Violin makers who play
Although it would seem to be a no-brainer, many violin makers can't play the instrument very well.
Here's one who does:
Does anyone know of other luthiers who are proficient on the instruments they make?
Steffen Novak in Bristol, England. Last year he brought out seven of his violas for me to try but I had to achnowledge they were too good for my occasional purposes.
Playing is not essential, but I do think it helps.
Excellent post, Luis.
Yep Dimitri, it can help a lot. Many subtleties of sound and playability are hard to understand if you are not a player.
I enjoy watching Daniel Olsen videos on YouTube. He was a child prodigy player and then branched off into making violins. He had an Amati violin and his crazy wife smashed it with a hammer.
The fellow I just bought my daughter's cello from, Kelvin Scott, played violin from a young age through high school. Another cello specialist I spoke with several times, Larry Wilke, is a pretty decent cellist I understand.
Jeff Phillips (He won some big prizes in VSA competitions) also plays in Salt Lake Symphony, according to his web site.
Here’s one that does too :) via power tool
@Kevin: That was funny!!
My childhood friend Seth Truby was a gifted violinist (went to conservatory in high school) who then trained and worked as a luthier/violin restorer for a period. I almost bought a violin from him recently.
"violin makers could play their instruments, in a basic level at least."
Raymond Schryer is said to be a pretty hot fiddler. And Ray Melanson plays in an orchestra on Cape Cod.
The first time I saw that, I couldn’t stop laughing (and rewatching) it for about an hour!
While we're at it, there's this other one about fitting bridges..,
Dimitri Atanassov, crémonese violin maker was/is a professional violin player, which at some point. was Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Master.
Dimitri Vadiarov and Gonzalo Bayolo.
Do you mean Dimitri Badiarov, the cello da spalla maker, also a good player.
I suspect there are very few luthiers who do not play the instrument at some level, but it's pretty much a rule NEVER to play in front of clients, so as to avoid competitive stuff.
Christian Adam from Ahrensburg near Hamburg / Germany. Not only a nice person and fine luthier, but also a decent violinist (graduated from university). All in all worth a visit when you happen to be in the region! (And worth a trip if in need of a good repairman...)
... and the maker of my favourite bow plays... the bass guitar...!
Although not a maker but a superb repairman,Tim Bergen fits this category.After working on Strads and delGesus during the day he plays in my wifes orchestra at church and plays quite well.
At one point, I was quite proficient on the hose-o-phone (a short section of garden hose), but my parents grew weary of it and bought me a trumpet.
It is about as important for violin makers to be good violinists as it is for violinists to be good violin makers.
Not sure I agree with that statement. For a violin maker, to be an experienced player ought to be an asset although not essential. Not that you can’t make outstanding instruments if you don’t, but surely it ought to simplify setup tremendously and for making various adjustments as well if you don’t have to rely on someone else’s feedback (which may not be the buyer); especially for the not so obvious sound qualities that only an experienced player has the skills to demonstrate. On the other hand, I fail to see how a player can benefit to the same degree in having the knowledge of violin making. Perhaps you can give us some examples to illustrate your point?
My point was that I don't think having both skills is particularly important in either case. Making violins well and playing violins well are two very different skill sets.
I agree entirely with your last statement, but how can a luthier setup an instrument without ever hearing it played? Plucking strings gets you only so far.
The key is the level of virtuosity and craft, hence the qualifying words "good" and "well."
Flautist Nick Jackman also played/plays the bicycle pump, giving a flute with trombone-like pitching.
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