While Cremona, Italy, is generally accepted as the birthplace of the violin, instruments by the great Cremonese makers quickly found themselves in the hands of skilled German craftsmen, who happened to live in a geographic and economic sweet-spot for violin making. German instruments have always made up a good portion of instruments available in the market, and the tradition goes back much further than the post-industrial era that German manufacturing is commonly associated with. Knowing some of the history of German violin making and the important towns and makers is vital for anyone beginning the process of finding and purchasing a fine instrument. The names of German makers, workshops, and towns are standard vocabulary for dealers, luthiers, appraisers, and players alike.
Getting set up with a good instrument when you first start out can be confusing, stressful, and expensive. If you are on a budget, finding the most bang for your buck can be even more overwhelming. What to do?? Before you delve into the realm of “Violin Shaped Objects” on ebay or craigslist, first think about getting a used or blemished instrument.