Buying or Commissioning one of my Instruments Contact Tel: 07977 263617
If you wish to buy a 'Michael Phoenix' handmade instrument you can either :
Select an instrument from stock
Commission your own instrument
" When I make an new instrument I provide an extra service that I believe no other violin maker in the world does.
I store the offcuts from the front, back, ribs and neck, so that there is a perfect match for any future repairs such as plate patches, corners, edges and scroll repairs etc.
This is comparable to the Rolls Royce method of storing each individual wood veneer and leather offcut from their most prestigious cars.
I have made provision for the offcuts to be health-checked yearly and kept long into the future.
The offcuts are marked uniquely and this reference is etched inside, on the top block, and the label of each instrument ... if only the old masters had had the benefit of hindsight. "
● I build my instruments in a small clutch, so at anytime you will probably be able to try out more than one instrument to see which you prefer. I can arrange a reasonable trial period with insurance cover in place.
● I make using the patterns and processes of the old masters; not copies, but instruments based on the model. I vary the makers and models from time to time.
● All instruments are completely handmade by me at the bench with traditional hand tools - I do not use any machines or power tools in their construction.
● My instruments are finished with oil varnish made to traditional recipes in the Cremonese style, but I do not antique or age them. I set up initially with a standard string until the instrument has had a settling in period.
● Finally, the instrument's sound is acoustically measured and fine adjusted accordingly, choosing the best strings for optimal tone and timbre.
Commissioning an Instrument
● The advantage of commissioning an instrument from me is that you can be involved
throughout the build process from selection of the wood and model through to the final
set up and fine tuning; so you get exactly what you want.
● I can make replicas of models, antiqued if required.
● You can chose a right or left hand construction.
● Once the instrument is complete I can arrange a reasonable trial period, with insurance cover in place, to ensure you are happy with the outcome. If not, you can return the instrument and I will promptly return your deposit. In this respect it is precarious for me to undertake commissions for instruments with unusual or personalised features, as finding another buyer may prove difficult.
Making for 'the Now' and for the Future
Quote:" The meaning of the present depends upon the vision of the future as well as the remembrance of the past. "
As a violin maker I am well aware that my reputation stands or falls on the quality of the instruments I produce and the service I supply to my customers today … in other words I know I am only as good as my last violin. This philosophy prevents any complacency and ensures I am always constantly striving to produce better and better work.
Hopefully, this is the same for any craftsman. However, what makes violin making different is that the luthier is also keenly aware of the legacy they leave to the musicians of the future - because string instruments can have a working life of some 350 years plus. This phenomena of trying to make what you do now, good enough, relevant and beneficial to future generations, is a normal essential element of the human condition, something social psychologists call ‘self-transcendence’.
Factory and workshop production line instruments are made by many hands and machines for the 'now', with no real thought as to the future. But for me, self-transcendence makes me 'go that extra mile' when making an instrument, and reminds me that I am also making for the future, and that a player who buys one of my instruments is its first custodian.