Violin Makers Celebrate Their Craft: VSA Convention Begins in Indianapolis

The art of violin-making has taken center stage in Indianapolis, as hundreds of stringed instrument makers from around the world have arrived for the Violin Society of America's annual convention, which began today with the opening of exhibitions for stringed instrument makers at the Hyatt Regency. It was also the start of the closed judging sessions for more than 500 instruments that were entered by makers from 26 countries for the VSA's 21st International Competition.

I enjoyed getting an insider peek at the many materials and methods that go into the making of a violin: the wood, the bridges, the pegs, the specialty tools, the hair for bows, and more. I chatted with both exhibitors and makers, and here are some pictures and excerpts from our conversations.

As I walked into the exhibit hall, I noticed that many luthiers were on the prowl for wood. For example, here is luthier Martin Heroux, of Quebec, examining wood

This exhibit floor also is a great place for luthiers to find the tools of their trade -- and many of these tools are highly specialized and rare. Let's just say that you can't find many of them at your local hardware store.

And despite the fact that this craft is 400+ years old, people are still creating new tools for the creation and repair of violins, violas, cellos and basses. "After a few years, you thinkg you have all the tools you need, but sometimes someone comes up with another," said Andrew Carruthers of Santa Rosa, holding up a special clamp used in the repair of cracks on the edge of a fiddle.

And believe me, there were plenty of tools to be had here; this is just one table of them from the International Violin Company:

There were also many "parts" for fiddles: bridges, pegs, fingerboards and more. Another vendor, Talwar Brothers/Acura Meister of India, was displaying a special kind of end button -- you can take off a little cap and then peek through the button into the belly of the violin, to see if the soundpost is standing correctly. Vie President Abhi Chakrabarti demonstrated:

Upcoming Exhibitions

No upcoming exhibition found

Past Exhibitions

Nov 08 - Nov 13, 2020 Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, CA, USA

48th Annual VSA Convention

Oct 28 - Oct 31, 2020 Shanghai New International Expo Centre(SNIEC), Shanghai, China

Music China

Sep 25 - Sep 27, 2020 CremonaFiere S.p.A, Cremona, Italy

Cremona Mondomusica

Jul 09 - Jul 11, 2020 Music City Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Summer NAMM

May 21 - May 24, 2020 Beijing, China

Music Beijing Show 2020

Apr 01 - Apr 04, 2020 Frankfurt, Germany

Musikmesse 2020

Feb 18 - Feb 21, 2020 Guangzhou, China

Music Guangzhou 2020

Jan 16 - Jan 19, 2020 Anaheim, USA

NAMM Show 2020 Hall B, Booth # 8937

Apr 11 - Apr 14, 2018 Frankfurt, Germany

Musikmesse 2018

Jan 25 - Jan 28, 2018 Anaheim, California

NAMM 2018 (National Association of Music Merchants)

Dec 20 - Dec 23, 2017 McCormick Place West, 2301 S. Indiana Av. , Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Midwest Clinic

Oct 11 - Oct 14, 2017 Shanghai, China

Music China 2017

Sep 29 - Oct 01, 2017 Cremona, Italy

Mondomusica 2017

Apr 05 - Apr 08, 2017 Frankfurt, Germany

Musikmesse 2017

Jan 19 - Jan 22, 2017 Anaheim, California

NAMM 2017 (National Association of Music Merchants)

Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2016 Frankfurt, Germany – Musikmesse

Violin Makers Celebrate Their Craft: VSA Convention Begins in Indianapolis

Sep 30 - Oct 02, 2016 Cremona, Italy

Mondomusica 2016

Jan 21 - Jan 24, 2016 California

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants)