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?
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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.
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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

    • Vox we had this strad violin and it is for sale

    • Vox ,People talk about stuff they do not understand or know anything about. Why is an old and used Ferrari Dino worth more than a new Ferrari? The new Ferrari is even faster, but it is worth less. No one would be dumb enough to trade a Stradivarius with a new Yamaha violin, even though the Yamaha is a perfectly fine instrument. The Stradivari is NOT just about quality, although the quality is guaranteed to be very high, but it is NOT only about quality. The Stradivari is an antique item and a very rare one, made by a luthier that was the best around even then, and who today is legendary. It is a piece of history. But you can find the Yamaha in any good music shop. What would you have, a painting of Van Gogh or the painting of a living painter? An original score by Mozart or one by a living composer? The living composer might be a fantastic musician, but Mozart is a legend, and for very good reasons. Stradivari isn't different, he is a legend today for very good reasons, and it is your fault if you do not know why, go learn your music history, will take you years. Who says that it is only about " quality" ? You mention "quality" because you know nothing better about musical instruments. It is like saying that a colour modern painting is better than a black and white sketch made by Da Vinci just because there's colours in the other painting. It is Stradivari, not Yamaha, Sony or Panasonic :) if you just want a good violin buy a Yamaha, if you want a very special and legendary violin, buy the Stradivari. And besides, it is a killer investment too.

    • Tech Freak the test participant are professional musician, but they are not the elite violinist would get to play or own a strad. I actually have passed the ABRSM grade 8 piano exam when I was 13 (much like many other Asian kids) and I went on to study the performance diploma, if I made my mind up to be a pianist as my career, I can be called a professional as well. But does it means my ears is as sensitive as Mozart? Can I go to a performance, hear it once and play it out base solely on my hearing? Hell no.

    • Landy Flowers I agree! Also these strads violin are meant to use by the best violinist and the most trained ear, it doesn’t need to appeal to the general public or average professional, since these ppl are not even the violin’s target market. People is willing to pay a ton for fresh ice in say a desert region, while the Eskimos probably won’t be willing to pay a dime. A value of a product is not solely depends on quality alone. And that “double blind”experiment is a bit faulted in design. First of all, if a musician have to play so many pieces on 11 violins, how can the “quality” of each play be exactly the same? And the conclusion the experience draw is that average professional prefer the sound of new violin over old strads, it’s a very clear misinterpretation to use that conclusion to say old strads quality is inferior to the new. A better design for that experiment would be they invite owners /players of the strads to hear the sound of these violins played by a controlled robotic arms, and then ask them to rate the quality of the sound of the violins.

    • That moment when you see a Vox video right under a "Louder With Crowder" video, lmao

  • *_buffet crampon has joined the chat_*

  • A painter was asked ,"do you expect me to pay so much for your painting"? He exclaimed, no, for the knowledge and skill that created it"!

  • "Silvery tone," yep! (I get to go hear one today, woot!

  • I think you mean 20,000 simoleons

  • A good sword does not make a good swordsman, A good violin does not make a good violinist. These are skills that are based on the person's skills. This does not mean that a violinist wouldn't benefit from having a good violin, trust me, even a 100 dollar violin would sound good in a violinist hands, it's more so how the tool is used

  • omg, you are making me so heartbroken right now. Yo Yo Ma came to my school before😭😭😭 and I want to meet him.

  • I enjoyed that pagini caprice 24 more than what the blue shirt lady was saying

  • ok, but is it as old as Ling Ling?

  • Larry used Stradivarius to play pop goes the weasel to help Curly win over Killer Kilduf lol

  • This is slavery to an object. There are more important things in life.

  • why can't americans try to pronounce foreign words correct. Aren' t they interested in other languages? I guess an old italian violin isn' t supposed to be called strad... The italian word stradivari isn't that difficult to say...

  • I wish I could just hold one once and I would be happy

  • They are always worth it the beauty of the sound is beauty

  • I thought the point was that they couldn't make the majority of the instrument that good back in the day... tbh compare it to the modern technologies is a low blow.

  • It’s not uncommon that a competitor maker performs a “study” that concludes the very point he wants to tell his customers.

  • anyone else see Ray at the start and get very excited for no reason?

  • Of course a large part of the cost is attributed to the past just like a da vinci they are becoming rarer and famous people have had them!

  • 'Cause they're old. End of story.

  • 4:35 Legend of Zelda reference lol

  • It’s like the 1959 Gibson Les Paul of violins

  • Yo my violin says stativarius on it

  • Didn’t Paganini play his friend’s beginner violin, when he gave up violin.

  • does anyone know what's that song at 1:34?

    • my same question, im looking through all the comments hahaha

  • So these ppl are like Iphone users... like to pay extra for some added self validation... only that its on a way more crazier scale.

  • Ling Ling can make a better one

  • I want to buy one seriously. Where can I find one and whom can I contact?

  • i'll stay with my $100 violin oml

  • Meh, placebo effect. I'll take a carbon fiber piece.

  • Placebo effect goes sicko mode

  • who esle came here from sherlock?

  • Because, yea

  • Suena 🎼🎸🥁bonito...! 🎶

  • 0:49 RAY CHEN?!😂

  • They're status symbols

  • Beautiful instruments but definitely or worth $ 4 million

  • It's like swaying that peanut butter and syrup sandwiches are the best tasting sandwiches ever and convincing everyone else the same. Pretty soon, EVERYONE believes they are, whether they've tried one or not. I don't particularly like peanut butter and syrup sandwiches, but just used it as an example.

  • I hate it when videos are titled "why... x" and then don't answer the question

  • But does it Djent?

  • They all sound the same to me

  • Ladies and gentlemen, the placebo effect at work. Like people that drink fancy wines. Expensive wines are rated as superior because the testers know they are tasting “good” and old wines. Double blind studies have dispelled most myths, including praying.

  • There is little more American than calling stradivarii strads.

  • i dont like sushi

  • Well, If you think about it, a Stradivarius will probably outlive a modern violin twenty-fold, so I guess it’s kind of worth it...

  • The taxi driver had probably heard of this by now and has deeply regretted returning an "ordinary" violin.

  • My middle school orchestra teacher had a Stradivarius violin and he never EVER let it out of his sight. He'd bring it lunch, to board meetings, even on field trips. When he retired he sold it for 5.6 million dollars and now he lives in a mansion in Wisconsin. Lucky guy

  • What is the piece that is played at 1:22 ?

  • Only as good as the fiddler

  • Name recognition

  • Stradivari

  • sounds the same with other violins.This is stupid

  • I keep thinking they talk about Stratocaster guitars :D "strats"

    • STRADS, not Strats. Also, it's Strats, with a capital S not strats, with a lower case one.

  • Are they worth it? Depends on how you look at it. People are willing to pay absurd amount of money for it so from that perspective they are absolutely worth it. If all you care about is sound and quality though, It seems like much cheaper modern instruments can actually out do them.

  • It's worth millions for the same reason a surviving Ferrari 250 GTO from the early 1960's can fetch 70 million dollars these days. It's a part of history. It's also all about the rarity, quality, exclusivity, and pedegree. A brand new Mustang is faster, cheaper, more economical, and (on paper), better than the classic Ferrari in every single way...... BUT..... It's not one of the few hand built Ferrari GTO's left in existance. I know which of the two I'd rather own. Same goes for the violins.

  • What about the stradicaster?

  • The reason why violins are valued at such ridiculously high prices is that when the rich have too much money and nothing to spend it on they create new ways to not only get even more money (investment) but also materialize their virtual wealth. Consider that currency is pure fiction created by governments to further enrich the rich. And, you might ask, why not just buy more diamonds? Well, like any wise investor you want to make sure that your eggs are not all in one basket. Therefore, you invest in yes diamonds, and paintings, horses, cars, antiques, wines and other crap that, when you get down to it, is not worth more than the materials and some labor. And, the Stradivarius violins are some of the top pieces of matter that are used to inflate value and store wealth. Soon the rich will have so much money that they'll start buying your right to live and breathe.

  • I'd get a 50s gibson

  • I think you forgot one thing: Like the difference between a Squier and a Fender Stratocaster, strads feel better to play

  • The person from the Lincoln Center's description was incredibly unhelpful.

  • I live in cremona and it’s quite strange to see this video, because I’ve seen these violins quite many times😨

  • This video doesn't answer to anything, especially its own title question.

  • This was disapointing.

  • My step dad's friend owned a Stradivarius at one point and gave it away without even knowing what it was. B o i as a passionate violinist I would kill for one.

  • "Strad" sounds so pretentious

  • Only strads I know of is the strats played by Jimi Hendrix

  • I always knew it was all bollocks. New is always better than old.

  • BRASS🎺📎

  • Why would you leave a $4million violin in a taxi by accident anyway!? It would be on my mind all the time.

  • It's not all about how it sounds to listener but to the musician, it enjoy playing their instrument.

  • That violin is just one of the ways for criminals to launder money in the name of art and patronage. Wake up people and don't buy these bull***t anymore.

  • You say “Strad” I hear “strat” as in “Stratocaster”

  • I thought Stradivarius was a store... the ignorance damnn

  • Longivity, that's the most important aspect!!...if an instrument can last 300 years, and still sound good, it's worth it for sure!!...

  • RAY CHENNNNNN

  • The original strat scheme

  • Strats are better than Strads

  • They do not sound better than modern ones that can be tuned way clearer. They were just made out of very dense wood and for hundreds of years musician’s ears were taught that Stradivaris are the best. This is where that comes from. They are nice violins for sure but there are better contemporary ones. They might be worth it as an investment or exhibition piece but not really as a musical instrument.

  • When I had a beginner's practice violin, the difference was clear. After I got a better violin, the differences were subtle, too subtle for most people to detect. The value of a Strad is not in the quality of the sound, but rather it's historical and artistic value.

  • now play megalovania

  • doesn't matter if the violin is good, what matters is if you know how to play it properly

  • Violins have integrals on them? Neat.

  • silvery tone.. how the hell does that sound like

  • a rip off

  • Although I have not read the paper cited in this video, the fact one of the authors is a violin maker himself does seem like a form of bias that could be influencing the paper. But, like I said, I'd have to read it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • " A Link to the Past " Hyaaa

  • here is a trick buy vr buy violin vr game buy stradivariu's violin sound dlc play violin in vr spent only 800$ instead of 1m $ thank me later

  • He’ll never take a taxi ever again, period!

  • So... Why Stradivarius violins are worth millions ???? :))) 5 min wasted time. :P thanks Wox.

  • any viola players here..? no? okay bye xox

  • You can not hear the difference between the violins because of US-tv audio compression.

  • Which piece is she playing at 1:34?

  • "Why Stradivarius violins are worth millions". There is basically no answer in this video. Answers like "because it is so old" is not an answer. There exist thousands of old instruments and a lot of them are not worth much. Musicians who say, that strads are the best and better than modern instruments, are just deaf. modern violin making is much better then in the past. The real reason why strads cost that much is, because strad was after amati the big violin maker of its time. he changed the way of making and introduced a new violin, that sounds more harsh and has more power than the amati instruments. also he has not made 1100 instruments. no document gives us this number. also he has not made most of his instruments. the only instruments he made, were his early instruments, after that, he had a lot of violinmakers and his sons who were making all of his violins for him. after his death there were over 90 unvarnished instruments haning on the roof of his workshop. he was not a violinmaker who was hiding inside his workshop and keeping his stuff for himself. he had an incredibly big company that was worldwide well known. Also strads doesnt sound "special" and there is no "secret". dumb people came up with this and dumb people still believe in this. the only thing that is really interesting, is his way of varnish making. but also this is not that difficult. violin maker used the same pigments as other used for colouring clothes. most maker even took out the red colour of the clothes for their varnish.

  • To me its worth it.p

  • Why a Gucci reproduction of a decades/century old shoe that can be bought for 20$ or custom built for 40$, worth 500$? People pay for whatever they want to pay to satisfy an internal story or narrative they have inside their heads.

  • Moja devojka svira violinu bolje od svih vas zajedno picka vam materina!

  • Guitars are still better😉

  • When the instrument is worth more than you

  • I actually found one of these in my grandpa’s attic. I didn’t know the value of it, but I still did use the sweet sounding instrument.

  • *Tunes to Agatha's station*

  • Ah yes, but what about the violin ling ling plays