CUSTOM INSTRUMENTS

VIOLINS - VIOLAS

GETTING STARTED

If you are interested in commissioning the fabrication of a new violin or viola, please send an email to arrange a telephone call so we can discuss your desired outcome. During our conversation, we discuss your musical experience, the environment in which you play, and the sound profile you want to create including its brightness, tone quality and projection. For violas, the particular size you require for your physique is also explored.

WOOD CHOICES

Your desired sound profile will help us to determine the choices and source of woods needed to make your perfect instrument and its design. For the top, its arching and the tightness of the grain of spruce determines the brightness of its sound. For the back, a one-piece back or two-piece can be selected, along with desired flaming of the wood. Available hardwoods for the backs are traditionally maple, however, poplar is also available for those interested in its lower weight and highly resonant sound. Varnishes are hand made by me and colored to your particular aesthetic. 

Accessories are available in a variety of woods including rosewood, ebony, boxwood, snakewood, or pernambuco. Finally, we will choose the strings complete the instrument's sound profile, and select a case that suits your needs.

INVESTMENT

Prices for violins and violas vary depending on the types of wood and accessories you choose, starting at $5,000 Canadian. From start to finish a custom violin or viola requires approximately four months to complete.

The violin and viola construction process is a refined and intricate craft with multiple steps. Click here to see the process of violin construction from start to finish!

Before your instrument is delivered, it is played and analyzed by a professional violinist based on your desired sound profile, and slight adjustments are made.

COMPLETED VIOLIN

This violin, based on a 1733 design by Italian luthier Guarneri del Gesù, was constructed in 2013 for professional use. The spruce top and maple were imported from the Dolomites Mountains in Northern Italy, one of the most renowned regions for the highest quality woods for instruments.

 

The varnish is a spirit rather than oil-based varnish made in my shop. The coloration of the varnish was chosen by the client to give the instrument its rich, reddish-brown coloration.

 

All accessories are high quality ebony. With a two-piece highly flamed back, sides and neck in maple, and a medium grain spruce top, this instrument was constructed for a full bodied tone and projection suited for concert halls. 

COMPLETED VIOLA

This fifteen and ¾ inch viola is of my own design. Since violas are large and can be difficult to play comfortably, the body is slightly less wide with higher sides to produce its necessary volume without loosing quality of sound.

 

The spruce front and maple back, sides, and neck are from forests on the west coast of the United States. The top has a tight grain. It has a two-piece back with a tight, even flame throughout. The custom made spirit varnish is graded for its brown hues and gold undertones.

 

All accessories are finished in high-end ebony. This instrument is designed to produce a warm, rich and even tone, with a projection suitable concert halls. It was commissioned by a professional musician in Montreal, Canada.

THE PROCESS

CLICK THROUGH IMAGE GALLERY TO SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF A VIOLIN IN THE MAKING

 

© 2018 Gwyneth Wilbur, Luthier