Care and accuracy are both essential for this delicate part of the making process. By Gabriela Guadalajara, luthier based in New York, NY, US
Written by Gennady Filimonov
Luthiers over the past three centuries have used a vast number of patterns for their instruments – but the basic geometric principles remain constant across them all. Kevin Kelly explains his ‘Four Circles’ system for instrument design, adaptable to violins, violas and cellos
A decade ago, François Denis’s Traité de Lutherie showed how the old Italians used Euclidean geometry to design their instruments. Now a computer program based on these principles allows luthiers to construct and adapt patterns quickly and easily. Its creator, Harry Mairson, explains the genesis of Digital Amati
A technique that relies on the senses and helps you get the right varnish for your needs, by Nicolas Gilles, luthier in Villeneuvette, France
One of France’s greatest bow makers,Eugène Sartory sued an unscrupulous American dealer who flooded the market with fake bows. Using the original court transcripts and contemporary news reports, Gennady Filimonov uncovers how the Frenchman sought justice
One of the key Parisian luthiers of the early 19th century, Jacques-Pierre Thibout had a distinctive – and often innovative – making style. Florent and Serge Boyer examine ten of his violins to track its evolution, and show why he became luthier to King Louis-Philippe
Gluing the neck to the ribs before the top and back plates allows for a more accurate and hassle-free process. By Hayato Nagaishi, luthier based in Cremona, Italy, and Tokyo, Japan
Despite his instruments showing very little difference in form, Giovanni Francesco Pressenda was one of the most idiosyncratic – and innovative – Italian luthiers of the 19th century. Drawing on 20 years of research, Tsutomu Miyasaka reveals how his style reflected both the French and Italian makers of his day
Alfredo Del Lungo began studying the art of violin making at the workshop of his father, Giuseppe Del Lungo (1883–1926), while also taking cello lessons at the Conservatorio Cherubini in Florence. In 1933, aged 24, he was appointed official luthier to the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina, which soon became the Orchestra ...
While the acoustics of the violin soundbox have undergone rigorous testing, the neck and fingerboard have been virtually ignored. Joseph Nagyvary reveals the results of experiments showing that a lighter material might be preferable to the standard ebony
One of the most mysterious French bow makers, Persoit had a number of idiosyncrasies that give his works a uniquely light appearance. Through a detailed study of a single bow, Paolo Sarri shows his creative answer to the problem of bulky heads
Nowadays best known for its neo-Gothic castles, the town of Füssen in southern Germany has possibly the oldest lutherie tradition of any in the country. Thomas Riedmillertraces its influence, from the foothills of the Alps to England, Vienna and Prague
It has long been assumed that Jacob Stainer received some training in Cremona – but the theory rests on slim evidence. Rudolf Hopfner explores a middle-period violin using micro-CT technology to cast doubt on what we think we knowWolfgang Schneiderhan
Paolo De Barbieri was born in 1889 in Genoa. In 1902, aged 13, he left a note on the kitchen table which read ‘Back in a minute’: he left home for about six years to work as a cabin boy. He completed his military service in the navy and in ...
Identifying the varnish recipes of the early makers has been a long-held dream among researchers. Now, a team at the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostics, headed by Marco Malagodi, has used a new form of micro-CT scanning to delve further into an instrument’s coatings than ever before
Twelve violin moulds from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop still survive, but how do they correspond to the master’s oeuvre? In the first of two articles,Philip Ihle and Andrea Zanrè present the results of an exhaustive survey to match forms to finished instruments
The publication of high-accuracy violin photography has opened up new possibilities for researching Cremonese masterpieces up close and en masse. Philip Ihle examines Antonio Stradivari’s purfling corners across 136 examples and reveals their relationship with the luthier’s forms
For Stefan-Peter Greiner, instrument making is not about copying; it’s about individuality, experimentation and intuition. In conversation with Pauline Harding, the German luthier discusses his ideas on sound adjustment, ‘Stradivari frequencies’ and creating the ideal working environment
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
Giuseppe Sgarbi’s instruments have a unique vibrancy and individuality, while still respecting the traditional Cremonese forms. Lorenzo Frignani examines his career, as well as that of his son Antonio, to suggest why his work deserves more recognition than it has in the past
An illustration of a viola of the Gofriller School published in The Strad, February 1962
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 ...
This illustration of the ‘General Kyd’ Stradivarius was published in The Strad, January 1962. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs