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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.

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
  • Old Markneukirchen violin, 1940's (Saxony)
  • Fine, petite Mittenwald viola by Anton Jais c.1790 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Contemporary Italian viola from Cremona by Piergiuseppe Esposti
  • SALE Eugène Nicolas Sartory: Fine French violin bow (certificate J.-F. Raffin) - investment
  • Fine French Georges Apparut violin, 1934
  • Antique Czech master violin. A fine copy of Johann Georg Thir, c.1900
  • Old Bohemian violin
  • French violin bow, c.1900, atelier Charles Nicolas Bazin
  • Powerful German violin bow by H.R. Pfretzschner, silver
  • Old French violin bow, J.T.L. for Pierre Hel
  • French violin by H. Emile Blondelet, No. C7, 1924
  • English violin by Jeffery J. Gilbert, 1906
  • Czech master violin by Carolus Joseph Dvorak, Prague 1940
  • SALE Victor Fétique. Fine French violin bow, approximately 1930 – round stick (certificate by J. F. Raffin)
  • Stefano Conia, modern Italian viola, Cremona 1985 (certificate Stefano Conia)
  • 3/4 - 19th century Mittenwald 3/4 violin, approx. 1880
  • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED Cristiano Ferrazzi, Verona: Italian violin op. 120 - Violinist's recommendation!
  • H. Derazey workshop, fine 19th century French violin
  • Mittenwald master violin by Karl Sandner, 1968
  • French violin #316 by René Morizot (certificate by Rene Morizot)
  • Rare violin by Joseph Michael Gschiell, Pest, Hungary 1789
  • WORKED OVER AND IMPROVED Fine violin of the Thir circle / school, approx. 1750 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Fine French 3/4 violin bow, c.1920
  • Silver mounted violin bow. 1950's, Markneukirchen