singing violin - fine soloist violins in Kul Violins studio

Fine violin

Want to play a fine violin?

Fine violin player That's understandable and appreciated. But wait. What does it really mean - fine violin? Which violin is desirable by violin player? Every violinist is dreaming about such a possibility.

My thoughts

FINE VIOLIN! When? Why? . . . These and other questions came to my mind quite a some time ago - just after I started my job as a violin maker.

Certainly, I started thinking approximately that way: "Well, if there are fine violins, there must also be not so fine violins". But where is this boundary? My common sense provided me with some suggestions. Undoubtedly, a fine violin must be created by an experienced violin maker - not in a factory! A fine violin should be of exceptional beauty, and, most importantly, be able to provide a superior sound. That was all I could think about fine violin. But then (over ten years ago) I did not know much about violin appearance and especially its sound.

I started searching some printed and online encyclopedias. Regretfully, neither of them returned almost any information to my query key phrase 'fine violin'.

Other points of view

So, probably the term 'fine violin' is not very well known or widely spread. The reason for that: there are different interest groups, using their own descriptions.

  • Probably those who talk most and the loudest about fine violins are antique violins dealers. Let's take a look at what probably the most famous and influential old instrument dealers Robert Bein and Geoffrey Fushi ( are saying on pages of their founded The Stradivari Society (

". . . Fine instruments are valued on three criteria - period, physical condition, and history/provenance . . . Thus, the violin market had become truly global in the 1970s. Three large markets - Asian, European, and American - put pressure on the limited number of fine violins . . ."

These words together with lots of other sayings have been spoken about fine violins. So, dealers of old instruments have their own reasons to say: A fine violin necessarily means an old violin. That's readily understandable.

  • Other big group - musicians. They usually are final users of musical instruments. One example can show attitudes of some exceptional violinists to fine violins:

"Christian Tetzlaff is shattering a myth. At concerts featuring a leading violinist, it is quite natural for our eyes to drift to the bottom line of the biography in the programme book, where it will often say that he or she plays on an early 1700s Stradivarius or Guarneri, preferably with a nickname and an illustrious provenance. The pound signs register in the backs of our minds. A link between antiquity and greatness, however tenuous, is automatically forged . . ."

- that is a part of 10.25.2005 'Telegraph' article "Debunking the Stradivarius Myth".

Christian Tetzlaff adds:

" . . . what I would like would be for those people who, instead of buying a house, buy a mediocre Italian fiddle, to search around and make contact with a violin-maker. You'd be surprised what the results can be. And then you can have a house and a violin."

So, probably a violin does not necessarily have to be old to be named a fine violin...

I described another opinion - by the most famous 20th century violinist Jasha Heifetz - concerning fine violins in my article about Stradivarius violin sound.

  • One more interested group undoubtedly consists of contemporary violin makers. It is not very pleasant to hear regularly that former artisans (undoubtedly, Italians) were superior to any present maker. However, when I entered a phrase 'fine violin' in a search engine window, I received thousands of present violin makers web site addresses. So, I must repeat - fine violin can be created only by an experienced violin maker.

The only missing (at least very rarely used) link for me is violin sound (casually assumed). It always seemed an essential part of a violin, so in 2003 I wrote quite a long article "Ideal violin sound". It doesn't matter, how beautiful a violin is (eg shape, f-holes, varnish . . .); with no proper (ideal) sound it is impossible to call it a fine violin.

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At last I have my ideal violin. I turned down 14 instruments which came from all around the country, including an original cremonese violin, which I just couldn't convince myself to like. However I had no second thoughts about my new violin, made by Czes and Birute Kul, and instantly knew this was the one. The violin has very clean articulation and a sweet tone, also
projecting well. I have had many compliments about it. A lot of careful workmanship has obviously gone into the violin, which is very elegant and distinctive in looks. Before you look anywhere else, I strongly recomend Czes and Birute. It could save a lot of trouble, time and money.

Sarah K., Wellington

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