Monday, 25 November 2019

A view of the office end of the workshop, showing from right to left: some cello patterns, the recent  and brilliant painting, by the wonderful Cathy Kingcome, of the bench,( and myself looking a bit wistful), some recent violins and two violas above the desk, and on the end wall a poster of the Kreisler del Gesu, some black and white photos of the 1726 Saveuse Stradivari cello I took c.1982, and two views of the Baron Heath del Gesu, taken some 25 years apart.

Cathy's website is

Here are some more images of the Baron Heath
including three of its extraordinary and lovely scroll.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Rod Ward Cello Week.

Friday July 19th  to Sunday July 28th.

Guilden Morden,  Cambridgeshire, UK

Having now completed most of the Guadagnini cello series I have been making for the last two years, these instruments will be available together to view, play and compare at my workshop and cottage in South Cambridgeshire.

 Tea, coffee and cakes are free....

The instruments are very resonant, easy to play, and beautiful.

In conjunction with Fiddle Daemons, there will be a section of cello ( and other ) bows to try, and for sale.  These include a very nice Charles Bazin cello bow, a period Dodd violin bow c. 1810, an interesting Cello bow, probably by Edward Tubbs, and an intermediate cello bow by William Tubbs along with bows by other makers.  And new cello and viola bows by Andrew McGill.

 The Bazin cello bow and the Dodd violin bow both have Guillaume certificates.

Please ask if you would like a full list of Instruments and Bows currently available.

In the workshop are instruments including cellos, in various stages of making, and my wood collection. I am more than happy to show visitors round and explain the various processes involved in making these instruments, from the initial stages to varnish and setting up to play.


Currently on the bench are two violas ( 15 " and 15 ⅝"ths) being varnished,  a Guarneri model violin, and a Peter Guarneri model cello under construction, and a further Guadagnini model cello which will be finished in Baroque set up.

Any visitors arriving by train can be picked up at either Biggleswade, or Ashwell and Morden Station.

Contact me :  Phone :

 01763 852 377  /  07973 835 466

email : r449ward@

The foreman.............

And the cottage newly thatched.....

Thursday, 24 May 2018

This is the latest cello (the fourth ) in the series of Guadagnini  model cellos I am making This instrument is made from some very old riven Spruce, and a plainer back of maple from 1976, both of which I have had for many years, waiting to be made up.

There are at least  four more cellos in the series to be made. They become more interesting as it progresses. The model has back length of 715 mm, a string length of around 670 mm . Despite the slightly small size of the model, the cellos have a huge sound. And because of the size they are very comfortable to play. The varnish is a beautiful glowing red colour. The original instruments have been used as concert instruments by famous soloists for many, many years up to this day. This cello is currently available to try.

I have recently acquired some fabulous Italian poplar, nearly twenty years old. I have enough to make eight or so violas and four cellos. The images below show the wood, and the first viola made from it. It is extremely reflective, glowing, and acoustically excellent. The viola should be completed in about three weeks time.  I have begun a cello in the same wood, it should be spectacular.

Viola 409 mm back, Brescian model, ground coat applied. Outer varnish to follow.

 The Poplar wood as bought and below after Planing the surface,

If you have questions or queries about any of these instruments, or anything else, please contact me. I always do my best to respond promptly.  +  44 (0) 1763 852 377  /

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Jackie, who runs Fiddle Daemons, and I will be at Cambridge Folk Festival this weekend, Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th July 2017. We will be in the "Luthiers' Area ", in the main trade tent, near Stage 2.

I will have the latest fiddle and viola, along with a couple of others, and a Guadagnini model cello made last year. The cello has been on loan to a client who has just collected her splendid new Rod Ward cello of the same model. These are numbers 2 and 4 of the series of six Guadagnini model cellos I am making. I will also be bringing my five string violin, no 69.

Jackie will be bringing some older fiddles.

This my latest fiddle. It is Violin no, 100. I have kept the wood for over 30 years for a special instrument and making my 100th violin seemed a good time to use it. The wood is about 130 years old.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Along with the regular making and fulfilling orders for new Instruments, I have a longer term project making a series of Guadagnini model cellos.

Guadagnini cellos are renowned for their playing qualities, with superb carrying tone and power, and are used as concert instruments throughout the world. They are also smaller than the standard Stradivari and Guarneri models, at about 715 to 725 mm back length, as opposed to the Strad and Guarneri models at around 750 mm. This results in a shorter string length, which suits many players, especially those with smaller hands, and with no loss of volume or quality in the sound.

I have completed two of the cellos so far , one with Maple back and sides, and one with Poplar back and sides. A third cello is varnishing, and three more are in various stages of production. I have used both English and French Poplar, the French being slightly heavier. Some of the wood is about 80 years old,  and some younger.

Along with the Guadagnini model cellos, I have two Peter of Guarneri of Venice 1725 model cellos
( back length 750mm ) under construction as part of this project to explore sound production in cello making. One is in Maple - slab cut wood with a stunning broad figure and some lovely bird's eye markings and matching Ribs, and a wonderful French Spruce front with much Hazel figure; the other in French Poplar with a front of 20 year old split Spruce.

If you would like to try any of these cellos as they become available, see them in progress, or for any  further information,   please contact me. Visitor are welcome  to the workshop, please phone or email in advance:   + 44 (0) 1763 852 377


Rod Ward Guadagnini model cello :  Old Maple back and sides

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

new Rod Ward violin

 A quick preview of my new violin, finished yesterday. This is my violin no. 99

The varnish is very transparent and has wonderful warm glow. It has a huge and beautiful sound.

It will be on display in Manchester this weekend, 14th and 15th January 2017, at the RNCM Music Festival, along with a faithful copy of a Peter Guarneri of Venice c.1740 period violin.

I will aso have my latest Guadagnini model cello.

Please come and try them.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Tomorrow, Sunday 13th March 2016, I shall be exhibiting my work at the BVMA ( British Violin Makers Association )  "Makers Day " a the Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS, opposite the Royal Albert Hall.

The exhibition is open from 11 a.m. to 5 pm.

This beautiful Guadagini model Cello is built after the 1757 "Teschenmacher" cello, and will be available for trial. It has a powerful tone with great projection.
Like all Guadagnini cellos, it is of slightly small size with a back length of 715 mm , 28 3/16th" which makes it easy to play, without losing any tonal qualities.

It is covered in a lovely transparent red-brown Amber oil varnish.

I will also have two violas : a 15" Paolo Testore model viola, and a Gaspro da Salo model 381 mm., 15/58th".  This second viola was made for a client in 2007, and was used professionally till last year ; It has an exceptional one piece slab back.

Paolo Testore 1741 model viola.  381 mm.

And my latest violin......... Guarneri model, 353 mm, deeply figured slab back, and a huge tone.

You are very welcome to try any of the instruments on display. Trial rooms available.