Diploma in Violin Making & Restoration
Welsh College of Musical Instrument Making
P.O. Box 27162
Wellington, New Zealand
Tel-Fax 64 4 388-1196
Working from his quiet back street studio in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, Kevin Almy, Master Luthier produces a wide range of the finest quality instruments: from violins, violas and cellos to mandolins, mandolas and archtop guitars. Hidden away in a turn of the century building in Wellington's Cuba Street, famed for its cafes, curio shops and ethnic restaurants, his studio can be quite difficult to find.
Kevin's luthiery work is well respected by NZ's professional and amateur musicians alike, many of whom regularly beat a path to his door confident that their specific needs will be met. It can truly be said that his handcrafted instruments and his repair work speak for themselves.
Kevin has been building his fine handcrafted instruments for over 30 years. During the early 1980's, he worked for Wellington's legendary music store "Capital Music", carrying out guitar repairs and modifications for many of that city's guitarists.
He is New Zealands only Master Luthier certified by the Martin Guitar Company as a guitar technician to carry out their warranty work. As well as his repair work, Kevin has also constructed flat top steel string acoustic and solid body electric guitars to order.
A growing interest in the theory and manufacture of carved top instruments, fuelled by an increasing demand for him to repair various members of the violin family, led Kevin to travel to the United Kingdom, where he was invited and privileged to attend a three year violin making and restoration course at the Welsh College of Musical Instrument Making. Following his graduation, Kevin accepted an offer to work for a highly respected French master luthier.
This was an extraordinary opportunity to work on rare and beautiful instruments, and to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in their manufacture and restoration. After three years in France, a strong desire to return to New Zealand saw Kevin Almy travel to Wellington where he established his present studio.
All Kevin Almy's instruments are 100% handmade from the finest quality materials available. Materials such as master grade European Spruce and highly flamed European Maple, dense ebony and resonant Red Cedar from North America. Other than a bandsaw for initial material preparation, no work is done using pantographs or any other machine process. Kevin believes very strongly that maintaining this degree of contact during all phases of construction allows him to develop the maximum tonal character achievable from each individual piece of timber.
Kevin Almy produces a strictly limited number of archtop guitars each year in two styles. The first is based closely on the D'Angelico "New Yorker" and is built with the jazz purist in mind. Tastefully inlaid and beautifully finished, this is truly an instrument for the archtop guitar connoisseur.
This model featured in the October 1995 edition of the US publication "Just Jazz Magazine".
The second archtop guitar is a smaller bodied instrument specifically designed with the professional acoustic player in mind. International acoustic blues guitarist Mike Brosnan commissioned the first of these instruments. Considerable time and effort was expended developing an instrument with maximum tonal and dynamic range, as well as ease of playing and comfort. The tonal range, richness and clarity can only be described as 'awesome'.
Says Mike Brosnan"... I used to travel with three guitars to cover the range of sound I needed. This little guitar delivers them all, from Hot Slide to quiet Blues Ballads. I love it!"(Click Here to Visit Mikes Site)
Both guitar models are finished to the client's requirements, from the pearl as illustrated to sunburst. The tops are carved from either Western Red Cedar or European Spruce and the back and sides from highly figured European Maple. The necks are shaped individually to specific client needs regarding neck width, profile, fret size etc.
The pick up can be either an L. R. Baggs bridge transducer with the Baggs deluxe on board preamp, or a Humbucking fingerboard-end pickup.
Master Luthier, Kevin Almy produces 3 violin types. The Orchestral Model; the Baroque Model; and a striking Electric Model. Again all work is completed using the finest luthiery techniques, tools and principles. For the Orchestral and Baroque Models, Kevin uses an oil varnish which he has developed over many years and prepares himself. It is a transparent, golden varnish with tinges of red and brown. It reflects the high flame of the European Maple back and sides, and brings out the natural beauty of the European Spruce top.
The Orchestral Model is based on the Guanerius Del Jesu, and produces a rich, focused tone. It is renowned for its ease of playing and response. Options include a choice of one or two piece back.
The Baroque Model's design is based on a Stradivarius violin from Strad's golden period. Kevin takes particular pride in ensuring every minute detail of the style; design and the production process are totally authentic to this period. As with the standard model, all materials are of master grade European Maple, Spruce and Ebony, and again either a one or two piece back is optional.
There is no doubt that both instruments carry on the spirit of the great masters and are magnificent examples of the work of a fine master luthier.
Kevin Almy's Electric Model violin is an innovative and exiting instrument, unlike any other of its type currently available. Kevin has designed an instrument that is both state of the art in its amplified performance and futuristic in it's appearance, while using traditional luthiery techniques handed down from the time of the early Italian makers.
The tuning pegstock is either an open scroll or a modern guitar style. The neck, stop lengths, and neck elevations are identical to standard size violins, allowing the player to transition effortlessly between acoustic and electric instruments.
This is without doubt the perfect instrument for today's electric violinist, combining eye-catching appearance with a rich and full-bodied sound when amplified. Apart from the Electric Model's striking lines, the range of sprayed lacquer finishes is almost limitless.
MANDOLINS & MANDOLAS.
Kevin Almy produces two mandolin styles based on Gibson's F & A models. Again no effort is spared to produce the finest possible instrument using traditional luthiery techniques. Inlays use either Northern Hemisphere or New Zealand Abalone. Gold tuning machines and a hand-rubbed sunburst finish are also standard. The Almy mandolins deliver a rich, clear & punchy tone that does not sacrifice volume for clarity and definition. These are beautifully styled and crafted instruments whose fine appearance is more than matched by their performance.
The Almy Mandola is very highly respected by New Zealand's Celtic musicians. The elegant teardrop body shape has evolved over many years of considered development. Again there are two models, coming with either a European Spruce top and European Maple back and sides, or with a Cedar top and Mahogany back and sides. Both models have Ebony fingerboards and bridges, imitation tortoise shell bindings, and gold plated tuning machines. The arched top and back are hand carved in the traditional manner and the scale length is 510mm. Owners and players of Kevin's Mandolas unreservedly agree that these instruments deliver, seemingly without appreciable effort, the punch, drive and tonal range demanded by today's Celtic musicians. A truly superb instrument for discerning performers of modern Celtic music.
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The Almy Electric Violin is covered by NZ Design Registration #27092. The name "ALMY" is a registered trademark of Kevin Almy, PO Box 27162, Wellington, New Zealand. This site was first published on July 9 1999 Last update November 1, 2000
The Almy Electric Violin is covered by NZ Design Registration #27092.
The name "ALMY" is a registered trademark of Kevin Almy,
PO Box 27162, Wellington, New Zealand.
This site was first published on July 9 1999
Last update November 1, 2000