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Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (J.B. Guadagnini; Giambattista Guadagnini; June 23 1711 - September 18 1786) was a Venetianmarker luthier, regarded as one of the finest craftsman of string instruments in history. His violins are often referred to as "poor man's Strads" which alludes to the work of Antonio Stradivari, who is generally considered to be the greatest violin maker of all time.


Guadagnini was born in Bilegno in Val Tidonemarker near Piacenzamarker, now known as Emilia-Romagna. He practiced his craft from about 1729 until his death, and his work is divided into four main periods corresponding to and named after, Piacenza, Milanmarker, Parmamarker and Turinmarker, the four cities in Italy where he lived and worked. The instruments of the latter period, Turin, are generally considered to be his best work, and tend toward higher valuations.

Guadagnini's father, Lorenzo, his son, Giuseppe, and some other members of the Guadagnini family continued in the line of violin making through several generations.

He died in Turin in 1786.

Performers who have used or are using Guadagnini instruments

Violinist Date & place of manufacture Instrument name Comments Reference
Riccardo Brengola 1747, Piacenza "Contessa Crespi" [94320]
Goran Končar 1753, Milan
Adolf Brodsky 1751, Milan ex-Brodsky [94321]
Zakhar Bron 1757, Milan [94322]
Andrew Dawes 1770, Parma [94323]
Julia Fischer 1750 [94324]
Carl Flesch ex-Henri Vieuxtemps [94325]
David Garrett 1772 In December 2007, Garrett fell after a performance and smashed his Guadagnini, which he had purchased four years earlier for US$1 million.
David Greed 1757 Owned by the Yorkshire Guadagini 1757 Syndicate. [94326]
Arthur Grumiaux ex-Grumiaux [94327]
Willy Hess 1740s [94328]
Joseph Joachim 1767, Parma ex-Joachim [94329]
Ida Kavafian 1751 [94330]
Bernardo Moreira de Sá 1765 ex-Bernardel
David Kim 1757 on loan from The Philadelphia Orchestra [94331]
Wilfredo Deglans 1752 ex-Kneisel [94332]
Mikhail Kopelman 1773 [94333]
Jan Kubelik 1750 ex-Kubelik [94334]
Pekka Kuusisto 1752 [94335]
Tasmin Little 1757 [94336]
Haldon Martinson 1750 Being used in the Boston Symphony Orchestra [94337]
Viktoria Mullova 1750 [94338]
Maud Powell 1775, Turin now at the Henry Ford Museummarker, Dearborn, Michiganmarker [94339]
Linda Rosenthal 1772, Turin [94340]
Leon Sametini ex-Sametini [94341]
Yvonne Smeulers 1785 [94342]
Lara St. John 1779 Salabue called "the Resurrection" by St. John [94343]
Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio 1757 [94344]
Vanessa-Mae 1761 "Gizmo" [94345]
Henri Vieuxtemps ex-Henri Vieuxtemps [94346]
Henryk Wieniawski 1750 ex-Wieniawski [94347]
Eugène Ysaÿe 1754 ex-Eugène Ysaÿe [94348]

  • Natalie Clein plays the "Simpson" Guadagnini cello (1777)
  • David Geringas plays a G. B. Guadagnini cello made in Turin in 1761
  • Maxine Neuman plays a 1772 Guadagnini
  • Han-na Chang plays the Guadagnini cello (1757)


  • Guadagnini
  • G B Guadagnini
  • E.N. Doring: The Guadagnini Family of Violin Makers (Chicago,1949)
  • A.H. König, ed.: Die Geigenbauer der Guadagnini-Familie. Die Turiner Schule (Frankfurt, 1981)
  • G. Fiori: ‘Documenti biografici di artisti e personaggi piacentini dal ’600 all’ ’800 nell’Archivo Vescovile di Piacenza’, Strenna piacentina (1994), 67–111
  • P.J. Kass: Violin Makers of the Piedmontese School
  • Walter Hamma, Meister Italienischer Geigenbaukunst, Wilhelmshaven 1993, ISBN 3-7959-0537-0
  • G.B. Guadagnini - The life and achievement of a master maker by Duane Rosengard (Carteggio Media 2000)


  1. Natalie Clein
  2. Aitchison Mnatzaganian cello makers, restorers and dealers
  3. Maxine Neuman's biography

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