Can you tell a fake instrument from the genuine article?

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With more and more instrument forgeries finding their way on to the market, how do experts, dealers and buyers stay wise to deception? Femke Colborne finds out

How do you tell a Stradivari from a forgery; a Guarneri from a phony; an Amati from an amateur? It’s a question that has occupied luthiers, dealers and players all over the world for centuries, and it continues to challenge even the most experienced professionals today. Advances in technology in recent years have led to a number of new techniques for identifying fake instruments, but as the knowledge of the experts has improved, so has that of the fakers.

Faking in lutherie and dealing can be loosely divided into two main categories. The first is where a maker deliberately sets out to make a copy of an expensive instrument, painstakingly forging every detail in order to deceive dealers or buyers. The second is...

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