< Back to Directory

David John Morse

Maker of hand built violins & violas. Artistic details, powerful tone, concert ready.

I have been making handmade string instruments since 1967. It has been my joy to work with some of the world's greatest musicians, and supply them with a voice to create with. It is a pleasure to spend a few moments with you. I have been asked many times to explain why I fashion violins as I do. I have taken my philosophy of lutherie from what I have been able to observe from past violin makers, artists, and craftsmen. Not the exact form or process, but how they chose to approach their work. I am self taught, so I have no mental images of a master leaning over my shoulder guiding my hands and vision as I proceed. This has made my journey longer, as I have had to make many of the mistakes a master could have warned me about. But it has given me the gift of looking at each step fresh, each time I take it. This has encouraged evolution. The form, quality, and intent is constantly changing in tiny increments, not too many at a time, slowly but surely. My belief is that the wood chosen for an instrument is the very most important choice I can make. Sadly, the path to knowing what wood to use only comes after many experiments, the secret a master cannot tell you. Why? The choices are infinite. Based on our past experiences, our intuition and logic choose what is best. Density, stiffness, character of grain, color, tonality of the wood before construction, how it feels. But not all choices blend together in harmony. Each violin maker has a “signature sound” based on the way he shapes the violin, and the “soup” of wood that he naturally chooses. The artistry behind the violin form I create is influenced by the philosophy of the originators of the violin back in the early 1500's. Their purpose was to make all the shapes and lines symmetrical, even and straight. These qualities were the ultimate a craftsmen could aspire to. They also reflected the common sense of the time, and usage of the tools. My efforts are to bring a 21st century nuance to the violin. Philosophically, I see the future of our world growing organically, embracing nature as our guide. I encourage the viewer to see the violin as an organic “being”. And like living beings, we have asymmetry, curved lines, and a living unevenness that gives grace to all of nature. Further, I would suggest that the violin, the musician, and the music, when truly inspired, comes from an area of our existence that is extra-ordinary. The Scroll... Years ago, I was napping in a redwood forest and when I awoke to the sight of a baby fern whose likeness was unmistakable. Later in a daydream, I saw that same fern in my minds eye, and before my eyes it turned into a violin scroll, but asymmetrical and organic looking. I have explored that daydream since then, hoping to carve each scroll in a unique organic way. The Corners....Looking at the corners and points of the violin sculpturally, I have always thought the violin looked boxy and rigid. A sculpture professor in college expressed the concept of tension as a device to encourage the viewer to visually move around the object. I hope the violinist enjoys the movement these curves and flow create. The Purfling....Normally a subtle black-white-black edging treatment the early creators of the violin used to both visually and functionally enhance beauty. I have changed the thicknesses of these strips to create movement toward the corners and to the center of the violin. I have interrupted the purfing line across the button of the back to create tension, resolved in the flow of back, heel, and neck. Enjoy music! The F Holes....My intention was to place more visual emphasis on the notches. Please feel free to call or e-mail me all the best, David John Morse 831-464-3000, David@DavidMorseViolins.com

Contact Information

Address: 3235 Paper Mill Rd.
Telephone: 001 831 464 3000
Email: david@davidmorseviolins.com
Website: http://DavidMorseViolins.com