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David Tseng

Violin Making Workshop

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In the violin making world I think there are a few aspects that

distinguish a professional from an amateur.

I don't, however, think that one of them is love of the craft

or the search for beauty and artistic expression through it. I have

never met a "professional" that is not an artist through and

through, and genuinely moved by exemplary violins, no matter their

origin. Maybe I am just fortunate in that regard.

A professional in the violin world is some one who has the ability,

knowledge and understanding to take care of a customer for life. No

matter what needs arise, you will be able to help that person.

A few examples.

If you sell one of your violins to a customer, the professional

will be able to help that customer step up into a better grade of

instrument, either a better one of yours, or a higher quality

antique. If you have limited ability or a limited access to

instruments, then there may come a time when you will no longer be

able to meet the needs of your client.Then what? You would have to

send them else where.

If your client breaks the instrument they purchased from you, can

you confidently take on any repair that might arise? Do you have a

large enough field of knowledge and experience to help make the

instrument right?

Be it a new bridge or a neck graft.

When you accept money for a product you have created you are

entering into a relationship with the other party. Like any

relationship, a one sided one will usually end in tears. Or a

restraining order. A professional in the violin world will

confidently handle any and all aspects of the relationship with the


In my mind, it becomes a very confused area when the amateur starts

taking large sums of money for a product they either made of

"found". To me, a large sum is 1000$, or even a little less.

I do not mean to sound negative, or snooty, or elitist. I would not

consider myself a professional, but rather one who is working hard

every day to reach that level. I also feel that the judgment of

professional or not is, in a large part, not entirely up to the

person. It is a consensus reached by the community at large, often

unbeknownst to the "professional" in question.

Oh well. A bit convoluted, but just some of my thoughts.

Good luck.

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Originally posted by:
Jeffrey Holmes
] This is not to say

that there aren't other ways to learn the craft... there are some

pretty fine makers who have never attended a violin making


Jeffrey, David and others,

In my limited interaction with the rest of the industry it is

tough to tell whether or not there is a bias towards those who have

attended school, or vise versa.  Judging from advertisements

looking for help, it would appear as if school is preferred.

 On the complete other end of the spectrum, I have also met

shop owners who look at graduates as a less than preferred hire

(usually for lack of repair experience / speed with setup, etc.)

 Which preference do you see more of?

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