Collaborative Violin Making

March 2018
At the beginning of March, I once again headed to the Royal Northern College of Music, where I was invited, along with fellow violin makers Kai-Thomas Roth, Marc Soubeyran and Tibor Szemmelveisz, to do some collaberative violin making. This is the sixth such project, and this time we made two baroque violins. We had seven days, sometimes long days, to make them, the key being to get each stage completed every day so the glue could dry overnight.

 As always, it was great fun to work with other violin makers, to compare different methods of working and to discuss the different features of the violins. Making baroque instruments added another dimension, as we had good information on both the Guarneri del Gesu, and particularly the Stainer, which is in its original baroque condition.  The pictures show how the nails hold the neck to the rib structure, as well as other stages of construction. As in previous years, we also had a student from the violin making school at Newark, who got the chance to see the different ways we work, to hear all the discussions about the style and construction of the instruments we were using as models, to ask questions, take photos and to take charge of tea and coffee!

 It turned out to be a very successful week, we had great fun, we made two instruments which both turned out well and which when varnished will become part of the RNCM’s collection to lend to students. [with thanks to the students and staff of the RNCM, John Milnes who filmed the event, Gina McCormick for playing the violins, and Marion Pollart for the beverages and photos.]