So, the other day I had a very pleasant meeting with Jan at Chapel Allerton Stringed Instruments. I went there to buy a new electric violin for my daughter. His workshop is a welcoming place, with many (odd, to me) instruments on the walls and among the many musical reference books on the bookshelf, Douglas Adams. When we arrived the violin was laid out, amp prepared and my daughter could try it for size and general suitability.
Jan then played it for us as well and showed just the talent he has.
After choosing the instrument, Jan explained the setup process he goes through: sometimes changing strings, sorting/fettling/filing bridges and nuts etc. Generally he puts each instrument through two hours of work until he’s happy to sell it, rather than as the manufacturer releases it. What this means is that clients need to appreciate the value they’re buying and get instruments at their peak of performance. I think that if you’ve found Jan, I you already know this.
There was absolutely, utterly no pressure to buy, and in fact Jan was sure we understood the nuances of the instrument, and that it has a very different sound to a traditional (acoustic?) violin. We talked about at least one limitation which is around the electronics. Some people think the electronics can be failing but they don’t fair well with rechargeable batteries. Rechargeables are better suited to delivering a constant current whereas a standard non-rechargeable can deliver more grunt that some amps need in order to produce accurate attack curves in the amps.
Finally, we got to talking about ukuleles and he’s suggested my daughter and I listen to Django Reinhart and Tim Kliphius
DjangoReinhardt on Uke:
A lesson from Tim Kliphius on jazz/gypsy violin:
The links expand indefinitely of course.