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What’s New?

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 Thank you for visiting our page!  We are a small, family-owned neighborhood shop in the old European tradition.  We love the violin family and the 18th Century lore of famous makers, craftsmanship, and classical music.  We also follow and play British Isles and North American fiddle music, and many other World musical traditions.  Our motivation and passion is sharing the love of music and the tradition of fine craftsmanship. 

We have been in the violin business since 1993.  We began in Montana, and moved to Seattle in 1997.  Our business model is modest.  We cater to a small local group of mostly amateur musicians and students, whom we get to know personally and help to attain their musical goals over a period of many years.  Our services are primarily sales of instruments and accessories, repairs, adjustments, and new making.  Also, we are known internationally for our research into acoustics and technical details of famous classical instruments.

We don’t do mass marketing, and we are not an expensive, elite shop.  Most of our customers are children and amateurs.  We plan to stay small.  We prefer to spend our time at the workbench, making and repairing rather than sitting at a computer.  We specialize in violin, viola, cello, and bass.  There are no huge cash registers, no slick trained sales staff, no advertising.  We’re sorry if there are woodchips on the floor, but this is a busy workshop.  When you enter the showroom you may be surprised at the number of instruments of all sizes and colors, and our workshop is full of instruments in many stages of construction and repair.  We have hundreds of bows and a selection of cases and accessories.  We screen our products in order to offer those that meet our customers’ needs and offer reasonable value.  We are violin makers rather than sales people; and we love to answer questions in considerable depth.  We will not suggest that you make a purchase unless you ask.

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Owner Dr Jeff Loen with one of his handmade violins

Please read customer reviews of our products and services, going back to the 1990’s.

 

COVID-19 Notes: 

Our shop is in a low-traffic building, so risk of virus exposure is low.  Often the owner is the only one in the upper floor of the building.  Still, we take careful precautions like regular cleaning, and meeting you by appointment to avoid crowding.  Hand sanitizer is available.

Please wear a mask, keep distance, and limit numbers in the room to 4 people.  We can also meet your curbside, by request.

Please phone 425 488-0841 to make an appointment.  We may be closed if you are unexpected.

 

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We label instruments as to country of origin.  We have choices from USA, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Bulgaria as well as carefully chosen instruments from Asia.  We have A LOT of restored older European violins in our “intermediate” rack priced $800-$2000.  Many shops have nothing but new Chinese instruments in this price range.

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Please read our Instrument Care page:  Care & Feeding of Fiddles

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Please read our cautionary note:  Avoiding Low-Quality Instrument Woes

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Jan 2021

Student instruments are available for purchase, but we are temporarily curtailing new rentals. 

We regret the inconvenience, especially since so many teachers recommend our rentals to their students.

We will continue to service existing rentals.  If you outgrow a size, you can still trade in for a larger size (refurb fee applies).

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Our Facebook page gives sporadic reports of our violin-making progress, and occasional philosophical ponderings (we make an effort for these posts to be non-lame).  Please follow and comment, so that we know that you are out there!

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Jeff finishing a handmade violin

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We are offering a limited number of our popular Thickness Graduation Maps book for violin makers and enthusiasts.

22 years of work, 320 instruments, 227 pages, full-color contour maps with photos and other measurements.

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Thanks to Sara, a fine professional player in Cologne, Germany, who bought our 1911 Olav Helland Hardanger Fiddle.

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2020 Guarneri del Gesù violin, bought by Gillian, a fine professional violin instructor and performer!

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1715 “Cremonese” Golden Age Stradivari copy

Varnished with crackle and patina, June 2020

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This messoviolin is a large body violin with normal violin string length.  The extra air supports the lower strings for a fuller sound.

Messoviolin was varnished in July, 2020.  We like to think that this is the oldest violin made last year!

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Our fourth violin of 2020 is finished!  Weighs 399 grams.  That’s consistent with fine classic instruments.

 

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Varnish is going on  looks pretty good!

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Kenmore Violins provides Mapping of Stradivarius Violin

Our work on classic thickness graduation mapping of the 1734 “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin is included in a poster in the Dec 2020 issue of The Strad (elite glossy magazine from London, England)!  We constructed a color contour map of thickness values in millimeters.  Hot colors show thick, and cold colors show thin.  In the past 20+ years we have studied technical details of hundreds of valuable old Italian violins, violas, and cellos.

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We sometimes make things that are different and unique, like this violin with a flamed redwood top.  Spectacular (and great sounding)!

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We occasionally make copies of rare historic instruments like this 15” 5-string mezzo version of the 16th Century Linarol lira da braccio (right photo).  The original is one of the greatest treasures of the National Music Museum. Our copy had planetary geared pegs for easy tuning and sympathetic understrings for extra resonance!  It was purchased and is proudly played by a Seattle Early Music performer!

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We currently have a selection of antique Norwegian Hardanger fiddles, all over 100 years old!  These should be in a museum, but we would rather see people playing them.

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We do extensive restorations and repairs.  Folks, we’ve seen everything… Cellos broken in car rollover accidents and dropped on airport tarmacs.  Violins that were sat on, run over by cars, soaked in floods, dropped off a Homecoming Parade float, stabbed by music stands, chewed by animals, neglected for generations in attics, and smacked on a fence post by an angry little brother. 

We bring them back to life!

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Thanks again for visiting!

Please email any questions!  We would love to hear from you.

 

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