The last 20 years of violinmaking brought an enormous increase in quality.
I dare say that some of the best makers today can easily be compared to
the best Cremonese makers (at least, not later than 300 years from now, when
the charm of natural wear to the instrument). We have far more technical
information than ever before, which is mainly the merit of our American
colleagues. Not only do they like to go deep into scientific research on sound
but they also are kind enough to publish the results of their research in
readable language. European violinmakers traditionally tend to be "secret-keepers".
Thirty years ago when I started my training in Mittenwald, very little material
was available and full-size photos of beautiful old instruments were practically
non-existent. To find varnish ingredients was like playing
treasure-hunting and to buy oils and resins we had to get together in large
groups, because only big stocks were available. Today editors and violin-accessories-
shops take a big and successful effort to ease the life of a modern violinmaker.
Also in our little craft-world globalization has begun. Gifted violinmakers are no longer confined to specific countries. Many of them, like myself, have worked in different shops and thus collected experiences in restoration and construction techniques, as well as in knowledge of valuable old instruments. I cannot deny though that living in Italy gives a very thorough insight to what the art and the life of a past maker could have been. Art and history is so present in daily life that anyone who wants, gets a constant natural training for beauty, artistic freedom and perfect proportions.