Eric Lourme has been mastering the craft of violin-making, which has continued its prestige and presence despite the advancement of technology. Lourme’s story is one that is timeless and beautiful. His love for music, woodwork, and its artistry has empowered him to gain sizable recognition in theÂ world of master string instruments.
We asked him a couple of questions – about his passionate and how he started in this business and found out the secrets behindÂ his violin making process.
“I have always loved music and woodwork, and started playing and making musical instruments when I was very young.”
ãƒ¼ Eric Lourme
To perfect his craft, Lourme went to Italy and became a student of master-craftsman and violin-maker Renato Scrollavezza. As an apprentice, he spent five years learning the craft, the style and the culture and essence of Italian violin-makingÂ from his skilled master.
Then, after a period of two years in Paris working with Guy Tinel who taught him the art of instrument restoration, Lourme finally set up his own workshop in Le Havre, in France. With his own workshop, he devoted the rest of his time to making instruments for modern and baroque quartets.
Making of the Instrument
“Everything begins with the drawing of a shape or form.”
ãƒ¼ Eric Lourme
Ever since the middle ages – just with an outline – the shape itself is already a notion of respect towards the great tradition of Italian violin-making.
The choice of the type of wood, originating from the forests of the north of Italy and the Balkans determines the tone of the instrument about to be born. The back and the body are smoothed by a plane, then stuck together with hide glue. The ribs are then folded while hot, then glued to the blocks, the method classically used in Cremona. For Lourme, this method adds unique individuality to the design of its corners.
Conceived on a solid base, each of Lourme’s instrument is discovered by this freedom of technique that brings out its own identity. Once the ribs are finished, the front and back smoothed, we can trace out the contours of the instrument.
According to Lourme, the sculpting of the scrolls is one of the most fascinatingÂ moments in the making of the violin. The choice of tools used is highly connected to the maker’s style, such asÂ the beauty and finesse of Amati, the strength of Stradivari, or the coarse nature of Guarnei del Gesu. While respecting these different styles, the maker leaves his own distinctive touch in each detail of the sculpture. After this discipline,Â the violin’s neck is perfected to ensure the most comfortable position for the musician.
When the edge and the corners have been cut out, the makerÂ places the purfling which is made of stained pear-tree wood for the black, and of poplar for the white. Lourme adds that making these purfling adds a unique character to each instrument.
The fitting of the neck into the body then determines the angle of the strings and their pressure on the front plate. This is an important feature of the tone of the instrument.
Next, the varnish – a mixture of walnut-oil, amber resin and pigments, is applied with a small paint brush. The proportions of the blend, the quality of the various ingredients, the length of time to heat them and the recipients used all have influence on the final result, on both aesthetic and sound.
Once the varnish is dry, it is polished in order to give it its final share sheen and appearance, as new or antique copy. Finally, the fitting of the violin is done with great care. Lourme insinuates that the pegs should turn effortlessly, the bridge should enable playing with ease and a clear sound. The soundpost and the bridge are tuned according to the individual style of the musician.
Awarded by The Prestigious French State
Over theÂ last twenty years, Lourme has been sharing his love for music with musicians throughout the world. His instruments are played in orchestras in France, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Argentina, the United States, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan.
Since June 2010, Lourme has had the honor to be classed as an Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant”, Â – Living Heritage Enterprise – a prestigious award by the French state to companies possessing Â a savoir-faire of excellence.Â Gramercy MusicÂ bringÂ in Eric Lourme’s instruments andÂ these areÂ available in our main showroom. Contact us at email@example.com for more information.