Golden Music Center Blog
More about violins as an Investment


You can play your Strad to your heart’s content, or rent it out to violinistJoshua Bell. Just be sure not to drop it.

Not much has changed in the field of violin production and dealing since Antonio Stradivari set up shop in Cremona, Italy, during the late 17th century. Dukes and queens coveted the craftsman’s creations back then; today, the instruments sell for wild sums to a comparable group of wealthy amateurs.

Of the 1,100 violins that Stradivari is believed to have made during his lifetime, only 650 are known to remain. Although there were other noted violin makers in Stradivari’s time—such as Guarneri and Amati, whose works now fetch great sums of money—the surviving Strads are more numerous, more famous and more expensive.

Even the most successful and celebrated luthier of all time might have been surprised to learn that his “Lady Tennant” violin was sold last year byChristie’s for more than $2.03 million, the highest amount ever paid for a musical instrument at a public auction.

In 1998, Christie’s auctioned a very similar Strad (crafted in 1698, oneyear earlier than the Lady Tennant) for $880,000. One could infer, then, that certain Strad violins more than doubled in value in this seven-year period, says Kerry Keane, the musical-instrument department head at Christie’s.

In private, they may go for even more: The Stradivari Society, a private Chicago-based organization that purchases rare violins and loans them to promising young musicians, values some “golden era” (post-1700) Stradivari violins at $6 million each.

Stradivari (born 1644, died 1737) is believed by many to have built his finest instruments as an older and consequently more skilled craftsman. An early-period (pre-1700) Stradivarius, therefore, may sell for less. However, “such examples represent excellent values for musicians, as sound does not precisely follow price,” write Stradivari Society founders Robert Bein and Geoffrey Fushi in their essay, “The Masterpieces of Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù: A Market Perspective.”

According to the Stradivari Society, the value of Stradivari and Guarneri violins has tripled since 1990.

“As institutions and museums hold an increasing percentage of the great violins, the competition intensifies for the remaining instruments when they do become available, and the continued increases in violin prices of the current decade dramatically reflect this fact,” say Bein and Fushi.

What gives this particular fiddle its unrivaled appeal? Some scientists have suggested that Stradivari used alpine spruce that had grown during an era of uncommonly cold weather. This may have made the wood abnormally dense and contributed to the brilliant sound quality of his instruments. Others insist that no instrument maker has ever worked harder.

Perhaps the answer lies closer to the fact that instrument connoisseurs, like stock investors, are drawn to a great story. Strads are undoubtedly beautiful in sound and design, and many have been passed down through the hands of generations of great musicians, from 18th-century master Nicolo Paganini to 20th-century virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin.

The allure of rich provenance may also explain how rock legends can turn cheaply-made guitars into million-dollar purchases. While violins still top the list of the most expensive instruments, their fretted cousins are quickly catching up, especially those attached to celebrity names.

“Musical instruments have been great investments, such that I now consider them to be far superior to money in the bank, especially at today’s interest rates, or in most stocks or mutual funds,” says George Gruhn, a guitar dealer based in Nashville, Tenn., who has sold Fenders and Les Pauls to Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton.

In fact, Gruhn suspects that Clapton’s “Blackie” guitar—the most expensive ever sold publicly, at $959,500 in 2004—was assembled from guitar parts purchased in part from him in the 1970s for, oh, maybe a few hundred bucks. (Read Forbes FYI’s 2005 article on collecting rare guitars, “While My Guitar Gently Reaps.”)

Unlike the stock market, with its booms and busts, the musical instrument market has only periods of growth and periods of plateau, Gruhn postulates. Some guitars in his collection that would have brought in $50,000 one year ago now go for $150,000, he says.

But is this kind of growth sustainable? “Only if one does [one's] due diligence,” cautions Christie’s Keane. He cites six fine-instrument value determinants:

1. Attribution (who made it)

2. Quality

3. Condition

4. Provenance (who played it)

5. Freshness to the market. An instrument brought out of 200 years in hiding incites “an air of discovery,” Keane says.

6. Fashion. For example, “classical guitars are hot right now.”

Once you’ve done your homework and put in your winning bid, don’t closet your new acquisition or display it on the mantle under your Picasso. Like wine or art, fine instruments need to be stored in a carefully monitored, semi-humid climate to maintain their worth.

As for the most expensive instrument ever sold—”The Lady Tennant”—it could fetch up to $3 million today in prime condition, Keane estimates.

Not a bad return for an old piece of wood.



Pete Pidgeon (our very own Guitar Teacher) and Arcoda FREE Concert June 7th


We are hosting three concerts in conjunction with the Lakewood Inspire week.  



The first is the amazing band Arcoda.  It is our guitar teacher's band, Pete Pidgeon.


www.PetePidgeon.com and our bio is at http://www.reverbnation.com/artist_58890/bio   https://www.facebook.com/petepidgeon
About Pete and Arcoda

Recognized in five categories for the 2011 Grammy Awards, Pete Pidgeon’s “credibly original approach,” as praised by Rolling Stone contributor Jesse Jarnow, is rooted in multi-stylistic stories of perseverance and rejuvenation – reflections of Pete’s true-life experiences. His collaborations with Grammy and Platinum Record recipients include Levon Helm (The Band, Bob Dylan), Mark Kelley (The Roots), Nikki Glaspie (Beyoncé, Nth Power), Kenwood Dennard (Miles Davis), David LaBruyere (John Mayer), Gabe Wallace (Gorillaz), and many more.

Pete's band members are experienced session musicians who can flexibly play American roots one night and neo-soul funk the next, delivering diversity with authenticity.

Jeff Buckley Co-Manager, Jack Bookbinder, recalls being “struck by Pete’s jaw-dropping vocals and approach to artistry” and Performer Magazine applauds, “Doubt Is For Losers is an example of genre-defining pop excellence.” Pete’s poignant, poetic lyrics and “acute songwriting prowess” (Relix Magazine) have been released internationally by Sony BMG and broadcast on BET’s number-one show 106 & Park for 10.3 million viewers – as sung by Epic Recording Artist Jessica Betts. Beats By Dre, VH1, and MTV have all been collaborators.Pete’s diverse compositions have been placed in award-winning films at the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, Boston International Movie Festival, Honolulu Film Festival, and Bare Bones Film Festival.

Radio airplay on 238 international stations, including a #3 college radio peak, support from core stations KEXP (Seattle) and WERS (Boston) and placement on WKZE’s “Top 10 Indie Releases of The Year” has resulted in consistent exposure. Pete’s music is available globally on iTunes and all major digital outlets. Additionally, Pete’s YouTube musical instruction series has received over 1.2 million views.

Based in Denver, Pidgeon has performed internationally including a performance for the New York Times at Manhattan’s 85,000-capacity Javits Center, and at the 3700-capacity Fillmore Auditorium. Pete has walked the music industry’s most exclusive Red Carpets including the Grammy Awards, side by side with Paris Hilton, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Keith Urban and many others.

The World’s First Circular Keyboard Puts The Old Straight 88 To Shame

Although the piano wasn’t born this way, Lady Gaga’s lead keyboardist, Brockett Parsons had to have something just as unconventional as the shows he was performing in. With a team of “mad scientists” his vision of a circular keyboard that surrounds him was made a reality. The team consisted of Chuck Johnson- point man who gathered the team, Dave Starkey- the electronic man of QRS Systems, and Richard Fell- the piano pro who made it real. His round keyboard, which he lovingly nicknamed the “Brockettship” made it’s debut in Seoul, South Korea for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way 2012-2013 tour. With a mission to “re-imagine the world of keyboard performance and deliver ground breaking, performance grade keyboard creations” the PianoArc was born.




Rather than the traditional 88 keys, the PianoArc consists of 3 full keyboards, totaling 294 keys. If you look closely you can see the separate boards that come apart to make the instrument transportable. The height and tilt can be adjusted as well. See this masterpiece in action in the videos below. For more information on the PianoArc, including a quote for your own, check out their website.

This Is What Successful Musicians Think It Means To Be Famous In 2014

from BuzzFeed

So what does it mean, now, for a musician to become ‘famous’? We talked to seven artists about how they measure and experience fame. Turns out social media is a pretty big deal, and that having a big personality is just as important as making great songs.

Meghan Trainor, 20, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “All About That Bass”

I have 20,000 followers on Instagram, but that ain’t nothin’ nowadays. [Ed.: Trainor now has almost 100,000 Instagram followers.] So I don’t consider myself famous at all. But I mean, T-Pain called me? I was like, “You know who I am?” So that was a pretty big step up. I got to talk to John Legend too. That makes you feel a little cooler. And all this glam squad team stuff? These cars that pick you up and your name’s on them? Definitely makes you feel like a baller.

I got a fan group now, called Megatrons. Me and my friends were struggling, thinking, like, “Should we call my fans Trainors, or Trainees?” I was like, “That sounds awful?” Then my friend looked at me and said, “Let’s just do Megatrons.” And I was like, “Yeah, badass.” My mom hates it. You know, the other day, she said to me, “I can’t keep up with all the famous people following you on Twitter.”

Tinashe, 21, singer and producer, will release debut album in October

The biggest [mark of success for a musician] is being able to sell out shows, to play venues and have people come to you to see you. Getting a song to top the charts. Maybe winning a Grammy.

For a ‘famous’ person, when they leave their personal space, people recognize them. They can’t go anywhere by themselves. The way people treat you starts to change. People can become fake and less genuine. When you’re a famous musician people are much more fanatical about you. They get really, really invested in you.

Paparazzi don’t stalk me everywhere I go. For the most part, I feel like I can be relatively normal.

Ray J, singer, star of VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood

People think they’re famous because they got a million Twitter followers. People think they’re famous if they have 800,000 Instagram followers. People think they’re famous ‘cause they made it on Bossip or WorldStar — people’s lives change when they’re on WorldStar, for that one day! There’s so many ways to be famous, so I can’t call it. I just know that whatever you’re doing and whatever fame you get — bottle it up and sell it. ‘Cause a lot of people get into the fame but they don’t find a way to put it in a bag and put it on some kind of platform and get some money off of it.

If you can crack the code of television, that’s a good way to get people’s attention. Everybody wants to get on TV — there are billionaires who want to have a television show. But you can’t buy yourself into a TV show. It’s gotta be dope and it’s gotta be authentic. It’s gotta be something people want to gravitate to. If you have a dope product and you’re a talented person, get people’s attention so they want you. Make people want you.

Mary Lambert, 25, singer-songwriter and author, co-wrote Mackelmore’s hit Same Love”

I’m not famous. I’m quasi-famous. At least I don’t think I’m famous. If I’m famous, will someone let me know? I’ve been waiting for a royal scroll from Kim Kardashian or the Scientologists or something. The bottom line is, I am always me. I still lay around naked, eating Cheez-Its while watching The Colbert Report on Hulu which is precisely what I did before “Same Love.”

My perception of fame is mostly media saturation resulting in recognition from strangers. I tend to see those interactions [with strangers] in a myriad of ways: “You are so excited to meet me! That is so cool!” to “Please don’t ask for a photo, this is a funeral,” or “This was so cool until you told me to follow you on Instagram!” I really crave honest connections with people, but sometimes [these meetings] end in me feeling invaded or less like a human and more like a commodity. (Hopefully this doesn’t come across as a complaint, more of an observation; I’m way better off now than when I was sleeping on all my friend’s couches).

We are now in an era where it’s expected of artists to have not only their music be consumed, but their actual personhood. The product of music is not what is solely consumed anymore — you as a person are now a commodity. We’re also in a time when so many different people are getting recognized for things that they do well. There’s also no longer a formula for any of it. So many of the No. 1 songs this summer (“Stay With Me,” “Rude,” “Am I Wrong,” “All About That Bass”) were sung by newcomers who didn’t seem to fit a major label calculation. I think that reflects our culture’s hunger for authenticity.

I can’t really fathom what it’s like to be Harry Styles or Katy Perry. Your entire life is under a microscope. An interaction with you wins the ultimate trophy of bragging rights forever. How many truly genuine conversations can you have with a human being when you are commodified like that?

Fame freaks me out in a lot of ways. It’s a double-edged sword I guess. I feel like there is this thing inside of me — these stories, lessons in healing, answers for trauma, a hunger to dismantle stigma, an invitation for vulnerability, a quest for subversive social justice within pop music — that could potentially reach millions of people. That would make me happy. And I’d love to buy my mom a beach house. It would be so fucking cool if I could have all of these awesome perks without sacrificing beautiful human connection. Maybe I can have it all — I don’t know. Or maybe the next time you talk to me, I’ll be wearing my sunglasses indoors, and writing songs about all five of my Subaru Outbacks. (The life!)

Bobby Shmurda, 20, rapper, signed a deal after his song “Hot N****” went viral on Vine

I didn’t want this. It happened. All the stuff that happened in my life? I didn’t call it, it just happened. But I’m glad I’m in this life. I don’t wanna sleep in a house with crackheads all day for money, going to jail if someone tells on me. I wanna make money and lay on the beach somewhere. And smile up in shows.

I seen Beyonce doing the Shmoney Dance. My mom was going crazy. And they pay me to go to parties now. It’s crazy. I love parties. If I can get paid and go to parties? Why not? I love parties.

Metro Boomin, 21, producer, go-to collaborator for rap stars like Future, Wiz Khalifa, and Migos

I have a lot of hit songs out and I got a lot of shit I’m proud of, but none of it makes me feel like I’m famous. I don’t know what that feels like. Maybe when I got some millions saved up, I’ll at least feel famous to myself. But I’m not famous till I’m walking around in New York, right out here outside of BuzzFeed, and everybody knows who I am like they do in Atlanta.

I think I [promote myself] just as much as I make music. Automatically, people don’t take producers as seriously as artists. So you’ve gotta make your own identity and your own sense of stardom, so everything you do comes off as if you were rapping.

I go a lot of places with Future, and things are different for him. A lot of people always want to take a picture. He’s not rude, he’ll do it sometimes, but sometimes you can’t take a picture. You’ll take one, and then you gotta take a picture with everybody.

Niykee Heaton, 19, YouTube cover song performer turned major label singer

In today’s society, “fame” is something much different than what it used to be. Now, 13-year-old kids punching one another in the face on Vine are considered celebrities. I feel famous sort of, I guess in a way. I feel famous when random teenage girls and boys come up to me in the mall, shaking with tears in their eyes, asking for a photo. But then again, when I consider myself on the larger scale, next to Rihanna and Lady Gaga, I still feel small. I feel like a nobody. I still have a lot to prove, so I guess I would consider myself semi-famous. And I’m fine with that for now.

To most, fame is having a song in the top five on the iTunes charts, being voted Best New Artist at the VMAs, or reaching 10 million followers on Instagram. But I don’t consider that fame, or at least it’s not the kind of fame that I want. Reaching fame for me, is having your 4-year-old nephew singing the words to your song at the same time your grandma is bobbing her head to it on the radio. It’s having fans that look up to me so much that they are willing to tattoo my lyrics on their skin. It’s having my song listed on the top 100 Best Songs of All Time 30 years from now. For me, to be regarded as a “famous musician,” it is imperative that I create real music that makes an impact. Maybe it only affects a single life, or perhaps it sparks a global movement, but as a musician, I feel it is my duty and role to create something bigger than me, not just wear the term “celebrity.”


Summer Concerts Overlooking the Garden!

One of the most beautiful gardens in Boulder

We have been playing eclectic summer concerts at the home of Bev and Rose Robinsons' now for several years. This concert series has GROWN! In order for everyone to see and experience the music firsthand, we have expanded to 2 afternoons with LIMITED seating. So RSVP NOW!!

What: A fun group of musicians playing 'Not Your Typical' Chamber Music! Classical, Folk, Jazz and Flamenco sensibilities melding everything from Old English Folk tunes, Debussy and Faure, Barber to Gypsy Jazz- Chic Corea and Ralph Towner as well as a few originals. Tea, Lemonade, Cookies and Treats served-Wine available also

Music Day at the Capitol - a Resounding Success

April 24, 2013 Music Day at the Capitol, Denver Colorado

After interviewing numerous legislator about their interest in music education and finding they all really support it, it seems the problem is a lack of communication. If the kids love music in schools, the parents love music in schools, the teachers want music in schools, and we found the school administrators want music in schools, and legislators want it… what is the problem? Perhaps there is a communication breakdown? We scheduled a day where kids, parents, teachers and legislators can come together. We rented the church right across the street from the capitol because of their nice space. The basement there has a nice stage, audio equipment, warm up rooms, parking, etc. and is affordable. We advertised the event to all schools in the area. We have 8 schools come with over 200 kids! Fox 31 News came and filmed the event. Twenty legislators and/or their staff came for the free lunch we gave them. Over the noon hour, we had speakers address the legislators on their topics of concern and music education in general. We had representatives from Colorado ASTA (the President), CMEA (the membership chair), and Great Ed Colorado all speak. The kids came on buses and all had a free tour of the capitol to boot. It was a great civic lesson for them. All-in-all, it was a resounding success and we plan to do it again in the future.