violin maker

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Violin maker from Vogtland

The profession of violin maker includes the care, maintenance, repair and manufacture of string instruments , in addition to the violin also the viola , cello , double bass and other instruments of the viol family . String bows are usually not made by the violin maker, but by the bow maker. The repairs are mostly in the hands of the violin maker.

Violin maker is now a recognized training occupation in Germany according to the craft regulations . The violin maker is trained as part of a three-year apprenticeship with a master violin maker or in a vocational school and usually ends with the journeyman's examination. Journeyman violin makers can qualify as master craftsmen and BA in musical instrument making . Since the reform of the trade law amendment in 2004, the profession of violin maker has been a non-licensed craft in Germany and can be practiced without a journeyman or master craftsman's certificate.

Violin making is a traditional profession. Handcraft techniques that are centuries old are used to manufacture the instruments. The construction involves around 500 work steps and usually takes up to three months, or longer with particularly good instruments.

Workshop of a violin maker in Cremona
Violin maker at work


The profession is closely related to making plucked instruments . String instruments were therefore also made in the workshops of the lute makers. The current French name for violin maker, Luthier , goes back to lute making . The manufacturers of string instruments were called violin makers in German-speaking countries, since violin was the generic term for various string instruments. Violin makers occasionally made plucked instruments such as lutes , mandolins , harps , guitars and hurdy-gurdy . Clear demarcations between the instrument makers were created later and regionally by professional associations.

Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari as well as Gasparo da Salò were among the first famous violin makers . Amati, who lives in Cremona in northern Italy , received an order from the French king to build string instruments , including the then new violin genre. Da Salò mainly built violins, violas and string basses in Brescia . His violas are particularly popular today. Although these have a considerable body length for the most part, they are suitable as solo instruments in concerts. He established an independent violin making tradition in Brescia. His most important student was Giovanni Paolo Maggini , who took over the workshop after his death. The only known employee and student of Maggini is Valentino Siani , who worked at Maggini until around 1620. Valentino Siani moved to Florence around 1621 and is considered the founder of Florentine violin making.

Violin making centers


Southern Germany


  • Salzburg
    • Marcell Pichler first worked in Hallein near Salzburg, later in the city of Salzburg.
    • Johann Schorn is considered to be the inventor of the Viola d'Amore. Worked in the style of Jakob Stainer and Matthias Alban. Few, but very high quality, instruments have survived.
    • Andreas Ferdinand Mayr , few, but very high quality instruments have survived.
  • Tyrol
    • Jakob Stainer from Absam , whose instruments were more valuable than the Italian ones until around 1800. In the 19th century many of Stainer's violins were irretrievably destroyed when the Stainer violins were “adapted” to the ideal sound of the Romantic era.
  • Vienna
    • Lute and violin makers can be traced back to Vienna as early as the 15th century. The Viennese violin making flourished with the rise of the city to the political and cultural center of the monarchy in the early 18th century. While violin makers who immigrated from Füssen dominated in the 17th and 18th centuries, Viennese violin making in the 19th century was characterized in stylistic terms by close ties with the Prague and Budapest violin making schools.


  • the Hill family
  • The Newark School of Violin Making near Nottingham, founded in 1972, is one of the most popular instrument making schools . It is a training center for around 100 students from all over the world. Their open, modern concept combines the centuries-old tradition of violin making with the latest scientific knowledge in the fields of acoustics and materials. Their teachers are all violin makers or restorers at the same time, so that the teaching atmosphere is closely related to practice.


The centers: Cremona , Milan , Brescia , Venice , Naples , Florence and Turin .



In Switzerland there is a violin making school located in Brienz in the canton of Bern.


In France, numerous violin makers come from Lorraine, especially from the area around Mirecourt and Nancy , as well as from Paris. The Vuillaume family from Mirecourt provided numerous violin makers, the most famous son of the family was Jean Baptiste Vuillaume . Mirecourt is particularly known for its excellent bow making .


The center of Dutch violin making was mainly Amsterdam

Czech Republic


Work of a violin maker

Material selection

The top is made of spruce wood. The rest of the body is usually made of maple . The fingerboard, pegs and tailpiece are made from ebony or, more rarely, from other hardwoods such as boxwood and rosewood .

The material quality of the wood and its moisture play a major role in the later sound and stability of the instrument. The procurement of wood, storage and selection of materials are therefore fundamental tasks of a violin maker.

Making a bowed instrument

Violin body

When a violin maker begins to build a new instrument, he is first faced with the question of the model. He can either copy older models or develop new instruments based on them or create completely new designs. However, new constructions are rarely used in string instrument making, mostly the dimensions of the great masters are adhered to. Above all, Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri have set the standards in this regard.

First the violin shape and templates for the outline of the bottom and top as well as the neck template are made, then the bottom and top are joined, arched and cut.

Finger planes of various thicknesses for processing the wood

In contrast to the top and bottom, the frames, which together with the four corner blocks and the top and bottom blocks, form the frame rim, are first planed to the correct thickness as flat strips. Then they are bent into the correct shape with steam and pressure on a specially shaped bending iron . The blocks to which the frames are glued serve as a framework. The neck is later embedded in the upper block and glued.

Which are now on the floor frame parts aufgeschachtelt , and after cutting the F-holes and gluing of the bass bar in the ceiling it will be glued to the frames. The body is ready.

Before the neck can be fitted into the body, a snail is carved. The next step of painting is also covered in the violin varnish article .

After the In glue of the fingerboard of the work is completed: The eddy be fitted, the instrument is polished, the web is cut, the pin block placed and finally the strings mounted.

More work

The restoration of string instruments always moves in a field of tension, because on the one hand the original condition and the original substance of the instruments should be preserved as possible, on the other hand the instrument must be restored as efficiently as possible in terms of sound.

Due to their design, the instruments of the violin family are very easy to repair, i. In other words, they can almost always be opened, repaired and closed again without damage. The repair often relates to stress cracks and accidental damage. Maintenance mainly relates to pegs, voice, bridge, varnish and bow.

See also


  • Leo von Lütgendorff : The violin and lute makers from the Middle Ages to the present. (1923) 2 volumes. Unchanged reprint of the 6th, revised edition. Schneider, Tutzing 1975. ISBN 3-795-20061-X . With a supplement by Thomas Drescher, 1990. ISBN 3-795-20616-2
  • Otto Möckel: Violin making. 8th edition. Nikol Verlagsgesellschaft, 2005. ISBN 3937872094 .
  • Barbara Gschaider: Secrets from the violin making workshop - From wood to a master instrument . PPV Medien, 2016. ISBN 978-3-95512-120-4

Web links

Commons : Violin Maker  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: violin maker  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Musical instrument making BA at the West Saxon University of Zwickau. Retrieved December 16, 2019 .
  2. Erich Valentin : Handbuch der Musikinstrumentenkunde. Gustav Bosse, Regensburg 1954, p. 455 ff. ( Instrument maker ).
  3. Brienz Violin Making School