Q: When I was 10 years old (I’m 92 now), an elderly family friend gave me his violin. It has a label inside that says “Anno 17–, Carlo Bergonzi, Fece in Cremona.” I have been told that it might have been made by an understudy of Stradivari. Could you tell me if that might be true?

A: Carlo Bergonzi (1683-1747) was indeed a pupil of Antonio Stradivari, and he made violins on his own, too. We receive a lot of questions about violins and can tell you that copies of Bergonzi and other high-quality 17th- and 18th-century violins have been made since the 19th century. It is very unlikely that your violin is a real Bergonzi. That doesn’t mean it is a piece of junk, though. Have an expert take a look at it. Even a professional violinist can give you an educated opinion.

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