Latest News - - what's going on?!
COVID-19 Adjustments are in place.
Like everyone in the world at large, we are taking steps to adapt to the current health situation that affects each and all of us. While shop work continues as normal, there are changes in how we operate to keep everyone safe from exposure to the Corona virus.
- Customer work continues to be accepted for the usual personal care and quick turnaround.
- Unvaccinated customers and staff, wearing face masks, maintain safe social distancing recommendations as per New York State guidelines.
- Vaccinated parties may mutually agree to remove masks, yet remain respectful of other's wishes!
BY FOLLOWING PUBLIC SAFETY GUIDELINES, WE HELP SAVE LIVES!!!
With the orchestral season in full swing, the fine balance between passions plays tictoc. This month saw completion of the 16-inch viola of American materials, back & ribs of walnut, top of well aged redwood. The appearance and sound are super warm and easy, please see the VIOLAS page. On the workbench is a new orchestral model bass, and restoration of a vintage "player's bass" of popular make. Please stay tuned for updates!
Busy, busy! The Rochester Philharmonic Bass Section just played an ensemble concert at Rochester's Parcel 5 outdoor downtown venue. It featured interesting arrangements of a variety of music, including Bach, John Williams, Pink Floyd, Dave Anderson, and Prokofiev, on a perfect late summer evening. We also premiered my arrangement of Dvorak's Largo from his New World Symphony, which we dedicated to former RPO bassist Jack Stauber, who sadly passed in January 2020. There was a lot of BASS LOVE in the air! We hope to create a recording of this soon!
This month has seen a wide variety of maintenance work on violins, violas, cellos, and basses. College-bound students are prepping their instruments for new Fall efforts. An interesting Griffin model viola of one-piece walnut back/redwood soundboard is well underway! Currently researching models for next Griffin BASS!
Summer is here, nature is in full bloom! I've just finished my fourth pandemic 16-inch viola, a modified Griffin model incorporating desirable characteristics of the several 1625 Amatis recently finished and sold! Made in the spirit of del Gesu, it's a bit rebellious, yet a lovable "touch me" instrument with an easy, flexible spirit. Please flip to the VIOLAS page to see photos! Other recent work includes maximizing the setup of customer instruments, both made by myself and vintage. A well-known bass shop subcontracted me to repair the neck attachment system of a popular model bass with detatchable neck, and the enjoyable challenge was a complete success, pleasing for all parties. Gets me thinking about making a bass! Keep in touch!
Happy Spring! It's been a long journey through the health and political landscape, but life is returning to a healthy outlook. The pandemic has allowed many productive shop hours, and a NEW 16-inch AMATI model ViOLA has been completed. It is aptly described by the customer already test-driving it as having a "sweet, caramel tone." I agree, adding my impression that it is very classy sounding, balanced perfectly with chocolately-warm lows and golden highs. In-house violinist Paige Griffin convincingly demonstrated its playing ease. Another Griffin 16-inch model is well underway, should be ready by June.
See more pics on the VIOLAS page!
Hear RPO Principal Violist Aaron Mossburg beautifully demonistrate my 2020 16-inch G. AMATI model viola on uTube. Viola is available. (Click on pic)
Griffin 16-inch VIOLA is finished & SOLD, its new voice full, easy, warm and projecting beautifully. Please enjoy the view, and watch for video to arrive soon! See VIOLAS page for details.
LATE A U G U S T 2020:
NEW bass top is being enjoyed! Tune in to ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA performances, beginning September 21, 2020, to hear this bass played by myself, providing tonal fundamental support of this great orchestra!
* Kieran Hanlon, Assistant Professor of Double Bass and Jazz at The State University of New York at Fredonia, and graduated Master's student Jake Thurston, feature my handmade basses on a summer lawn performance.
*Another Griffin-model, 16-inch viola is taking shape, just began varnish procedures (8/20)
* A 2009 SHEN SB150 Hybrid 3/4-size bass, nicely played-in, carved top, near-mint condition, is
available FOR SALE (Listed 8/2020)
*Some wonderful and affordable vintage French VIOLIN & BASS BOWS have arrived! (7/2020)
VIOLA HAPPINESS! June 2020
G. Amati (c.1625) model 16-inch viola just finished! Check it out on the VIOLAS page here, and on my facebook page, where David Rose, Associate Professor of Viola at Fredonia School of Music, thoughtfully demonstrates it with the music of Bach and Schubert.
- REHAIRS are SALE PRICED FOR PANDEMIC (violin, viola & cello - $60, and
bass - $70) INCLUDING SALES TAX!!,
to accomodate reduced income flow of virtually all musicians at this difficult time. More playing time means no less frequent maintenance needs.
- Bows are cleaned gently using disinfectant, and new hair is combed through using a mild hydrogen peroxide solution for disinfecting measures and bagged in plastic sleeve when completed, reducing the likelyhood of virus transmition.
Please take steps to protect yourself and others, so we can mutually beat this virus!
Stay safe, and BE WELL!
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Griffin Violins on YouTube!
Personal friend and colleague Wifredo Deglans, Associate Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, has created YouTube videos demonstrating my latest traditionally-handmade violins! Please subscribe to my new YouTube channel, Griffin Violins, to hear your next violin presented and demonstrated by Willy! The videos are an excellent chance to compare different Strad and del Gesu models in quick succession. Care was taken to equalize varibles such as recording location/time/equipment, chinrest, and strings choice, so one can hear the distinctive personalities possessed by each violin.
Installation of anima NOVA
sound posts in violins and many basses has proven excellent effectiveness of the German-made innovation. Anima Nova sound posts, NOW available for all string instruments at my shop, are made of carbon fiber, and feature measured adjustable length, from outside the f-hole. Consensus among players is increased clarity and speed of response, reduced wolfs, and enhanced tonal warmth of each the various instruments. I currently enjoy this in my own Northern Italian bass! The great asset is the adjustability of post length to accommodate seasonal changes in instruments, without requiring refitting. Upon installation, adjustments are immediately tried by the player, a brief process by which both player, listener, and luthier can quickly find the optimum adjustment.
As of Fall 2019, two new handmade Stradivari model violins are now finished (1709 "Viotti" and 1713 "Huberman") and being played-in by various members of the Rochester Philharmonic violin secion. The instruments will be used in a presentation for RPO donors this March 2020, entitled "ARTFUL SOUNDS: Choose Your Strad!" and will feature my handmade vioins and bass, being performed upon by RPO violinsists Tigran Vardanian and Thomas Rodgers, and myself!
Holiday pricing now in effect through end of 2019, with savings of up to 40% on select instruments! This is your special opportunity to afford the instrument you've been looking for.
Several lovely new handmade Stradivari model violins are fresh off the workbench, available for trial. These offer complex tonal palette with amazing projection quality and distinctive Cremonese beauty. Both one- or two-piece back available, built on the "P" and "PG" moulds.
Bassists!!! A beautiful circa 1870 X.JACQUET BASS (SOLD)
is available at a new lowered price!
Also available is the ex-Oscar Zimmerman Gagaliano bass, please inquire.
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Hi Friends! Its been far too long since the last update! The shop has been very busy, a highlight being the completion and sale of a new Griffin Orchestral model bass in Fall 2018! The onwer sends ecstatic texts updating me on his latest joys of using the bass in the Northeastern U.S.
Currently, two more Strad model violins await varnishing, and two viola corpi have their rib structures on moulds, one a Griffin model, and the other an Amati pattern.
The usual assortment of repairs and rehairs continually occupy available bench space. Several custom ebony C-Extensions were installed, one of them a nice looking double-pulley, ebony model senza hole drilled through scroll, which received notable attention on Facebook. In Januaru 2019 a damaged Testore bass received major restorative work on its removed back.
Upcoming summer 2019 events include the2019 International Society of Bassists Convention in Bloomington at Indiana University (my alma mater), June 3rd -8th. We will be featuring several Italian basses, the restored 1860's Jacquet bass, three Griffin basses (2008 Solo Model, the 2005 & 2018 Orchestral models (ALL SOLD), and many great bows, all of which can be tried!
Following that will be a week at the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop, with expert guidance under master maker Michael Darnton.
Until next time!
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This June I spent two weeks in Claremont, California with the Southern California Association of Violin Makers, attending the workshop of Michael Darnton, one of the world's most well-versed Stradivari experts! While there, I readied two more Strad model violins (the 1709 Viotti, and the 1713 Huberman/Bell) for varnishing, including final scraping, neck sets, and fingerboard preparation. Players there experienced my two most recently finished Strad models, the 1715 Titian and 1716 Messiah, and found them to be pleasingly responsive, rich in clarity and depth, and with very projecting tonal warmth. Oh, and pleasing to the eye, as well!
Also a shout out to CLAREMONT YOGA in the heart of the village, where I enjoyed attending six drop-in classes of blissful peace and renewal!
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STRADIVARI LIVES HERE!
Check out my two latest violins, described on the VIOLINS page.
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The 2017 ISB CONVENTION was an unqualified success for all participants, players, attendees, luthiers, teachers, young bassists, and amateurs. Thanks to Nicholas Walker, Madeleine Crouch, and the incredible Staff for all their hard work. Thank you to all my wonderful friends, customers, and new friends who came by our table and tried the instruments and bows! We're already looking forward to the 2019 convention, location TBD!
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Friends, we're preparing for the
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF BASSISTS
~ ~ 2017 CONVENTION ~ ~
June 4-9th at Ihaca College in beautiful
Ithaca, New York!
We'll be showing the newly restored French Xavier Jacquet bass, and
highlighting the 2008 Griffin Italian Model bass which now hosts a state-of-art carbon grahite neck stiffener. You can hear these basses being used by competitors in the various player divisions.
Will also be showing a wonderful pre-war JUZEK bass just in!
Of course, lots of bows to check out, including a nice H.R.PFRETZSCHNER French bow, and an older KOLSTEIN bow.
COME BY AND SEE US!
(We'll be sharing a space with CSC Products.)
ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB ISB
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L.MORIZOT (freres) BASS BOW
Beautiful quartered pernambuco
Fine French craftsmanship
Strong articulation characteristics
Clear & full sound
Finesse bow, esp. for solo playing
Certificate of Authentication included
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VIOLA: Daniel Parker c.1715 15 3/4-inch
Serious inquiries only, please.
VIOLA: 1970 James Coggin , 16 3/4-inches
NEW!!! 1741 del Gesu Violin just completed last November!!
Not only is it beautiful
to look at, it fits very
comfortably, and has
a soulful intensity within a warm tonality. Sound is very
even across the strings,
and up & down the fingerboard, that characteristic which
makes del Gesu violins the preference of soloists.
GUARNERI del GESU model - FOR SALE!
15 Minutes of World-wide Fame!
Karr-Koussevitztky "Amati" bass damaged in flight, but repaired in time for Colin Corner's wonderful performance on Nov. 8, 2015!
NEW16-inchVIOLA in the Brescian style available! Sophisticated tone that accommodates an easy solo register, with excellent qualities of projection. Invites refined technique. SOLD!
Four more Strad-model violins are currently in the making!!
Models being copied are:
1713 Huberman (Bell)
1716 Lady Blunt
The violins will all be of well-aged premium European wood, air-dried, and selected for their resemblence to the respective models. All making is done in-house using traditional Cremonese internal mould method, including all work done BY HAND. Please contact me if you would like to reserve one of these violins, which are guaranteed to please very discriminating players.
Paige played her heart out!!! The Griffin 2014 Strad
(1715 "Titian") violin could be heard above the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in their March 8th, 2015, side-by-side concert with the Rochester Philharmonic. A knowledgeable violinist colleague said "I knew from the very first chord [of the Vitali Chacconne] it was going to be REALLY good! Wow!" Congratulations to the soloists and all members for a very memorable afternoon of wonderful music!
f f f f f
SPRING IS SPRINGING!
The 2015 Griffin 16-inch Viola is sold and being well-loved by a Rochester Philharmonic violist, who uses it everyday at work. It is a pleasure to look over and see & hear the instrument being played so wonderfully! Many discriminating players shared extremely positive feedback in the process of selection, and are eager for more violas!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!New VIOLA is well underway! This requested instrument is a custom 16-inch model that delivers a warm, mature, and free sound that blends especially well in chamber music ensembles. Wood selection is American red spruce belly, American old growth butternut one-piece back, and northwest American big leaf maple neck. Sweet harmonies!
The GRIFFIN 2007 ORCHESTRAL HYBRID BASS is SOLD!
Three New Strads in progress!
Talk about winning models!
Strad 1715 finished! Sound exceeds all expectations.
Sparkling clarity, brilliant projection in all registers, wide tonal pallette, super easy to play, and looks great.
SUMMER 2014 ACTIVITIES! Attended the Southern California Violin and Bow Maker's Workshop for two weeks of intensive focus on Stradivarian plate modeling with expert Michael Darnton.
Trip to Carnegie Hall - May 2014
The RPO had a tour to the Big Apple on May 5th through the 8th.
We will also be starting a blog on the subject.Click here to go to our Blog page.
New GUARNERI DEL GESU model finished!
A new sound experience in tone color and warmth with projection.
See and hear the 2013 Griffin Italian Model boom out a clear low B! A truly enriching experience!
Griffin 2013 Violin (Stradivari 1716 "Titian") SOLD!
Sophisticated clarity with projection and personality exceeding its humble origin!
Just completed, begun this June. Wonderful sounding model.