handmade in the classic tradition

Sofia string instruments are individually made by a global group of luthiers in the time-honored tradition of crafting fine handmade violins, violas and cellos. Because we make our own instruments, we have complete control over all aspects of quality down to the selection of the actual trees that will provide our premium wood for future years.
Many Sofia instruments are owned by professional players - even in major orchestras - including concertmasters who have purchased a Sofia instrument as their primary or alternate instrument. Sofia violins, violas and cellos are also in the hands of talented students and serious players devoted to music as an avocation. All Sofia instruments illustrate our strong commitment to hand-crafted quality - something increasingly hard to find in our century.

fine european violins, violas and cellos

Every Sofia instrument is individually made by the violin maker whose name appears on its label. Most of our Sofia luthiers work in our Eastern Euorpean atelier, but some prefer to work at home. Once a month their instruments are flown to the United States where our American luthiers carefully check, enhance and finish each instrument.
The quality and age of the wood, the graduated plate thickness, and the precise placement of components such as the bass bar are critical to the tonal beauty of an instrument. All are interconnected and generate the superior sound, balance and response characteristics of a fine string instrument.

In this tradition of fine violin making, the top and back plates for each Sofia instrument are individually graduated to varying interior thicknesses. Specifications are not enough. Every piece of wood, even from the same tree, has different characteristics that can only be understood by feeling the flexibility of the carved plate. This is the art of a master, and this is the way Sofia instruments are made.


  exceptional instruments individually made

Sofia instruments are made from the world's finest European acoustic wood - the preferred material of makers going back to the time of Amati and Stradivari. Every year, we select and cut our own wood in the Southern Balkan and Rodopi mountains. The wood is then aged for years before being used.

The distinctive antiqued oil varnish that first draws one's attention to a Sofia instrument is the work of a noted artist, Todd Matus. Matus has evolved a multi-layered formula of hand-applied pigments and varnish which are then artistically removed to emulate the natural patina of an older instrument. Sofia instruments combine the deep beauty of an aged instrument with the good health of a fine new handmade masterwork.

professional quality and value

 Although Sofia instruments are divided into different price levels, no two instruments are exactly alike. Each will be subtly distinctive in tone character, and in such fine details as the carving of its scroll and its antiqued, hand-applied varnish. Every instrument is literally sculptered by its maker, working with chisels, miniature wood planes and metal scrapers.

Sofia "Amadeus" and "Artista" violins or violas are the work of our younger makers - the master makers of the future. Although "Amadeus" instruments are priced in the range normally associated with factory production, they are truly hand built, including the name of the maker on the label. Our younger makers are very talented, and it is not unusual to find an "Amadeus" which has as beautiful a sound as a more expensive instrument by a better known master.

individually graduated for superior sound

Sofia "Grande" and "Master Art" instruments are made by our more experienced and known luthiers. These makers use our premium aged wood, and are especially knowledgeable in the acoustic properties of the wood and in instrument construction.
Their work will have certain attractive individual characteristics and often our dealers request instruments specifically by one or more of these better known makers. Such upper-level instruments are also set up with expensive rosewood fittings.

Sofia "Premium Master" violins, violas and cellos are exceptional instruments by makers who have gained an international reputation. Generally, these masters work at home, and use their own private supply of wood which has aged for decades.

The economics of transition in Eastern Europe has opened a brief period of time when players can obtain such wonderful master instruments for well below their future investment value.
Only a limited number of Sofia Violins can be handmade each year. Thus, our instruments are only available through a small global network of highly qualified Sofia Violins dealers who are experts in maintaining fine string instruments.

For the location of your nearest Sofia dealer, call us on our North American toll-free line (800) 733-2063, or +1 317-264-0444 from outside North America.

Our fax number is +1 317-264-0555 and we can be reached via e-mail at info@sofia-violins.com.

Photography by Todd Matus

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