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How do you distinguish between the copies of classical violins?
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PopFiddle
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September 7, 2014 - 1:10 pm
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I am seeing various high end violins sold as "copies" of different classical violins.  For instance a Stradivarius is actually a type of violin.  For the life of me, I can't see how you distinguish a Stradivarius from any other copy of a violin.  What is the difference?  How can you tell by looking at a violin which violin is being copied?

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Tucson1
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September 7, 2014 - 5:38 pm
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Hey Pop ,

It's a bit long to get into here so recommend you look it up online with pics and descriptions but Amati has a higher center than a Strad and Stainer has a high center and swelled bouts as well ....you'll see what i mean when you look at some good pics ...also a trip to a violin shop that has them is even better as nothing like hands on ...violin-1267Have fun    be happy

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ozmous
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September 7, 2014 - 6:23 pm
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Copies are newer, of course, lol, but many luthiers distinguish originally made violins from copies by looking at the top block inside the violin, because baroque violins used nails to connect the neck to the body, so, newer violins don't have nails. Strads and other baroque violins were converted, changed the neck, shaved the insides, so luthiers also look for indications of the changes. They also look at the label, the wood quality, and various indications and styles that can be seen from other violins that were made by Stradivari, Guarneri, etc.

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

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Fiddlerman
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September 7, 2014 - 7:16 pm
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Stradivarius is the most copied violin of all. It's also a standard for violin making forms. It's a common shape which is followed by Guarneri. These are more or less the main patterns you will be seeing. I recognize them mainly by looking first at the scroll, C-bout and waist.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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PopFiddle
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September 7, 2014 - 11:31 pm
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400px-Violinconsruction3.JPG

 OK, I see a C-Bout, a waist and the scroll is easily identified.

How can these be different?  And especially for the more popularly copied models?  I guess they are all mostly Strads for the student models, is that right?

Image courtesy of Wikipedia,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin

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Fiddlerman
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September 8, 2014 - 10:43 am
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The waist can seem wider, the bouts can be elongated, the scroll tips seem taller on Guarneri, IMO. Check the details on the scrolls and you'll begin to notice differences.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Uzi
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September 8, 2014 - 11:33 am
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You (or I) are probably not ever going to be able to tell the difference by looking at copies and we'll probably not have much of an opportunity to ever see an original up close.  

As to the S and G being a "type" of violin.  No, they simply denote the maker(s) of these instruments and probably more closely denote a "pattern" for the body of the violin. Keep in mind that these instruments weren't mass produced and each one is a distinct work of art. People have taken the exact measurements of many of them and modern companies use those measurements to create violins that can replicate the dimensions of the originals.  Modern cubic zirconia look like a diamonds, but they are not.  Likewise copies of S's and G's illustrate that there is much more to a great violin than a pattern.    

In terms of construction, the lower bout of a G. is a bit wider than a S. with a slightly fuller waist.  We're talking 1/4 to 1/3 or an inch so your probably not going to be able to tell.  The original G.s were sometimes a bit lopsided (or so I'm told.) and the F holes more angular. 

The G.s have a reputation for having a better low end than the S and likewise the S has a reputation for having a better high end.  The G.s are supposed to be louder and harder to play. 

Here's a head to head: 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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PopFiddle
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September 8, 2014 - 11:53 am
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OK, I think I get it.  There is no secret observation to make.  The differences are subtle, but real to the discriminating violinist.

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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September 8, 2014 - 4:48 pm
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PopFiddle said
The differences are subtle, but real to the discriminating violinist.

I think the differences are fairly noticeable, as in term of violin dimensions which (assuming everything else is the same "ideally" just for comparison purpose) related to the "typical" sounding characteristics of those famous makers' violin copies.

As previous posters mentioned, some differences are decorative and some are for the purpose of enhancing particular violin sounds/characters.

As FM mentioned, Stradivarius's violin form/dimension is the most copied, so is the best solution strategy for dealing with certain setup/tuning problem, as each violin form/dimension, while enhances certain sounding characters does come with its own issue/problem of fine tuning the instrument.

Agree with @Uzi about Strad vs Guarneri (also typical sounding characteristics) that the violin is a bit  wider and deeper, as to increase its internal volume. Amati does that by higher center, and furthermore in Stainer, as @Tucson1 mentioned, Maggini is both by wider and longer body.

While trying to do setup/tuning my violins a while back, I did some sound samples (served as subjective comparison of/tuning point for further improvements) of a Guarneri, Amati, Stainer and Maggini copies to post for members evaluation/comment/advice (just in chat box, not in the forum).

Also there are some differences in copies as well. A so called "master copy" is a faithfully reproduce of the original to minute details, while a "good" copy will almost follow everything especially its dimension or anything having to do with sound production, then there is "hybrid copy", taking a mix of two or so of those famous makers creations.

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coolpinkone
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September 8, 2014 - 6:34 pm
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@ratvn  I was happy to see this topic come up in the forum.  I remember lots of the chat conversations on this and I so enjoyed your comparisons and information.  I was wondering when you were going to pop in.  I love this topic.   I would love to play on some of the different models. 

:)  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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