17 November 2019

My professional philosophy

I’m a violin maker… well, sort of… er, one quite unlike the others! Did you know that THOUSANDS of violin makers all over the world have been busy for HUNDREDS of years copying the same handful of old Italian instruments MILLIONS of times? That’s funny if you consider that so many of today’s musicians strive to do UNIQUE things. Well, my aim is to give UNIQUE instruments to those musicians who themselves are not content copying stuff that’s been played a million times before! You guessed it: I’m not making classical violins for classical musicians, but modern stringed instruments for modern string players. 

As things are, modern string players are going AMPLIFIED most of the time. So my instruments are ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC with a built-in pick-up of superior quality, from the young, small and innovative Swiss brand “boton”. Nothing to do with all the piezo junk which makes your instrument sound like it’s made from plastic, falling out of your bridge while you strangle yourself with the cables…

(For the techies among you: Instead of capturing the string vibrations in or under the bridge as a compression signal, the “boton” captures the complex distortion vibrations of the belly and thus restitutes a much more natural sound.)

Consequently my instruments are not like classical violins with an added pick-up, a compromise, but an integral concept.

While I’m making electro-acoustical bowed string instruments on a classical or custom designed base, the Neolin is more than this. It hasn’t only got a new design and a new sound, it also offers new possibilities:

For violinists it allows to explore harmonic and rhythmic playing, or playing of accompaniment. Because as thing are, in popular music the first violin is played by… the vocals!

In its fretted version, the Neolin is a hybrid between violin and mandolin, offering even more possibilities and moreover a very appreciable initiation for guitar players and beginners.

At least those beginners who strive to have fun playing music they like, not necessarily those who dream about playing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in Carnegie Hall …

With all these innovations and challenges, I’ve also reviewed the Neolin’s production process: Instead of struggling with 300-year old techniques, I proudly claim to employ the technical achievements of the 20thcentury.

The Neolins are produced in small, numbered series, the rough work is done by CNC-machines, and the finishing, varnishing, and set-up are done by hand.

All this allows me to propose instruments entirely made in France at prices comparable to those of good Chinese student violins.

Apart from the standard model, I propose customizations limited only by material constraints and your imagination.

Since 2015, with my associate Aurélien Bertrand we are working on purely electric violins of a new sort, called “Zef”. To learn more about the Zef, please visit the menu especially dedicated to this revolutionary electric violin !