PEOPLE

Frank Ravatin

Monday, 21 October 2013

The luthier recalls the best lesson he ever had

A good luthier must focus on the overall architecture of the instrument for it to be a success

I learnt a valuable lesson from Jean-Frédéric Schmitt in 1994. I’d just finished a cello that I was very happy with, and I took it to him to get his thoughts on it. He looked at it for ten seconds and said: 'It’s a nice cello. But you’ve forgotten one essential element: the architecture. Both archings are completely wrong.' It was a real cold shower, but I learnt two very important things about lutherie that day. An instrument isn’t just a collection of smaller details – a good luthier must focus on the overall architecture of the instrument for it to be a success. It’s also essential in this business to find a good critic who will tell you straight away if you are heading down the wrong path.

Originally published in The Strad, December 2010. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.

 

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