Skip to main content
Howard Needham working on a new concert violin

A Different Approach

In 2001, I began using a system of violin making revealed to me by Geary Baese, a researcher of 18th century Italian instrument making. This method has given me far better results than anything I achieved previously using the traditional plate-oriented system.

Athough I begin the same way—carving the plates and monitoring pitch, weight and flexibility—the final acoustic adjustments are not made until the instrument is complete and set up ‘in the white,’ just before varnish is applied.

The instrument changes dramatically during this stage. The sound becomes more complex and powerful, the instrument responds with less effort, playing in tune becomes surprisingly easy. This more holistic approach of tuning the completed instrument rather than its individual components has enabled me to build instruments of remarkably consistent quality, prized by players for their brilliance, depth and power.