Lord Harris: from luthier to lord and back again

The violin making world is full of fascinating characters: often researching a maker turns into an enormously detailed dive into social history! Charles Harris of Oxford stands out as one of the great examples of a maker whose life story wouldn’t be out of place in a historical novel.

The Klotz Family of Mittenwald

The Klotz family of Mittenwald produced stunning instruments equal to many of the Italian violins being made at the same time. Find out more about these often under-rated instruments.

F Hole Models

String instruments are usually made according to a set of characteristics known as a model. A luthier might choose to use one of four primary models (Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesù, Amati or Stainer), to use a slightly more unusual model, or to strike out on their own using a personal model.

Trial appointments: what should I take with me?

One of the great joys of our work is that it’s hugely varied: we get to work with everyone from very young musicians to brilliant professional players from lots of different musical traditions. This variety means that there are no hard and fast rules about what to bring along when you’re trying instruments or bows with us: hopefully this list will give you some ideas but feel free to disregard anything that doesn’t suit! In general, we suggest the following

Funding your instrument: where to find help

Buying your perfect musical partner can often be a major investment. The good news is that there are a number of organisations who might be able to help. We’ve listed a number of organisations who regularly support players with the purchase of an instrument or bow. They tend to be quite specific, so it is worth doing lots of research to find one that really fits your circumstances.

Daniel Parker and his influence

For many aficionados of violins, the instruments of the early London maker Daniel Parker are like the holy grail: rare, precious and mysterious. To understand why, one must delve into who Parker was, where he lived, and those with whom he worked.

Meet the team: Introducing Helen

Hello all! Having officially come on board at a the time when no-one can visit the shop, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself properly. I’m really looking forward to meeting many of our clients face-to-face in the near future.

Buying a violin online: our reflections on socially-distanced instrument shopping

As many of you know, we are musicians first and foremost: removing the possibility of visiting a violin shop and playing the instruments in person felt like an obstacle that was impossible to overcome. Nearly a year on, I’m happy to tell you that our socially-distanced process has proved to be very popular and that we are confident that it represents a viable alternative to visiting us in person for as long as this is necessary.

Coming soon...

A bit of a strange ‘Just In’ post as we don’t intend to sell this one! This very special violin was made by John Grice: the label states that the instrument was made in Edinburgh in 1731, making this the oldest known Scottish violin in existence. The violin has been carefully restored and will be loaned to players so that it can be heard in concert around the country once more.

Guest blog: Nicolo Paganini, by Alastair Macfarlane

I know Alastair from his visits to my shop, which are always extremely enjoyable. As well as being a competent and sensitive violinist and violist, he is a true academic - both infinitely interested and extremely knowledgeable about a broad range of musical and non musical subjects. Here is his monograph on Nicolo Paganini, which is entertaining and filled with nuggets that I didn’t know. Well worth taking the time to read!

Why hire an instrument?

Have you ever taken up a new hobby with great enthusiasm, only to drop it when it fails to live up to expectations? Our house is littered with unloved sporting equipment and fancy cooking apparatus, most discarded once it became clear that the owner was not going to become world-class in the discipline without a little hard work…

From Flowers to Fiddles

Well, the shop is starting to take shape. I've been painting and cleaning furiously, and trying to convert the shop to look less like its previous self (a florist) and more like a violin shop. No matter how much I get rid of, I keep finding bottles of...

A Question of Origin

How does one determine the nationality of an instrument? Should it be the origin of the maker, the style/construction method, or where the instrument was actually made? Of course the question all too often is ‘can we call this Italian?’. In the case of this 1849 Charles Boullangier violin, however, the answer is somewhat complex...

Gareth Ballard's Design Process

After we first met, Gareth spent some time explaining his method when arching his violins. I asked him to write this down as it is a fascinating and wonderfully simple concept (although difficult to pull off) which produces brilliant instruments.

Instrumental bargains and how to find them

Our aim here at Tim Wright Fine Violins is always to source instruments which offer fantastic value for money; instruments which sound far better than their price would suggest. One top tip for those of you searching for such an instrument is to consider broadening your search to makers from less well-regarded schools.

Business so far…

Blogging is on my to-do-list, somewhere above filing tax returns but lagging sadly behind anything to do with looking at beautiful instruments and bows. It’s been five months since my last communication and so it seemed like time for an update!

Pictures of Joseph Hill now up

This violin was made in London by Joseph Hill, the first recorded violin maker of the famous Hill dynasty. Joseph was the great-grandfather of William Ebsworth Hill, who started the firm W. E. Hill and Sons. As far as we know, Joseph Hill was an honest and hard working violin maker, unlike his youngest son, Lockey Hill who was hanged for stealing horses!

First Week and Starbucks

Wow, what a first week! In the week after I launched my Facebook page, I've had over 1200 page views, lots of support from friends sharing and liking the page, and even 5 enquiries about instruments I have for sale. I thought that making people aware of my new business would be a slow process – I'm delighted that it isn't proving to be so far!


If you are reading this then you have somehow arrived at my little corner of cyberspace. Please make yourself at home, but don't expect anything more from me than some incoherent ramblings and vague delusions of grandeur!