Don Leister

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DonAbout the Maker

I repair bowed instruments and bows, and build primarily violins and violas. These are made completely by me starting from carefully selected woods. I usually have a good selection of instruments on hand for you to try out. Please call for availability!

Right now I am making mostly Stradivari and Guarneri model violins. These designs are well proven and set the highest standard that luthiers strive for today. I also make another model based on a 1729 Carlo Bergonzi.

As for wood selection I generally use aged spruce from the Italian and Swiss Alps and maple from eastern Europe although I am having good success with American maple. If you are ordering an instrument you can even select the wood!

All of my instruments are done with oil varnishes that I make or buy from violin varnish makers.

I play violin for contra dances and local events and play viola in a small ensemble for fun.

In 2002, I entered my first violin making competition, the Violin Makers’ Association of Arizona International '02, and won three trophies, including the top award. My instruments are played by both professional and amatuer classical and folk musicians across the U.S.


2002 VMAAI Competition

  • Bob Wallace Grand Prize
  • 1st Prize for tone, gut string
  • 2nd Prize for overall points, gut string

The Don Leister Violin Shop is located at 2803 Stonewall Ave, Richmond VA 23225. Phone 804-920-5592.
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Last update: 21-Nov-2011