Strad copies

Laura said: May 2, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Okay, I can no longer stand not knowing the answer to this! I’m sure one or more of you knowledgeable folk can help me out here.

What exactly is meant by a “copy of a Stradivarius”? So many people claim to be selling a “copy of a Stradivarius”, and I wonder how much of a selling feature this really is. I know that many modern violins are cut in the shape/style of Stradivarius violins, i.e. a slightly longer body as opposed to a Guarnarius style which is a slightly wider body. Is that the only distinction?

I’ve also heard of some very rare professional violins that are indeed copies of specific Stradivarius instruments (or other precious master instruments, for that matter) from a certain year, etc.. In such cases, what exactly is being copied? The shape and dimensions? The finish? How about the scratch marks?

Are Stradivarius instruments all that different from one another besides the wood? Aren’t all of these instruments individually unique anyway?

Very curious and confused in this matter.

Laura said: Jun 14, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Any insight into this one yet—or are others as confused as I am?

Connie Sunday said: Jun 17, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I asked similar questions on the Maestronet “Pegbox” forum, and was told that Strad, Guarneri, Amati models, etc., are distinguished by fine differences in detail, specifically the shape of the sound holes, the body proportions, etc. Sometimes the distinctions are so small, only an experienced luthier can distinguish them.

I wound not be terribly concerned about this; more often than not, it’s merely a marketing ploy. There are zillions of instruments that have on their label some form of the word Stradivarius, sometimes misspelled, often with the tiny “copie de” above the word (copy of). The vast majority of these are machine made, German student violins, and are not valuable, though people persist in saying they have a Strad. They don’t.

On the other hand, there are very fine instruments based on these models. See:

This instrument is handmade, and comes in the following models: Stradivari, Balastrieri, Ruggieri, Guadagnini, Bergonzi or Guarneri Del Gesu.

Note that the Pegbox is an extremely active forum with a large number of eminent luthiers. I was not able to find anything specific, using their search engine (which is notoriously unproductive), but if I may, I’ll post your query on there and see what they say.

Here is the link to the topic, if you’d care to follow it:

So far, it has two responses, both of them useful, I think.

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