Core Select's new 1720 Stradivari violin copy represents some of the best that China has to offer today in the way of fine violins. It’s red to golden-brown old-recipe oil varnish is meticulously applied and antiqued down to the finest detail. These instruments are made of Bosnian maple and Italian spruce, both naturally aged for at least 50 years. Their tonal quality is in the dark to medium range with exceptional versatility. They project with great clarity while retaining a warm quality under the player’s ear. These are not overly-thinned instruments designed to be tubby sounding right out of the box.
The master maker who creates these for Howard Core Company is a world traveler who has studied violin making in many countries, including Italy and the United States. Each violin has been adjusted by the maker using fine boxwood fittings with heart shape pegs, a beautifully cut and fitted Aubert Deluxe bridge, equipped with Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold strings.
Artisanal. Small-batch. Boutique.
Usually, such adjectives are associated with premium prices in the American market. However, these traits can still be found in competitively priced instruments from the Core Select Series.
Over the last 100 years, in every area where there has been a mass production of stringed instruments, a few master makers have broken away from the "factory group" and established themselves in small private workshops. Think of Germans such as Roman Teller, Rudolf Buchner, Bruno Paulus, and a few others.
Now, this has happened in China. While the factories make some very nice "step-up" instruments, a few makers who have nothing to do with the large manufacturers have established small workshops where these highly trained masters make very small quantities of artist-level instruments.
The Core Select master makers have often trained in Europe or America, and many have earned awards and medals in various global competitions. Their skill and talent are world-class. Their assistants learn the finer aspects of the craft by working alongside the master over years and years. Like anything made by hand, it's not a quick process, and to do it well takes long-term commitment and patience.