- « Musician
Tell us about yourself
We are a full service violin sales, setup, and repair shop located in historic downtown New Braunfels.
Bryan Duckworth, luthier and proprietor, welcomes you and brings to his craft over 30 years of experience.
NEW BRAUNFELS – A piece of thread dangles under Bryan Duckworth’s gray mustache as he walks toward a glass case containing white horsehair. He uses a black comb to brush the hair then clips it and ties it with the thread and walks back to his workspace, where he will restring a violin bow.
Before opening Duckworth Violin Shop, the 61-year-old played fiddle and mandolin with Robert Earl Keen for 11 years and has been playing the fiddle since 1974. A fiddle and a violin are essentially the same instrument but are played differently.
“I needed a job and thought if I have to have a job, I’m going to do something that I like,” Duckworth said.
He decided to take a chance in 2001 and bought a couple of fiddles, a box of string and opened a shop in New Braunfels.
“I grew up in a home where making things was considered ordinary,” he said. “I was reasonably handy.”
There are schools that teach people the art of making and repairing violins, but the process involves a specific skill set that sometimes new students have difficulty understanding.
“There is somewhat of an assumption that when you get there, you know how to use a knife . I’ve been in classes before where they were trying to train people to do really fine motor skills with a knife and they realized that (the student) never held a knife in their life,” he said. “At that point, the learning curve comes almost insurmountable and almost dangerous.”
Duckworth spent many hours with known violin maker Forrest H. Craig and still uses tools that he inherited from Craig.
“Forrest Craig was a Houston violin maker. He liked Hallettsville, he loved the contest and he wanted to support the young people,” Duckworth said. “He made an arrangement with the Fiddlers’ Frolics people that he would donate a fiddle as first prize for the youth division each year.”
After Craig passed away, Duckworth worked with the Texas State Championship Fiddlers’ Frolics to continue the tradition and acquired 10 unfinished Romanian violins that he would customize, varnish and give to the winner of the Forrest H. Craig Freshman Division fiddle contest.