Marcos Licastro Schmitz

Violin Maker in São Paulo, Brazil

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Making a good instrument requires great wood. Factors like specific density, regular annular rings and a clear sustained ringtone must be considered. That’s why I buy my tonewood from the best suppliers in Europe.

I have chosen two models of the golden period of the Cremonese lutherie in which I base myself to make my instruments: the Stradivari “Kruse” – 1721 and the Guarneri del ‘Gesù’ “Lord Wilton” – 1742. In general I do not make copies, but get inspired on these models from the past masters. I also like to work with a unique own model.

The construction method is the most similar to the techniques and traditions practiced in Italy for more than 300 years. With the exception of the first sawing of wood, most of the work is done with hand tools and traditional techniques. I use the internal form method and try to respect the archings and measurements of each model.

I finalize my instruments with full varnish applied in several layers over a mineral ground, as I believe that the ground preparation improves the final tonal quality of the instrument. I make up my own varnish with natural resins like colophony, sandarac, mastic and amber, mixed with linseed oil and colored with transparent pigments.