Laconia Music Center

The String center at Laconia Music
 Laconia Music Center displays close to 100 violin and violas in our store. We only sell quality European made instruments. We offer a wide variety of instruments form makers in Romania, Germany France and the Czech republic. In many cases we deal directly with the factory or the cottage maker.  Dealing direct allows us to offer you the the highest quality instruments at considerably lower cost. The instruments we offer are often sold elsewhere for 3  times our price.
 When you chose to shop at Laconia Music Center you will get honest accurate advise from knowledgeable professionals. You will never be pressured into a purchase or steered to a product because of a higher profit margin. You  and your child can take as much time as is required for you to make a remorseless purchase decision.
 At Laconia Music we will tell you exactly where your instrument was made and by whom. All instruments are honestly represented.
 Purchasing a Violin , Viola ,cello or bass can be one of the most confusing and challenging things a parent is asked to do.

 Violin buyers are  bombarded by choices Specialty dealers will try to wow you with tales of lore. and impress you with their priceless antique instruments . We offer honest straight forward pricing  No complicated price inflated buyback schemes.
 We will earn your confidence by fitting you or you child with a quality instrument backed by spectacular service at the most aggressively low pricing in the music business.
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To understand why Romania is the biggest producer of musical instruments in Europe, it is necessary to make some remarks about Romanian history and the history of the music in Romania.
Information about Romania
Romania is located in Europe at the 45 degree North Parallel, in the Middle of the North Area of the Globe and also at approximately the same distance between the Pacific Ocean (Vladivostok) and Atlantic Ocean.
Romania has 237,500 square kilometers and a population of 22 millions of inhabitants. Romania has a temperate climate.
In the middle of the country, there are the Carpathian Mountains. There is a good diversity of the relief (33% mountains, 33% hills, 33% plains). Today about 25% of the Romanian land is covered with forests containing resinous trees (spruce, fir and pine, etc.) and other species.
Near Reghin (the violin city in Romania) there is an older than 800 years forest.
The forest in Romania protected inhabitants against the migratory invasions, but on the other hand offered a home, food and inspiration, even in music. Reghin city is situated near the forest and at the confluence of the Mures and Gurghiului Rivers. Inhabitants worked the wood from the area from very old times.
Romania’s fauna is one of the most varied in Europe with common and extremely rare species.

Romanian history
Recent archeological excavations show us traces of uninterrupted habitation in Romania since the Paleolithic age. The great Indo-European migration (starting with the third millennium B.C.) influenced the local population. The Dacian among the other Thracians tribes acquired definite identity, an independent Dacian State ruled by Burebista (70-44 BC) was created in the first century BC, and after Decebal reign (87-106 A.D.) the Dacian State was enforced.
After two wars, in 101-102 and in 105-106 A.D, the Roman Empire conquered a part of Dacia. During 165 years, Romans influenced the local population (language, etc.).
In 1601, Mihai Viteazu (Michael the Brave), Prince of Walachia, united all three Romanian historical regions in one.
Till our days, Romania is still passing through a social transformation just like all Europe.

History of the violin
From olden times to the present days, Music has a mission to bring people together in a friendship connection.
The origin of the violin is lost in the darkness of ages. It is known that its relatives have been present throughout the world from Africa to China, from Undine’s land to Egyptian Pyramids.
The cradle of the violin is in Brescia (Italy) and the zenith in Cremona.
People with Latin influence, the Romanians, have always loved the music and they have been receptive of neighboring music influences: Italian, German and other people’s music.
The Romanian people love all the time the music. They have also created music, for example “The Doina” and the “Ballad” which are very old and famous songs. From immemorial times, the Romanians made also themselves the musical instruments they played. Instruments were made from wood, fish-bones, bird-feather, ceramics, and so on.
The organs mounted in churches and monasteries (in Reghin, the town of the violins, the organ was built in 1331) influenced also the people who lived in the area and loved the music.
In 1656, the Romanian musician Ioan Caianu (1627-1698) built a Virginal from hornbeam wood with 75 tangents of the keyboards. He built also numerous organs in the Transylvania churches. His instruments were played in the private houses of the rich people of the time.
When Johann Sebastian Bach changed the modal music to the tonal music, composing Das Wohltemperierte Kglavirer, Romanian musician Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723) built a mathematical instrument started from the Pythagorean musical acoustics and combined with the sounds of the European music and the intervals and sounds of Oriental music indicated the mathematical places, the simple and the compound intervals that enrich the so-called “invisible point”.
In 1873, the string quartet of the harp-violin was presented at the Universal Exhibition in Vienna (Austria), invented by Romanian Prince Grigorie Sturza (1821-1903). In the “harp-violin” family was played the harp violin, the viola, and the violoncello. (All of these were new invented instruments).
In 1914, professor and violin player Silvio Florescu (1875-1945) made an invention to obtain a good sound -the top of the instruments was exposed to high pressure in a certain point (mechanical center) to obtain the sound of a new instrument like the sound of the Italian violin-makers from the Baroque times.
In 1930, the Romanian Gabriel Dumitriu invented the “electric violin” (he duplicates the resonance box of the violin with a wood board having a transformer).
A lot of other Romanians made inventions and improvements of acoustic musical instruments (Gheorghe Cuciureanu, Ioan Ivanovici, Ion Delu, Mihai Brediceanu, and the list goes on).
One of the most important inventions was made by Ion Delu who created the Vioda family.
The Vioda family was made up of five new instruments: the Violena, the Viodena, the Viobassa, the Vioda and the Viograva. This instrument was played in one specific manner of execution (da braccio) in the G key.
Looking again into the past, in 1834, in Bucharest, and in 1835, in Iassy, the first Philharmonics was born and after that, the foundation of the Conservatoires Musical School has led to a new stage of the development of the music in Romania.

The secret of a good sound in the Romanian violins
To build a musical stringed bowed instrument, we use a great variety of raw materials: wood of different essences, colorants, and other materials.
In Romania, there are a lot of wood essences like spruce (Picea Abies), maple (Acer Pseudoplatanus, walnut, beech, pear wood, poplar, willow.
It is a long way from the standing tree in the forest which has been waiting about 300 years to a violinmaker to transform it into a violin. A violin which will charm for hundred years other generation of people loving music as Amati’s, Guarneri’s or Stradivari’s violins are doing.
The wood’s resonance is directly dependent on sound speed and the density of the material. To obtain a violin, we mainly use the spruce and the maple.
The wood from Romanian Carpathian Mountains (Bucovina, Neamtzului, Gurghiului, Maramures) is famous all over the world for its resonance qualities. Even the famous Antonio Steradivari used wood from the Gurghiului Mountains. In our days there still remains a valley named Italian’s valley.
After the years 1500, the wood from Mures, Bistrita, Tarnave Rivers was sent to Italy via Turkey. Even nowadays, a large amount of wood pieces for musical instruments -tops, backs, sides, necks- are exported to Italy, Germany, USA and also to Korea and China.
The acoustic properties of the wood are related to the nature of material, humidity level, and density of the wood, regularity of the annual rings and elasticity.
Everyone knows that in the North part of the Globe the leaves of the tree and the tree itself are making a rotation from the left to the right during every day of their lifetime "to look after the sunlight" as much as possible.
Because the main part of the Romanian Carpathian Mountains have a North to South orientation, the tree does not rotate too much during the day "to catch" the sun and in this case -inside the log- it is not producing major tensions and fibers are not modified.
On the other hand, the Alps (the other Massive European Mountains) are oriented from West to East and the trees are making a serious rotation during the day looking for the sunlight in their daily photosynthesis process.
In conclusion: because Romania and Carpathian Mountains are situated on the 45º North Parallel and due to the North to South orientation, the wood for musical instruments is superior to the wood of other areas.
The distribution of the trees in the forest must be uniform, dense and regular. The altitude of the selected trees must be situated between 800 and 1500 meters. The cutting down in the forest begins in November till the end of February. The best moment is when there is full moon which is between December 22nd and January 6th. The mountain’s regions of Romania offer one of the best conditions for spruce growing with a nice and uniform development. Thanks to these characteristics it may be used as a resonance wood. The Romanian spruce has a very old origin -billions of years- probably from the Tertiary (Miocene or Pliocene). It belongs to the “Montana” type, not to the west European type of spruce -The Alps Spruce- named Europaea. Due to the regularity of the annual rings the Romanian spruce has those remarkable acoustic qualities.
The Romanian resonance wood was also used in the construction of pianos, planes, airplanes and helicopters. The spruce is used for the construction of the top, linings, bass bars and sound posts.
The top of the violin is made of two glued pieces of spruce and is hand-carved in accordance to specific gradations (thickness) between 3.3mm to 2.5mm. The top has two “f” holes (sound holes). The form, position, sizes are different from a luthier to another, and this is very important for the vibration of the top. The top is glued inside a bass bar -resistance bar- to protect from the pressure of the bow, and it has a very big importance for obtaining the sound by its dimension and the way to fix it on the direction of the top’s fibers.
The back of the violin is made of maple. Maple is use for the back, ribs, neck, scroll and bridge.
The wood parts for an instrument (violin) must be from the same tree. The back can be made from a single piece or from two pieces glued.
The body of the violin is fixed by six pieces of spruce which fix the neck and corners, with a thickness between 4mm to 3.5mm. Around the edge of the violin (on the top and on the back) there is a perfect channel, a line of inlaid wood called purfling. The purfling is made using three strips of wood.
The purfling is for decoration (quality of the craftsmanship of the violin is reflected in the care of the work on the purfling, in the corners, and along the channel). The purfling is also important to prevent cracks on the top and the back.
The sides (ribs) of the violin: The six pieces on the sides are made of maple, heaving a thickness of about 1.2mm. Inside the body of the violin, there are twelve pieces of spruce or willow, glued on the sides, named linings. The linings reinforce the glued top and back.
The neck: The neck including the scroll is carved from a piece of maple (from the same part of the tree than the back and sides). The glued angle of the neck in the body of the violin is very important for the sound of the instrument.
One characteristic of the violin is how the scroll is carved and reflects the individual, artistic skills of the craftsman.
If for hundreds of years the main dimensions of the violin are still the same, in the scroll, a luthier can prove his individuality. The fingerboard is made of ebony from India and Africa and is glued to the neck.
On the top of the violin, we find the superior nut and the inferior nut (the saddle) made also of ebony. The superior nut is glued on the neck at the end of the fingerboard (near the pegs box) and has spaces for strings going from the pegs (4 pieces of ebony) till the tailpiece. The inferior nut mounted on the top was the tailpiece gut is fixed on the button (in ebony).
The tailpiece is also made of ebony. The tailpiece fixes the strings in one end, and in the other end fixes the button with a gut, nylon wire.
The strings were made in the past or sometimes even today of sheep guts or different metals. The strings are straight between the pegs and the button on the nuts using the tailpiece.
The bridge is made of maple and it is a very important piece of the violin’s sound. The bridge has some grooves to hold the strings.
The bridge is an elastic element which takes the sound energy from the strings and transmits it to the body of the violin by its little legs.
Between the top and the back of the violin, there is the sound post (the “heart” of the violin) and has a very important role to transmit the vibrations from the top to the back of the violin.
The sound post is a cylindrical piece of spruce with a 5-6mm diameter and a height of 5-6cm.
To play the instrument you need a bow. The sound is obtained using a bow that vibrates the strings. The bow is made of Pernambucco wood from Brazil for the stick, and horse tail hair from Mongolia.
The varnishing is a very delicate operation and if it is not accurate, it can damage the instrument.
The varnishing role is to protect the wood and it has a positive influence on the sound quality.
The preparation of the varnish is a secret for every luthier. Depending on the solvent type, there are different varnishes: varnishes on oil base, varnishes on alcohol base or nitrolac (for beginners instruments).
We can enumerate some of the most important stages of a violin’s manufacturing like:
-    searching the wood in the forest
-    cutting down in an appropriate time (December-February)
-    transporting the logs
-    radial cutting the logs
-    air-drying the parts for more than 5 or 10 years
Speaking on how to assemble the violin parts can take more time, which can be done some other time!
In this article, we spoke about the violin in general, but in the same family there are the viola, violoncello and double basses which have almost the same features than violins.
Violins produced in Romania are designated to students, professionals, maestro players and concert players.
Till 1990, there was only one factory of violins in Romania and many separated luthiers.
In our days, the majority of the violins are produced in the Reghin-Mures County, where there are three main producers and many independent luthiers’ shops.
More than 5000 instruments are produced every month (violins, violas, cellos, double basses) and more than 10,000 guitars.
One of the best companies from our days, Vivarius from Reghin, the inheritor of the old company established in 1873, produces and exports violins, violas, cellos and double basses, plus other products, all over the world (North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia).
Romanian musical instruments are present every year in international exhibitions carried out in Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Paris, Cremona, among others, and they are played by the greatest philharmonics in the world.

Ion Lazaroiu
ECOVIVA (Reghin-Mures, Romania)