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

    • 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

    • If the blind test showed that most musicians liked the newer violins then why don't you just put the Strads in a chipper-shredder?

  • So...You have a $4 million item in a case..Why do you not have that thing handcuffed to your arm when you travel?!? I don't get how people leave these in a cab...If it were me, I'd be hugging that thing while exiting the vehicle...Must have been texting... ;-)

  • Hypebeast violins

  • Jules Massenet - Meditation from Thais

  • Biggest hypebeast item of all time!

  • its the hype around it

  • People will also pay millions for a soggy used sock that some celebrity has pooped on, I'm not surprised by this.

  • WHAT KIND OF IDIOT LEAVES A $4M ITEM IN A TAXI?

  • what song does the korean woman play at 1:33

  • But couldn’t a professional violin marker remake the sound of the Stradivarius violins? Just so musicians don’t have to pay millions for a violin and just a couple thousand

  • 1:34 Isn't that the song that played whenever Helga Pataki would profess her undying love for Arnold?

  • ‘58, ‘59, and ‘60 Gibson Les Paul “bursts” enjoy a similar notoriety in the electric guitar world.

  • Columbus, Stradivarius, Napoleon: I hate when they change the names of italians who are great and famous men to make them appear international figures Cristofo Colombo Stradivari Napoleone Bonaparte Italian from Corsica These are the actual names and they ought to be written and pronounced accordingly to the Italian original orthography Not to please those who desire to appropriate their historical fame Sorry

  • As usual the best of the best has to be Italian Nobody beats their geniality good taste,sensuality in interpreting reality And they have been on top since Roman times of the Empire

  • How much of an influence does the type of strings make to the sound? The strings back then weren't made the same way or with the same material, so how has it changed / influenced the sound?

  • What is the name of the music piece that’s being played between 1:34 and 1:48?

  • "Are they worth 16 mil $?" No.

  • anjother horrible video by VOX.

  • I know his heart dropped when that cab pulled off

  • Stradivarius is amazing sound!!!

  • "it has a silvery tone"... smdh that's the type of person to act like they're a fan of modern art.

  • $16m fiddle

  • Like most things it's just hype that's why everyone thinks it's better. People are idiots.

  • pretentious douchebags are willing to pay. period

  • What about the Guarani del Jesu violins?

  • Shes quite good. She should try to make a living out of it

  • Why are ponzi schemes worth millions? Answer, they are not.

  • So... the conclusion is that musicians are also badge snobs??

  • They are not worth it financially, they have infinite worth artistically.

  • percentage mess canadian parental organization large sue design flower card decade.

  • 0:23 This Is a copy of a Guarneri del Gesu violin. Look at the F holes

  • -No stradivarius Viola? :(-

  • The "Strad." It's like having a sword made by Hattori Hanzo.

  • There are worth millions because they are the ultimate status symbol for elite classical musicians.

  • How to make good noise violin? 1.get messiah log 2.make messiah log so thick a bit and make it like violin 3.take an spider that can spread webs 4.do a rope web on that violin And booom gotcha xD

  • Ayo vox i would like to see a BTS of u guys when you go and get information and sources and like meeting up with the key figures about the topic of the video such as how did u even get an interview with this lovely lady.

  • Hahaha I laughed at the hand reference.

  • At the beginning of 1:34 i swear i thought she was gonna play helga’s theme from hey arnold

  • Heard it from a quest Agatha's Song :)

  • Playing good music is by heart not by the brand name... Even you are holding the most expensive instrument in your hand, it doesn't mean u have the skill to over it. However, I really like the result that nobody can tell at all.... So can I say overall some people playing around the brand name more than playing the music..

  • It overall depends on the quality of the modern violins they were playing. If they would have played a mass produced violin, the sound quality would have been different and they would have preferred the strads. However, if they were playing violins made by professional string makers that hand craft the violins, then they may prefer the newer ones. It also depends on eh quality of wood for the sound, so if they violins that the Violinists were playing was the same quality of a strad, a difference may be marginal.

  • Funny thing about price or is it worth it or not, question.. is that the buyer is the one confirms it, not the seller

  • Yoyomama jokes in coming

  • You mean stratocaster?

  • very incomplete explanation. :( you've only scratched the surface of the true beauty of a Stradivari. at least in how I look at it. Very good video though. But not very informative enough for me.

  • Why can’t they study one of these instruments and what makes them sound better. Like just make it the same shape and size and wood type and it should sound the same?

  • I’d rather have a STRAT

  • That's really impressive that over half the instruments he ever made are still around 300 years later.

  • how can u lose a fukin 4 million dollar object ................... like wtf no sense

  • I love this narrator you guys need to keep him

  • There is not a single person that knows what the original sound of a stradivarius violin sounded like

  • how can a violin be worth 16 million there is no way in hell that it costs even more then 10000 dollar to make that thing (honestly.. 200 sounds already too much for me)

  • Is there a lost secret? Consider this idea which many have written about; much of Europe was gripped by the little ice age between around 1400 and 1800, and that the period of cold weather and long winters peaked between 1645 and 1715. Trees growing during that peak period, the so-called Maunder Minimum, showed the slowest growth rates of the entire last 500 years. What this mini ice age may have created were extremely dense trees. Instruments (especially violins) rely on vibrations for sound; and the more dense the material the clearer sound travels through it. Thus this may be why these violins sound the way they do Surprised vox didn't mention this

  • What is the best Zelda game? 4:34 Haha get it? Yeah I hate myself too.

  • Bach Stradivarius

  • Why exactly can't these be massproduced?

  • The answer to this video starts at 2:22

  • Brand.

  • So it's the emperor's new clothes again.

  • I remember reading an article that said that Stradivarius's violins sound better because he floated them down a river to transport them or something and they got moldy.

  • Wouldn't the plural be Stradivarii?

  • Thank you for posting about classical instruments!!!! Trying to spread the amazing-ness of these instruments and music to as many as people as possible! ❤️ you vox!

  • New violins are just as good. It has been proven.

  • If you're a violinists you'd hear the difference.

  • All the scientific evidence shows experts and amateurs alike prefer the sound of modern quality violins in blind tests

  • I should name my son Stradivarius because its the name of a beautiful violin. Also cuz he black.

  • zukerman doesn't play a strad

  • I kept hearing "Strat" and kept thinking either guitar or rush B

  • Paying this money to charity is much better than paying it to something as trivial as a violin

  • this video fails to mention that the wood Stradivari used came from trees that went through abnormal seasons, which resulted in wood with very regular density, rather than the varying density that comes from trees which go through normal seasons. the regular density of the wood results in more faithful reproduction of vibrations, i.e., music.

  • Really? You're not even going to talk about the mini ice age? Or the legend of the secret location of trees used? Not even going to mention Andrea Amati? The Godfather of the Stradivari tradition? You disappoint me, Vox.

  • Total rip off - make your own! Just stretch some rubber bands across an old tissue box, and bob's your uncle.

  • My friend accidentally bought a strad for $100

  • I'm not a violinist, not even a musician ... but millions for a piece of wood and strings 😵😵 sincerely I think it's just this thing about entering a very fancy café where somebody takes a wrapped cake, unwrap it, put in on a fancy plate and you eat it yelling like a donkey ... oh! So exquis! Wonderful! It's a piece of art! And you pay 1,000 € for something bought at 0.5 € the dozen at macy's... It's all about showing off... musicians' showing off... 👎👎

  • I guess it was made of fairy wood ;P

  • An instrument does never has a soul or an imagination. FOOLISH PEOPLE GOD CREATED HUMANS WHO HAVE SOULS ROCKS DONT THREES DONT VIOLINS DONT change your ways according to the God of the Bible Jesus Christ he died for you. That violin does not deserve atention. CHRIST does!

  • Too bad strad trumpets aren't worth this much lol

  • Lol what if he dropped it

  • They are not worth that much now. Even the cheapest violin sounds just as good because we can make them the same way as the Strat with the same materials and pump out hundreds of them in a tenth of the time.

  • This war of mine

  • My question is : how can a violin (or any wooden material) last so long without getting loose and decrease in quality over time ? I mean, 300 years is really a lot.

  • I would rather have a Barrett 50 sniper rifle

  • it's the hype

  • me gusto el video mucha información para mi

  • it's "a Stradivari" for gods sake! A similar study was done by famous guitars too. Maybe the reason of the sound is imperfection. It was all made by hand back then.

  • www.thestrad.com/players-favour-new-violins-over-old-in-largest-ever-blind-testing-experiment/6848.article

  • I've always wanted to learn how to play.....And master my Queens song, "Toxic"

  • So in other words it's all in the mind and it's all bollocks.

  • Stradivarius violins are passed on from generation to generation like a challenge cup. Does each holder also engrave his/her name into the body of the violin as they do with challenge cups?

  • nice, people are part of instruments' lifes with stradivarius violins, not the other way around haha

  • damn, imagine to carry something around that is worth that much! i would be constantly nervous!

  • Very few are in an original condition - most have had 'modernisation' throughout their history - new, longer necks, bass bar strengthened, finger boards removed and lengthened etc. Some remain excellent instruments despite their transition from 'Baroque' violins to modern set-up. However, despite the reputation, some are very quirky and have idiosyncrasies that require talent and technique to master. Its the player that usually matters in the end. Given an expensive violin, I would still sound like a fiddler. not a violinist - but a very nervous fiddler with all that investment money concentrated in that little box of wood and strings.

  • I think that what's really interesting about stradivariuses isn't any intrinsec mysterious sound, but the very fact that they retain two distinct dimensions of artifacts that time usually separates: the iconic and the functional. On the first, they are emblems, signs of music, of passion for a craft, of dedication to an art, of longing for perfection and of tradition. On the second, they are musical instruments that are played till this day. Many similar objects, once they acquire (or are assigned) a powerful iconic value, they become totally alienated from their function and tend to end up in collections and exhibitions, never to be really used again. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying that we should be using a 6000 year old aegyptian blanket to sleep under, or that we should go and sail on historical ships untill they sink or are too dammaged to keep on. I just find stradivariuses an oddity in the context of what we usually do with historically significant things (and I'm pretty shure there must be some stradivariuses in museums instead of musicians' hands... which is fine too).

  • They sound the way they do because the voices of the old owners sing through them as a violinist plays

  • so technically worthless

  • i heard it was climactic influence on the trees

  • OVERRATED!!!!!

  • I hate brevity but good video.

  • What if the strad influenced modern violins in a huge way, and that’s why you can’t tell the difference?

  • I want to hold one