Monthly Archives: May 2014

Luthier Stick Up!

A few months ago, I finished building a pair of instruments; a Guadagnini viola named “Bonnie” and a Del Gesu’ violin named “Clyde”. I know, quite clever pairing such a historical couple such as Bonnie and Clyde, just seemed like the perfect way to carry on the names of my latest instruments. “Bonnie” quickly found a home replacing my first viola with a local Reading Symphony player while I got to spend a little more time with “Clyde” which I still am trying to find the right home for at the moment. I have had plenty of dealers offer to sell my instruments for much more than my current asking price in little old Reading, Pennsylvania. But I still can’t see myself boxing up my instruments and shipping them off to a big city where I might be able to seek a higher price. I guess I am more than slightly attached to my instruments as I spend countless hours at my workbench refining every single detail. I like to find the right player to care for my instruments, call me selfish but I love being able to maintain and see my instruments on a yearly basis, watching them grow together as one with the player. I love making new instruments for all shapes and sizes but I especially enjoy making for the younger generation as they tend to show so much potential and growth as they get older and the player and the instrument really do begin to grow as one.
All this to say, my job as a Luthier is only half complete without the player. So I will admit that I will continue to be selfish with my handmade instruments and find the right home for each and every one…
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Stradivari Cello Copy

Cello-Varnish In 2012, a young cellist who was going off to music school approached me about making a custom cello just for him. He had his heart set on one of my handmade instruments after playing on a Stradivari cello I had previously built. What I like most about making an instrument for a specific person is I can translate much of their personality into their custom instrument. We decided on another Stradivari model cello for him. Although a Stradivari cello can be quite stubborn during the break-in period, the more you use the instrument, the more it gives back. It boasts a very strong sound allowing the sound to carry well into the back of the concert hall. I am lucky to be able to watch him and my cello grow together throughout his career as a Cellist and wish them the best of luck along their journey together! See below a short quote from him only a few short months playing on it…
Cellist“Well the cello has really become something quite fantastic! It has developed an incredibly lush sound that can be shaped to reflect a wide variety of emotions. It can project just as much or more than any other cello I’ve come across. It also sounds really great playing softer phrases, and when muted can be utterly heart breaking (in the really good cello sense of the phrase).”

“It is also very physically beautiful. When I walk on stage for a recital, the first thing people notice is how the cello looks. It is great because they see the cello and expect something beautiful even before I play a single note!”

“Thanks again for this fantastic instrument!”

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