Violin Maker for music's biggest names

My name is Jamie Marie Lazzara and I make violins. I’m a master violin maker here in Italy. When I was 15, I decided to make violins. I’m actually American, but I came here when I was 19, in Italy, to study violin making.


This is my shop. Here you can buy a violin that I make. I’m telling you, here are all the tools that I use. I use all the chisels. I cut out the pieces with this saw. I plane all of my wood with planes which can be gigantic. I also finish my work with very tiny planes. These are very precise instruments that I use to do the arching, to carve it out.

This shop is absolutely small – I mean this place is six square metres. It's unique to buy a violin here.

A good collection of resins from all over the world. All kinds of minerals, all kinds of roots. My scales are up there, to be able to make the proportions.

I’m starting a new violin. Right here, I’m preparing the ribs.

I’ve designed and planed the head, which I’ll cut out with my saw up there. And this is going to be the scroll.

Right over here I’ve made the blocks which are on the form. By the way, this is going to be a copy of a Stradivari 1714 – Itzhak Perlman’s violin, like the one I made for him.

I’ve planed the back. This will be the back. I choose wood – I want to show you because this is a huge piece of wood that comes from a tree – this was the centre of the tree and this is the outside. I quite like this one. So this is going to be the back.

These are going to be the ribs, which are the sides of the violin, which I’m going to bend and they’re going to make up the sides of the violin. So see, this is the piece that will become the ribs here.

I’m calculating the internal form of the sound box. That’s interesting because I’m more interested in the sound that the violin makes. Each violin I make is an entity. Every type of violin gives a certain type of sound. It’s not predetermined. I don’t cut out the shape of the back. This is my form. The blocks are glued onto the form. I shape the blocks. First I do the shape of the c-bouts, which are these, the centre ones.

The shape of the wood was all done by carving with chisels, and then by using little precision hand planes.

I wanted to tell you that the violin is made out of more than 70 pieces. These pieces are all glued together using natural glue. This is the glue when it’s in its solid form. A violin can be conserved for 300 years, and be used every day.

I don’t know how many hundreds of photos they take outside my shop, because strangely enough, it’s a small place but I’ve had the privilege of working for some of the most famous classical music soloists in the world, and plus all of the most famous rock stars here on the Italian scene. For example, I made Itzhak Perlman’s violin in 1993, Arien De Graaf, I made Mischo Moltov’s violin, various recording artists and popstars and rock stars. For the guy who designs The Simpsons – Joe Wack. Ridley Scott actually came by my shop and he came in and wanted to meet me, and they decided to do a scene on the film Hannibal which is part of the special features.

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Violin Maker for music's biggest names

Country: ITALY
GPS: 43°46'7.43"N 11°15'25.15"E

4 months ago