This ‘Teenage’ Contemporary Violin Continues to Captivate with Hidden Depths

A 1996 Marilyn Wallin that’s been through hell and high water

It's called mojo—that special magic that lies within the soul of an instrument (if, indeed, you agree that an instrument can have a soul). There's a scene in director Jim Jaramusch's 2009 film 'The Limits of Control,’ in which a con man (or is he a violin dealer?) tells the film's protagonist: "I believe that musical instruments, especially those made of wood—cellos, violins, guitars—I believe that they resonate, musically, even when they're not being played. Every note that's ever been played on them is still inside of them, resonating in the molecules of the wood. I guess, like everything, it's just a matter of perception, no?" In this department, 'Strings' asks the stewards of some of the greatest—and most coveted—stringed instruments to describe those qualities that make their fiddle so special.

Player: Violinist Samuel Thompson, a Charleston, South Carolina, native based in Baltimore. He is a soloist, recitalist, and chamber-music player who performs across the United States.

Instrument: Copy of a Guadagnini violin, made by Marilyn Wallin ( in 1996, strung with a mixed set of either Thomastik Dominant starks (with a silver D) with a Larsen Tzigane medium E or Pirastro Tonica starks (with a silver D) with a D’Addario Pro-Arté medium E

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*This article appeared in Strings February 2012
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