Are you interested in purchasing a Holstein violin? If you are still unsure about which model to buy, this is the right guide for you! Whether it is price or premium quality, the range of instruments produced by Holstein violins covers all needs.
In this article we will be reviewing the four categories of violins made by Holstein Violins: Traditional, Workshop, Bench and Premium Bench.
Holstein Violin Review
When it comes to choosing violin, customers usually tend to take into account three different aspects: beauty, quality of sound and price – not necessarily in this order.
For those with a limited budget, the instruments belonging to the Traditional category are the right choice. They are built with the highest quality tonewoods from Europe, including traditional woods as maple and spruce.
It is important to note that maple and spruce are known for being the best woods for the construction of stringed instruments because they give the right balance between projection and tone – it is the same formula used by the great masters of the violin making history and remains standard for the crafting of high quality instruments.
Before we move on to the next category, it is important to understand how the choice of wood can have an impact in the final quality of the instrument.
Spruce, being light and strong, is ideal for the top of the violin, as it vibrates and projects nicely. The maple, a hardwood, is what gives the back of the violin its beautiful look.
Due to its stability and strength, maple is a perfect fit for the back of the violin as well as the neck. Good instruments usually present these combination of woods and Holstein violins are not an exception.
However, different qualities of maple and spruce can be found as a consequence of climate and geographical location, as the trees from where each piece of the wood is taken come from different countries.
For instance, Bosnian maple is considered superior to maple from other countries. Same happens to the Italian spruce, which is the preferred type of spruce among violin makers.
You should also expect Traditional violins to have the best wood for their price range, although superior quality maple and spruce will be used only for the crafting of Workshop and Bench violins, as its market price has a direct impact on the final prices of the instruments.
Another interesting fact about Holstein violins is that you can choose the replica you like the most, as Holstein produces copies of some of the most famous instrument makers such as Stradivari, Guarnieri del Gesù, Amati and Maggini.
You may be surprised to hear that not only the dimensions of the original instruments are copied, but also the same colors of varnish as well.
The Workshop violins are one level above. They are built by a single experienced violin maker who carefully crafts the instrument from beginning until it takes its final form.
The wood is handpicked, chosen from the finest Italian spruce and Bosnian maple that are over a hundred years old, and dried for ten years at least.
This type of instrument tend to have a higher quality of sound when compared to the Traditional instruments, and the reason is the use of aged wood.
Customers can also choose the model according to their tastes, as they will find copies of Stradivari, Amati, Maggini, etc., available for purchase.
The Bench instruments are handicrafted and finished by a single violin maker, and that is a big advantage.
This level of instrument is a bit more expensive due to the finest quality of wood used in its construction and the careful selection of each piece of wood that makes up the instrument.
Consequently, the sound of the Bench violin tends to be more powerful, deep and beautiful. At this range you should expect each instrument to be an even more faithful copy to the original as the maker can select the woods that resemble the original instrument the most.
The Premium Bench instruments are the finest instruments produced by Holstein. Its superior quality can be noticed in every detail: finish, varnish, handicraft and sound.
If budget is not a limitation you can not go wrong with a Premium Bench instruments. However, if you want to acquire one of these you should not expect to pay less than $4600.
The only downside – due to limited availability – is that you may not find the model that you want right away, but you can be sure that you will not be disappointed by its superior sound quality.
Apart from the woods used in the construction of each level of violin, one of the main differences is the number of makers who work on each instrument.
For the Traditional violins you may expect about three to five makers producing each part of the instrument.
We all know that serial work can speed up the process of production as each maker is responsible for the production of each part of the violin.
Although mass production has its advantages, you should not expect the quality of these instruments to match the quality of an instrument carefully handcrafted by a single maker.
As a reminder, Bench and Premium Bench violins are the only ones handcrafted and finished by a single maker.
As we mentioned before, we can find replicas of the same instrument in all categories, for example, a Traditional Stradivary copy or a Bench Stradivary copy.
In general, each replica reflects the tonal qualities of the original instruments. Although it is not a rule of thumb, you may expect Stradivari, Mendelssohn and Kreisler models to sound more bright and focused, while Amati, Plowden and Maggini models to sound more dark.
The reason why the quality of Holstein violins is outstanding is because they are tested by one of the owners of the company – Pierre Holstein.
Pierre has played professionally as a concertmaster and was full-time player in professional orchestras around the world. At the Holstein violin shop he is the person who makes sure that each instrument produced by the company is delivering its best sound.
As of November, 2022, the prices in dollars for each model are as follows: Traditional from $1489; Workshop from $2649; Bench from $3900 and Premium Bench from $4600.
Currently they can be bought online from Fiddlershop, a dealer located in the United States and are shipped internationally.