Basic Violin Set-up I & Tool Use is a hands-on introductory workshop that addresses the basics of 4/4 violin set-up and teaches some of the basic bench skills required for repair and maintenance of a full-size violin. Topics include: proper use of bench grinders; sharpening knives, plane blades, and chisels; fitting pegs in the scroll; setting and making sound- posts; and making bridges. We will also discuss string selection and sound-post adjustments, although keep in mind the practice of sound adjustments takes years to master. Basic Violin Set-up is highly recommended for music teachers, musicians, shop owners, and others interested in string instrument repair. While you do not need to have previous experience working on violins, previous woodworking experience is beneficial. Basic Violin Set-Up I & Tool Use is highly recommended to as a precursor to Violin Set-Up II, Adjustment and Basic Repairs.
Classes meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with open workshop hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Materials and Tools
Two full-sized violins with ebony fingerboards. Inexpensive violins with or without pegs are recommended. They may be previously set up. We will be using these to fit new pegs, sound-posts, and bridges. They should be in good condition with no open cracks or seams. Other items needed include pegs (regular thickness and thick shaft), bridges, sound-post material, and strings. A complete list of suggested tools and materials may be found at https://training.unh.edu/violin
Francis Morris is a 1974 graduate of the world-renowned violinmaking school in Mittenwald, Germany. Subsequently he worked with Fritz Baumgartner in Basel, Switzerland, and at the shops of Hans Weisshaar and Robert Cauer in Los Angeles. Since opening his own shop in 1984, he has provided his customers with high quality instrument restoration, fine sound adjustments, and the sale and service of instruments and bows. He won an award for tone at the prestigious Violin Society of America’s 2002 competition. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and the Violin Society of America. He currently lives and has a shop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, nestled in the Berkshires near the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival.
Michael began his career in woodworking as a furniture maker about twenty-five years ago. His deep love of music and desire to refine his hand skills led him to seek out training in violin making. He entered into a formal apprenticeship with Francis Morris after spending a summer as a student at the UNH Violin Craftsmanship Institute. Michael has also had the opportunity to study with Paul Wiessmeyer, a Boston based violin maker and teacher at UNH, and Hans Nebel, of the world-renowned Wurlitzer shop in New York City.
Michael is currently the shop foreman for Francis Morris Violins in Great Barrington, Mass. He has also assisted Francis Morris since 2012 in his Basic Violin Set-Up course.
Most recently, Michael was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Ton for a violin by the Violin Society of America at the 2018 international violin making competition.