My workshop is mainly dedicated to instrument making, but I also welcome musicians who drop in for sound adjustments, repairs or advice.
Each instrument I make is a new project guided by once musician request or based on personal research. I am very much inspired by great samples of Italian Masters works from the 17th and 18th centuries. I look into their design through studies of geometry and proportions, in line with the valuable works of violin maker François Denis. The sound characteristics of the instrument is already taken into consideration during the tracing out process…
Among all the criteria that an instrument maker studies to produce a certain tone quality, one of the most important is the choice of the wood. For this reason I travel regularly to specialized wood mills in France, Italy or Germany. I select a few rare pieces in both a rational and personal way. This wood (Dolomite pine, Balkan maple) will be dried from five to ten years before being used.
The tools, techniques and instruments of the old Masters constitute a solid reference. During the making process I revisit this precious heritage to bring to the forefront my own style. I treat acoustical questions by progressively reducing the range of possibilities. At each step choices become more and more precise in order to obtain a specific sound.
I use my own craft made varnish from natural materials (linseed oil, pine rosin, gums and colouring resins, …) adapting old and tested recipes.
Once finished the instrument stays in the workshop for various tests and adjustments. After some weeks it acquires stability and little by little reveals its particular characteristics.
This creative process results in an initial sound quality, a potential that musicians can develop in relation to their own musical personality.
© Michel Rondeau