Chris David Lilley Luthier


The Luthier does not create a work of art, he creates brushes and paint, the air is the canvas, the musician the artist. My instruments are the tools of musical endeavor, my desire is that they inspire creation.

Hand crafted Violins and Guitars Made in Cambridge England

Welcome to my site, here you will find information on the services I offer as a musical instrument maker and repairer, as a violin teacher, and also as a musician. Please explore a little and if you need any further help or have any questions you don't see answered, contact me and I'll do my best to help!

All my musical instruments are entirely hand crafted using carefully selected and well seasoned tone woods and finished with traditional techniques and, I believe, offer a good alternative to the increasingly expensive old instruments in terms of tone, price and stability.

Unfinished Violin by Chris David Lilley
  • Making a Violin
  • Violin Lessons
  • E String Troubles
  • Music for functions
For More on making a violin click here

Putting Blocks in the Mold

Some of the neccesary parts to make a violin.

The beginning of the Violin making process. Here can be seen the thin strips of rib wood, the back (in this case a 2 piece back), and the Mold (the former around which the Violin is based.)

Soaping the mold so the rabbit skin glue does not stick the ribs to it.

The white you can see on the mold is soap which is applied to prevent the glue used in the construction of the ribs sticking to the mold, and causing difficulty when the ribs are removed.


Corner blocks glued in place.

Corner blocks are glued in place, ready to be shaped these blocks are part of the finished instrument and hold the ribs together.

Setting the height for the bottom linings.

The back will eventually be glued to the ribs before the mold is removed, this means enough space needs to be allowed for the bottom linings to be glued in place. For me clothes pegs just happen to be the correct thickness for the job!

The only reason for playing music, as a musician, is the moment in which you play it. Before the music there is silence, after the music there is only the memory of it. All that matters is making that moment as whole, complete, and expressive as possible.

My aim as a teacher is simply to enable you to achieve the most pleasure from that moment, by giving you the skills to express yourself to your maximum potential, leaving you with the enjoyment, and memory, of a tune well played, and the desire to play again.

I have over 15 years experience as a traditional fiddle player, having played music with acoustic groups, folk rock, alternative rock groups and Morris sides, as well as a lot of time playing in traditional Irish sessions. My approach is informal and based around giving the student as much help as possible in their aims as a musician. The focus is not on teaching for Grades or competition but on enjoying music to the maximum level of a players capability. Your feedback is essential in my ability to teach you so I always welcome questions and aim to set goals and tasks you will enjoy, but that further your ability and knowledge in the world of music.

One of the most striking things about the E string if you stop to look at it, is how much thinner it is than the other 3, this means it has by far the least contact area with the bow of all 4 strings on the instrument. The action of bowing causes friction heat, the heat gets the rosin hot, the rosin becomes sticky and a sticking sliding action then takes place between the rosin, bow, and string, the less surface area in contact with the bow, the less chance you have of creating the heat in the rosin to make this happen.
The smaller contact patch also means that there is less resistance to side slip in the bow (moving towards the bridge, or fingerboard slightly,) this means bowing smoothly becomes of far greater importance on the E.
Getting the best sound from your violin is at least 70% bow arm, that's what I tell all my students, and is a major focal part of my teaching, think of it as having a fantastic sports car with a bad engine, it stops being a fantastic sports car! Your bow and bow arm are your violin's engine.
So here are some tips to help you get the best out of your bow arm, before moving on to a bit about different types of violin E string, and how they can help or hinder you.
If you are looking for something a little bit different on your wedding day, a way to create that special feel at the reception and occupy your guests as the photographer works his magic, capturing the perfect images of the perfect day. If you don't want silence but feel that a string quartet is too ostentatious, or just a CD in the background wouldn't be quite, right then consider us! Click here for more