Savoir-faire of instrument making

The instrument making is one of the fine craft domains identified by INMA’s list. This know-how has been existing since the origin of instruments. In fact, the older instrument is the lyre, created in ancient Greece and associated to Apollo. The instrument makers have to be capable of restore, but also create in order to contribute to the development and the apparition of new instruments or new sounds through centuries.

String instruments, wind instruments, with wood or copper, there are as much fine craft professions than instruments. There are the violon maker, piano tuner, the guitar maker, or the bow-maker. Each trade is realised by craftsmen or semi-industrial companies (ex. Selmer or Buffet Campon).

All craftsmen have to be high qualified in history, music, acoustic, but also in sculpture and in painting. The knowledge and the proximity with the techniques and the old materials, but also the creativity, the research and innovation, all are great qualities to follow to be a good instrument maker.

The luthier and the bow maker

Both of them are close to the know-how of the wood. In fact, this material is the essence of an instrument. As experts, they manipulate Pernambuco, the Spruce, maple, ebony, but also ivory, nacre, gold. The luthier makes the string instruments while the bow maker makes the bows for these string instruments.

Sandrine Raffin is a bow maker. She restores, maintains, and creates bows of violons, altos, cellos and double basses. This French know-how is transmitted from generations to generations. It requires a great expertise and to master each handicraft. In fact, a bow must measure 73 cm and weigh 60 grams for a violon. The knowledge of history, the respect of the object, the material, and the heritage it represents, are essential.

Yoann Charbonnier is a luthier. Students of a Master of Art, he is attached to the notion of respect of each instrument. He restores string instruments with deontology and does not hesitate to create instruments with creativity and innovation. His trade is a teamwork with compositors and musicians.