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Graeme Thatcher

Graeme Thatcher

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After thirty years of intensive research and experimentation, I can now offer you top quality handcrafted violins, violas and cellos, made from European maple, New Zealand native mangeao, and Swiss pine (tone wood) or Canadian sitka spruce.

My instruments are not affected by climatic conditions. This is due to the application of a  sealing coat, which causes the timber to increase in resonance, become stronger, lighter in weight, and turn a pale yellow colour. I then apply a compatible undercoat which controls the oil varnish from altering the frequency patterns of the timber.

The instruments are easy to play without being obstructive. Response is quick and instantaneous. The sound resonates clearly with excellent projection. Harmonics are all very clear. All four strings are evenly balanced. The tone, which is more of a personal preference, could be described as being very open and Italian. 

All instruments are electronically balanced followed by three different tap toning methods for an overall conclusive end result. Finger boards, sound posts, and bridges are carefully tuned to match each individual instrument.

Following a brief playing in period, the voice of the instruments will settle and become more enhanced. I have no doubt that a fine new instrument will improve its quality with age, but only to a small extent. Both old and new instruments which have good responses from the beginning will retain them, but those that have never had these responses, will not develop them.

New Zealand native mangeao, which is one of the finest timbers in the world, is light brown in colour, tough, strong and of great "elasticity". Its elasticity is formed by the natural interlacing of its grain, knots and other configerations (as in basket weaving). The timber requires no staining or tinting, retaining its natural colour.  Instruments made from this rare, unique, exquisite timber, all have an unmistakable velvet tone which rival Strad and Guarneri instruments.


violin back in mangeo wood

Violin back in mangeao

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The models that I follow as a basic guide for dimensions are:


  • Strad - Alard 1715
  • Strad - Le Messie 1716
  • Strad - Kreutzer 1727
  • Guarneri Del Jesu - 1742 - (Paganini)
  • Thatcher - My own design 1968


  • Guarneri Del Jesu -  (small) 1742, 15.20 inch, (386mm) - (Paganini)
  • Guarneri Del Jesu -  (other sizes can be made to order) - (Paganini)
  • Strad - MacDonald 1701, 16 3/16 inch (411 mm)
  • Guarneri Del Jesu - Bouette-Luff 1972, 16.5 inch, (419mm)


  • Strad - 1717-1728, 29.5 inch, (750mm)

A 50% deposit is required for any instrument made to order.

Left Handed Instruments made to order

See list of currently available instruments.


reference from Tony Byrne

Letter from Tony Byrne

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Andrew Davison

Eugene Sarbu

Tony Byrne, London Philharmonic Orchestra

John Brown, Covent Garden Orchestra

Yury Gezentsvey, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra


Contact details:

email thatcher@netinstruments.com

15 Regent Street
New Zealand

telephone +64 7 856 6852

Hamilton Map


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