Violin- 18th Century Milan

Posted on | October 20, 2009 | 2 Comments|


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This interesting smaller size violin was brought to the shop for cleaning and a check over. It was made in Milan in about 1740 and is perhaps the work of Paolo Antonio Testore.


dscn62442Often on a violin of this age we find minor cracks.  These can be glued from the outside without removing the top. In order to clean the violin these small cracks should be glued so no cleaning materials seep into the cracks. If that occurs, future gluing could be more difficult.

In the photo above (click on the photo for a close up) we used a special clamp made in England by ‘Brian Hart Luthier Tools’. The crack in this case went from the f’hole to the edge, which this tool is designed to close.

For information on our workshop go to : Guy Harrison Violin Maker

Exhibition in Montreal with the Canadian Viola Society

Posted on | September 20, 2009 | No Comments|


The Canadian Viola Society celebrate their 30 year anniversary at the Université de Montréal on October 10th and 11th.

As part of the event we shall have instruments and bows on display and for musicians to try. All instruments and bows will be available to take out on a further trial.  

We look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new violists at this two day event.  

For more information on the event please go to : Canadian Viola Society

For information on our workshop go to : Guy Harrison Violin Maker

Cello repair –

Posted on | September 13, 2009 | 1 Comment|

The cello side shown below is from an 18th Century German cello made in Mittenwald by a member of the Klotz family. The ribs over the years had been cracked in various places and had some wood worm damage as well.

It was brought into the workshop for restoration.


We used a variety of techniques to reinforce the many cracks in the ribs. In the example above, a crack in the rib ran right next to the spruce lining inside. To avoid removing, or cutting the original wood my assistant fitted 3 spruce studs inside going from the rib over the lining to reinforce the crack. So no original wood was lost or disturbed and the crack is held closed.

The end of the studs are cut at an angle in an effort to avoid future cracks.

Workshop in Ottawa

Posted on | September 2, 2009 | 1 Comment|

This is one of the rooms in the new workshop. These workbenches are used for making instruments. I have another room for restoration work further down the hall. By the entrance I have an office with my library and space to try instruments.

At the moment I’m making another copy of a Del Gesu violin, which is on the left hand bench. Above on the shelves are varnish materials and various tools. My laptop sits on the bench with some recording equipment and UV light mounted underneath.

On the right side is a taller bench with the sides for a cello.

The view from my window looks onto St. Anthony Church and down Gladstone Avenue.

Our violin shop has moved to 792 Gladstone Ave.

Posted on | July 26, 2009 | 2 Comments|

We are pleased announce our new workshop in Ottawa’s little Italy opening on August 1. Visit the new convenient location at 792 Gladstone Avenue, next door to the beautiful St. Anthony’s church, just east of Booth Street.

We are having an open house:

When: Saturday, August 1st from 10:00 to 4:00.

Where: 792 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa

download-9 Enjoy some treats from little Italy and see our making and restoration workshop.


We continue to make fine concert instruments. Our recently made violin, a copy of Guarneri Del Gesu used by Yehudi Menuhin was sold to a young violinist who is now studying in London, England.

We also offer the following:

-Restoration and sound optimization on instruments.

-Fine antique instruments – such as Joseph Hel, Lille, France,1892.

-Antique and contempory bows from France, England, Germany, Canada, Brazil and United States.

-Bow rehairing

-A complete range of strings

-Quality cases by Musifia and Bam.

We look forward to seeing you at our new location

For more information visit:

Cellos in Ottawa

Posted on | June 29, 2009 | 1 Comment|


On my centre bench is a new cello with a poplar back that’s almost complete. I am now giving the varnish a final polish and setting up the instrument.

In the foreground is the beginning of another cello. The back, sides and neck will be made from maple. In the photo the two centre ribs are bent and attached around the form.

The design used for both cellos is based around an Antonio Stradivari cello from 1701. It will be interesting to hear the difference between the maple and poplar, both of which Stradivari also used.


Violin donated to Uni. of Ottawa.

Posted on | May 25, 2009 | No Comments|











The violin above was recently donated to the University of Ottawa, Music Facutly. It is labeled Elophen Poirson, Lyon and dated 1910. Along with the violin, 4 bows made by the late Ottawa luthier, Joseph Kun were given as well.

The violin hadn’t been used for many years and was bought into our shop to be checked over and appraised. We cleaned it, did some minor varnish retouching and now it’s ready to be loaned to a fortunate student at the University. My assistants also rehaired and cleaned the bows.

For violin restoration and appraisals please call 613 569 4803.    (792 Gladstone Ave. Ottawa)

For details:

New Cello – in our Ottawa workshop.

Posted on | April 29, 2009 | 1 Comment|

Pictured on the bench is the Stradivari model cello my assistant and I are making. Inside the sides have been reinforced with cloth.


Stradivari reinforced the sides of his cellos with linen cloth. The sides on our cello are made from poplar which Stradivari also used. It’s a softer wood than maple and is sensible to reinforce them as he did. The linen patches are glued in with hide glue and once dry are very strong and light. The fabric I used was fine quality Irish linen.

Now the front is ready to be glued to the sides and then I’ll fit the neck.

Landolfi (Milan 18th C.) violin repair

Posted on | April 14, 2009 | 2 Comments|

Below is a violin by Carlo Fernando Landolfi from 18th Century Milan. It was brought into the shop for restoration.







The peg box had been fitted with plastic peg bushings by another violin shop. Traditionally when the peg holes are badly worn, the holes are filled with wood and fresh holes are redrilled. In this case the plastic peg bushing has caused the neck graft and old repairs to come apart. I suspect there was a conflict between the wooden scroll expanding and shrinking with the seasons and the rigid plastic.


An old repair on the side of the peg box had come loose. After discussing with the owner, we decided to redo the old repair to give much needed strength to the pegbox.





The old repair was removed and new wood was fitted in. When fitting the new piece of maple, I avoided removing any more original wood other than what was necessary .




landolfi3-233x3003 After varnish retouching was complete, new peg holes were reamed for the pegs. The scroll may need a new neck graft, but for the time being it seems stable. The violin is now in use everyday.

Years ago I had photographed this violin before the plastic bushings were done by the violin dealer. It was very useful for the owner and I to be able to compare what had actually broken loose over that time.

Note: This Landolfi violin is now part of the University of Ottawa Instrument Collection.  Visit: here for more information.


The Leading Note Foundation

Posted on | March 30, 2009 | No Comments|

A great music program started recently in Ottawa has been the Leading Note Foundation

The program gives children from low-income communities the opportunity to learn and make music together. Lessons are provided by volunteers. Instruments have been donated by the public and violin shops. We donated a student cello and violin.

Many of the donated instruments and bows needed to be brought into good playing condition. My assistant, together with two other luthiers and a bow maker helped put many of the instruments into working order for the young players.


Charline (right) sets up instruments- September 2008.

For information on this wonderful program and how to help go to The Leading Note Foundation

For more information on our workshop visit


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    Guy Harrison Violin Maker
    792 Gladstone Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1R 6X9
    Tel: 613 569 4803

    1997 Silver medal for viola in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2010 Bronze medal for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2014 Workmanship award for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2016 Silver Workmanship medal for cello in the VSA Violin Making Competition, USA.

    Member of the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers and Violin Society of America.

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