The Workshop of Ernst Heinrich Roth, Bubenreuth-Erlangen 1956 #204- Great Sound!


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Branded Above the Label:


Ernst Heinrich Roth
Bubenreuth – Erlangen 1956
Reproduction of
Antonius Stradivarius
Cremona 1700

The story begins 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. He travelled extensively to makers in Austria, Hungary, Russia, and France to perfect his craft.

In 1902 at the age of 25 he started his own business, along with his cousin Gustave August Ficker. Their business 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.

We have an Ernst Heinrich Roth model # 204 which is a copy of Antonius Stradivarius 1700. The instrument is in good condition and is branded above the label. The back is two pieces of maple with medium width to wide flame which have a slight decline from the center seam. The ribs match in degree of flame. The neck and scroll have little flame. The table is medium-width straight-grained spruce, very consistent. The varnish is a lighter amber/orange oil varnish, all hand drawn over a golden amber ground. The varnish has patina and some small signs of wear on the top plate. The Roth shop is known for its quality and high standards in the industry. This violin is no exception.

Corpus 355.0 mm., Major Width 203.0 mm., Minor Width 163.5 mm., Rib Height Lower 30.0 – Upper 29.5 mm.

The sound is rich and powerful. I love it. The instrument speaks well, with clarity, and has some nice maturity to the tone. The sound is focused and the instrument carries with great overtones. I would also call the G & D strings sound a little meaty, which I like very much. The response off the strings is beautiful and the violin is easy to get around on and lays well. This violin is a gem! Roth instruments have a reputation for being excellent orchestral and solo instruments. This is no exception, and the violin is ready for the player who is set to step up into a European level instrument.