Skip navigation


The Music Library

Here are some of the most astoundingly useful reference books on the subject of musical instruments. Many are out of print, but may be available used or through your local library. Following the vendor links will usually provide more information about content.

Search Now:

Read our disclaimer!

Resources for Collectors

The Art of Violin Making
by Chris Johnson, Roy Courtnall

A major new work for the craftsman, bringing into one volume a summary of essential information for the violin maker and player, as well as providing a historical reference. This book is essential reading for the violin maker, repairer and historian, providing a unique record of the history, social background, lives and work of the great violin makers of the past, combined with a clear practical guide to making violins.

  • Hardcover: 256 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.95 x 11.99 x 8.56
  • Publisher: Parkwest Pubns; (June 1998)

  • An Encyclopedia of the Violin
    by Alberto Abraham Bachmann, Frederick H. Martens (Translator), Albert E. Weir (Editor)

    Broadly covers violin makers, players and music. Originally published 1925.

    • Paperback: 470 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.50 x 8.48 x 5.40
    • Publisher: DaCapo Press; (March 1975)
    • Buy from

    Known Violin Makers
    by John H. Fairfield 

    • Library Binding: 208 pages
    • Publisher: Reprint Services Corp; (January 1942)
    • Buy from

    Violin Owner's Manual: The Complete Guide (Strings Backstage)
    by Heather K. Scott (Editor), String Letter Publishing (Editor)

    • Paperback: 96 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.46 x 9.02 x 6.07
    • Publisher: String Letter Publishing; ; (April 2001)
    • Buy from

    The Violin Market: The Violinist's Guide to Instrument Purchase
    by John Huber, Tim Kummer 

    • Hardcover; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 12.50 x 9.75
    • Publisher: Bold Strummer Ltd; (August 1995)
    • Buy from The Strad

    Musical Instrument Auction Price Guide: 2002 (Serial)

    • Paperback: 250 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.55 x 9.00 x 6.04 
    • Publisher: String Letter Publishing (March 2002)
    • Buy from:

    Amadeus Book of the Violin: Construction, History, and Music
    by Walter Kolneder, Reinhard G. Pauly (Translator)

    • Hardcover: 600 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.96 x 9.34 x 6.14
    • Publisher: Amadeus Pr; ; (October 1998)
    • Buy from:

    The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family, 1626-1762
    by William Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill, Hill Alfred Ebsworth

    • Paperback: 173 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 11.28 x 8.47
    • Publisher: Dover Pubns; ; Reprint edition (October 1989)
    • Buy from:

    Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work, 1644-1737
    by William Henry, Hill, Arthur F. Hill

    • Paperback: ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.74 x 8.34 x 5.44
    • Publisher: Dover Pubns; ; 2nd edition (December 1963)
    • Buy from:

    Violin Identification and Price Guide, Books 1, 2, 3
    by Roy Ehrhardt

    These massive reference guides are very useful for identifying instruments. The prices are rather dated as one might expect from the publication dates, but are still useful benchmarks. The print quality of these volumes is not great - at least two of the volumes (1 & 3) are photocopied reprints. 

    • Volume 1: Spiral-bound: 192 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 11.00 x 9.00
    • Publisher: Heart of America Pr; ; (June 1977)
    • Buy from:


    • Volume 2: Spiral-bound: ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 11.25 x 9.25
    • Publisher: Heart of America Pr; ; (June 1980)
    • Buy from:


    • Volume 3: Spiral-bound: 152 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 11.25 x 9.00
    • Publisher: Heart of America Pr; ; Spiral edition (August 1978)
    • Buy from:

    The Rough Guide to Violin & Viola: The Essenial Tipbook (Rough Guides Music Reference Series)
    by Hugo Pinksterboer

    • Paperback: 128 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.50 x 8.00 x 4.50
    • Rough Guides; (October 19, 2000)
    • Buy from:

    The Care of Historic Musical Instruments

    Provides thorough and expert guidance on the care of historic musical instrument collections, ethics and the use of instruments, materials, basic conservation treatments, maintenance strategies, and documentation. Written by seven international specialists in the care and preservation of musical instruments. A bibliography and resources list are also included.

    • 15.5 x 24.75 cm (6.125 x 9.75"), paperback, 145 pp., illustrated

    Available only from the Canadian Conservation Institute

    Useful Measurements for Violin Makers
    by Henry A. Strobel

    A useful reference of standard dimensions for all violin-family instruments.

    • Paperback: 46 pages; Dimensions (in inches): 0.25 x 11.25 x 8.75
    • Henry Strobel, Violin Maker and Publisher; 5th edition (July 1989)
    • Buy from:

    Other Bibliographic Resources

    References that are out of print, but may be available through your local library or via their interlibrary loan program.

    The Violin Makers of the United States: Biographical Documentation of the Violin and Bow Makers Who Have Worked in the United States

    by Thomas J. Wenberg; 1986, Mount Hood Publishing Company, Mt. Hood, OR; ISBN: 093807105X. Out of Print


    © 2001-2008 D.Newton/