Welcome to the Library. Please take time to read this warning.
I had always planned to publish my various works, if not free of charge then as cheaply as possible. So, for what they are worth, this site now contains a small number of the articles and talks that I have written or given over the past thirty years. It has to be said that much of this work, like my aching body, is both old and unreliable. Consequently, although the greatest care has been taken while compiling this site it almost certainly contains many errors. As such its contents should be treated with extreme caution. This is especially true of the earlier articles, which have simply been reproduced more or less as they first appeared. Neither I nor my fellow contributors can accept responsibility for any losses resulting from information or opinions, new or old, which are reproduced here. Some of the ideas and information have already been superseded by subsequent research and development. (I have attempted to included a bibliography for further information on such pieces) In spite of this I believe that these articles are still of considerable use. For PC logistical reasons it has not been possible to reproduce all of my illustrations. I have included the text for the series of posters that I created for the Strad magazine. While these posters are all still available, with one or two exceptions, they have all been reproduced without the original accompanying text.
If you wish to read on the risk is entirely yours.

Following articles are recently released on this site

Violin Making

Fitting a Bassbar

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Arching, Purfling & Edgework in Cremonese Instruments

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Making a Double Bass

This is an edited and extended version of a blog that was written on the website ‘Maestronet’. It documents the making of a Double Bass by René Zaal and Roger Hargrave. This article explores the design making and varnishing of a double bass, but it also includes several sections relating to violin/viola making and varnishing. This article is extremely large. It contains 371 photographs and more than 24000 words. Consequently it may present some problems for those wishing to download it. For this reason I have provided three downloading possibilities. The first offers a quicker download, but the photo quality is compromised. The second possibility offers better images, but it will take longer to download and it may tax slower systems. Please note that although anyone is free to download this article, a licensing agreement applies.

Making a Double Bass - Browser Plugin Version
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Making a Double Bass - Print Version
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Some Things You Should Know Before Purchasing a Cremonese Violin
This article is intended for musicians wishing to purchase an antique violin Download ( 260kb)

The Identification of Classical Cremonese Violins
Circa 1550 to1750

Part I
History and Lives

This is both an instruction manual for violin makers and dealers and a timely warning for musicians planning to purchase an antique violin.

The Connoisseurs' Craft and its Role in
Instrument Identification and Valuation
The Importance of Background Knowlege
Download (116kb)
Download (181kb)

The Working Methods of Guarneri del Gesù and their Influence upon his stylistic Development

This is my written contribution to the book 'Giuseppe Guarneri Del Gesu', published by Peter Biddulph in London in 1998. The title describes its contents, but this work will also be of value to anyone wishing to construct a 'baroque' style violin in the manner of the Cremonese masters.
The Amati Method
The Stylistic Development
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The Mould and the Rib Structure
Download (5149kb)
The Preparation of the Head and Neck Blocks
Download (1295kb)
The Selection and Preparation of the Back and Belly Woods
Fixing the Neck and Marking the Back Outline
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Arching and Thicknessing
The soundholes and the Bassbar
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The Labels
The Edge and Purfling
The Varnish
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Amati Stradivari & Guarneri - The Library of Congress violins
First published 1997

Nicola Amati 1654 'Brookings'
Antonio Stradivari 1699 'Castelbarco'
Antonio Stradivari 1700 'Ward'
Antonio Stradivari 1704 'Betts'
Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri 'del Gesu' 1733 'Ex Kreisler'
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Various Articles and Lectures

The 'Sainton' Controversy - Genuine or Fake?
The complex story of a late violin by Giuseppe Guarneri 'del Gesu'.
First published in 2005, this is the unedited version of an article that appeared in the Strad Magazine.
Download (70kb)
The 'Messiah' Stradivari Controversy
Strad letter 2001
Download (23kb)
The Amati Method
The following item was written for the catalogue,which accompanies the Retrospective Exhibition of Classical Cremonese Masters. The exhibition, took place in Cremona between 29 September and 22 October 2000, it included the work of twenty-seven masters. The catalogue is illustrated and contains several specially commissioned articles by international experts.
Download (118kb)
Andrea Amati 1505 - 1577
In the first of a series on the Amati Family Roger Hargrave presents them in their historical context and compares two decorated examples of the work of Andrea Amati.
Download (138kb)
Nicola Amati & the ‘Alard’
This article continues the series on the Amati family with an exploration of the craft of Nicola, grandson of Andrea, and an examination of the famous violin.
Download (144kb)
The fruits of Brotherly love?
This completes the three series article on the amati family with a detailed description of the 1582 tenor viola by the brothers Amati, Antonio and Hieronymus.
Download (87kb)
The case for casein
Roger Hargrave proposes a casein link with Stradivari.
Udercover agents
When is a Strad not a Strad? - When it was made by his son.
Roger Hargrave suggests that many Cremonese masterpieces are in fact the work of lesser - known makers.
Download (72kb)
Thrills without frills
Roger Hargrave examines a robust violin by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, built around 1703 for a life on the road.
Download (68kb)
Antonio Stradivari - "HELLIER" 1679
Roger Hargrave discusses the most famous of Stradivari's decorated instruments.
Antonio Stradivari - "SERVAIS" 1701
The renowned "Servais" cello by Stradivari is examined
by Roger Hargrave
Antonio Stradivari - "BETTS" 1704
Roger Hargrave examines one of Stradivari's finest violins.
Antonio Stradivari - "Tuscan viola" 1690
Roger Hargrave on a rare surviving viola from Stradivari's most skillfull period as a craftsman.
Guarneri del Gesu - "Kreissler" 1733
Roger Hargrave examines the construction and workmanship of this magnificent violin.
Seeking Mrs Guarneri
Roger Hargrove reassesses another forgotten woman of Cremona, Katarina, the wife of 'del Gesu'
Stradivari - The "Davidov" cello 1712 - Shine on
There's much to admire about the cello, but Stradivari's fantastic varnish makes the most powerful impact, writes Roger Hargrave
The failure of Brotherly love?
In the second part of his study into the brothers Amati, Roger Hargrave examines newly translated documents which throw the split between Antonio & Hieronymus into focus.
Guarnerius del Gesu 1733
Description and measurements: Roger Hargrave.
Antonio Stradivari 'Maria Exmuir Mackenzie' 1694
Description and measurements: Roger Hargrave.
A fine 1785 viola by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini from his Turin period.
Description and measurements: Roger Hargrave.
Alessandro Gagliano - "Rotondo"' 1710
Roger Hargrave examines a striking example
by the early 18th century maker Alesandro Gagliano.
Stradivari - The "Gibson" viola
Roger Hargrave describes the instrument's characteristics.
"One of the best preserved examples of Stradivari's viola craftsmanship."
Milanese Master
Roger Hargrave examines a 1712 viola by Giovanni Grancino
A violin by Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri
Roger Hargrave discusses an outstanding example of the work of a member of the Guarneri family known as `Joseph Guarneri filius Andrea'.
Stradivari `Milanollo' violin of 1728
Roger Hargrave examines the Stradivari `Milanollo' violin of 1728, one of the few of the master's instruments to keep its original sharpness
Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini 1776
Description and measurements: Roger Hargrave.
Jacobus Stainer 1679
Roger Hargrave examines the construction and workmanship of this violin, which still retains its original undisturbed baroque neck.
Undercover agents - When is a Strad not a Strad?
Roger Hargrave suggests that many Cremonese masterpieces are in fact the work of lesser-known makers
Pry before you buy - Buying an instrument
Some musicians shell out serious money on instruments without any hard evidence of their true worth. ROGER HARGRAVE argues that buyers should wise up and insist that dealers provide full condition reports
The craft of the connoisseur - What makes a violin connoisseur?
And how difficult is it to get in on the trade? In the first half of our two-part guide. ROGER HARGRAVE investigates the history of the art
The Cremonese key to expertise
In the second half of a two-part guide to violin connoisseurship, ROGER HARGRAVE explains why knowledge of classical Cremonese makers can unlock the secrets of so many European violins of that period and beyond
My favourite things
The German-based British luthier ROGER HARGRAVE reveals how his most cherished instrument, tools, books and music have been sources of inspiration and comfort to him
Comeback kid
This month Maxim Vengerov returns to the London stage after four years away. He explains his absence in conversation with luthier ROGER HARGRAVE
Evolutionary Road
In this first of a two-part article, ROGER HARGRAVE traces the development of the violin from the Baroque era to modern times and refutes some long-held beliefs in the process
Period of Adjustment
Although the basic violin setup has changed little from Baroque times, many of its parts have altered radically. In this second of two articles, ROGER HARGRAVE tracks the development of strings, fingerboards and the neck root

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Violin-maker Roger Graham Hargrave, Entenfang 18, 28790 Schwanewede; Tel.:04209/2591 Fax 04209/2591
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