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Kevin Almy, Master Luthier

In June I received an email from Kevin Almy in Wellington, New Zealand. The email subject was Almy Family Plymouth, England and he furnished the address of his web site. For those having access to the internet, his web site is http://www.angelfire.com/music/luthier/index.html.

Image of Blue ViolinKevin Almy was born in Plympton, a small village five miles from Plymouth, England, on the edge of Dartmoor. The following information about Kevin is quoted from his web site.

"Working from his quiet back street studio in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Kevin Almy, Master Luthier produces a wide range of the finest quality instruments: from violins, violas and cellos to mandolins, mandolas and archtop quitars. Hidden away in a turn of the century building in Wellington's Cuba Street, famed for its cafes, curio shops and ethnic restaurants, his studio can be quite difficult to find."

"Kevin's luthiery work is well respected by NZ's professional and amateur musicians alike, many of whom regularly beat a path to his door confident that their specific needs will be met. It can truly be said that his handcrafted instruments and his repair work speak for themselves."

"Kevin has been building his fine handcrafted instruments for over 30 years. During the early 1980's, he worked for Wellington's legendary music store "Capital Music", carrying out guitar repairs and modifications for many of that city's guitarists."

"He is New Zealands only Master Luthier certified by the Martin Guitar Company as a guitar technician to carry out their warranty work. As well as his repair work, Kevin has also constructed flat top steel string acoustic and solid body electric guitars to order."

"A growing interest in the theory and manufacture of carved top instruments, fuelled by an increasing demand for him to repair various members of the violin family, led Kevin to travel to the United Kingdom, where he was invited and privileged to attend a three year violin making and restoration course at the Welsh College of Musical Instrument Making. Following his graduation, Kevin accepted an offer to work for a highly respected French master luthier."

"This was an extraordinary opportunity to work on rare and beautiful instruments, and to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in their manufacture and restoration. After three years in France, a strong desire to return to New Zealand saw Kevin Almy travel to Wellington where he established his present studio."

"All Kevin Almy's instruments are 100% handmade from the finest quality materials available. Materials such as master grade European Spruce and highly flamed European Maple, dense ebony and resonant Red Cedar from North America. Other than a bandsaw for initial material preparation, no work is done using pantographs or any other machine process. Kevin believes very strongly that maintaining this degree of contact during all phases of construction allows him to develop the maximum tonal character achievable from each individual piece of timber."

I had not seen the word luthier before I saw Kevin's web page. The word was not in my large Webster's unabridged dictionary either. Then a couple weeks ago it was one of the questions on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" television show.

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