Craig Butterfield performs “Made in France” for Bass Ensemble

Craig Butterfield performs all parts of his arrangement of Biréli Lagréne’s “Made in France”.

We want to hear from you!  With the wide range of technological tools that are now at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to create new compositions and arrangements.  We would like to challenge you to arrange and record an original composition, arrangement or just a multi-track jam session.  Send us a link and we’ll post it on our blog.


Violin: antiqued brownish-red with rosewood fittings – $3800

This deep brownish-red violin has been beautifully antiqued and possesses a warm glow.  It’s one piece maple back  is flamed with a moderate, narrow figure and a grain that spreads evenly across the back.  It’s rosewood fittings are of the highest caliber and it’s set-up has received the utmost attention.  This instrument has a very clean, round sound; not too bright and not too dark.  It’s ring is very subtle and the overtones are equally subtle.  It’s straight to the point without being the least bit abrasive.  Priced at $3800, it has as much or more personality than any instrument in it’s price range.  It’s visually intriguing, a pleasure to play and produces a consistant and reliable tone that you’ll want to hear again and again.

Click here for zoomable view of front

Click here for zoomable view of back

Click here for zoomable view of left side

Click here for zoomable view of right side

Arvo Part’s “Fratres” performed by Repin and Lugansky

It’s always so exciting to find new music that moves you.  Maybe it’s virtuosic, awe inspiring or just plain fun, but it’s the kind of video you show to your to friends.

Please share your favorite cool videos with us.  Reply or comment to this post with a video that you just couldn’t stop watching or showing your friends.

Here’s Arvo Part’s Fratres for violin and piano performed by Repin and Lugansky.


The Goat Rodeo with Yo-Yo Ma

Whether you’re a performer or an enthusiast, being exposed to new music broadens the mind and soul.  Here’s something you may enjoy.

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Violin – Berlin c. 1895 – $6500

This instrument is typical of the violins emanating from Berlin at end of the 19th century. They were often antiqued. Although this particular fiddle is over one hundred years old, it is still in excellent condition. Ironically, it would have looked virtually this old the day it was made. This violin was acquired from the estate of a deceased German conductor living in Roswell, Georgia. It was purchased along with a French bow from the same period. It is valued at $6500 based on what we know; it was built in Berlin c.1895 and held in the possession of knowledgable music professionals.

Many players and collectors prize the instruments made in Berlin during this period. They often have a unique personality as compared to instruments emanating from the Markneukirchen or Mittenwald makers, two other major centers of German making at the turn of the century. The tone is warm and balanced with an even production of overtones on the low and high end that do a great job of supporting the primary frequency. While it has a strong projection, it lacks the scratch or crunch common to instruments built to project at high levels.

It is built in the style of a Stradivarius. The varnish is a deep orange brown and speaks to the antiquity and the time period of which it was made. The materials are of exceptional quality. The one-piece back is beautifully flamed with matching ribs. The top is made from an alluring piece of spruce with very even growth. The ebony fittings are of the highest quality and are comfortable to the touch, giving this instrument a comfortable feel the moment you rest your chin.

This violin is a joy to view, hear and play. We invite you to visit our shop and experience this delightful gem.

Click the links below the gallery to view large, zoomable pictures in a separate window.


Large View of Front

Large View of Back

Large View of Side


Five things that determine violin string height, making your instrument easier (or harder) to play

Five things that effect violin string height making your violin easier or more difficult to play…


There are many factors that determine how beautiful a stringed instrument will sound when it is played, but there are also several factors that determine how easy or difficult it will be to play at all. One of the most crucial elements is how far the strings are from the fingerboard.  Here are five things to look for that effect violin string height.

1. Bridge Height

The bridge plays an important roll in the playability of a violin. Here are a few things to note when examining the bridge. Is it warped? When looking at a bridge from the side, it should be straight. If it’s warped at all, that will not only affect the string height, but also the sound of the instrument. The wood should be hard. If you can dent it with your fingernail, you’re probably in for a replacement in the near future. The strings should be evenly spaced in a uniformed fashion. Make sure that your bridge is initially set by a professional luthier to ensure it is adjusted to fit that individual instrument.

2. Nut Height

The height of the nut should be ½ the thickness of the string. Example: if the string is 2mm thick, the point where the string makes contact with the nut should be 1mm from the fingerboard. Some players and luthiers differ on this philosophy, but this is a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind, it is common for the strings to cut into the nut over time. If your strings are too close to begin with, you’ll be in the shop within a few months needing costly adjustments.

3. Fingerboard Scoop

Every fingerboard has a “scoop” much like a skateboard ramp. One way to check this scoop is to put the edge of a ruler against the fingerboard or hold down the string at the nut and end of the board. Look to see that the curve is smooth and even throughout the whole fingerboard. Also check that there is the same amount of scoop for the bass and treble strings. It should be around .5mm at the center of the board.

4. Fingerboard Smoothness

Smoothing a fingerboard is a tedious process, challenging for even an experienced luthier. When you put your eye over the scroll of the instrument and peer down the board, it should be shiny like a black mirror and free of bumps and divots.

5. The Height of the Strings

Finally, you can simply measure the strings. On a violin the treble side should be around 3.5mm and the bass side should be around 5.5. A viola should be approx. 4mm treble and 6mm bass side. Cellos around 5.5 mm treble side and 8.5-9 mm bass side.

All five of these factors combine to determine how far the string is from the fingerboard for any given note. Too close, and the string will buzz when played; too far, and the strings will be difficult to push down. The ultimate test of any instrument is to play it. Try playing any and all levels of instruments and you’ll quickly start to see, feel and hear the difference. There is a reason some instruments sell for $95 and some sell for $95,000. Regardless of the cost or sound of your fiddle, take it to a skilled luthier for examination. Many times a few minor adjustments can make it feel like a new instrument.


Upcoming events

There are a lot of really great opportunities for enrichment and involvement.  Here are a couple of upcoming events worth supporting.