Ordering an instrument / Commissions

My instruments are played by some of the world's leading professional musicians including many concert masters, professors and several world renowned soloists. Consequently, most player come to me having seen and heard one of my instruments. I am probably best known for accurate copies of classical violins, in particular the wide variety of models and varnishes that I can offer. Please feel free to examine just a small selection of my work by clicking Instruments and enlarging the various images.

The first step in ordering an instrument is discussing the players' individual requirements. Some players have very specific requirements. This may be an accurate 'bench copy' of their own or a colleague's instrument. More often the request is for a reproduction of one of the many instruments that I have examined and recorded over the years. The emphasis is usually on Cremonese, Brescian and Venetian instruments, but I have made copies of many Italian masters. Such work generally entails reproducing the instrument with an antiqued finish, including superficial wear to the varnish edges and head. However, some players prefer straightforward new instruments based on the patterns and forms of the classical Italian masters. Whatever the player's requirements, as long as the work is interesting, I am happy to meet their needs.

Some players require assistance in coming to a decision. In such cases I will take time to answer their questions and explain the various options. My main concern is to combine the kind of sound the player wants, with a playability that matches their physical requirements. Particularly with regard to playability my instruments are engineered with considerable attention to detail.

In spite of these possibilities, many players are quite happy for me to design and make an instrument for them trusting in my reputation and ability.

Once the finer points have been established the client is placed on my waiting list. When I am ready to begin the work I always contact the client once again to discuss final details. Unless the instrument is an unusual request, such as a left-handed model, a copy of a more obscure maker, or an especially large or small viola, I do not request a deposit. Neither do I insist on a client purchasing a finished instrument. I want my players to be completely happy with their instrument, both at the point of completion and for years to come. Complete confidence in my own work has allowed me to make this offer for more than thirty years without disappointment either way.

Complementing the original finished work is my guarantee to service the instrument for a period of one year. During this time any alterations to the instruments playability will be carried out free of all charges. Indeed it is recommended that the instrument be checked and adjusted within this time. For players who live a long way from my workshop I do have a network of trusted colleagues who can undertake this work, again without charge.

My instruments are generally made to order. However, now and again I amuse myself making 'one-off-specials'. These 'specials' are generally a little out of the ordinary and are usually the result of an interesting instrument that has visited my workshop. The latest example is a Grancino violin copy with beech-wood back ribs and head. It has to be said that these works are very much a labour of love and are not always to everyone's taste.



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