Alberto Dolce


Alberto was awarded a work experience placement with Jonathan Woolston in Cambridge, which took place in February 2016. He writes:


During the workshop experience I worked on a violin set up. After assessing the instrument I made a new fingerboard and top nut, then I made a new soundpost and a new bridge. Jonathan followed me in the whole process and we discussed how to approach the instrument, what needed to be done in order to improve the set up. In a set up nothing can be taken for granted, every component being in the right place carrying out their function, everything works as a whole.

I really enjoy working with accuracy and analyse all the details. In the workshop there was time also for many interesting discussions about different aspects of the trade. I have learned many new techniques and Jonathan also showed me some of his instruments that motivated me to start an antiqued instrument. This experience made me more confident with the work I undertake.”

The photographs show a recent violin by Alberto based on an Antonio Gragnani of 1780.

More recently, Alberto was awarded a visit to the London auctions in the company of experienced dealer and restorer Geoff Denyer. Alberto writes:

“It was very interesting to visit the auctions and to learn about recognition of instruments.

I had the chance to look at and to study several fine violins and cellos and with the guide of Geoff I learnt about details typical of the makers and characteristics of the construction methods. It was useful to closely look at a few violins (dated from 1700 to 1760) of the Gagliano family, checking for the similarities between them. Focusing on instruments of the same origin helped in order to use a comparative method in spotting the similarities.

Similarly, I looked at violins from the Florentine school including a violin and a viola by the Carcassi brothers and a violin by G.B. Gabrielli. The analysis involves not only trying to understand tools and techniques used by the maker and wood/material choice, but an important part is looking at the varnish, if signs of the original are still present. Looking at old fine instruments is inspiring and challenging at the same time. It tests and trains the visual and mnemonic knowledge. It is surely a great motivation to better understand different aspects of violin making.
Violin inspired by Gragnani 

Violin inspired by Gragnani