S: You know, yeah, it is. It feels to me like it is. But you know, I have been saying that for years now, and nobody has ever challenged me on it. I have never said, “Well, look, that’s probably like the best violin in the world.” I’ve never said “No, I don’t think so.” Because I’ve learned to look for the best or the worst in all of the great instruments.
EK: So where are you coming from, and are you saying that you don’t think so?
S: No, nobody has ever challenged me on this one. And I think people have never challenged me. I had it written up as the one violin that everyone knew about that could do anything. But I mean, that’s not what it’s about. People will not challenge you when you say you don’t think so, but people know what you really mean. That’s the thing. It’s not about who’s better or who’s worse. It’s about who is the best instrument or the worst instrument that has the greatest power or the least power.
EK: And the instruments that have the biggest power might not be the greatest.
EK: And the instruments that might not be the greatest might be the best, because you know, someone has to be better than them.
S: Well, that’s an interesting point. As a fan of the instruments, and an admirer of what [Peter] Kottke is doing with the [Kottke and Rachmaninoff] Symphony and so on, I feel that I am more interested in what you can do with the things you have, because I don’t think they should be judged by the things they cannot do. But we are in the music business right now, you know and we have been for many, many years. And you can’t always have the best, so we have to start trying to get them on all fronts.
EK: You mentioned something about how there are fewer and fewer big, well-known strings instruments, and many less accessible to the non-scholarly. Can you explain why that is happening?
S: Well, I think one of the reasons is that the prices are so much lower now. [In 2002] you could say the G string was as much as $70; a bass was as much as $30. Now, you
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