It is only fitting that I build my largest viola now since I recently finished my smallest viola build. This viola measures 17” and is based off of the massive 18” Brothers Amati viola from 1592. High arching and a tall rib structure should make for an interesting large sounding viola. I had to scale the original viola down over an inch to meet my 17” viola requirement for this build. Stay tuned to see the finished product! This McDevitt viola will be off to its new home in Florida shortly to be played in the Sarasota Orchestra.
This is my latest commissioned viola build. There are many steps that take place before I am able to fit my purfling into the top plate. Purfling is the decorative inlay around the edges of the instrument. It is a 3-piece veneer that is handmade, a white inside with two thinner, darker pieces on the outside sandwiched together. Depending on the style we are modeling the instrument after some purfling blacks are lighter then others. Also the thickness varies quite a bit depending on the maker. There are many different wood selections in making purfling. Commonly used materials include; poplar, maple, ebony, and more.
Attached are pictures of the purfling process, the scribing and carving of the channel. The channel with the material removed. Then the bending and fitting of the purfling.
My latest addition to my collection of violins is a modern violin by Todd Goldenberg, made in 2003. Todd began his career as a guitar maker where he studied with maker Rob Ehlers. He moved to Chicago were he intended to expand his training in the guitar world but he was hired by the Bein And Fushi firm and he has been making violins ever since.
He later moved to Michigan where he worked for nine years at Shar Music, working closely with David Burgess before opening his own workshop.
Todd makes fine violin, violas and cellos in his workshop in North Berwick, Maine. In 2006 Todd earned a silver medal for cello tone in the V.S.A. Competition. Todd taught at the North Bennet Street School. This is a fine example of Todd Goldenberg’s work.
This violin is available for trial at $12,500.
Collin-Mezin was the son of Charles J.B. Collin dit Mezin pere. His father was originally from Mirecourt but established himself in Paris and trained his son Collin-Mezin took over the family workshop after his father’s death in 1923.
Charles J.B. Collin was one of the leading French makers of the 19th century, Joseph Joachim played on one of his violins. He also won medals at three Paris competitions.
He generally made Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari models. He was also a bow maker. Collin-Mezin was fortunate enough to train under his father; most of his instruments were made for his father and followed his model.
Eventually he took on a more personal style of his own. This is a fine example of Collin-Mezin fils work. He lived from 1870-1934.
Buchstetter worked out of Stadtamhof, Regensberg Germany circa. 1730-1780. He was the son of Christoff Buchstetter, a well-regarded maker. Buchstetter mostly delivered Stradivari models and was a fine craftsman.
His varnish was often opaque and thin, a very common use for the place and time. Buchstetter generally speaking always used a fine selection of materials. His Stradivari f-holes were well carved with subtle fluting at the lower wings.
The scrolls were known to be very distinctive with a long neck and deep/open throat.
This particular Buchstetter is a copy. It is a small viola measuring 15 3/8”. It has a violoncello style scroll with a named carved into the back near the button.
G.B. Guadagnini is regarded as the greatest violin maker of the second half of the 18th Century; his original style produced some of the best instruments in history. A great reason to copy the famous violin maker! Little is known about the training of Guadagnini.
There are insufficient amounts of information to connect the dots with but we will leave his training for a later discussion… Guadagnini wasn’t like most makers who practice their craft in the same location for their careers. G.B. Guadagnini started making instruments in Piacenza, before moving to Milan in 1749 following the great cellist Carlo Ferrari.
He learned much from Ferrari while adjusting his cellos molds. Guadagnini next followed Ferrari to Parma where he continued his craft for 12 more years. Finally, Guadagnini moved to Turin in 1771 where he met the famous violin collector Count Cozio.
Cozio later became his patron, and was responsible for the commission of some of Guadagnini’s finest works. The Count acquired the remaining articles from the Stradivari workshop from the maker’s grandson Paolo around 1774. Which rewarded Guadagnini with the opportunity to acquaint himself with the great master’s work first hand.
After this opportunity Guadagnini adopted Stradivari’s models more frequently and his labels reflect that period. I love copying Guadagnini’s work, his wood selection is unparalleled and his varnish is a brilliant red.
A fine modern violin by Petko Zlatev Stoinov, this violin was made in 2002. Stoinov started his work as a luthier in 1993 in the town of Kazaniak, Bulgaria. He is a member of The Violin Society of America and makes fine musical stringed instruments.
He started as a woodworker in a yacht studio before he fell in love with violin making collaborating with Paolo Vitorio, later working with other Italian and American Luthiers.
This Petko Stoinov is a fine example of the makers work. Although it was made in 2002 it is in mint condition and was well cared for by the original owner. Made with a high-grade wood materials provided by the mountain ranges of Bulgaria, leaving his instruments with excellent acoustic qualities.
The back is fine two-piece maple with the flames slanting slightly downwards towards the edges of the instrument. The ribs and scroll match the back piece of maple making this Stoinov violin pleasing to the eye to match its excellent tonal qualities.
This Petko Stoinov violin is now available for trial at our shop.
A fine violin by Nestor Dominique Audinot in 1898, also referred to as N. Audinot. Audinot was the son of Leopold Audinot and apprenticed with him in Mirecourt. Audinot also worked with Sebastian Vuillaume in Paris. N. Audinot’s are made with remarkable maple and are well built instruments.
This particular violin comes with paper work from well-known Philadelphia shop Frederick W. Oster Fine Violins. This Audinot is in fine condition and has a great tone!
Although I build my instruments based from many different makers, I focus most of my attention making Stradivarius and Guarneri Del Gesu violins. They end up sounding quite different once they are completed but both have a great sound to them! The Stradivarius violins end up with a very bright, direct sound. While the Del Gesu has a warmer, mellow tone.
Here are two violins that I am currently building, one Stradivarius, the other Guarneri Del Gesu…
Can you tell which is which!?!