Instrument collector delights in the music

Ian Watts holds his 17th century violin, an Antonius Stradivarius Cremona Faciebat Anno 1681, amongst the rest of his collection.
Ian Watts holds his 17th century violin, an Antonius Stradivarius Cremona Faciebat Anno 1681, amongst the rest of his collection. Luka Kauzlaric

IAN Watts has just added what he believes is a 17th century Stradivarius violin to his collection of more than 50 musical instruments.

The talented muso plays every instrument in his collection.

An electric violin, a moon lute from China, and a Greek bouzouki are just a few of the instruments in Mr Watts's collection.

He hasn't had the collection valued, but keeps them in a room where he often gets the urge to pick one up and play whatever comes to mind.

"I paid $1000 for the vihuela, I was told it's nothing to what it's worth today," he said.

Brisbane violin expert Olaf Grawert said he believed it was easier to win the lotto than find a genuine antique instrument.

"I get a lot of people coming in for valuations, but the chances that it (the violin) is real have been about one in 400," he said.

"There was a huge need for instruments in the 1800s for people who wanted to listen to music, but couldn't afford the real thing.

"There were more than 20,000 instruments a year mass produced in Germany and they copied the famous labels."

But Mr Watts doesn't care; he said there was something special in holding such an old instrument.

"I checked out the violin like the bees knees, you can tell by the wood and the case," he said.

"I wasn't looking at the price I was looking at the age."

As a child, Mr Watts only ever wanted a pony. But his mother gave him a guitar for his 11th birthday, which was the beginning of a love of music.

"I love all styles of music, and I play all styles, I just won't play grunge because I don't believe it's music," he said.

Mr Watts has composed many melodies, and even had them put to lyrics.

He's been likened to a modern-day Mozart by some of his closest musician friends.

"Just like that a piece of music will come to my head," he said.

"You don't play Bach on a durango, but I still did. I've even played it blind folded.

"The lute is my favourite. It takes me two hours to tune!"

Topics:  gladstone hobbies music musical instruments

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