Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve
I've been following this debate for decades. It's legit, and not the first well-conducted (no pun) test. Unless a violinist is intimately familiar with the particular instrument, it's impossible to distinguish old from new, $5M from $20k.
The point of the experiments are that if the differences are so subtle that you need to spend weeks playing the instrument in an orchestra and a wide variety of situations to be able to tell the difference (an impossible test, so it's safe to make the claim) the differences are not worth 100 times the cost.
It's become very clear that vintage Strads and Guarneri cost a lot because they are old and rare, not because they sound or play better. Not to take anything away. A lot of things are worth a million bucks because they are old and rare.
I generally feel the same way about guitars. Blindfold me, put a few Bursts or mid 50's Goldtops in my hands and then switch them out with a few really well done relics (maybe not even Gibsons), and it's impossible to definitively and consistently pick out the real deals. Been there, done it, and I can't. Generally, you can't get the patina right, but this is blindfold. And I've seen a few patina's that looked very correct.
It's kind of sad though. I like the mystery and mythology of the whole thing, and hate to see it get debunked, but it is what it is. Some things should not be tested. What's the point of proving that old violins have nothing consistently and definably special? Who does that serve?