How to recognize a real Stradivarius violin



Stradivarius violins are made by famous luthier, Antonio Stradivari. Stradivarius violins are rare and worth a lot, some even up to three million dollars! Many claim to own real Stradivarius violins.

There are several ways to identify a real Stradivarius violin:

  • Find the traditional Stradivarius label. It contains a Latin description- “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno”. This description tells us where and the Stradivarius violin was made. The label can either be handwritten or printed. However, this alone is no guarantee that the Stradivarius violin is a real one.
  • What is the colour of the label? As Stradivarius violins was made centuries ago, there is sure to be a discolouration. The label will look yellow and old. If the label looks brand-new, it is likely that the label is fake.
  • What do the edges of the label look like? Unless the label have been torn out, it should blend in with the colour of the violin, words looking as if it have been printed on the violin.
  • Hear the sound of the violin. Stradivarius violins are known for their unparalleled sound quality. Stradivarius violins produce the best and finest sounds.
  • Hire an appraiser. To make sure that you are purchasing a real Stradivarius violin, hire a Stradivarius violin appraiser. It will be worth your money to confirm that your Stradivarius violin is a real one.
Who is Antonio Stradivari

Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) was a renowned Italian luthier and maker of stringed instruments. He lived in Cremona where his craft shop was and crafted string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Although Antonio made 1200 stringed instruments, he is most well-known for his skill in crafting beautiful violins. Because of the quality and hard work Antonio puts into his crafting, his Stradivarius violins from centuries ago are still played. Stradivarius violins are valuable and known for their quality of sound. Antonio’s most famous violins are the 1715 Lipinski and 1716 Messiah.

Why Are Stradivarius Violins so Special?

Over the years, there have been many theories on why the sound quality of Stradivarius violins are so unique. Researches have found out that its body, made by the consistent density of the two wooden panels, is the key factor that makes the sound quality so good.

Although the contours, varnish, strings and angle of neck all adds up to the quality of Stradivarius violins, the density of the two wooden plates are said to be the main reason which helps produce the unparalleled sound. The top plate of a Stradivarius violin is made of spruce, and the back made maple. Researches believe that the density of Stravarius violins make up of the superior music tones. Hence it is the density of wood that is the key that makes a Stradivarius violin so special.

To see real Stradivarius violins for yourself, visit the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C and the U.S. Library of Congress. There are five real Stradivarius violins on display for public at the places mentioned above.

Can you identify a Stradivarius?

Given the tips to differentiating a Stradivarius violin from a normal one, could you still do so with just listening to the sound tone?

The video below shows an test by a research team. Professional violist and violin teachers was gathered together and given black googles to put on. This was to make sure that they were unable to identify which violin was a Stradivarius through site. There were two Stradivarius violins, one Guarneri violin and three modern violins.

The researches then told the violinists that all the violins were modern violins except for at least one, which was a Stradivarius. The violinists played the violins and had to judge what they though based on their hearing. Out of the seventeen violinist, only three were able to identify the Stradivarius violins.

Can you differentiate a Stradivarius violin just from the sound quality? Watch the video below to find out.