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:
My other one, that Rhiannon has been picking up the rudiments on, is something else. Inscribed inside is
‘JOANNES BAPTISTA GUADAGNINI
PLACENTINTUS MEDIALANI 1′
‘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.