Are you a new or expert violinist interested in learning more about the German violin? If so, you’re in the right place! This guide will tell you everything you need to know and some fun facts about violins from Germany.
You may have heard that Italian violins outplay any other one. While this is true to an extent, other violins can also be great options! Whether you’re considering purchasing a new violin or you’re reading for fun, find out if German violins are any good, their history, the best brands, and how they compare to other violins.
You may also be interested in: Beginners Guide to Learning the Violin
Are German Violins Any Good?
While a German violin isn’t always considered the best, there are certainly high-quality options, especially for those who are on a budget. If you know what to look for when you’re purchasing a new violin, you can make sure you go with one that will work for you and your music goals. Sure, France and Italy are known for producing excellent violins, but Germany hasn’t fallen that far behind.
Keep reading to learn more about German violins and if purchasing one is right for you!
German Violin History
It’s believed that the history of violins in Germany dates back to the 1600s and that violin-making began in Bavaria, a state in Southeast Germany. A German luthier (a craftsman who builds or repairs string instruments), Jacob Stainer, is known as one of the earliest violin makers. His violins were popular amongst famous musicians and composers in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the 1900s, Germany started producing mass copies of the violin due to a growing demand for string instruments in North America and around the world. During this time, the violin started being shipped from a trade center in a small Bavarian town, Mittenwald.
Many say the mass production of German violins reduced their quality and that’s why they fall behind Italian and French violins. Meanwhile, others stand by the careful craftsmanship of the German violin.
What to Look For When Buying a Violin
When buying your violin made in Germany or anywhere else for that matter, there are a few things to look for. You want to make sure you’re purchasing a high-quality instrument that works for you. Here’s what to look for when buying a violin:
- Purchase your violin from a reputable music store, luthier, and dealer.
- Play the violin before you make the final purchase.
- Check the return policy.
- Make sure the violin comes with a warranty.
Tip: If you’re buying online, you still want to be sure it’s a reputable company or person and that there’s a warranty. You also probably want to make sure there’s an option to return it. This allows you to try it out and make sure you like it.
Read more: 10 Things to Know Before Buying a Violin
German Violin Compared to Others (French and Italian)
When we think of violins, we typically see them as a hierarchy, with the Italian violin at the top, then the French violin, followed by the German violin. A lot of this comes from their price tags, as we usually see cost as a reflection of quality. The cost of a violin varies and is usually based on its quality, so we will take a look at these factors when comparing German, French, and Italian violins.
Italian violins are known to have an unmatched sound and quality. In fact, Cremona, Italy is the hub of violin-making and where the famous Stradivarius violins come from. With the outstanding reputation of Italian violins comes a high price tag of thousands to even a million dollars.
French violins are also known for their outstanding quality and intricate sound. Some violinists say that violins made in France produce a richer sound than others. These range from a few thousand to about ten thousand dollars.
Many musicians will say that German violins fall behind Italian and French in quality and sound. Some say that many German violin brands sound incredible, especially if you know how to buy and play a violin. And, as we mentioned, they’re much more affordable than many other options, usually ranging in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. However, if you bought something like an original Stainer model, you could spend much more.
Best German Violin Brands
Most violins out there today are factory brands made in the US and China and, of course, pricey Italian options. With that said, you can still find German violins today, some new and some antique.
If you’ve decided to go with a violin made in Germany, you may be curious as to where you can find the best german violins. Let’s check out some options!
- Höfner: a musical instrument company from Germany started by Karl Höfner in 1887
- Klaus Huffler: a family-run business designed by local German craftsmen
- Dolce Violins: a full-service, American violin shop that sells antique German violins
Final Thoughts on the German Violin
Violins made in Germany have come a long way and are incredible instruments. When buying any instrument, it’s essential to understand some history and how to choose the best one for you.
If you want to learn more about the violin, consider working with a professional teacher.
Do you have other violin questions? Let us know in the comments below!