All Lutherie articles

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    Giuseppe Ceruti: In the name of the father

    2020-08-11T13:18:00Z

    The Cremonese luthier Giuseppe Ceruti is often overlooked in favour of his more famous son, Enrico. Duane Rosengard examines two matching double basses by Giuseppe to discover the secrets of his making style

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    Lutherie Collectives: The Wisdom of Crowds

    2020-07-13T14:46:00Z

    Violin making is traditionally a solitary career, so why are so many luthiers and bow makers choosing to join collectives? Peter Somerford talks to the founders and members of such groups around the world to discover the benefits of pooling resources, knowledge and time

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    Stradivari violin ‘Benecke’: Unconventional Beauty

    2020-06-16T16:44:00Z

    The 1694 ‘Benecke’ violin is a masterpiece of Stradivari’s ‘Long Pattern’. Andrea Zanrè and Rudolf Hopfner take a look at this exquisite example, detailing its provenance and revealing what CT scans can tell us about its construction

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    Napoleonic Bows: French Connections

    2020-05-20T10:23:00Z

    Several violin, viola and cello bows still survive from the Imperial Court Orchestra of Napoleon III. Gennady Filimonov examines their history, and provides evidence that the so-called ‘Napoleonic-type bows’ originated with the first Emperor rather than the third

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    Luthiers and RSI: Taking the Strain

    2020-04-19T16:43:00Z

    For instrument makers, repetitive strain injuries can mean untold pain and misery – and possibly the end of their career. Luthier Cameron Robertson explains how, with the help of occupational therapist Sara Propes, he adapted his work process to guard against the problems of RSI in the future

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    News

    The freeform style of the Vogtland’s violin tradition

    2020-03-25T01:00:00Z

    A recent research project using high-resolution CT scans is lifting the lid on the unusual construction methods behind four instruments makers of the Vogtland region in Germany

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    Lutherie in the Vogtland: Stars of the East

    2020-03-04T12:08:00Z

    The Vogtland in eastern Germany produced some of the country’s least known and most fascinating instrument makers. Rudolf Hopfner and Monika Lustig use CT scans to lift the lid on their unusual construction methods, and show why they should be more widely studied

  • Sam Zygmuntowicz matched quartet
    Feature

    Matched quartets: a dream commission?

    2020-03-02T15:43:00Z

    What does a string quartet look for when commissioning a matching set of instruments, and how do luthiers go about fulfilling such a project?

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    Making a Full Quartet of Instruments: Matches Made in Heaven?

    2020-02-07T11:45:00Z

    It’s both a privilege and a challenge to build a quartet of instruments that are intended to be played together from the start. Peter Somerford speaks to players and makers to discover both the pitfalls and the opportunities

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    Article

    An almost perfect success story: the evolution of Vuillaume

    2020-02-03T13:56:00Z

    Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume was the most successful French luthier of his time, but the first years of his career remain shrouded in mystery. Jonathan Marolle examines some of his earliest instruments to uncover the evolution of his technique and style

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    Vuillaume's Early Years: The Making of a Master

    2020-01-09T11:00:00Z

    Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume was the most successful French luthier of his time, but the first years of his career are still shrouded in mystery. Jonathan Marolle examines some of his earliest instruments to uncover the evolution of his technique and style 

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    Seeing red

    2019-12-06T11:00:00Z

    Madder root has been used since ancient times to provide a deep red pigment – but the process of making it remains mysterious. For the past three years Hugh Withycombe and Guy Harrison have tested different methods to get the recipe just right – and can now reveal their findings ...

  • Video

    My Space: Stephen Quinney

    2019-11-13T15:10:00Z

    The Toronto luthier gives a demonstration of his craft in a 2017 episode of the series History in the Making

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    Like Fathers, Like Sons

    2019-10-31T09:05:00Z

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Émile Auguste Ouchard, as well as the 40th of his son Bernard – both regarded as among the 20th century’s finest bow makers. Thomas Martin, Andrew McGill, Martin Lawrence and George Martin examine the legacy of the Ouchard dynasty, particularly ...

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    Views on the Bridge

    2019-09-27T11:21:00Z

    In the second of two articles on set-up, Joseph Curtin investigates the acoustical role of the violin bridge and the interconnected relationships between mass, frequency and resonance 

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    The Fab Four

    2019-09-04T12:00:00Z

    At this year’s Suntory Hall Chamber Music Garden festival in Tokyo the Kuss Quartet performed a complete Beethoven cycle on the ‘Paganini’ quartet of Stradivaris, on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. Gavin Dixon spoke to the players about this very special project – and learnt a little more about ...

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    A Master Copyist

    2019-09-04T11:00:00Z

    Gaetano Sgarabotto was renowned for making replicas of old Italian instruments – and left numerous records of his research on their makers’ styles. Focusing on his replica scrolls, Andrea Zanrè examines the secrets of Sgarabotto’s success 

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    All Set up and Ready to Go

    2019-09-04T09:00:00Z

    In the first of two articles looking at instrument set-up, Joseph Curtin examines the acoustic roles played by the tailpiece and fingerboard in affecting vibration, frequency and resonance 

  • Tim Phillips Revolin 2
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    Life out of balance

    2019-07-31T15:25:00Z

    While many luthiers are happy making stringed instruments to the standard form, others are keen to explore the possibilities of alternative patterns. Peter Somerford discovers how asymmetric designs can affect tone quality, projection, acoustics and player comfort 

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    Northern double bass makers: Northern lights

    2019-07-17T00:07:00Z

    The 19th century witnessed a thriving double bass making scene in the Manchester area of England. This northern school, which had its own distinct style points, flourished for a longer time than its southern counterpart, as Thomas Martin, Martin Lawrence and George Martin explain