Stringed instrument making (lutherie) may not be a widely recognized profession, but it should be. The history of craftsmen making musical instruments or even string instruments is many thousands of years old and originally linked to the ‘spiritual realm’. Violin like instruments themselves, go back about 500 years. James Robinson (owner of The Violin Place in Chatswood) is a violin maker who has this connection to history, tradition and culture. He is one of Australia’s most prolific and well known violin makers. The instruments he makes and signs will pass through the hands of many future generations of violinists in Australia and many other parts of the world, becoming increasingly valuable over time. To date he has made over 260 instruments and is always busy making more. For him this is his passion and labor of love for the past 43 years.
While inexpensive string instruments made in a factory have their place, providing an easy entry into the world of string playing, a more advanced string player will inevitably require and look for a better instrument. Sometimes there is a lot of hype surrounding these factory made instruments brandishing terms such as 'hand made', a European sounding name on the label or 'concert model' ect. the fact remains that anything made in a factory, using assembly line methods (Fordism), will be fundamentally different than a product conceived and made entirely by just one person from beginning to end. The issue is not where the factory is located (either China, Romania, Germany, France,) or the 'perfection' of the end product; the issue, in my opinion, is that the many people who made that product don't really care very much about it, its not their responsibility and their work is not signed by them, but rather its 'branded' by a made-up name.Their responsibility is only for their own very small input into the whole. Their focus is naturally on their job security and pay check at the end of the week. This in itself makes that product different than one where a single person has conceived, focused their attention on, and made it entirely on their own after dedicating many years immersed in learning this trade. Its like the difference between a print and the artist's original. A sensitive person will know that there can be much more to an object than just its appearance.
Of course, the process of choosing or matching an instrument to a particular string player’ likes and preferences are often not straightforward, and a player may need to try out many instruments to find the right one for them. We are here to help them in this process by providing many choices to try out. This is important; our main concern is that they make the right choice for them, not us. We have a very good selection of German, French, Italian, English, Australian and Scandinavian hand-made instruments to consider. If you are looking for an instrument, you would be wise in checking with us before you decide. We might have the 'perfect' instrument for you. Otherwise, how would you know?