I am a dangerous person to be around, in that I am given to violins. The one I play most often is a run-of-the mill Suzuki:

Suzuki Violin

My other one, that Rhiannon has been picking up the rudiments on, is something else.  Inscribed inside is

                                         ‘JOANNES BAPTISTA GUADAGNINI

                                                PLACENTINTUS MEDIALANI 1′

Guadarini Violin

‘Guadagnini?’ So what?

Only, that research tells one that he was one of the top three luthiers in the world.

‘Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (often shortened to G. B. Guadagnini; 23 June 1711 – 18 September 1786) was an Italian luthier, regarded as one of the finest craftsmen of string instruments in history. He is widely considered the third greatest maker after Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù”.’

World famous violinist David Garrett (b David Bogartz 4/9/80 Aachen, Germany) noted for holding the Guinnes world record in playing ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ in 1 min 5.2 seconds 2015, had a love affair with a Guadagnini. He had been playing a borrowed Strad when he was offered the Guadagnini for the best part of one million pounds sterling. Regarding it as better than the Strad, he took out a loan and for a number of years a large part of every booking fee went to repaying it. It was finally his in December 2007.

Two weeks later, after a concert at the Barbican in London, he strapped the flimsy violin case onto his back and went to meet his brother, sister and parents in the car park. The steps were wet due to rain, and he went down the full flight on his back. The violin and case were crushed but saved him from injury. The horror of the loss was so great that he simply sat there for fifteen minutes, unable even to cry.

Eventually he was entranced by a Strad, even better than the Guadagnini, and that is now the violin played by him.

© February 2020 Colonialist

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Africa, Colonialist, Daughters, Music, Personal Journal. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fascinating story. Violinists do get so attached to their instrument – not just the sound, but the feel of it.
    I played the violin in elementary school orchestra – always first or second chair despite the fact that I played by ear and do not read music with is hard to do when dyslexic, for me anyway as the notes on the page can actually move around as you look at them. Mother refused to let me continue orchestra in the upper grades as she said orchestra kids aren’t popular….She sold my violin and said I could play the piano…I hate the piano: the low note keys are on the wrong end…
    Now her own violin is quite old and exquisite. At one time she played with orchestras and paid for university by playing at weddings. She told me when she died I was to take the violin to the city orchestra and hand it over to a violinist who deserved it and would appreciate it.
    but, as you guessed, it’s sitting on my cabinet. Music will find a way to the person who it belongs to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gipsika says:

      The musician and teacher and parent in me is appalled at the fact that your violin was taken away from you! It is strange how some parents will prioritize their own ideologies above what their children need. Especially as she played herself – the hypocrisy is shocking.

      Play your mother’s violin. It is an old and beautiful instrument, and it needs to be played to be kept in good shape. Do it without guilt. You are the musician music found, whom it belongs to.


      • colonialist says:

        No, I am willingly giving her the use of the Suzuki. It was sensible, though, for me to take over the famous-maker one. I picked it up as an amazing bargain, but that doesn’t detract from the value. The more I play it the more I realise the difference between a good violin and an excellent one.
        My mother was a piano teacher and singer. She didn’t know one end of a violin from the other!


  2. gipsika says:

    I didn’t know that bit about Garrett. Incredible. He wouldn’t be the first famous musician to total a top-end instrument though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lizzie Ross says:

    Eek — worst nightmare scenario! Worse than tales of musicians leaving their instruments in taxis (those usually find their way back to the owners).


  4. What a way to go! 😳 My sister took up the violin and almost drove us insane incessantly squeaking out ‘The Bluebells Of Scotland’. I hope that young R progresses well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Widdershins says:

    The more expensive a thing is the more determined the universe is to reduce it to toothplcks. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. SueW says:

    I hope it was insured!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an interesting post. My younger son learned the violin for a year before giving it up and changing to the piano and now the drums.

    Liked by 1 person

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