instrument maker

Owen Morse-Brown

Having spent time in my father’s workshop as a child, I began making musical instruments at the age of fifteen. I went on to study with Arthur Robb (lutes) for two years while studying music at Bath Spa University College and have since been working in Wiltshire specialising in early bowed strings.

There is something about making things with your hands that is addictive and when this is combined with a finished piece that not only looks amazing but also has the ability to move us with its sound, the experience is even more special. Making things by hand has been going on since the beginning of time and it is something I am very passionate about. It gives us a sense of achievement, of permanence, and no matter how big or small, important or insignificant, it brings pleasure to both the maker and the recipient.

Like so many other arts of the time, renaissance and baroque instruments are often just as much about the visual as the audible and I take as much pleasure in creating beautiful instruments as ones that sound to their full potential. I am constantly inspired by the lengths early craftsmen went to in order to design and build the most beautiful things and I love to research how they did it.

Where possible I like to work with local materials and my stock usually includes sycamore, pear, plum, laburnum, holly and boxwood. I also use local timber suppliers for hardwoods although my spruce for soundboards comes from specialist suppliers.

Later in life, my grandfather was also a violin maker and repairer and left me all his tools, notes and books. I now have over 25 years of experience in building a variety stringed instruments.

In 2008 I also took over my father’s business making wooden hat blocks for milliners and hatters worldwide. The business has grown significantly since my father retired and now employs a number of staff in the workshop as well as in admin and supporting roles. As such my instrument making work has become more of a sideline and I tend to focus on making instruments that I want to make rather than taking commission. I occasionally have instruments to sell which will be found on the for sale page. This website has therfore become more of a gallery / portfolio of my work rather than advertising what I can offer on terms of commission. I do hope you enjoy browsing.

Among others both in the UK and abroad, my instruments are played by: Giles Lewin, Susanna Pell & William Lyons (The Dufay Collective) Hazel Brooks (Trobairitz, Concanentes, The Boston Camerata) Rebecca Austen-Brown (Mediva, Tintagel) Nancy Hadden (Circa 1500) Al Cofrin (Istanpitta) José Manuel Hernandez (Trio Baryton de Madrid).