Guarneri 'del Gesù' ? - Violin Maker

Posted by Davy Clark on

Guarneri 'del Gesù' Violin

You've heard of Antonio Stradivari, famous for his exquisite-sounding, Stradivarius violins. Perhaps, you've even heard of Nicolo Amati, the revolutionary maker of the modern violin, who preceded Stradivari and is one of the three most renowned violin makers in recent world history. Yet, have you heard of Bartolomeo Giuseppi Guarneri 'del Gesù'? 

Guarneri del Gesu is considered one of the finest violin makers in the world, standing along side of Amati and Stradivari. Together, these three are recognized as the greatest to have given us the blessing of the "singing box." Yet these makers, having long since slipped into eternity hundreds of years ago, still have playable instruments now in the hands of professional violinists and multimillion-dollar collectors around the world. 

However, in Guarneri's life, he never met with the violin-making fame that both Stradivari & Amati enjoyed while they were still living. It wasn't until famous violinist & composer, Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840 A.D.), a large part of a century after Guarneri's death, played a Guarneri violin that Paganini fell in love with, that del Gesu's violins then became world famous & sought after by professionals the world over, right up till today. Yet again, Guarneri never tasted the deserved recognition his great works have brought him posthumously.

The attached picture is one of Guarneri del Gesu's famous violins. See this link  to read a bit more of Guarneri's legacy. 

As I recently pondered this travesty, I've considered us, as harp makers and what our legacy may bring to the Earth that we may never experience? We should all be so fortunate to create an instrument that blesses the world for long years after we have become deceased! What a gift from us wouldn't that be? Even if just for our family?

Consider, if we make our harps in a conscientious qualitative manner, passing on our harps to our children & grandchildren and they on to theirs, perhaps someday, our decedents and future unforeseen musicians will also play, desperately admire and collect our own works of singing wood & strings? And, I say, why not? 

I suggest, to help inspire and maybe give you some hints and ideas to apply to your own DIY musical instrument making journey, get on YouTube & look up these names and look for modern, but traditional violin makers. There are many to chose from. By the way, in their times, Amati, Stradivari & del Gesu were all Do-It-Yourselfers, too, just like you & me. We remain in good company!

Also, consider obtaining our DVD by the late Geronimo Morinigo, Paraguayan harp maker & player. Some years ago, John Kovac filmed Geronimo making a 36 string Paraguayan Harp in John's harp making shop for over a seven day period. The DVD starts right at the beginning of the build and leads up to the point where Geronimo finishes & plays the harp. Very inspiring for those wishing to build their own Paraguayan style folk harp.

Build well, my Friends,

To the future!

- Davy


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