Category Archives: Cello Making

2014- Guadagnini Cello

My latest cello build is a 7/8 Guadagnini copy. The original was made in 1743. An important year for the production of early Guagagnini cellos. I know what you are thinking… Why a 7/8 cello!? Honestly, the wood was just small enough that I couldn’t make a full-size cello out of it. And what was I suppose to do? Toss the wood aside and buy more? When you spend the amount of money that Luthiers do then you will work with what you have on most occasions.
So, we have a 7/8 cello. I have been making this instrument over the past few months when I get some extra time at my workbench. Cello making is no small task; I do the same steps as when I make a violin or viola but on a much bigger scale. Needing much more muscles to wrestle with carving the back arching! Needless to say I am exhausted by the time I end up putting my tools down at the end of the day.
Attached are a few pictures of the purfling process as I went about carving the channel and inlaying the actual purfling.

Cello Outline
Cello Purfling1
Cello Purfling
Cello Purfling Corner
Cello Purfling Corner 2

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!”

Cello-2Cello-Scroll5Cello-Varnish 2

Good Day, Young Maestro

Fegley's Instruments & Bows

Time has been flying over the past year.  Almost one year ago today I decided to buy Fegley’s Violin Shop.  Although at 25 it came on as no small task, I quickly learned that I have been building up to do this almost my entire life.  As a kid, I was always building things with my hands – whether it was a ramp for my bike or a tree fort that my brothers and I should have never trusted to hold our weight. There was always a constant project to overcome.  So ultimately, I truly felt honored when Margie Fegley approached me about taking over the business.  I knew that it was in my cards at some point; I just didn’t think the opportunity would present itself so early on in my career as a Luthier.

I was terrified if I am being completely honest… Fegley’s has been in the area for over 35 years and I didn’t know if I was really ready or not to take on running my own business. Plus, quite honestly, I liked the freedom in working 40 hours per week and having the ability to sleep in on a Saturday morning if I wanted. Who doesn’t? But I quickly learned it was about much more than that – I realized that I am a “live to work” type and not the other way around.  But I can hardly call what I do “work”.  I love being at my workbench and creating pieces of art that will last well beyond my years.  The only problem is that my art has to produce sound at the end of the day… I pour my blood, sweat and yes sometimes tears into my instruments.

I am a strong believer that some people are just meant to do what they want to do.  And I feel like I am right where I belong: at my workbench with my tools and overly expensive wood. I feel fortunate to have found such a tedious craft that I can apply my personality and attention to detail… A deadly combination in striving to become a young maestro.