Which Violin to buy in the $1000 Range? A Violin Review

Posted by Richard Bodinnar on 8th Sep 2015

A Review of the Raggetti Masters Series 6.0 and the Struna Concert

For this blog we review two violins that are out in the market for quite some time already. In this review, two violins that fall in the $1,000+ price range will be discussed in more detail. The review will center on the Raggetti Masters Series 6.0 and the Struna Concert.

The Raggetti Masters series, as many may have already known is, well, a series of violins that closely resemble the old masters. For this particular violin, the Raggetti Masters Series 6.0, looks very much like a Guarneri original. The Raggettis pride themselves as faithful replications of old masterpieces. It is their aim to meld together the principles and designs of Stradivari and Guarneri originals in style and sound quality. Hence, the word Masters is found right in the middle of their names.

A high quality timber called spruce is used on the top while solid maple can be clearly identified as materials used on the sides, the back, and the neck of the violin. Another material called ebony is utilized in some parts like the pegs, the tailpiece, and the fingerboard. To top it off, it is finished by a very nice oil varnishing. The overall result is a very nice and antique-looking violin that should have violin makers drooling. The craftsmanship is really great with the kind of sound quality to match it.

The caliber of the workmanship should not be in doubt since the Raggetti 6.0 came out of the workshop of Peter Guan. While traditional countries related to violins are preferred by so many, China has slowly crept its way to prominence with the kind of quality their violins provide. You might just find it surprising if violin store owners and luthiers would recommend violins from China as an excellent option. The Raggetti Masters Series 6.0 is certainly proof of its caliber.

If you have seen the video of my review about the Raggetti Masters Series 6.0, the tone that easily stands out with this violin is power. The violinist who uses this will simply have a big chance of reaching the farthest corners of a concert hall. It will certainly not fade away a few meters from the front stage. The best thing about power is it allows the fiddler to relax a bit and concentrate rather on other aspects like rhythm or intonation. It takes some pressure off of the performer knowing that he can be heard by everybody. Unless, of course, hiding in plain sight is the goal!

The second most discernible feature of the Raggetti 6.0 is its clarity. Clarity is a feature that is almost always married to power. If one has to be heard above the din of the orchestra or the rest of the violins, might as well make sure the sound is very clear. An unclear sound renders power useless in some sense. What’s good with hearing a sound when it can’t be clearly distinguished from another sound. A fuzzy sound will usually die out somewhere along the mid rows.

A somewhat underrated or less obvious feature of this violin is its resonance. The Raggetti Series 6.0 offers just the right amount of resonance that it does not sound too sudden or rushed nor does it let the note overlap each other. This gets a big thumbs up from Whitehorse Music.

The next violin to be reviewed is Struna Concert. For those who do not know yet, the Struna Concert is part of the Struna brand of violin range that are available from Whitehorse Music. The other Strunas are namely: the Classroom, the Master, and the Maestro. You can also check out some of the reviews and blogs on these Strunas right on Whitehorse Music’s website.

The Struna Concert is a result of a 7-year collaboration with master Chinese luthier. Yes, it is not an error! It is another Chinese violin maker with superb craftsmanship. It is not impossible to think that Chinese-made string instruments will be the norms rather than unusual occurrences.

First off, the Struna Concert is another copy of an old master. Well, most of today’s violins do take a page or several pages out of the original violin makers. Quite clearly, the Struna Concert is detailed to look like an old masterpiece. It does look a lot like a del Gesu original. I try to be very objective with how I review violins and this one is no exception. The Struna Concert’s craftsmanship is as meticulous as any in the market today. It looks great and sounds great!

Wood material is a very careful choice of Russian spruce of fairly tight grain for the top. A flamed maple of very high quality is used on the back, sides, and neck of the violin. To bring out the best qualities of the timber, a high quality Italian spirit varnish is coated on the violin. For the pegs, the tailpiece, chin rest, nut, saddle, and the fingerboard, ebony is the material of choice. The looks may resemble that of Guarneri’s but the varnishing, shape, and thickness are patterned after the best Stradivarius has to offer with his violins.

Aside from the looks, excellent sound quality is also guaranteed. Whitehorse Music crafts violins under the eagle eye of a string specialist. Again, if you have seen the video of my review about the Struna Concert, you will get to hear the sound it generates.

The Struna Concert has some sustained power, which should also make it a good option for soloists, advanced students, and intermediate ones as well. This violin also has a very nice warmth to its sound. The deep bottom area gives the warmth on the notes, particularly when playing on the upper registers, without sacrificing brilliance.

Both the Raggetti Masters Series 6.0 and the Struna Concert are impressive violins for their price range of around $1,000. The choice would actually boil down to the taste and preferences when it comes to choosing between these two.

Hopefully, the review will help violin lovers out there in making a choice.