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Faq
  • Is it possible to come for in person classes?
    Yes you are welcome to come for a few hours or do the two day intensive class. These can be booked online and you will find the link on the students page.
  • How long does it take to make a violin?
    Every person works at a different pace, so difficult to set an exact time frame, however, your average student takes around 300 hours to complete their violin.
  • What makes this course different to the many others offered?
    A good question. There are many wonderful books and videos out there showing one how to make violin, however, mostly the guides and measurements are generic and standardized. As we are making musical instruments, tone is by far the most important aspect and in order to achieve a warm golden sound one needs to make each piece of wood a different thickness, unique to its density and structure. If one follows my system I will be able to send each individual student a set of thickness measurements based on over 40 years experience, keeping records and research. Secondly, I have designed the course assuming that a new student has never done any woodwork, let alone anything with their hands. I teach in such a way that they will acquire the foundational skills of fine woodworking besides making a violin. No need be isolated and on your own, students are most welcome to join the forum and interact with others. They can aslo attend the yearly gathering in person, where I will demonstrate certain aspects and give one on one guidance.
  • Will you share with students all your trade 'secrets'?
    Yes I certainly will. In my early days as a violin maker many contemporary violin makers around the world guarded their knowledge especially around varnish methods and recipes. In a way this was a blessing in disguise as it forced me to work it all out for myself, so I know what it feels like to have information withheld. I will be sharing with you everything that I know and this would be an honor and a pleasure.
  • What model will students be using to make their violins?
    Most present day violin makers are either copying a Stradivari or Guarneri form. For me though, I have tried to see copying in a different light and in my mind put myself a few cobbled streets away from these legendary craftsmen doing my own thing, but still using similar materials and methods. To me it is all about the sound, and working on my own model has been a fascinating journey, modifying things in order to achieve a golden, warm sound that projects well in a concert hall (listen to excerpts of my violins below). However, my measurements are still within the boundaries of fine old Italian instruments. Students will be supplied with all the necessary templates.
  • What happens if I get stuck and need some support and guidance?
    On the website there is a forum (dedicated to all on the course) where as a community we can support and help each other out. I will partake in this whenever I can and answer any questions that might arise. This is also an ideal place to post your progress. At registration you will be given two free zoom consultations, with the option of signing up for more of required. I will set aside time for this and one can schedule these meetings on a calendar. If you live within reasonable proximity you can also do these sessions in person in my workshop, either hourly or travel to Ojai for the two day intensive.
  • Do I need to have woodwork experience?
    No previous experience is needed, in fact many of my previous students have never done anything with their hands and have made some wonderful violins! However, skills can be acquired and thats why I have always encouraged students to do a practice back out of less expensive wood first. Not necessarily the entire back but just sections to get a feel for using the tools. Many have thanked me for this, even those with lots of woodworking experience.
  • When did the course begin?
    The first tutorial was uploaded in June, 2024. Students are currently working on making their templates and molds and as a group there is a lot of excitement amongst them! I have made other tutorials for later stages of the process (see sample tutorials), however, new tutorials are being uploaded regularly, at a steady pace more than likely exceeding the pace of these first students. A lot of pre planning goes into making these videos drawing on my experience of teaching beginners, many whom have never done anything before the their hands. So not only will you learn how to make a violin, but will aslo acquire basic woodworking skills too.
  • Do I need to have a woodwork shop?
    Many of my students have worked on their kitchen counters or dining room tables. So having a dedicated workshop is not necessary, as long as one has a stable surface to work on. One can use a portable vice that can be easily clamped onto a working area.
  • What tools do I need and where can I buy them?
    Surprisingly one does not need that many tools to make a violin. Below each tutorial will be a list and a link to the tools that I use. I have also set up a webpage offering alternative options which one can explore. Most of my previous students have sold their tools to incoming students, recuperating part of the money they have invested. This is a wonderful option, especially using the students forum where new students will be encouraged to join.
  • Where can I buy the wood for my violin?
    I will give you the contacts details of two reputable wood supplies in Europe. One in Germany and one in Northern Italy and they have some wonderful pieces available.
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