Blue violin

Where did the blue violin actually come from?

"So, it is one hundred percent my idea. The violin maker and my friend Honza Špidlen invited me to a meeting of seven best violin makers in the world to Italian Amiata at that time. (In fact, I´ve already played a violin so-called „špidlenky“.)

Honza and I had a glass of wine, we talked and we got to the point that I would really like him to make me a different coloured violin. He said: That´s good. If you want, I have a violin concept in my drawer, which has various gadgets and tiny changes, such as slightly modified corpus construction. If we will agree, I will make you the violin exactly according to this concept. And then we started to discuss a colour. Which colour of violin do you wish? he asked. I said: I don´t know. The usual colour of violin is from yellow through red to brown. So, we don´t have many colours left. We have black, blue and green left. And Honza said: Definitely, I will not make a black, because the wood structure would not be visible. They were left green and blue and I decided for blue because I like it and I have blue eyes. I simply said: Make me a blue violin. And he grasped it. Thank God it was Honza Špidlen. He is an excellent violin maker from a family where the art of violin-making hands down from generation to generation from his great-grandfather, and so it is the fourth generation. And Honza proclaimed: All right, I will make you a blue violin, the idea is worth spending time on. And he started to work. I gave him full freedom when he called me in 2005 that he was almost done and asked me to come to see it. And he asked me to come immediately, otherwise he would give it to Mr Suk, who was immensely interested in it.

You don´t recognize it is slightly different at the first sight, apart from a colour. It has a bit changed body, also efas are carved different way, which means holes next to bridge. It has very interesting head, it means a scroll. Actually, it is carved in another way, rather artistic way and you can look through it. While a traditional scroll is solid, without a hole. This scroll weighs less thanks to the fact that it is more carved. The weight of scroll is important for the instrument sound. When it is not heavy enough, the violin hardly plays. Or it plays like with a mute. When Honza and I placed some weights on scroll and it was too heavy, the violin played like a trumpet the other way around. So, we searched until we found the right measure. Honza added a lead weight to one hole. We did also other magic tricks. For instance, with varnish. When the violin is finished, before it is painted, the wood must be so-called sealed. This is done with a basic clear coat. It closes the pores and the violin remains in natural wood colour, which is yellow. After that you can apply a paint. Of course, the blue colour is not natural for violin makers, so Honza worked hard to create it. He somehow succeeded using artificial dye and applied it on the violin. But if you put blue on yellow, green appears. When he first painted the violin, it was green. He took a sponge and washed the paint. After that he created another blue and it was – another green. He washed it again. And if I am not mistaken, there is a third paint on my violin now. I liked this one and I said: Honza! Don´t deal with it anymore. That´s good blue. But the truth is, when the spotlights shine on me in yellow at concerts, people come to me and ask why I have a green violin."

Extract from the book My life (not only) with a violin.

Blue violin

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