Jeffrey S. Robinson Violin Maker
Traditional Handmade Violins With A Touch of Modern Technology
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Frequently AskedQuestions

Does the low humidity in Flagstaff affect your instruments?

Yes, but in a positive way. When instruments go from low humidity to high Humidity they will swell a minor amount.  This often requires a shorter bridge, longer soundpost or an adjustment, but they rarely crack.  They will also gain a small amount of weight due to water absorption.  Most anecdotal information implies instruments sound better in moderately humid areas.  A well built instrument will pop open on the glue joints between the back or top and the sides when there are long term humidity changes.  Instruments built in humid environments have cracking problems when they go to dry climates.  A high percentage of modern makers control the humidity in their working environment.

How long does it taketo build a violin?

I have never timed myself, since I am always working on numerous projects at the same time.  The time to construct a violin is often stated at 100 to 200 hours.  Even after an instrument is physically finished I will often try several different bridges, sets of strings and soundpost settings and these final steps can easily consume several days.  After I have finished the woodwork on a violin I will let it set outside exposed to the elements for about six months.  After it is varnished the varnish will feel dry to the touch in a matter of days, but the varnish will continue to dry and become harder with less damping effect for months or even years.  The elapsed tome for me to finish an instrument is about a year.

Why do some handmadeinstruments cost far more or less than another?

Handmade violins are works of art.  They are sometimes referred to as musica lsculpture.  Artwork varies greatly in price and so do bowed instruments.  The reputation of the luthier, the physical location it is constructed in and the playability of the instrument all influence the price.  Unfortunately tone is very hard to quantify and players and listeners will disagree on what is the best tone.  What is important about tone is that it suits the player and their technique. Consequently in  good sounding well made instruments the absolute quality of the tone(if there is such a thing) does not play a significant role in price.  This is true of modern and antique instruments.  Some makers feel their instruments are every bit as good as a colleague who might charge more,so, they raise their prices to match the higher price.  The choice of raw wood, strings and accessories (although critical for tone) constitute a small fraction of the price of a handmade instrument.  It is the skill, reputation and marketing of the maker that determines the price of a violin.