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  • 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.
  • 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 on?
    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.
  • 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 will the course official start and be available online?
    The first module, bending the ribs will be available online in April/May 2024, to be followed monthly by subsequent modules. In the interim I have decided to offer pre-registration in order to give students the opportunity of ordering a complete set of ribs (sides) if required which I will personally make by hand. This offer runs through to March 2024.
  • 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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