The Story of the 1743 Cannon Violin and Paganini


Niccolò Paganini is one of the most legendary performers in the history of music. His musical talent and extraordinary skills, along with his unique performance style, made him a shining star in the 19th-century music world. His favorite violin was the Guarneri Del Gesú Il Cannone 1743 violin.

I: The Bond between Paganini and the Guarneri Del Gesú Il Cannone 1743 Violin

It is said that Paganini, at the age of 15, lost his original instrument in a gambling bet and was distraught over not having a violin to play. At that moment, a violin dealer generously offered him the Giuseppe Guarneri Del Gesú violin, made in 1743. From then on, for 40 years, Paganini never used any other violin for his performances, demonstrating his deep affection for this instrument. Paganini described the sound of the Guarneri violin as resonant as a "cannon," hence its nickname "Il Cannone."

II: Paganini's Protection of the Il Cannone 1743 Violin

Paganini took meticulous care of his beloved violin. Only repair craftsmen he completely trusted were allowed to handle it. According to historical records, during one tour, when the Cannone suffered slight damage due to collision, Paganini had no choice but to seek the assistance of the renowned violin maker and repairer Jean Baptiste Vuillaume. Paganini made a special request that he must sit nearby and observe the entire repair process. Throughout the repair, which lasted for just a few hours, Paganini would jump up and scream nervously whenever the Cannone made any sound due to the repair tools' contact. By the time the repair was complete, he was drenched in sweat and turned to his accompanying friends, saying, "I feel like my soul has been devoured."

III: The Final Destination of the Il Cannone 1743 Violin

In 1837, sensing his deteriorating health, Paganini left behind his only handwritten will, specifying that upon his death, the "Cannone" should be donated to the Genoa city government, his hometown, for permanent preservation. Three years later, Paganini passed away. However, it was evident that his son was not keen on the idea of donating the violin. He presented various reasons to obstruct the municipal authorities from accepting it, leading to an 11-year delay. It wasn't until July 1851 that the Genoa city council finally retrieved the "Cannone" from the Paganini family and commenced its preservation efforts. To this day, the ownership of the violin remains with the Italian government.

IV: The Maker of the Il Cannone 1743 Violin

Setting aside the aura of Paganini's association, the 1742 "Cannone" violin itself is an exquisite masterpiece. Crafted by Joseph Guarneri Del Gesù, a member of the Guarneri family, one of the two renowned violin-making families in Cremona (the other being the Stradivari family), he is widely recognized as one of the finest violin makers. 

Guarneri Del Gesù produced relatively few instruments in his lifetime, and even fewer have been preserved for performance use. Consequently, whenever instruments by Guarneri Del Gesù appear in auction markets, their prices are often staggering, surpassing even those of Stradivarius violins, underscoring their remarkable value. 

Apart from Paganini's "Cannone," other notable instruments crafted by Guarneri Del Gesù include the "Lord Wilton" violin, cherished by violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin, and instruments owned by renowned violinists such as Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Grumiaux, Leonid Kogan, and Isaac Stern, all of whom are admirers of Guarneri Del Gesù's work.

V: Fiddlover's Reproduction of the Il Cannone 1743 Violin

To recreate the legendary classic, Fiddlover Violin Shop meticulously crafted reproductions of the Il Cannone 1743 violin, following the model of the renowned instrument. Using premium spruce and maple woods, skilled luthiers painstakingly produced each violin. These instruments are masterpieces in their own right, suitable for experienced violinists. Below are the details of these violins.

Fiddlover Classic Reproduction Cannone 1743 Violin (CR200)

Fiddlover Premium Cannone 1743 Violin(CR300)


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Fiddlover Premium Cannone 1743 Violin(CR400)


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Fiddlover Premium Cannone 1743 Violin CR7004


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Fiddlover Premium Cannone 1743 Violin CR7005


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Fiddlover Premium Cannone 1743 Violin CR7006(25 Years Air-Dried)


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VI: The Il Cannone 1743 Violin in Modern Times

Although the master Paganini has long passed away, the Guarneri Del Gesú Il Cannone 1743 Violin continues to perpetuate its legend.

For over a century, Paganini's violin, the "Cannon," has been carefully preserved in his birthplace of Genoa, Italy. Rarely displayed in public performances or exhibitions, whenever it does appear, it never fails to captivate the public's attention. For generations, renowned violinists have cherished the opportunity to perform with this instrument, adding immeasurable honor and further enriching its legendary aura.

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