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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.


The second phase: the more recent history of violin making in western Bohemia


Driving the Sudeten Germans out of Schönbach and Graslitz: A déjà-vu of violin-making history


The Great Depression did major damage to the export-orientated production of musical instruments, and then the National Socialists' policy of autarky exacerbated the situation further. In 1939, orders were given to found an “association of Vogtland and Sudeten German makers of stringed instruments” — a mandatory consortium which represented the region's final cross-border enterprise before WWII ended the 200 or so years of Bohemian-Saxonian violin-making history. After the war, some 12,000 Germans were expelled from the region and, in a kind of historical déjà-vu, they took their art with them.


As was the case during the Counter-Reformation, this wave of deportations led to the development of a new centre of musical-instrument production. After attempts to create a joint settlement in Mittenwald failed due to the heated resistance of local violin makers, the majority of the people in Schönbach then found a new home in Bubenreuth in 1949. They turned the Franconian village into a rapidly blossoming musical venue; soon other former masters and merchants from Markneukirchen relocated there as well because they no longer had entrepreneurial horizons in the German Democratic Republic.

Schönbach, which was known as Luby from then on, remained a city of instrument building despite this second round of figurative blood-letting. It developed independently of Markneukirchen; the historical link across the border had dissolved. The few German violinmakers who had remained in Luby were joined by specialists from other towns in Czechoslovakia. They primarily worked for the production cooperative “Cremona,” which formed the basis for “Strunal AG” after the Velvet Revolution. Some of today's violinmakers in Luby attribute the city's new name to “luba,” the Czech word for the rib of a violin. And with its turbulent history, why should Luby not be a city – perhaps the only one – in which violin making is quite literally part of the name?


Recommended reading (in German): Kurt Kauert, Vogtländisch-westböhmischer Geigenbau in fünf Jahrhunderten. Entstehung – Standorte – Strukturen. Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 2006. 156 pages, multiple images. ISBN 978-3-86530-079-9.


Related articles:

Violin making in western Bohemia and the Vogtland region

Crossing borders: on the history of violin making in western Bohemia

Markneukirchen: violin making in “German Cremona”

Klingenthal: the origin of violin making

The bow makers of Markneukirchen

Noteworthy families of Markneukirchen violin makers

H. R. Pfretzschner

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

Ernst Heinrich Roth: a rediscovered master

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • SALE: Old Mittenwald violin, J. A. Baader, c.1900
  • Bohemian student violin, c.1960/1970
  • 3/4 - warm and resonant sounding French 3/4 violin
  • SALE: Modern Italian violin, Piero Virdis, Pattada 2002 (certificate Piero Virdis)
  • SALE: Fine 18th century violin, Franz Knitl, Freising, 1769
  • Old German violin, circa 1910, with a warm, mellow sound
  • Magnificent French violin, François Caussin, Neufchateau approx. 1850 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • TONALLY IMPROVED: Fine violin by Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1962 (certificate E. H. Roth)
  • Fine quality viola by Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1958
  • 1/2 - Mittenwald violin, Sebastian Hornsteiner, 1970
  • 3/4 - small antique 3/4 sized Mittenwald violin, Eugen Gärtner stock
  • Fine 18th century violin, Klotz circle, approx. 1790 (certificate Hieronyms Köstler)
  • Christoph Götting, contemporary elite master violin
  • Giovanni Lazzaro, Padova 1990: Italian violin
  • 3/4 -Antique 3/4 violin from Mittenwald, c.1880
  • Large French violin, "Nicolas Bertholini" by Laberte, Mirecourt
  • IMPROVED: Interesting modern Italian violin, probably Luigi Mozzani, 1941
  • Nicolò Gagliano, 1762: Fine Neapolitanian violin (certificate J. & A. Beare)
  • Mittenwald lion head violin, 19th century
  • Powerful German violin bow, Richard Geipel
  • SALE: French violin No. 73, Chenantais & Le Lyonnais, Nantes, 1933
  • Master violin No. 89, Paul Beuscher, "special cremone", Paris 1937
  • Violin op. 13 by Alajos Werner, Budapest, 1910
  • German Violin by Braun & Hauser München, approximately 1900