Vasile Gliga founded his violin making company in 1991 and the company has celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It is one of the most successful family owned businesses in Romania. If you a looking for a European made instrument, Gliga make beautiful instruments with a lovely warm tone.
Gliga instruments purchased from Animato are fully set up in our onsite workshop. When you purchase a Gliga cello from Animato, you can be confident in the way it will sound and perform. After many years of experimentation, our luthiers have established the best set up that specifically suits the Gliga. Extensive work on the part of our luthiers along with testing and further modifications are required to meet our exacting standards.
Our luthiers begin by planing the finger board and adjusting the nut. For well fitting pegs, the peg holes need to be reamed. The pegs are then lubricated with peg paste to prevent sticking and slipping. The sound post is always modified and optimally positioned. However if we are not satisfied with the resulting sound, the sound post is replaced.
Gliga celli are know for their warm, dark, mellow sound, but they have a tendency to be introverted. Our workshop chooses to swap out the original bridges for Belgian bridges to provide better projection. The original bridges are often poorly fitted placing the bridge at an incorrect angle. Fitting a Belgian bridge also avoids this problem.
Finally we fit the cello with better strings than those provided with the instrument. Gliga cellos come with a high quality Wittner tail-piece with integrated tuners.
About the Gliga Company
The Gliga company began with only two luthiers making two violins a month. This was Vasile Gliga and his wife Elena. They worked from home and received excellent feedback on the instruments after selling these within Europe. Each instrument would take 300 hours to produce. Vasile and Elena had undertaken their training as luthiers in the Romanian government's instrument factory in Reghin. The company has grown steadily over time and now makes violins, violas, cellos and double basses.
They aim to produce quality instruments at price that everyone can afford. As such, there are instruments available for players at different stages of their careers from beginners to advanced players to professionals.
The wood used in Gliga instruments is sourced from the Gurghiului Valley in the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania. This is close to Reghin where Gliga’s luthier workshop is located. The valley is commonly known as “Italian Valley”, as luthiers travelled to this valley from Cremona in Italy to find the ideal wood for violin making. Cremona, of course, is historically known for its master luthiers, and it is where the violin family was invented by Andrea Amati. It has been said that Antonio Stradivari himself used wood sourced from this location.
To make their instruments, the trees chosen from the forests by Gliga are special. Each tree needs to be between 150 and 200 years in age, and to have grown at an altitude of above one thousand meters and are found on Northern slopes as these are both sunny and have high humidity. The wood from these specially chosen trees is dense and homogeneous and it is seasoned for six to twelve years resulting in a superior quality of tone. Highly prized and resonant Carpathian spruce is used for the belly of the instruments. The ribs, back and necks are made from a beautifully flamed maple that is also known as curly sycamore. An abundance of this maple grows in the Gurghiului Valley. However, only about one in a thousand of these trees will have the wavy fibres that give the exceptional resonance desired in the finest instruments.
Two hundred steps are required to produce a Gliga instrument. After the wood has been milled, the instrument is handmade. The luthiers handmake many of the tools they use to allow the delicate shaping and carving. Teams of three or four people are used with each person being a specialist in one step of the process. This allows Gliga to maximise output without compromising on quality. It takes at least three months for a student violin to be made and up to a year to complete a professional level instrument.
Traditionally, a fine instrument was the work of one master craftsman. However, Vasile Gliga believes that having several people working together adds to the character of a violin.
The instruments themselves are carved and varnished by hand. Gliga make most of their instruments according to a Stradivari template. The instruments are all different and may be finished with an antique or a normal finish. Instruments finished with an antiqued style will look old even though they are new. This does not impact on their sound.
In 1995, the world famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin wrote a letter to Vasile Gliga from which the following quote came “Dear and very fine craftsman...I shall treasure the instrument you made…”