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Byler Violins

Located in rural North Idaho, Edward Byler combines his love of music and wood craftsmanship to create beautiful violins with world-class tone.  Get started customizing your violin.


2019 VMAAI Gold Medal for Overall Points
2019 VMAAI Silver Medal for Overall Points
2019 VMAAI "Best in Show" Award
SVA 2019 Gold Medal for Tone
SVA 2019  Silver Medal for tone
SVA 2019  Second Place for Workmanship
2019 VMAAI Gold Medal for Workmanship
2017  VMAAI Certificate of Merit
for Tone in Violin
2017 SVA Second Place Winner
for Tone in Violin
2017 SVA Certificate of Merit
for Workmanship in Violin
2017 SVA Honorable Mention
for Workmanship in Violin
2015 VMAAI Second Place Winner
for Tone in Violin

The Process

The Process

I follow very much the same process in building violins as it was done in the 17th century. Hours go by where the sound of the gouge or chisel is all that is heard in my shop. My bench-made instruments are completed from start to finish by me, in my shop, where I can better predict and plan the outcome by being careful from wood selection to varnishing and setup. I’ve found that well-aged tone wood with good properties is one key to a great sounding violin, and I get my engelmann spruce from a region in Canada known to produce award-winning violins.

There are many new power tools that can speed the process up in violin making, but I’ve stayed away from them because my goal is not to build quantity as much as it is to build them with personality. As an example, I’ve found making my own purfling and cutting the channel by hand gives it a more organic appeal. I build mostly del Gesu model violins and am impressed by the humanity that shows through the originals by the tool marks and wear they’ve gotten over the centuries. I also cook my own varnish and pigments in the attempt to have them look as much as possible like the colors on the old Italian instruments.

I love the challenge of violin making and like to think of it as three things: First, it’s basically a wood sculpture with fine detail in every part like in the scroll, corners, F-holes and purfling. Then there is the varnishing and antiquing process, which is its own art form. But lastly, if all the above is wonderful and then it sounds bad, it was a failure. Actually the most important part is the tone and playability, and most of the effort goes into optimizing that. 

I prefer my violins to remain in my shop for several months to settle in and allow me more time to adjust and refine the setup. I greatly enjoy working with players and doing customized setups for each individual person’s preferences as well as tonal adjustments.

Customer Reviews

"The very first time I was introduced to Edward's violins was in 2019 serving as a judge at a makers Competition . They grabbed my attention from the first moment in all respects out of the other 40 or 50. I was fortunate to play on at least a dozen Strads and del Gesu's while living in LA and Edward's violins have similar characteristics in terms of approach, dynamic range, focus and projection. They are truly concert hall oriented instruments. Ever since I have wanted one of his violins and I finally purchased 2 with absolutely different personalities but equally great. Over the last 20 years I had been playing on a Gofriller as a soloist and concertmaster and felt like it was as good as it gets but now I am discovering a whole new world and cannot get enough of them. Each day they offer something new and are yet far from being fully developed .  I’m very excited and looking forward to exploration on the stage. Bravo Edward!"

    -  Alexander Shlifer 

"Ed Byler does state of the art work.  He communicated quickly and was extremely helpful in answering my questions as I searched for my dream violin.  His prices are unbeatable and the tone of his violins is extraordinary.  As a private violin teacher myself, I can't recommend Byler's work enough!"

    -  A.J.L



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