These two are the designs I am using for 2022. There will be five made. I do commissions if you want to reserve a traditional or guitar body style. I’m making them all guitar body styles if I have no commissions for a traditional shape.
Yes, per usual there are violins on the work bench. The main difference is the banjo neck. I don’t do much instrument work for others but it’s a family instrument. So, do the best I can and learn something new, which I am.
It’s so cool to experience the tonal changes that occur when shaping a fitted bass bar. It’s kinda magical to hear the variances. The bass bar, for me, is the last tuning variable on the top. The shape definitely influences the sound and structure.
Then they come to a screeching halt. I get so focused on cutting the arches and hollowing I forget I still have to do the F holes and then bass bars. I’m thinking “it’s so much easier than maple” and then it I’m thinking “yeah, f holes and bass bars.” It’s all good and all necessary. For me, the top balances out with the back.
I’ve learned I prefer to have more checkpoints and pass each of them instead of going too far and then having to go way back. Basically, measure three times and cut once. At this stage, I’m marking out the top plate.
Someone designed and cut me a brass hammer head based on a suggestion. Yes! What a turn out. An old wood wheel spoke, which is in good shape, was used as the handle. I don’t use it all the time but every chance I can, I will.
Just appreciating the view.
I have my own style of scrolls. I feel like my style is more Brescian and less Cremona. I want my scrolls to suggest a sheet of music rolled up transforming into a peg box, neck then shoulder. Besides, I don’t do direct copies, so I have room for some of my own style. View “Verity” for a good example. If you look at my older violins, you can definitely see my scroll work evolve. I feel much more confident now. Any way, check’em out for yourself.
Every time I work on f holes I have to sit back and stare at them. I work on my f-holes in about three sessions. The one thing I don’t want to do is cut away too much because I lost focus. No, I prefer roughing it in, cleaning it up, and then adding some style.
I was showing off some old pics of my violin making journey and this one really stood out. I remember when these violins were keeping me super busy. In the picture, I have a neck being set and three violins being varnished. It was a super cool and learning time.
It’s amazing to think, “I made these“. I remember when I started my violin making journey I didn’t imagine having four violins on a table and working on them all at once. It just wasn’t in my vision. Fortunately, life didn’t care about my small vision and instead handed me a more memorable experience. This picture really is a reflection of the gratitude I feel for what I have the ability and resources to do with my life.
I reflect on my violin making journey routinely. In the evenings after I wrap up my work, I find myself examining what I did for the day and what I can do better. For me, it is a time to write some notes about what I did, what I did well, what I did poorly and what I want to do next time. Every so often, I open my notebook and read what I wrote and consider where I am and how far I have come. The process of documenting my successes and failures helps me know what to focus on next.
I find it comforting to know I don’t have to come back to every note I wrote for every violin. I consider myself a decent student who learns a lesson and then applies the lesson going forward. Sometimes my notes are facts like “finished 5th coat”, “cut purfling”. These little tidbits help me determine how fast or how much time I am spending on each step of the making process. Others are “go slower when doing corner purfling”, “set aside for the evening before gluing ______”. The one thing they have in common, is the notes are just for me. My wins, defeats, encouragements and facts. They may not tell the whole journey but they sure to remind me where I came from and where I’m going. Hope to see you here in my shop!
Luthier of Note: If you are interested in some great violin (almost ASMR style) makers, I suggest you check out Davide Sora. I can’t get enough. He writes his notes and info in both Italian and English. Happy watching. 🙂