This is a very good modern Czech violin by Vilém Kužel. Meticulous craftsmanship on a Guarneri model, fine materials and an excellent sound.

Vilém Kužel trained with Antonin Galla in Brno and remained there throughout his working life. This is a typical example of his work – wonderful spruce, fine and exact carving, and an opulent if slightly glitzy golden oragne varnish. the model is Kužel’s own – broad and flat-arched, with Guarneri inspired f-holes. The certificate isued by his son Vilém Kužel junior confirms that the violin is in excellent condition, original in all parts and the work of the father, yet there is a pencil insription on the back plate stating that the violin was reworked by the son. the logical assumption was tht the son collaborated in the making of the violin.

The condition of this instrument is excellent, with no cracks or damages and only minimal wear to the varnish.

Through a quirk of history, the 20th century Czech makers remain undervalued and unappreciated, yet Kužel is by no means an outlier – many of his countrymen were producing sophisticated and tonally successful violins at this time.

This particular violin is very hard to beat for the price – bright, woody, rich in colour, super-responsive, and very even across the register. The G is powerful but clean and crisp right up the fingerboard, the middle strings are equally weighted, quick and articulate, and the E is brilliant and rounded.

This isn’t a dark violin but the sound is refined and nuanced with excellent volume and a lot of quality. It would suit a young soloist or any extorvert player who is happy to be heard.

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