Two of my customers were very kind and brought their ‘Harrison’ violins to my shop for me to play and compare. They were based on the same violin- the Guarneri Del Gesu, 1742, ‘Lord Wilton’ , once owned by Yehudi Menuhin. One of the violins was completed in 2010 and the other was finished just a few weeks ago.
Having two of my violins of the same model in the workshop at the same time is unusual. It gave me the chance to compare and see in which ways they were different or similar.
Throughout the year as I complete violins in the shop, I adjust each instrument to have them sounding their best. As part of that process I think about the sound of previous violins I’ve made, other instruments I like and good Cremonese violins I’ve heard and played.
So when completing a violin I often ask myself – is it better than the last one? A subjective question at best and even more so if the previous violin is sold and gone.
In this case the violins actually sounded very similar when listening a few meters away. The recent violin was finished a few weeks ago and sounded very good already. The older 2010 violin had a slightly smoother sound and feel while playing it. It will be interesting to see how they compare in a year from now when both violins have been played extensively.
Above: The back and front of the most recent violin.