Stefano Scarampella was the pupil of his elder brother Giuseppe, but is generally considered to have been an inferior craftsman. He was a prolific maker, primarily of violins, but the quality of his work varies greatly.
His principal influences were Guarneri del Gesù, occasionally Stradivari, and his Mantuan predecessor Tomaso Balestrieri, as seen in the circa 1905 violin. The very Italianate wood of the back and its soft, orange varnish would explain why it has, for many years, been attributed to Balestrieri. In his later work, Scarampella’s own personality is more in evidence, as demonstrated by the rather horizontal upper corners and elongated f-holes of the 1909 viola. From about 1920, most of the instruments produced in his workshop and bearing his label are the work of his pupil, Gaetano Gadda.
Scarampella’s instruments tend to have a good, powerful tone, and today he ranks as one of the most sought after ‘modern’ Italian makers.