Prior to training as a Luthier, Chris Tayler read for a degree in Engineering. He subsequently did postgraduate research into acoustics and vibration at Southampton University Institute of Sound and Vibration, where his work was sponsored by NASA.
Not surprisingly, this informed his work as a Luthier, giving him a unique insight into the physics and acoustics of sound production. He has brought the fruits of this to bear on both his restoration of fine old instruments (such as Gofriller, Amati, Carcassi, Panormo, Pallotta, etc), and also to the making of new instruments, notably violas, which he has made his special study.
He has been fascinated for many years by the particular challenges presented by the viola as an instrument, in that its size can preclude the tonal depth which is desirable.
However, his academic research has led him to make various adjustments to the construction of the viola, which have been highly rewarding. In the past he has concentrated on two popular models: a copy of the Sixteenth Century Brothers Amati viola owned by the celebrated violist Robin Ireland, and a slightly smaller model based on an Eighteenth Century viola by Paulo Castello of Genoa. However, with intuition and sensitivity to tone colour together with the application of the principles of his earlier academic work, he now makes two further models of his own design. These exceed anything he previously thought possible.
Chris normally holds examples of various models in stock and people are welcome to come to try them. He is happy to accept commissions, discussing fully the requirements of the purchaser. He remains fascinated by the care and restoration of violins, violas and cellos, with a special interest in optimising sound quality. He is based in West Sussex, easily accessible from London by train.
In addition to the Amati copy models Chris has been making for some years, there are two new models of viola now available.
Chris Tayler’s viola has a real ringing, warm and glowing tenor register. I managed to get plenty of overtones out of the instrument with minimal effort right away.
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