This is a lovely del Gesu copy by Paul Bisch – it’s in perfect condition and the sound is big, bright and beautifully smooth.
Paul Bisch apprenticed in Mirecourt before taking a job with Caressa & Francais. We can see in his work the kind of finesse and precision that was the hallmark of this great firm stretching back to the Gand family.
Bisch’s better instruments are signed, dated and numbered as we see here – it’s number 344, made in 1943. The violin is a very typically French take on del Gesu, with broad sweeping f-holes and a rather swept back scroll with a small eye.
The condition of this violin is exemplary – there are a couple of small chips to the varnish on the right edge of the table and a tiny bit of fingernail wear to the right of the fingerboard, otherwise everything is near-mint. It even retains the original gold-capped pegs.
Paul Bisch instruments have a good reputation, but this is the first we have had in the shop. I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint – it has a big bold sound, very even across the register, with great sustain and lots of zing.
Very rich in high harmonic content, generally bright but in the best way possible – full, silvery and musical rather than harsh or penetrating. It also has a rapid response with nice attack.
Definitely a solistic violin for an extrovert player, clear, articulate and full of intention … this is a sound that will be heard – ideal for a conservatoire student taking on the big concertos.