Contemporary reality in the construction of stringed instruments
What shall I purchase? A hand built violin or a factory violin? What is the difference between a handmade violin and a factory violin? The well-known Dutch musician, composer and writer Louis Metz (1902 -1978) wrote the following about this in his book String Instruments “Vroeger en Nu”:
“Of the thousands of study violins on the market, the majority are so-called factory violins. This name suggests that factories exist or have existed where violins were built. That is incorrect. Attempts have been made to make violins the factory way, but they usually ended in failure. What is understood by the often derogatory name factory violins are instruments that are assembled from parts, made by different builders. They benefited from the special skills of builders, one of whom could make beautiful tops, the other excellently with a curl and neck. Finally the “assembly” (to speak in car terms) took place and the price was paid by the accidental quality of the instrument. This cottage industry was concentrated in a few places: Mittenwald (D), Markneukirchen (D), Luby/Klingenthal (CZ) and Mirecourt (Fr)”.
Today, this form of violin making, which many Western European violin makers often speak derogatory about, mostly out of self-interest, is still very much alive in countries such as the Czech Republic and Romania. The companies where this violin making takes place have well-equipped workshops (no factory halls) where violin makers (finish) make the various parts of the violin, which are then assembled. Simply hand built! Violin factories, where a block of wood is thrown into a machine and then a violin rolls out, do not exist! Nowadays, machines are used to pre-process certain parts of bowed instruments, eg the neck and top and bottom blades. Some companies even do this with CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design / Computer Aided Manufacturing), where the process is fully automated and a high degree of precision is achieved in the manufacturing process. The pre-processed parts from the CAD/CAM process then go to the violin makers, who finish/update the parts by hand. In Eastern Europe, the production of tops and bottoms, and necks for bowed string instruments has become an industry and Western-oriented violin makers are only too happy to import these parts to make a hand-built violin. Nothing wrong with that! In addition to the craftsmanship of the violin maker, the quality of the wood used is an important element in the construction of bowed instruments. China has also developed as a country where a lot of string instruments are built today, but the quality often leaves much to be desired, despite the fact that there are also companies in China that build very good instruments (with a corresponding price tag).
Strijkinstrumentshop.nl specializes in the sale of violins, violas, cellos and double basses and imports them from Romania and regularly visits the workshops and studios of 4-5 companies/violin makers. Due to the long-term relationship that has now been built, Strijkinstrumentsshop guarantees all bowed instruments that are offered on our website. The wood used in Romania usually comes from the Carpathians, where the Maples and Norway Spruces grow at a higher altitude (slower) and therefore a better quality wood is created. After a drying period of 5 to 30 years, the wood is used for the construction of bowed instruments.
The objective of Strijkinstrumentshop.nl is to supply good violins, violas, cellos and double basses at affordable prices. The range of Strijkinstrumentsshop.nl is limited, but other brands can also be offered on request.