William Castle - Violin Maker

© William Castle 2013


William Castle

8 Welsh End, Whixall,Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 2NU

tel - 01948 880608

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Choosing an instrument

Choosing an instrument is a major decision for any musician, not only because it has to work well, but it also has to suit the individual player. I often suggest that younger players in particular play a number of instruments, even if they are not for sale, perhaps borrowing your friends’ instruments, to find out how they vary. This will help you decide what you are looking for, both from the point of view of playability as well as tone.  You are then in a much better position to make a good decision when looking for an instrument to buy. The standard of instruments being made nowadays is generally very good, and usually you get more sound for your money from a new instrument compared with an old instrument.

A new instrument should essentially show its true tonal characteristics right from the start, though in the very beginning it may sound a bit raw. It should speak easily, sound even across the strings and be comfortable to play. With playing, the sound loses any rawness and becomes more refined. It will become freer, more responsive and any slight difference in the quality of adjacent notes will even out. The better and more often it is played the quicker the playing in process will be, the biggest improvement occurring in the first few weeks, but the essential quality of sound must be there at the beginning.

I always let musicians to have an instrument on approval for two to three weeks, so they have time to get to know it. It is important to try every technique on it, and to play in different acoustics, on its own, in chamber groups and orchestras, to find out how it works in different situations. Playing in different settings helps you become familiar with the instrument, and whilst concentrating on the music, allows you to briefly forget you are playing on a different instrument. Then you remember, and hear the instrument afresh.

Because as a string player you need to put so much into your instrument, I often think that your instrument becomes almost a part of you. For that intimate relationship between player and instrument to develop, it is vitally important that you are happy with your instrument, and that it works for you.

To see what instruments I have available click here

Belosio model violin chosen by David Angel of the Maggini quartet Maggini model viola played in the Scottish Opera Violin played by Karin Leishman of the Alberni quartet Violin on the workbench of Willaim Castle, violin maker living on the Welsh borders

“I just wanted to write you a quick note to let you know how delighted I am with my lovely new violin. It was such an inspiration to prepare and perform my final exam on such a beautiful instrument.”   -  Jemima Clarke, final year masters student.

To find out what instruments are available at the moment, please click here.

“The viola is playing very nicely, I’m really enjoying it! Thanks

for answering my many random questions- your patience is

much appreciated.”    -     Shelagh  McKail, Scottish Opera

To read more about my approach to instrument making, please click here.