Violin Shops in Ann Arbor?
I will be visiting Ann Arbor Michigan in a couple weeks, which I hear is a mecca for violin shops. Any recommendation for which shop(s) I should visit?
Several very fine makers. From our board, David Burgess. Also, Joseph Curtin, Feng Jiang, and several others. Jeffrey Holmes if you want to try more than one maker’s violins. And I have heard there is a place called Shar.
Stephen has given you some good recommendations. However, your choice may depend on what your goal is in visiting the shops. If you were a bit more specific, the folks at v.com might be able to give you more precise advice.
You could visit the actually brick and mortar shar
Mark, all who Symchych mentioned are "brick and mortar", along with several others.
I know I meant people typically shop at shar music online and this he could visit they’re actually shop.
Bricks and mortar, David? Gee I thought you'd be living in a tin shack for the way you practically give your violins away. :)
Thanks for the suggestions! To clarify, I’m looking to try out some nice violins if possible. My main instrument is a Jay Haide violin and most of my experience has been with similar quality violins. It would be great to try out some really fine violins, either new or old. I’ll look into calling ahead at some of the shops mentioned. Thanks again!
This is slightly off topic, since it doesn’t pertain to Ann Arbor. If you go slightly west of Ann Arbor, there’s an excellent luthier in the town of Kalamazoo, MI, named Scott Tribby. He made a really great bridge for my Guadagnini years back which I still use. He’s a fine maker and does very good restoration work!
A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I've got a gal .... in Kalamazoo ...
Gene, I passed through Ann Arbor just 2 or 3 days ago and visited David Burgess. It was a great experience trying 2 of his violins and having a short chat with him, not to mention just having a look at his workshop. Very nice guy to talk with. I think he was very very generous with his time and knowledge and wish I’d spent more time preparing for my visit by writing down questions beforehand. I was too busy planning and preparing for the family trip that took us by Ann Arbor. Fun note, I think I saw a couple of violin bellies and a cello top being worked on in the shop, but no sawzall. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. :-)
Sawzall's reserved for authentic Strads, and since these are rare, the tool is safely packed away to keep it from collecting dust. David wouldn't waste the wear and tear of a sensible electronic device on one of his own instruments. A matter of ecological footprint, as I guess.
I would definitely check ahead to see what's on hand. Most of the makers aren't likely to have much available, as they generally have waiting lists and ship out instruments when they're done. But it doesn't hurt to check. Jeffrey Holmes (shop is not in Ann Arbor, but very close) had a few last time I visited, and Shar probably has the best selection, although I haven't been there myself. One of my violins was on consignment there up until a month or so ago (sold), so I know they carry some great stuff ;-)
I thought Jefferey Holmes had a proper violin shop with lots of violins??? Or are you just talking about his modern violin maker inventory??
Jonathon Price is an excellent maker in Clawson not too far from Ann Arbor. Give him a call and check out some of his violins if you can! Emmanuelle Boisvert (previous concert master of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra) was playing on one of his instruments.
When I visited Jeffrey Holmes a few years ago, his shop was in his house, and I was only there to see him and chat, not to check out violins... so I have no idea how many violins he had in stock or has now. All the more reason to call him and find out.
Ann Arbor won't be as easy to find a lot of really old violins to try (at least, not the ones I suspect you mean when you say "old"), but the modern makers will take time with you.
@ David. Perhaps it is your proximity to Canada, one of the most polite places on earth.
Jeff, not only Canada. I've had the privilege of traveling a lot.
Thanks Jeff.You're too kind!
Jeff, politeness comes from the top. Haven't you noticed?
Yes Jeff.Take Paul for instance.
"Perhaps it's become a "local culture" thing?"
I grew up about 45 minutes' drive from Ann Arbor. During high school I had my piano lessons there. The US midwest is generally polite, yours truly notwithstanding.
Thanks for all the suggestions! My wife and I are in Ann Arbor this week to move our daughter into the University of Michigan dorms (she’s starting her 1st year). Since we have limited time, I decided just to check out Shar’s brick and mortar shop. Michael Bean, their fine instrument specialist, was kind enough to set up a room for me and bring in about 10 different violins. I spent about 90 minutes playing all of them, and came to really like an E.H. Roth violin made near 1920’s (I think). Afterwards, my wife and I spent ~15 minutes exploring the rest of the shop. They have some nice cases on display, including a few Musafia’s. Overall it was a really pleasant visit.
This is indeed one of the nicest things to do: a visit to a decent shop, typically arranged in advanced, where the owner lets you just freely play and try some nice violins. Glad you could do this and good luck to your daughter in her studies!
Thank you, Jean!
Maybe next time when you visit your daughter in Ann Arbor things will be less hectic. Move-in is generally a train wreck of a visit. Ann Arbor is a very civilized place, there is a lot to do there. If you like nice restaurants, I recommend the Gandy Dancer.
Hi Paul - We love what we’ve seen of Ann Arbor so far. We’ve tried many of the downtown eateries and all have been good. Haven’t tried the Gandy Dancer yet, so we’ll add that to our list for next time. I didn’t realize there were so many violin makers in this area until recently. And I had forgotten Shar was here until mentioned above. I’m liking AA more and more!
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