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Joseph A. Thrift

Making musical instruments full time in my workshop in Surry County.

Making musical instruments full time in my workshop in Surry County, I hand craft my violins using the same tools and methods of the great Italian luthiers of the 17th and 18th centuries. I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to a musical family. My father was a pipe organ builder and his business continues today, run by my brother. My mother is an organist and choir director, and my childhood was filled with music. Our area of the United States, the Foothills and Mountains of North Carolina, is rich in traditional folk and fiddle music, and in the early 1970's I was inspired to put my hands to making instruments. After building several small instruments myself, I apprenticed to a local maker and worked in his shop, visiting as many other makers as I could find. In 1976 I moved to Newark-On-Trent, England to attend the Newark School of Violin Making. Upon graduation I returned to Winston-Salem and opened a violin shop , where I made, repaired and restored violins, violas, and cellos. After managing a retail shop for several years, I moved to the country and established a shop in my home, continuing to repair and make. During this time I became actively involved in playing music, further exploring my love of instruments and music. I travelled to Germany in 2003 to visit my friend and mentor Roger Hargrave, a renowned violin maker, who generously shared his enthusiasm and knowlege with me, inspiring me to return to full-time making. I visited Germany again in 2005, spending the winter with Roger and his co-worker Bertrand Bellin in their workshop, and through their instruction I changed my technique of making to the Cremonese style.

Contact Information

Address: PO Box 593
Telephone: 336-352-4471
Email: violins@surry.net