Commissioning an instrument or bow

As well as making modern Violins/Violas/’Cellos to my own patterns and to the patterns of well known old masters, (Stradivarius, Pressenda, Amati, Forster, Kennedy) I have also made a number of unusual instruments. I can make any bowed stringed instrument, baroque, medieval, pochette, 5 string, viola d’amore, Baritone, Lyra da Braccio.

  • The first step would be to discuss what you need from the instrument. What period, Baroque, medieval, modern? What would be the best size to suit your hands. The number of strings, What tuning.
  • The second step; I would do some research, draw up some outline plans for you to consider, then when we are both satisfied with the general design I would fill in all the details.When you have approved the final plan we would come to.
  • Choosing the wood. Depending on the size of your choice of instrument, I have a selection of wood for you to choose from. If you have something specific in mind which I don’t have in stock, I would be happy to purchase it for the instrument, or you could bring your own wood for me to use. It is at this point I would ask you for a deposit.

Timescale; The time given here is the actual time needed to make the instrument . The timescale of each commission will depend on what other projects I have to finish before starting your new instrument. I will give you a more relevant predicted completion date when you place an order.

  • Research, planning and choosing the wood might take between two weeks for a violin, Viola or ‘Cello, to several months for a one-off unusual instrument.
  • Violin; Making the instrument, including varnishing, normally takes between 8 to 12months.
  • Cello and unusual instruments, 12-18 months.

Commissioning a bow

I have a selection of pernambuco and snakewood for the sticks, ebony and horn for frogs and buttons. We will discuss the model, weight and balance of the bow you require. When you place a firm order I will ask for a 20% deposit. I usually make two bows so you will have a choice. Time to make a violin/Viola/’Cello bow; 4- 8 weeks. Or longer by arrangement, depending on other commitments

A pernambuco bow blank and several snakewood bows in progress.