All Lutherie articles

  • Dave & Lord Wilton
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    The Fulton collection: Magnificent obsession


    For decades, top soloists would visit the home of David Fulton to sample the treasures of his legendary collection. Now dispersed, the instruments have been brought together again in book form. The collector shares some of the highlights with Christian Lloyd 

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    Violin making in Seoul: Gangnam style


    Over the past decade, a wide community of violin and bow makers has grown up in the Seocho district of Seoul. Luthier Hagit Gili Gluska speaks to colleagues young and old, both local and from overseas, who have made this area their home

  • Anton Schroetter workshop near Gossengrun
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    Schroetter and Roth: Two of a kind


    With the demand for mass-produced German instruments skyrocketing in the 1920s, enterprising makers sent family members to America to represent them. Clifford Hall explores the careers and legacies of Andrew Schroetter and Heinrich Roth

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    Early lutherie experience: The journeyman years


    The time spent between finishing at violin making school and striking out on your own can be critical to a luthier’s learning experience. Peter Somerford finds out what makers should expect from their first jobs in a workshop – and how they can make the most of their time

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    Vuillaume’s ‘Alard’ bows: Small but beautiful


    In the extensive literature concerning Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, there is very little about one of his more remarkable innovations: a refinement of the bow frog design that can be seen on many examples from his workshop. Michel Samson explains how the so-called ‘Alard’ bow was designed to make life easier for ...

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    1773 ‘Cozio’ Guadagnini viola: The only constant is change


    The commercial relationship between G.B. Guadagnini and Count Cozio di Salabue allowed the luthier greater freedom to experiment. Alberto Giordano and Barthelemy Garnier examine a 1773 viola to show how the 62-year-old maker continued to adopt new methods and ways of working in this period

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    Wood treatment: The magic touch


    New research has revealed how Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ all used tonewood that had been heavily treated with chemicals prior to carving. Wenjie Cai and Hwan-Ching Tai explain the study’s findings, and suggest it could indicate that the Cremonese makers were influenced by the contemporary alchemical beliefs 

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    Bay Area bow makers: Bows on the bay


    With a large and growing music community, the San Francisco Bay Area became a hotbed of violin and bow making talent in the early 20th century. Raphael Gold tells the stories of the most prominent bow makers of the day

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    Historical varnishes: Beneath the surface


    The inclusion of minerals in Italian varnishes from the 16th to mid-18th centuries has long been a source of speculation. Balthazar Soulier, Stefan Zumbühl and Christophe Zindel present the first results of a long-term study showing that key answers can be found in early German recipes

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    Violin making and AI: Intelligent design


    The science of violin acoustics has encompassed 3D scanning, CNC technology and good old-fashioned tap tones – so why not AI software? Sebastian Gonzalez presents the results of a project that could help predict an instrument’s tone qualities even before it’s made

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    Herrmann bow making dynasty: An enduring legacy


    Like their close contemporaries the Knopfs, the Herrmann family of bow makers left behind a large number of bows, many of which show exquisite craftsmanship. In the second of two articles, Gennady Filimonov examines their history, their connections with the Knopfs, and several examples of their work

  • Students from SHCM
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    Violin making schools in China: The way of the future


    In the second of two articles on violin making in China, Sisi Ye examines the schools teaching the art of lutherie to young people, where tuition can last up to ten years and a grounding in music theory is essential

  • Knopf Family Tree
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    Knopf dynasty: A tangled web


    Three bow makers of the Knopf family are well known: Christian Wilhelm, Heinrich and Henry. But the dynasty comprises more than a dozen members, many of whom deserve recognition. Gennady Filimonov draws on archive material supplied by the Knopf descendants 

  • Strad cello figure 1
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    Tracing the truth: Stradivari’s early cellos


    What cello moulds were used in the Stradivari workshop? The question has long gone unanswered, despite the number of artefacts – and even intact moulds – that survive. Philip Ihle examines 17 of the cellos made before 1700 to find out how many moulds may have been used before the ...

  • Sring factory with big window for drying room
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    Song of the gut string makers


    In 1877, Markneukirchen in Germany was at the heart of the world’s string making industry. The townsfolk were so proud, they even composed a drinking song all about it. Kai Köpp explains what the lyrics (translated into English for the first time) reveal about this convoluted process

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    Ludwig Bausch: Gone… but not forgotten


    Respected during his lifetime, Ludwig Bausch was almost unknown just a few years after his death – and his bows were considered unremarkable junk. Josef P. Gabriel reveals why the maker and his family were almost lost to history, and why his work deserves to be listed among the greats

  • BEST china_outline_map
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    Lutherie in China: the enterprise system


    China has become a world leader in stringed instrument making, based on a system of bulk production combined with respect for craftsmanship. Sisi Ye speaks to the heads of manufacturing firms in Pinggu, Queshan and Huangqiao to learn more

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    Behind the Curve: the evolution of the bow


    The evolution of the bow is inextricably tied up with the needs of the player, and the changing face of society. Paolo Sarri examines the development of the ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ curves of the bow stick, dispelling a number of myths along the way

  • Figure 3
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    CT-Scanning the ‘Messiah’


    In 2016 the ‘Messiah’ Stradivari was the subject of an extensive CT scanning project. Francesco Piasentini and Gregg Alf examine the resulting data, discovering repair work in the neck, and attempt to determine how it had originally been set

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    The viola d’amore: For a sympathetic ear


    The viola d’amore is undergoing a resurgence in popularity among early music groups, with a wealth of repertoire still to be rediscovered. Rachael Durkin tracks the development of this unique instrument, examining its many precursors along the way