Lyndon Guitars, 1993
12" wide African Bubinga wood
My wonderful violin boss of 8 years, Christian Martin Kob, and I, around 1982, when I started apprenticing in violin repair.
My Coffee Table design, 1993
in Tropical Hardwood
I was born in 1962 in Sydney, Australia, but came to the USA at a young age and have lived here since. Woodworking, music, and musical instruments have been a major part of almost all of my life. I started with finishing redwood burl tables and clocks in junior High School, top grades in wood, plastic, and metal shop, then as a junior in High School I built a small clavichord from a kit. I wasn't happy with how poorly the clavichord parts fit together, so around the age of 20 I set out to make my own clavichord from scratch, a beautiful clavichord that turned out much better than the kit. I also spent three years designing, building and selling audiophile loudspeakers for a company called Speakercraft, Inc, now a mega corporation.
Around 1982, while trying to find hide glue for building my clavichord authentically, I visited a small violin shop run by a Mr. Marty Kob, pictured above, and started a wonderful friendship. He mentioned he was close to retirement (around 84!!) and could use some help around the shop and offered to take me on as an apprentice. I wasn't having any luck selling clavichords so I jumped at the chance. Slowly, working on and off part time over about 8 years, I learned basic violin repair and upon Marty's retirement, around 1990, inherited his violin repairing tools and templates. Soon after working for Marty I went to work for his bow maker and violin restorer friend here in Redlands, T. Burdell Tenney. Burdell introduced to me to the "Bible" on Violin Restoration by violin makers Hans Weisshaar and Margaret Shipman. For the first time I came to realize that high quality professional repairs were not quite as simple as Marty had taught me. Around 1992 I started a violin making apprenticeship with violin maker Ruth Evans, then of Riverside, CA. She had learned violin making from an Italian maker living in Los Angeles, Mario Frosali. Unfortunately, almost halfway through the apprenticeship, I injured my hand really bad with the chisel and dropped out of the apprenticeship with out completing my first violin.
Over the next 12 years I concentrated on and made 14 clavichords and several other projects, including abstract paintings, building my own furniture designs (see pic below), and starting my own failed electric guitar company (Lyndon guitars, see pic below). Around 2005 I was in the local Guitar Shop and discovered a box full of old violins in various states of disrepair. Being out of work at the time, I saw a real opportunity to return to the violin business! Still having all my tools, I went to work in alliance with Burdell Tenney's son Les. Over the next few years I was able to buy everything I needed from Burdell's shop, as he had it up for sale and was retired, being in his 90s. I wholesaled some of the materials and many of the violins to my close friend in Los Angeles that runs one of the top violin shops, including over 100lbs of rare Pernambuco violin bow wood, and a beautiful potentially Cremonese 1700s Italian violin in pieces, that needed thousands of thousands of dollars of repair work. I still work closely with him today, and another close friend, a top German violin expert in Austria. Having top expert friends I can look up to for advice is critical to my success as a restorer.
I have stayed in business to this day, now around 10 years as Taylor's Fine Violins, my knowledge and experience have grown, and I am here to help any and every customer to the best of my ability. It's my pleasure to do business with you.
Sincerely, Lyndon Johann Taylor
TAYLOR'S FINE VIOLINS