Why Stradivarius violins are worth millions

Published on May 14, 2018
Many musicians prefer these 300-year-old instruments, but are they actually worth it?
Subscribe to our channel! goo.gl/0bsAjO
Antonio Stradivari is generally considered the greatest violin maker of all time. His violins are played by some of the top musicians in the world and sell for as much as $16 million. For centuries people have puzzled over what makes his violins so great and they are the most scientifically studied instruments in history. I spoke to two world class violinists who play Stradivarius violins as well as a violin-maker about what makes Stradivari so great.
Special thanks to Stefan Avalos for the Stradivari research footage.
Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com.
Watch our full video catalog: goo.gl/IZONyE
Follow Vox on Facebook: goo.gl/U2g06o
Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H

Comments

  • Violins aren't the only thing where a high price may not translate into quality. Watch our video on why expensive wine is for suckers: bit.ly/2wBvje9

    • The wood was also, as far as I heard, much denser and rare by today's standards. That it would have been harvested just about the time the "mini ice age" in Europe was ending, and so some trees' growth had slowed down so much the rings inside were incredibly close together, creating the dense wood Stradivari used and giving his instruments a particular harmonic quality.

    • Jack Jammen: That's a really good idea but, a 52-pound violin would be a bear to play.

    • You prefer 'to' something... Not 'over'...

    • @3.141 59 I don't know, maybe because they're worth millions of dollars due to their historical value? That answer is literally at the end of the video...

    • I'm not surprised

  • That cab driver regretted it for the rest of his life....

  • I was just searching on google about... never mind...

  • That cab driver is a saint

  • Because it's old is what they're trying to say.

  • What bullshit .... says they got experts to play mean while it's just some music teachair at some shitty school. If u can't tell the diff and it's ur profession I think it's time to move on.

    • Gla ZeD there are so many things wrong with what you just said

  • I treat my 1000 dollar violin like an actual child I can’t even imagine breathing around a strad

  • First time I heard of one of these violins was in an episode of White Collar

  • So ur basicly paying 4 millions for a shittier version

  • Why do their left fingers have to push & move while playing it?

    • its called vibrato

    • its called vibrati

  • I'd rather have a linguini

  • When a instrument is older than the united states...

  • Can we take a moment and appreciate the coolest name ever : "Urelli Corelli"???

  • Why r american people the only ones that will never ever pronounce a name as it is but make it sound english tho

  • In American English, you wouldn't be able to tell if it were Stradivarius or Strativarius...

  • Yes it sounds very silvery... Wtf is that supposed to mean? I'd say hitting a bin with a rotten fish produces a diamondy tone.

  • Its like Rolls Royce. Basically paying 100 times the cost of a jeep, but its also really a jeep.

  • My history teacher's father owns one.

  • Stradivarius made his violins to be played in bars and other honkey tonk places. He never intended serious musicians to play them.

  • That taxi driver must have been careless.

  • my grandad didn't know he had a Stradivarius and gave it to his neice. it wasn't until she took it to get tuned at a shop once that they were shocked to tell her she had a Stradivarius. I have no clue where he got it from originally, most likely his parents gave it to him. all I got given was his music stand : /

  • I'd rather have Chef Boiardi.

  • Yes!

  • A charity auction price means nothing, that’s just rich people being rich people. Also this is just like the current vintage guitar market, it’s hilarious that people will pay more for old stuff that’s worse than new stuff.

  • People who bash on strads need to realise that not only are these violins (and other strad instruments)are still playable but that they've 1) survived over 300 years 2) have been played by renowned musicians 3) for the age of the instruments most are still in immaculate condition and still playable 4) AND there are so few strad instruments left which makes the top dollars you pay worth it. Its not just the hype or just the sound, but also the history, the prestine conditon, and the rarity of the instruments.

    • AND IT WAS MADE BY SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN REGARDED AS ONE OF THE BEST INSTRUMENT MAKERS EVEN DURING HIS TIME. STRADIVARIUS WASNT MAKING WALL HANGERS HE WAS MAKING ISNTRUMENTS FOR PROFESSIONALS.

  • Stradocaster

  • Soul of Italian

  • so it's the les paul of violins

  • but was it tuned to 432hz?

  • It’s the history of the instrument

  • Violin on thumbnail looks like a fake...

  • 🎻🎸🎹

  • "So, if I were * plays violin * But, you know, if I play something * plays violin * And versus you know, something * plays violin * Because in my daughter's instrument i would have to..." * plays violin* ...WHAT?

  • Of course they're valuable, they're a goddamn quest item in Fallout 3.

  • A 1959 Gibson Les Paul is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are dealing with an electronic instrument. Electronics don’t get better with time. They degrade. The wood is the same woods as they use now and it’s really unknown how much that effects the sound. If people believe something is better, to them it becomes a reality,

  • luthierrrr not "luthie-yay" lol. my dad is one.

  • Like red wine, no one can tell the difference between cheap and expensive.

  • This is just like modern branding. Nobody buys an Apple product because of its quality, but because it's an APPLE!

  • Will Strats and Les Pauls still be loved by guitar players like Strads are valued by violinists in the next hundred years? Hope so

  • These violins are like hypebeast clothes for rich and sophisticated people

  • That "study" was not done in a propper way, it was performed in a small environment, and a strad is NOT a close quarter weapon. Do the same study playing from a scene or an amphitheater and the outcome would change drasticly.

  • one question, how do they keep things made out of wood for so long?

  • pretty cool, never been a musician myself but this stuffs interesting

  • same reason picasso s are...human perceptions... the future will look back on us and laugh at our primitive BS

  • So strats and strads are pretty similar: they're both string instruments that, while still high quality, get most of their value from their name. Erm, strats are stratocaster guitars for those unfamiliar. Although if you're unfamiliar you likely don't know a lot about the value to quality ratio of stratocaster guitars and thus have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'm not sure why I'm even saying all this.

  • There’s a Stradivarius merch store in a Philippine mall owned by SM. The mall is SM Aura Premier, if anyone was asking.

  • Complete utter nonsense. Every niche market will inevitably create a stratified layout of perceived value. Why? Because that is how you command the highest price. Objectively Stradivarius violins are no better than modern day high quality violins. Another thing that annoys me is when people say that Stradivarius made 1100 instruments in his day. He had a shop of people working for him. He didn't make everything himself. That would be impossible. Yes he was a good builder of instruments but he probably also possessed good management skills and that is why he was successful.

  • >lady goes on and on, trying to demonstrate the sound of the strad >me, feeling dumb >science says she doesn't know what she's talking about >me, feeling relieved

  • why would anyone spend millions fors some lil guitar with a stick

  • Because musicians are overpaid idiots. That's why.

  • The wine video.

  • I mean, I've never played it myself, so I'm not sure about the special sound quality or something, but it has a lot of history in it and was also played by famous musicians in each century and generations, and it's also quite surprising that it's not just in a museum somewhere or just being collected but because it is still being played and is usable 300 years after the creation of it.

  • Paganini:give me g I give u world

  • Stradi-who?-vius?

  • What song was she playing?

  • A multi-million placebo!!!!

  • I saw a video where some top experts listened to three violins: a Strad, a cheapo and a Fustier. They picked the Fustier!

  • Cough cough *WOLF TONE*

  • 1:34 whats the song/piece name?

  • It's "literally" a violin. Figuratively it might be a link to the past.

  • The true value of the Stradivarius is wrapped in hype from auction houses and high end dealers driving up the prices.

  • Violinists love strads, guitarists love strats.

  • 2:59 omg of all the things I noticed, why does it have to be the hands...

  • 2:12 holy that's what my violin sounds like right there!

  • I'm in England and my school had more than 15 strads.

  • As a musician and former athlete, I understand how particular high quality instruments or pieces of equipment have subtle differences which simply makes them better for skilled players who use them. And its hard to explain these differences to everyday people. With that being said, 18 mil for a damn violin is ridiculous.

  • people have a hard time grasping the concept of a brand. Stradivarius is one of the more prominent examples

  • Stradivarius violin more like Bach Stradivarius okay not funny but you dont need a violin that expensive you’ll be fine with Yamaha I

  • Two hundred years in the future they will display iPhones as primitive technology and dank memes as art of our generation in museums. Way to go everyone.

  • i cried, when she play

  • 2:27 It's "LOO-tee-er" not "LOO-thee-ay".

  • I know the real reason why See more

  • This is the violine.... The souns that always gives me goosebumps

  • In short: It's placebo.

  • Strat-ocaster........

  • Sounds like the fine art market to me.

  • pongan subitutlos en español porfavor ta tremenda la info pero no se entiende nada a veces

  • They're the 🍷 snobes of the 🎶 world.

  • Like that lady said, even a Strad can sound like a kids practice violin is played like one. There needs to be a long term study.

  • What is the name of the asian artist @4:00 ? I have seen her in another video

  • People blindly fall for the hyperbolic mystique associate with this "special" violin. It’s all in their heads.

  • Really cool video. I think that it's kind of like the first editions of classic books, the story is the same, the ending is the same... but there's something very special with older items that have their own unique history.

  • Sounds pretty shitty tbh. I can make better sounds when I play the spoons at the bar.

  • In the last minute part, its great that the double-blind test shows elite musician can not tell the difference. It means Strad is just a piece of antique, people are focusing the history and reputation than its function;

  • The superiority can be true for trained ears. Well, at least it's not a "modern art" pretentious thing.

  • Can you do one on the Selmer Mark VI? I feel that’s the saxophone equivalent to a Stradivarius string instrument

  • What piece was she playing

  • because

  • 1:53 - I thought she was gonna test its durability by smashing it on the floor

  • ANTONIO STELLA BOTTOM TILE

  • I got the answer to your question,

  • Pateks don't keep time any better than Seikos. But it's about the history and the craftsmanship that it took to make the piece. It's artistic as much as it is functional.

  • A Luthier isn't just a violin maker. They make stringed instruments that have a neck and a soundbox. Come on Vox.

  • The names associated with violins, violas, cellos, and basses impact the price just as much as "quality", and it impacts the way you perceive its sound and playability. After a certain point in level of quality, the quality of the make of a particular violin becomes utterly subjective just like it does once you get to a certain level of musicianship. You can't say, "well, this one is better than that one" or "he plays better than this other player." It just becomes different, not better or worse. That along with the names coming along with a fiddle makes shopping for an instrument difficult, which is why it's better to establish your a price range and just try instruments out without knowing if this one is a few thousand/hundred more or less, who played it before, the maker, etc. Even just the way it looks can affect your decision. So it's best to go off sound alone as much as possible.

  • "It's all in the mind"

  • A Strad? I'd rather have a Strat

  • It's hard for me to believe with the technology that we have we couldn't recreate something that is just as good or better.

  • Maybe they have a unique sound due to the wood and not the craftsmanship?

  • It is expensive because it is basically a open-family heirloom.

  • Why do I get choked up when I hear someone play the violin, such a beautiful instrument.