You might be getting a bit tired of all my violin posts lately (Finding that sweet spot, Still comparing, and The jury is in!), in which case, you can just skip this one. But if you’re interested in my search, it has now officially come to an end. I’ve just returned from the luthier with my new violin, and I couldn’t be happier with it!
So I said goodbye to my faithful old 3/4. I had a good run with it and I hope that the next owner will be as happy with it as I was.
In the end, I decided to adopt the violin made by J. G. Wijn. Mr Wijn was a self-taught violin maker, and the luthier said that he did a pretty good job. Of course there were some abnormalities in his execution, because he had not had formal luthier training. A trained luthier would spot these differences easily. But Mr Wijn did use very nice wood, and made the violin with great care. The luthier said that he definitely was a good woodworker, even if he didn’t know everything about making a violin.
Usually, a handmade violin by a named maker would be way out of my price range. With my budget, I would be able to buy a trade violin – a violin made by a violin studio. For example, in Germany in the 19th-20th century, there used to be a few locations where they made lots of violins: Mittenwald and Markneukirchen, and in France you had Mirecourt. Whole villages made violin parts – Franz would make scrolls and be quite good at that, Hans would cut decent tops, and Fritz would put together the violins. Everybody specialized in a part, but there was nobody with an overall vision. Creating a very nice violin accidentally was of course possible, but most of the violins would be ‘just’ decent. The other violin that was in the running for me was an Anton Ostler violin from Mittenwald. I think that that one was quite good. My old 3/4 also was a simple, good trade violin.
Since Mr Wijn was not a professional luthier, his violin was more affordable than a ‘real’ master violin, and surprisingly, it was within my budget. That was interesting, although I was not just after a named instrument. In the end, a violin’s sound and playability are paramount to me. So I gave both violins that had my interest a fair chance and tested them thoroughly over the past few weeks. I discovered that the Wijn violin had something that I connected with. A fluency in the middle register, and a singing quality that touched me. With the new, higher bridge, its palette opened up even more.
After he made the violin, back around 1935, Mr Wijn asked a few experts for their opinion on his work. So, the violin came with hand-written testimonials by Louis Zimmermann (concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and soloist), a Professor I. Wülff, and Josef Roismann of the Budapester Streichquartett. Very cool! Old-school user reviews.
The testimonials all praise the balanced and powerful tone of the instrument and the beautiful handwork. Professor Wülff expects the future buyer to be utterly content with this gorgeous violin. And I can now add to that statement that, yes, I am indeed. I usually find making a choice quite difficult, but in this case, there is no doubt and no regret. I just love this violin!
I play it every day, and even though I’m not a great violinist or anything, it brings me a lot of joy!
And another, more romantic and lyrical one:
6 thoughts on “It’s mine!”
I’m glad you like the violin you purchased. It has a rich and warm tone. Definitely a great choice. I recall learning the Seitz adagio some 30 years ago. Good ol’ time…
Thank you! I love the tone too. Choosing the right violin is such a personal choice.
How cool that you played the Seitz adagio too! Do you still play the violin?
Yes I still play the violin, though my level is nowhere near where it used to be. Sad. Actually I found your blog when I was searching for Lukas watercolour paint “Manganese Blue” and learnt from your post that it’s sadly discontinued as I really wanted to buy this colour, and had to look for some substitute. You have such an informative blog. Thank you. I hope you’re still painting with watercolour. It’s such a liberating activity, though I understand you might be from head to toe in love with violin playing now. 😛
Same here, with the violin level, that is… Not playing for 25 years will do that, but I’m still quite in love with rediscovering the instrument. I’ll have my first lesson this Wednesday!
If you still want the Manganese blue, I can send you one. I just need a bit of time to dig it up, because my stuff is packed away during the home renovation. Let me know if you want one!
So you’ve also learnt to play the violin as a kid? Same here. I wish you a lot of enjoyment and success with your violin lesson this Wednesday! 🙂 What is your current level? I see your vibrato is admirable and your double-stops are elegant. 🙂
I’d really love to get one of the Lukas Manganese Blue. That’s so kind of you to offer me. I’d like to pay for it, and the shipping cost. Please let me know what’s the best way to arrange it. And please take your time. I’m in no hurry at all. 🙂
I bid you a fair evening.
Yes, I played for about 10 years as a kid, and picked the instrument up again early this year. It’s all coming back gradually, but I’d like to take lessons about the basics again, to make sure that my technique is good so that I avoid injury. Thank you for your kind words about my playing!
I’ll look for the watercolour paint and contact you when I find it. I’m sure we can work something out. For now, have a nice evening 😊