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The Construction of Isaac Dooley's Violin.

This is the first violin I have ever attempted to build. It is a hollow body 5-string electric violin. The body is similar to a regular violin or viola, but has some major differences. The body has less arch to it than a normal acoustic would, and the shape is more like that of a guitar. The violin is slightly heavier than a normal violin, and has a thicker neck.

The wood for this body came from a single piece of figured maple. It has a very nice quilted pattern to it, and a light flame. I used this same piece of wood for the front, back, and sides.

The Beginning: The End:

I started with a partially carved neck and fingerboard. Maybe some day I will start from a block of wood.

The two pieces of wood used for the entire body of the instrument. This is the pattern I created for this instrument. The pattern is roughly a Stradivari shape with modified C bouts, i.e. it has no pointy C bouts.

Bending the sides:

I used a cold bending method, which I heard about at You can find much information about it there. The sides were soaked in a mixture of water with a small amount of downy for about 2 minutes. Then the strip of wood was slowly clamped into place, over a period of about 5 or 10 minutes.

The strip of maple lying to the side of the mold is the second side, after being soaked in water for a couple minutes in the green tub.

Here I used some clamps and a bungee cord to tighten in the side.

The Completed Body and Neck

Note: quite a few steps happened for which I have no photos.

The carved front and back have been glued to the sides, and the neck was attached

A close up of the F-hole

Finishing / Varnishing the Violin

The Scroll. After a few coats of varnish. I started with yellow and brown coats of varnish, and at the end used red.

In outdoor natural light
The Finished Instrument!
Contact me for high-resolution versions of these pictures.


© 2012 Isaac Dooley