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Jacob Stainer (c. 1617 – 1683) was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.

Stainer was born and died in Absam, in present-day Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries.

He may have been associated with the luthiers of Cremona, Italy, in particular the Amati family, and with the Klotz family of violin makers of Mittenwald, Germany. His instruments were the most sought-after throughout Europe until the late 18th century, when changing performance conditions led musicians to seek a different sound.

The instruments of Antonio Stradivari are flatter and broader and produce a more powerful sound than others. This became the sound preferred by musicians as orchestras in large concert halls gradually replaced baroque chamber ensembles in intimate settings.

Stainer’s violins are comparatively rare today and few of his violas, cellos, and basses are known to exist. They are highly sought after by musicians who perform early music on period instruments.

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