What makes the world’s most expensive instruments so special? Why are they synonymous with beautiful sound?

What is a Stradivarius?

A Stradivarius is any instrument made by a member of the Stradivari family, of which the most famous luthier is Antonio Stradivari.

Who was Antonio Stradivari?

Stradivari was born in Cremorna, Italy and lived from 1644 to 1737. He was best known for the quality of his violins but also excelled in other kinds of bowed- and plucked-string instruments typical of the Baroque period including violas, celli, mandolins, guitars and harps.

Why are they so special?

Stradivari’s instruments are known for the richness of sound they produce, as well as precision of workmanship and sheer beauty. The exact reason for a Strad’s exceptional characteristics have not yet been determined. Popular theories attribute this to the density of the wood, while a recent study claimed the secret was vernice bianca– a varnish composed of Gum arabic, honey, and egg white.

Why can’t you just copy them?

While the amazing results of his work are evident, his precise technique in achieving them is not well known or understood. Two of his children worked with him but died shortly after their father, so very little written...