Violin/Violin Maker


Carter Gosbee wrote at 2008-05-19 23:52:19
I have a J. W. Smith violin from a luthier in Buffalo N.Y. 92 As.... St. illegible

Name and address on label with street name illegible.

James Smith on tailpiece bottom in pencil.

W. J. Smith on Bassbar upside down and backwards.

Highly flamed maple back. Excellent spruce top. Dark purfling of what looks to be dark pearwood/3 layers.

Excellent ebony fittings.

Tailpiece reads James Smith on bottom in pencil.

I live in Brampton Ontario Canada and picked this up at a alocal auction.

From buffalo N.Y. to Ontario Canada. Must have come up the East Coast.

Do you have more on this builder/luthier and this violin?  

Malcolm Hall wrote at 2010-02-14 12:13:34
If its the same Jim Smith, Jim was a violin maker in England. He emigrated to Canada in the early fifties and continued to make violins as his craft. Jim was born in Beverly east Yorkshire where most of his relatives still live> Jim and his two brothers all played the violin. I don't know how made he made but he was no amateur as he did this for a living

Jim was my cousin  

Charlie wrote at 2016-02-15 03:23:29
I have a violin labeled a copy of a Strad by W.J. Smith of Mt. Kisco NY. It is his #56, and dated 1939. It is a finely made instrument with an amber varnish, two piece back, fine grain spruce top and a well executed neck graft. Please contact me if you have an instrument that might be by the same maker, or have any information about Smith.  

usqebach wrote at 2016-06-25 00:39:39
I also have a W.J. Smith, Mt. Kisco NY.  Not annotated as to number, and date says 193 with no last date.  Bought from Atlanta Violins.  Shop has upwards of 10 of these bought from grandson of maker.

Mine has 2 piece back, unusual maple - not tightly flamed.  Says "very old italian wood" in pencil below label.

Love the violin.  Very low arching.  Plays loudly.  Also plays alternate tunings (Old Time) very well.

Charlie wrote at 2016-07-31 11:02:05
This is almost certainly the same maker. I tried to contact relatives in the Atlanta area (sent photos, etc) to try to find out more about WJ, but without success. Mine was also initially quite strident, but switching from Dominant to Obligato strings and tweaking the soundpost position has created a wonderful sound. I'd be interested in photos of your instrument if you are willing to send them: My email is  

Charlie wrote at 2017-01-03 18:18:11
I recently had Rutman VIolins of Boston examine my W.J. Smith violin, # 56, 1939. There is an inscription inside on the upper treble bout in pencil that says "I hope you will be good". Mr. Rutman pointed out a few other features I had not seen, including a cleat on a crack repair in top at the Bass upper bout, and a peculiar painted interior to the pegbox. He opined that the finish was identical on both sides of the neck grat, suggesting it was done "in the white" rather than a repair, and hence probably WJ's work. I never heard anything from the inquiries to the Smith family.


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Al Dzina


I can answer questions about violin and guitar making and restoration. I will not answer questions about playing these instruments, because I am a maker, not a player.


I was trained in violin making in Germany and have been working at this craft for sixty years.

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