The Beauty and Artistry of Stringed Instruments
When walking through the doors of Tulsa Violin shop you are immediately transported to another world full of warmly-hued maple and spruce stringed instruments. Basses and cellos are positioned in line like dutiful soldiers while violins and violas hang en masse from the ceiling. And, one-of-a-kind bows hang in the window just waiting for a musician to come in and make his or her selection. This is the world of owner Lou Lynch and staff who provide one-of-a-kind bows and customized instruments to their players.
The Tulsa Violin Shop opened in 1996 on Main Street in the Brady District. Lynch decided to open the shop as a next step in his career after playing cello professionally for 30 years. As a student of instrument restorer and maker Amos Hargrave, Lynch began simple repairs and set-ups on instruments played by students of the Tulsa Public Schools. After three years, Tulsa’s need for a full-service dealer and restorer of fine and student instruments was realized with the opening of the shop.
As musicians know, the right instrument set up to fit his or her playing style is critical. And, it takes an artisan like Lynch and those in his team to make adjustments, glue cracks, cut bridges, and adjust sound posts to accommodate the musician’s needs. “Some adjustments enhance the sound of the instrument. If the musician wants a brighter or more mellow sound, we modify it accordingly,” says Lynch. Sound posts and bridges are carved by hand using experience as a guide. Work tables are covered with wood working tools, horse-hair for rehairing bows and shavings of wood.
Musicians know when the sound of the instrument is changing. For example, if a bow will no longer accept rosin (amber residue from the sap of pine trees), the hair is wearing out. On an instrument, a small crack in the wood or an open seam affects the sound. And, over time, the sound post, a dowel inside the instrument which alters the tone of the instrument and provides structural support, usually needs adjusting or replacing.
A musician’s instrument is an investment in his or her career. “Purchasing an instrument is like purchasing a car,” says Lynch. Prices for new and used stringed instruments run the gamut. “Entry level instruments may cost as low as $200 and professional level instruments can sell for as much as six figures, although the local market rarely gets to that price range,” says Lynch.
Tulsa Violin Shop sells both new and used instruments for all musicians from little ones beginning their training at four years of age to seasoned professionals. “We pride ourselves on great customer service,” says Lynch. “We see ourselves as a musician’s partner.”
Lynch finds his work at the shop gratifying. He rides to work in the Brady District on his bike and loves working with his hands. Two times a year, Lynch travels to Paris with a suitcase full of bows to have them certified by the experts. A visit to the shop is a wonderful experience. Just look for the blue storefront at 220 North Main Street. The shop is open Monday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and closed for lunch. Find them online at TulsaViolin.com.