YORK—One York man is making sweet music, creating instruments by hand. Mark Bluett makes a living from his love for music. In this week's Made in PA, FOX43's Michael Gorsegner looks at the time-honored craft of violin making.
The beautiful sounds of the violin at work catch the ear of a music lover. But for one York County man, the craftsmanship of the tool is as important as the musical tone.
"The word here is perfection," said Mark Bluett of Bluett Bros. Violins.
Bluett has been making violins since 1984. His craft comes from a love for music. Before his hands spent the days whittling wood, he made his living bowing the very same instruments.
"I caught the bug. I just started making as much as possible, researching as much as possible," Bluett said. "The more and more I made, the better I got at it."
As Bluett got better, making the instruments, rather than playing them became his focus. Twenty seven-years later, he's displaying his 226th handmade violin. Sprinkle in one or two guitars, some instruments from the Mandolin family and a few Cellos and there lies quite a resume of musical manufacturing.
"It`s very exciting to me to work hard and then end with a great sounding instrument that is a piece of art in and of itself," Bluett said.
That piece of art starts from a raw hunk of wood. These specialty cut pieces of maple, the backbone of his violins, have been air drying since 1967, ready to be made into a quality instrument. Over a three month period, Bluett will bend, shape, carve and finish the wood, all while handmaking the ornate pieces that adorn his violins. The end product looks and sounds glamorous.
"That`s what I always need is the 'wow' factor. 'Wow' that sounds great," said Bluett.
From this unassuming shop here in York, Bluett's violins have literally made it across the globe to some of the world's best players. But you don't have to look all that far. Some of Bluett's instruments being played right here at the Strand Capitol where the York Symphony Orchestra is making some beautiful music.
"It`s just a matter of word-of-mouth and if you are making a great instrument, then it`s going to spread," Bluett said.
And the word has spread. Bluett credits his attention to detail for his success. The handcarving measures down to the millimeter. The proper thickness of his violins are key to a great sound. The design of the scrolls makes his work stand out. With his name stamped on each instrument, the music maker accepts nothing less than the best.
"If you take time with each step to make it perfect, then you end up with a perfect instrument," Bluett said. "I just want to keep making instruments. It is just the love of my life."
Bluett Bros. violins starts at $6,000.