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Old Violins of Interest at Booths

Having opened it’s doors back in 1832 by our ancestors James and Thomas Booth, the store and tuition centre Booths Music naturally has some interesting pieces that have been passed down through the generations. Among these include the first instrument of Bolton based string maker William Davy as well as some old violins (originals and copies).

Our oldest violin at Booths is hard to date but we think somewhere between the 17th and 18th century. This is relevant as you can see the neck has been removed and lengthened by approximately one centimetre in response to the raising of pitch that occurred during the nineteenth century.

Early Violins in History

The earliest evidence of the violin in history is from paintings by Italian artist Gaudenzio Ferrari from the 1530s, though Ferrari’s instruments only had three strings. The most famous makers of this period are:

  • Micheli family of violin makers: Zanetto Micheli 1490-1560, Peellegrino Micheli 1520- 1607, Giovanni Micheli 1562-1616 Francesco Micheli 1579-1615 and the brother in law Battista Doneda 1529-1610.
  • Bertolotti da Salo (Gasparo da Salo) family of Italian violin and double bass players and makers: Francesco 1513-1563 and Agostino 1510-1584 Bertolotti, Gasparo Bertolotti 1540- 1609 called Gasparo da Salo.
  • Giovanni Paolo Maggini 1580-1630 pupil of Gasparo da Salo.
  • Amati and the Guarneri families.
  • Jacob Stainer 1617-1683 of Absam in Tyol
  • Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737 of Cromona.

 These shown above are of course (unfortunately for us) replicas for the famous Nicola Amati and Giovanni Paolo Maggini. They are nevertheless over 100 years old.