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Review: Violin Making — Live! Watch Me Make a Cello, Step-by-Step by Henry Strobel

Review: Violin Making — Live! Watch Me Make a Cello, Step-by-Step by Henry Strobel

Reviewed by John Calkin

Originally published in American Lutherie #58, 1999 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Five, 2008

Video: Violin Making — Live!
Video: Watch Me Make a Cello, Step-by-Step
Henry Strobel, 1997
ISBN 0962067385

Henry Strobel has written a fleet of books about making violins, violas, and cellos, all of which build one upon the other. To use the cello book you should have first read the violin book, and so on. This video set uses the same idea, i.e., to use it to best advantage you must have the cello book, which needs the violin book for complete understanding, and so on, all in the house that Jack built. But if you buy the video set, Strobel will sell you the cello book for $10 instead of $30, which might remove some of the sting. And if you haven’t got a cello guru to run to as you tear into your first instrument, Strobel on tape may be the next best thing.

The videos are not intensely detailed or perfectly complete. Almost no operation is carried through to completion on tape. But Strobel has the capacity to make cello creation seem wonderfully doable. The first three hours of tape whiz by with so little effort that even a casual viewer might decide to buy a whacking big gouge and a fistful of teeny planes. Carving the plates often seems like the scariest part of cello making, but Strobel makes it look like fun.

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