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Martin Morris is an established maker, restorer and repairer based in the Bodmin Moor/Tamar Valley area of Cornwall since 1992.  He has been creating instruments for professional musicians since his time in Cumbria (1977 – 1985) where he forged a connection with the Northern Sinfonia and musicians from Manchester and Scotland, before moving to London and Oxfordshire.  He has received awards from the Crafts Council, and from Northern Arts on the recommendation of Wilfred Saunders, a major figure in British violin making.

The maple Martin uses to make instruments is mainly from fine-toned and well-figured Cumbrian fellside sycamore trees, whilst the spruce he uses is mountain-grown. His finishes are based on research into the methods of the classic Italian makers and modern scientific research, using conifer resins combined with walnut or linseed oils, natural pigments and dyes.

Martin focuses primarily on playability, optimum tone, and careful fitting up of his instruments. His violas are based upon the work of Italian makers, adapted to suit today’s players; string lengths range from 420mm to 402mm.  Martin’s violins and cellos are more closely based on classic Italian instruments.  The cello’s string lengths range from 686mm – 700mm. Some instruments have been commissioned by principals and leaders of the Philadelphia, Detroit, and BBC Northern Symphony orchestras, others have been purchased by players from orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and English Sinfonia.

Martin also produces copies of specific instruments from the Baroque and Classical periods, having produced several from the Cremonese, Venetian and Tyrolean schools. Martin has produced instruments for the Baroque collection of the RNCM.  He has also made likely the first recreation in modern times of an Italian 3 string double bass – the ‘Koussevitsky’ Amati, previously owned by Gary Karr – for a player from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. One of his Baroque violins is owned by Simon Jones, Head of Strings and Historical Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and player in leading UK ensembles, who said: “…it has a special sound – very much so…a warm and generous sound which blooms out of the instrument… just the sort of sound that I wanted to make on a Baroque violin. I very much believe it was this sound, hopefully in combination with my way of playing it, that helped my career to progress. I have lent it to various people and they all enjoy playing it but I feel a link still with it. It is a perfect example of the mysteries of violin making.”

See one of Martin’s violins here.

See one of Martin’s cellos here.