Heinrich Gill GmbH was named the recipient of the award in the opening ceremony of the akustika trade fair in Nuremberg on 8 March


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The violin maker Heinrich Gill GmbH has been named the winner of the 2024 German Musical Instrument Award. Based in Bubenreuth, Germany, the firm was founded in 1952 and has been run by luthier Bernd Dimbath since 1990.

The company received the award for its recently released 3/4-size ‘Falcon’ model violin for students. According to Dimbath, around 80-100 instruments on this model have been sold so far, primarily in the US and Australia. The violins retail for around €2,500 depending on the territory.

‘We were asked to develop this instrument for the US market,’ Dimbath told The Strad. ‘The wholesaler Howard Core asked for a specific type of antiqued look to the varnish, and the name “Falcon” was inspired by the look of the flame on the back plate, along with the antiquing.’ Violins made for the American market also carry a stylised falcon on the neck button.


Since Dimbath took over the firm, it has focused exclusively on the manufacture of bowed stringed instruments, incorporating more modern technology into the traditional making process.

The award ceremony took place on the first day of akustika, the Nuremberg trade fair which is now in its second year. Targeting professional musicians, music students and anyone with an interest in music, the three-day fair includes around 200 exhibitors, a quarter of which are for stringed instruments.

The German Musical Instrument Prize has been awarded annually since 1991 to a maker that presents a German-made instrument of high quality and special innovative properties. Recent stringed instrument winners include a Pöllmann-Krahmer Double Bass, Mittenwald, in 2020, and a viola by Steffen Friedel, Dresden, in 2018.

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