about 1930 from a violin dealer in Brierley Hill (Staffordshire) after working for two years (from the age of 10 to 12!) to save for it. I have the original certificate provided by Beare & Son's, and here is a scan of it:

Paolo Fiorini certificate



Guarantee has run out now though, better get a Stentor.

  • 0

#12 Violinia

Violinia

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4063 posts
  • Member: 319
    Joined: 27-December 03

Posted 28 February 2007 - 14:41

There's a violin maker in Wales who makes the most amazing violins in unusual shapes (!?!) and with beautiful tones. I had a go on one recently and it was a lovely instrument. I'll find out his name and post it here.

Violinia
  • 0

#13 andante_in_c

andante_in_c

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10410 posts
  • Member: 130
    Joined: 15-November 03
  • Hampshire, UK

Posted 28 February 2007 - 14:44

QUOTE(Violinia @ Feb 28 2007, 02:41 PM) View Post

There's a violin maker in Wales who makes the most amazing violins in unusual shapes (!?!) and with beautiful tones. I had a go on one recently and it was a lovely instrument. I'll find out his name and post it here.

Violinia


Glad to see you've got your vs back today. biggrin.gif biggrin.gif wink.gif
  • 0

#14 Violinia

Violinia

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4063 posts
  • Member: 319
    Joined: 27-December 03

Posted 28 February 2007 - 14:49

QUOTE(andante_in_c @ Feb 28 2007, 02:44 PM) View Post

Glad to see you've got your vs back today. biggrin.gif biggrin.gif wink.gif


Thanks! Got a lovely spanking new keyboard - just have to stop teenage son spilling crumbs into it like he did the old one ph34r.gif mad.gif huh.gif

Violinia
  • 0

#15 purple viola

purple viola

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 360 posts
  • Member: 5540
    Joined: 12-December 05
  • Oxford

Posted 01 March 2007 - 14:08

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

I am specifically after recommendations for individual makers, though, not dealers like Beares.

I agree with AmandaL about the problem of having instruments made on commission, as I know of people being stuck with instruments that just aren't worth the money paid for them as they don't sound too good, and so no one else wants to buy them. It seems to be a particular problem with violas.

I have heard of Helen Michetschlager, but have never heard any of her instruments being played, so it is good to hear that she is recommended by a few people.

I will be following up a few of the other suggestions as well.

  • 0