My name is R. J. Storm, a well seasoned violin maker and a restorer who spent time in a New York City violin shop and, as a great lover of bluegrass, catered to the many fine people playing good American classical music – fiddlers. Moreover, in future columns, I will do my best to answer your fiddle questions, your bow questions, and give good sound advice to those convoluted and Byzantine problems that cause undue stress, rob necessary sleep, and unsettle even those endowed with a cast iron stomach. Consider this then an invitation – send in your questions on aspects of violin making, repairs, restorations, bows, etc. Together, we can make this column POP!
This initial column will focus on the very common question, “What exactly makes a good violin?” Why not? We have to begin somewhere, so let’s jump in. The answer to this question frequently depends upon the eyes of the observer since “good” does not necessarily equate to “expensive.” Not at all, and there are many ways and styles to build, voice, and finish a violin. With that hat-tip and admission, there is a general adage of, “form follows function.” A good violin sounds great, it also looks great, and the construction is clean and precise.
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