Instruments by Antonio Stradivari

The 1693 Harrison Stradivari violin
(Considered by many to be the finest "long pattern" Stradivari ever made.)
For more "conventional" views of the Harrison visit:

The National Music Museum website
(The Shrine to Music)
where the Harrison is presently located.

I took these additional photographs for varnish colors, reflections of contours, etc..


Stradivarius Back

Stradivarius C bout

Antonio Stradivari

Notice the "pinched" contour on the lower F-hole wing

The back surface is very "rippled" across the flames

One of the most beautiful examples of Stradivari's varnish (in my opinion) is the Harrison's left C-bout

The varnish here is as "deep," "clear," and "colorful" as it gets.

Stradivarius Scroll



Stradivari Scroll

In later years, Antonio's sons helped carve many of his scrolls. This one though, in my opinion, is "all Antonio."

Stradivari tended toward round heels on the bottom of his scrolls.

Notice how shallow Antonio dug the side fluting compared with most other makers (even his own sons)

Notice the small radius at the sides of the back fluting ("normal" photographs without reflections never show this)

The 1727 "Cassavatti" Viola

Stradivarius Viola

Stradivarius Viola Back

Stradivarius Scroll

Stradivarius 1727

Stradivari 1727

There are less than twenty Stradivari violas still in existence.

The 1727 Cassavatti is one of the finest in overall condition

If you look closely, you can still see remains of ink on the chamfer of the eye

An extremely wide pegbox makes changing strings easier but also hinders playing in the half position

Scroll, bass side

Stradivarius f-hole non-std

Stradivarius Showing His Age

Stradivarius 1727 Scroll Back

Stradivarius Heel of Scroll

Stradivarius Dichroic Properties

Not a typical shape f-hole for Stradivari. (His sons also helped carve many of his later instruments.)

This instrument was made when Antonio was 83 and showing the signs of old age. Also notice the cracks caused by the poorly fitting purfling

A rare cello style scroll for this late of viola, but Stradivari was not beyond "breaking the rules" for a special customer

Another view showing the depth and contours of the scroll heel

The dichroic properties of Stradivari's varnish.
Left is in diffused light, right is in direct light. (All master varnishes, new or old, will do this.)

The 1701 "Servais" Cello
is presently housed at "The Smithsonian" and considered by many to be the finest cello ever made, though the point may be argued (especially by average sized players) because of its "larger than standard" size which makes it more difficult to play.

Servais Cello

Stradivari Cello

Stradivarius Cello

Servais Stradivari Cello

Servais Cello Ribs

The "Servais" is a very large and impressive instrument

A truly rare specimen with deep, widely flamed maple

Even the finest cellos have "wolf notes," yet with a master instrument it is always "worth it."

Though over 300 years old, a typical and very "clean" example of the Master's work.

One of the finest examples of Stradivari's wood and varnish

Servais Stradivarius Scroll

The 1709 "Greffuhle"
(One of the finest inlaid Stradivaris.)
Pardon the quality of these photographs. After playing the instrument for two days, I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures until it was almost time to go.

It really was a dream to play, but when I first picked up the Greffuhle, the sound was a complete disappointment. But who can blame it; it had a gut E-string, a steel A string, a Dominant D and a G-string that was old and unrecognizable.
But after I adjusted the soundpost to where it should be and replaced all the strings, it instantly came to life and became the dream that it truly is.

You can't judge any instrument's true value unless it is set up properly.

Greffuhle Stradivarius

Stradivarius Violin

Stradivarius Inlay

Stradivarius Inlay

Stradivari Inlay

Stradivari made very few inlaid instruments and always charged "dearly" for them even though some of their voices were compromised by the thicker wood necessary for the inlay work

The "Greffuhle" is a "Golden Period" example and is the best sounding inlaid instrument I have ever heard or played upon
How the light hits a master instrument is everything. Right = the Greffuhle in subdued light.

All of Stradivari's inlay designs are his own (original) and many of his templates still survive in private collections and at the Stradivari museum in Cremona, Italy.

An angle that no ordinary pictures ever show.

The ribs are elaborately inlaid and were made slightly thicker than his normal instruments


Stradivarius Inlaid Scroll

Stradivarius Violin Scroll

Stradivarius Inlaid Scroll

Stradivarius Closeup

Closeup of the ivory diamonds and circles. Compare with the "Rawlings" guitar below

Stradivari chose less flamed wood for his inlaid scrolls so the patterns would stand out more

This violin has a full neck graft and a simple fingerboard but the originals were believed to have been quite elaborate

Stradivari used a mixture of inlaying techniques on this instrument because he was always experimenting for a better way

I believe he discovered it on the back of this scroll and it is the same technique that I use on my own instruments because it requires no compromise in sound quality

1700 "Rawlings" Guitar
(Again, one of Stradivari's finest)


Stradivarius Guitar Closeup

Stradivarius Guitar

Stradivari Guitar Rib

Stradivari Guitar Back

Guitars, like violins, violas and cellos are made of spruce (for the belly) and maple (for the ribs, scroll and back).

The inlay of ivory diamonds and circles are almost identical to those used on Stradivari's inlaid violins
(See Greffuhle above)

Though not considered to be one of the finest guitar makers who ever lived, Stradivari used the finest materials and did very well

A closeup of the varnish (one of his finest examples)

Another closeup.


Ward Stradivarius violin

Betts Stradivarius Violin

Stradivarius Scroll

Stradivarius Scroll

Stradivarius Arching

The "Ward" Stradivarius violin of 1700

The "Betts" Stradivarius violin of 1704

The "Betts" scroll

Another closeup

The "Betts" back arching

Stradivarius Corner

Stradivarius Cello

Stradivarius 1690 Viola

Axlerod Stradivari Viola

Stradivari "Inlaid" Viola

During Stradivari's "Golden" Period, his craftsmanship was superb (compare this 1704 with the 1727 "Cassavatti" viola)

The "Axlerod" cello of 1688

1690 "Library of Congress" Viola

Stradivari was always experimenting, and this viola of 1694 shows that decorations should not be merely painted on a master instrument.

A master instrument needs to get better with age, therefore all decorations must be "in" the wood in order for them to last for the entire life of the instrument.

Castlebarco Stradivarius

Ole Bull Stradivari

Ole Bull Corner

Cremonese Stradivarius

Stradivari's Tools

The 1699 "Castlebarco" violin

The back of the inlaid "Ole Bull" violin of 1687
(Better looking than the Greffuhle yet it has been re-graduated and is not as deep and rich sounding)

A closeup of Stradivari's diamonds and circles from the Ole bull violin of 1687
(It is a beautiful instrument)

The pride of the city of Cremona.

The "Cremonese" of 1715

Also see the webpage
"Stradivari's Tools"


Copyright 2006 Kevin Lee Luthier