German Workshop Violin Branded Ernst Heinrich Roth- Bubenreuth-Erlangen 1964 #1703– Powerful Sound!


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Branded Above the Label:

Bubenreuth P 1703

Ernst Heinrich Roth
Bubenreuth – Erlangen 1964
Reproduction of
Antonius Stradivarius
Cremona 1700

We have an Ernst Heinrich Roth model # 1703 which is a copy of Antonius Stradivarius 1700. The instrument is in very good condition, made in 1964, and is branded above the label. The back is two pieces of maple with medium width flame (curl) which has a slight decline from the center seam. The ribs and neck match in degree of flame. The scroll has very little flame. The top plate is medium-width straight-grained spruce, very consistent. The instrument is in very good condition, with the oil varnish being a lighter amber/orange over a golden amber ground. The varnish does have some natural patina, which is gorgeous, and some small signs of wear on the edges of the top plate. We have completely gone over the violin, bushed all the pegs, and given the instrument a new set up.

Turning the movie camera to the Roths, we begin with the violin maker Gustav Robert Roth, who founded his business in Markneukirchen in 1873. The violins made by Gustav and his apprentices are still highly regarded today. His son Ernst Heinrich Roth I (1877-1948) was born in Markneukirchen and learned to play the piano, trumpet, viola, violin, and cello. He had perfect pitch and an excellent sense of craftsmanship which he absorbed from his father’s workshop. E.H Roth travelled extensively to makers in Austria, Hungry, Russia, and France to perfect his craft.

The next scene begins in 1902 where at the age of 25 he established his own business, along with his cousin Gustave August Ficker, in Markneukirchen, Germany. Their workshop was highly successful, and their instruments were much sought after in Germany and throughout Europe. They worked from at least 14 traditional models, including those of Stradivari and Guarneri. The workshop established a remarkably transparent system to guarantee the authenticity of the instruments they made. Every instrument produced bears a branded serial number and a detailed label with the year of production and their name. The workshop relocated to Bubenreuth in 1953 and there should be a movie made about this move: the family, the workers and their families, and their story to escape from of East Germany and get to Bubenreuth. The story is ongoing because the family continues to operate with great success. Today the shop is run by Ernst Heinrich Roth III and his son Wilhelm Roth, who received the German musical instrument prize for their work in 1992 and 2009.

Corpus 357.0 mm., Major Width 204.0 mm., Minor Width 164.0 mm., Rib Height Lower 31.0mm.

The final scene deals with the sound of this Roth violin. The instrument has power and a woody tone – guts to the sound. I like it a lot! The instrument speaks well and has clarity and maturity to the tone. The sound is resonant, and the instrument carries great overtones. The bottom end of the violin has got what I look for in an instrument when I go out and play for people. It has that edginess and overtones that let the instrument produce a great sound. The response on the E and A strings is also crisp, clean, and brilliant in color. Roth violins always sound very decent. The H.R. Roth firm has always had a great reputation for being an excellent family business and their instruments have always proved to be very good orchestral and solo instruments. This is no exception. A great story about the Roth family, which continues to this day making instruments 30 miles north of Erlangen. This violin is about my age and proof that a violin doesn’t need to be above eye watering or Italian to be a great fit for someone’s musical prowess.