Which European Violin $20,000+ Range?

Posted by Richard Bodinnar on 1st Oct 2015

A Review of the Andrea Schudtz Violin and a 1930 William E. Hill and Sons Violin

Welcome ladies and gents to Whitehorse Music blog! I will be discussing in this section two exceptional violins that would be a really great choice for professional violinists and intermediate students. Getting to know the Andrea Schudtz Violin and a 1930 William E. Hill and Sons Violin will provide you another set of options in your quest to find a violin that resonates with you most.

First up is the Andrea Schudtz Violin. This is a violin that is made by a master luthier named, quite obviously, Andrea Schudtz. I actually met Andrea a few years back in a giant trade show in Shanghai, China. He is known by most violinists for the incredible craftsmanship and the quality of his string instruments.

For a bit of background, Andrea attended violin making lessons from renowned teachers of the Cremona style of violin making. In case you don’t know, Cremona is the birthplace of violins and the home of the most famous masters like Stradivari, Guarneri, and Amati. Andrea patterns his works after the designs and principles of these geniuses while at the same time adding his own distinct touch.

The Andrea Schudtz Violin can be rightfully called an art. Masters like Andrea put their reputation at stake every time they make a violin. Thus, there is a need for meticulous planning, including the design and the materials used.

For this violin, seasoned and top quality spruce makes the sounding board. High quality maple is also utilized in the usual places like the neck, back, and sides. For the fingerboard, nut, and other parts, expensive ebony is the material of choice. To bring out the best of the wood, top quality varnishing is applied. A method of antiquing is also used to make the violin look much older than it actually is. The result is an extremely well made violin with amazing aesthetic appeal.

A consistent feature of Andrea Schudtz’s Violin is the depth of its lower strings. I have not received a violin from his workshop that does not ooze with depth and fullness. More so, once you play the lower strings it never gets distorted. If you must know, there are other violins with high price tags that sometimes get distorted particularly when you push it more.

The violin is also very clear all throughout. This is a very nice quality for a violin since it allows you some advantage when playing. You do not have to exert more effort than necessary to create a distinct sound. Clarity allows you to be heard by everybody in attendance. It allows the audience to hear the notes as they are supposed to sound.

If you have seen the video of this review, you might notice a very peculiar part of the violin. The tailpiece used in this Andrea Schudtz Violin is not your usual one. This violin uses a ZMT tailpiece which allows longer bottom strings compared to the top ones. There is quite an interesting result with the use of this tailpiece. The extra length of the E string, when you pluck it, emits a sound that is an octave higher than your normal open D string! There is an overall improved resonance, strength, and clarity all throughout.

The violin is around 20,000 AUD, but if you get 10, you get one for free! Although it is a bit expensive, you can never argue about its craftsmanship and sound quality.

The second violin in this section is a 1930 William E. Hill and Sons violin. For those of you who are not be familiar with the name, the Hills were actually an authority for almost a century starting in the 1800’s all the way to the early 90’s when it comes to string instruments.

Because the London-based company closed in the 90’s, many of their top of the range violins are extremely coveted in the market. The 1930 William E. Hill and Sons violin has been in my possession for quite some already. I actually remember comparing its sound to a century old German violin and the Hill violin sounds much older!

For its composition, the top is made of top quality spruce as its sounding board. No less than the best maple wood is utilized on the back, sides, and the neck. Ebony makes up the rest, including the fingerboard. Like in most cases, the quality of the wood becomes even better as the violin ages. You can really see the quality of the grains coming to the fore with time. In all practicality, the varnish has hardened and would really make the sound even better. The original maker of this violin would be astounded as to the kind of quality it brings as it ages gracefully.

Again, if you have seen the video, this violin has a very strong and deep sound. It is also very loud. I remember my friend James, who used to sit beside me during string quartet plays. There was one time when I actually pushed it to its limits and the sound never faltered. The sound was never distorted that he told me to keep it down.

A violin with great volume and deep bottom sound will be a nice choice for those who need to stand out. Obviously, this would also make the violin an incredible choice for soloists.

Often when you have a very deep bottom, the notes tend to become fuzzy as you go to the higher notes. This one keeps the consistency of the notes coming starting from the bottom strings and all the way to the top. You simply can push it as hard and as long as you want and it will never buck under pressure.

Both of these violins have extremely high quality and works of art in the truest sense. While they have very deep bottom sounds, the Andrea Schudtz Violin offers a little bit of clarity compared to the Hill violin. These violins also do not crack under pressure, which is really important for a professional violinist. Like I said in the video, if I had more thumbs, I would give more than 2 thumbs up!