Build Your Own Violin!Instruments: Have you ever been attracted to the idea of making your very own violin?
From Emily Grossman
Have any of you out there built a violin with no previous experience or help? And if you're a luthier, how was it that you got started in your business? I'm curious...
From Jim W. MillerWhat you saw is pretty common. Starting in the '70s there were lots of books on the subject and lots of mail order places selling violin wood. My violin was made by a guy who started out of the blue in retirement and who probably made less than 100 instruments, but it's outstanding. In my middle teens I ordered some wood and got so far as making the scroll. In my case it was a waste of time and energy. I think my parents eventually threw out the wood, thinking it was stuff left over from building the house.
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 07:58 AM
In college, my best friend and usual accompanist was getting a masters in piano performance. When he finished he got a job repairing furniture at a woodworking shop owned by some local people who'd "tuned in turned on and dropped out." He built a couple of clavichord kits with a loan they signed on. After a couple years there he got a scholarship to the Bennet Street School in Boston, where naturally he excelled. From there he became a piano tech at Manhattan School of Music, then worked in the artist division at Baldwin. Now he lives a block away from Central Park and is in very high demand. When I was staying there his phone was ringing off the hook with jobs. Ok so it's not about violin making.
From Emily GrossmanNo no, no starter kit. He carved it out of wood, scroll, body, everything. He was going to make the pegs himself, but found that the cost of a lathe was too much. I told him not to be ashamed to buy the pegs.
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 09:06 AM
From Stephen PerryI did it quite a while ago. Stopped in a grabbed information and techniques from a number of builders. Now I do it fairly regularly. Not regularly enough for the folks who want them - I seem to be backed up a bit. It isn't really that difficult or costly. Maybe $1500 in tools and $200 in wood etc.
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 12:17 PM
From Michael Darnton
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 01:24 PM
It's a long story, but you can read an interview about how I went about it here, in an interview on an online magazine:
From Jim W. MillerNiiiice
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 01:16 PM
From Michael DarntonThanks. I do very little antiqued stuff now--most of it is "new".
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 01:25 PM
From Andrew DubarMichael,reading the interview I now understand why even the pictures of a "graduation marking guage --al Stradivari" you post looks like a still life from the period. You really have an artistic eye.
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 03:17 PM
I've read your posts accross the internet for the past few years and I must say that I think you are probably the most prolific maker in writing and sagely advice out there. Have you written any books?
From Michael DarntonOne is promised, and I've started writing it, but I don't know if it will ever get finished.
Posted on January 24, 2005 at 03:59 PM
From Emily GrossmanWow, you violin builders are so impressive! Michael, those two violins are beautiful. I keep my art and music more separated than you, in that I draw with colored pencils. I drew a picture of a violin once. That's as close as I'll come for at least a while.
Posted on January 25, 2005 at 01:44 AM
From Jim W. MillerI recognize the photography. I think they brought in the guy from Bein & Fushi.
Posted on January 25, 2005 at 01:57 AM
From Ben Claptoni've got a book on making a violin, and i've always wanted to make one, it's just finding the tools and a place for the wood over here in perth. I've no idea where i'd find good quality timbers.
Posted on January 25, 2005 at 01:54 PM
From Mike HarrisJim, Michael states in the article that he is the guy...he'd been doing the B&F photography for 16 years at the time of the interview.
Posted on January 26, 2005 at 06:18 PM
From Jim W. MillerSilly me.
Posted on January 26, 2005 at 10:11 PM
Hear more from the world's top violinists in The Violinist.com Interviews: Volume 1, which includes our exclusive conversations with Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, and David Garrett, and others, as well as a foreword by Hilary Hahn.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!