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


Ernst Heinrich Roth: a rediscovered master


Ernst Heinrich Roth: a brief biography and company history


Ernst Heinrich Roth has ranked among the best internationally known names in German violin making for over 100 years. The roots of the Bubenreuth-based workshop lead back to the Vogtland violin-making town of Markneukirchen – and to a master of the art whose major successes paradoxically led Ernst Heinrich Roth to be profoundly underestimated.

Ernst Heinrich Roth, born in 1877, had the ideal prerequisites for attaining musical greatness. A talented musician who played several instruments and had perfect pitch, Ernst Heinrich Roth began his career by completing his training in the atelier founded by his father, Gustav Robert Roth, in 1873. He then studied under violin makers in Austria, Hungary, Russia and France and later returned to his home country with extensive knowledge of the art. His skill and musical training helped Ernst Heinrich Roth become one of the finest craftsmen of the 20th century – and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the field.

Fine violin by Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1962 (certificate E. H. Roth) - top

Violin by Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1962 (certificate E. H. Roth)

Inventory No.: 4908
Maker: Ernst Heinrich Roth
Year: 1962

Fine quality Ernst Heinrich Roth viola made in 1958

German viola by Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1958

Inventory No.: 4906
Maker: Ernst Heinrich Roth
Year: 1958

Ernst Heinrich Roth, 1924 master violin, Amati model - top

Ernst Heinrich Roth, fine master violin

Inventory No.: 4342
Maker: Ernst Heinrich Roth
Year: 1924

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Ernst Heinrich Roth instruments were mostly patterned after works by Stradivari or Guarneri; his copies demonstrated aesthetic perfection and produced ideal sounds. The tops were made of fine-grained Italian spruce, and the backs were of deeply flamed maple, often as a single piece. The Ernst Heinrich Roth violins of the 1920s and early 1930s shared these defining characteristics of violin material quality. They also shared an oil-based varnish, usually of reddish-brown colour on a golden background, and featured masterful craftsmanship applied with meticulous care. Despite the quality of his work, the exceptional value of Ernst Heinrich Roth's master violins was long overshadowed by the major sales successes of his workshop, which Roth jointly founded with his cousin Gustav August Ficker in 1902.

They quickly gained a foothold on the international market thanks to the broad range of quality and prices they offered. Ernst Heinrich Roth's son Ernst Heinrich Roth II emigrated to the US in 1921 and became one of the leading instrument dealers in North America with his company, Scherl & Roth. His brother Gustav Albert Roth stayed in Germany, learned the art of violin making and took over the family business after their father died in 1948. The family fortune was expropriated in 1953, at which point they left Saxony in East Germany, the GDR, and re-established the business of “Ernst Heinrich Roth” in the Franconian town of Bubenreuth in West Germany. They were quickly able to return to the entrepreneurial successes they enjoyed before the war. Nowadays, a branch office in the Markneukirchen workshop represents the company where it first originated; business is managed by Ernst Heinrich III Roth and his son Wilhelm Roth, who were awarded the German musical instrument prize for their work in 1992 and 2009.

The "Violins" section features our attractive online selection of violins for sale, Italian violins. French violins and German violins, with audio sound samples.


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New arrivals in our catalogue
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  • Antique 19th century Mirecourt violin "Mansuy"
  • Antique French 3/4 violin with a strong tone - J.T.L.
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  • Markneukirchen master violin by Werner Voigt, Guarnerius model
  • Lightweight German violin bow. Knopf workshop, approx. 1890
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  • Italian soloist violin. Luigi Mozzani, Rovereto 1930 (Franke certifikate)
  • Northern German master violin full of character, Franz Reber
  • French J. P. Gerard viola bow, 1980's
  • French J.T.L. violin, c.1920  "J. Kochly"
  • Older Mittenwald violin, 1960's
  • Antique French Breton violin. Mirecourt, approx. 1930
  • Excellent French violin. Collin-Mézin (fils), 1927, "Le Victorieux", No. 412
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  • SALE Eugène Nicolas Sartory: Fine French violin bow by E. Sartory Paris (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
  • René Morizot: Interesting French viola, 1932
  • Italian violin, Raffaele Calace e figlio 1929
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  • Fine German violin bow, Nürnberger school
  • C. A. Hoyer, German student violin bow
  • Fine German cello bow by August Rau
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  • Mario Gadda, Mantova 1980. Violin modeled after Stefano Scarampella