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Double Bass Maker, Luthier, Double Bass, Scottish Violin

Will Adam Mackay

  I am a luthier making high quality stringed instruments based in my home county of Caithness, Scotland.  I make violin family instruments as well as guitars.  My instruments are constructed often using time proven designs for a foundation, sometimes it is necessary to make alterations to various models to accomodate the specific needs of modern players.  Some of my  instruments, guitars in particular are of original design. 


  My interests as a luthier span from the works of Gaspar Da Salo working from Brescia, Italy in the 16th century and the man that could perhaps rightfully be attributed as the daddy of all double bass through to the Scottish violin making tradition where Mathew and Thomas Hardie are among the best known.

  Many interesting violin/fiddle can be found all around the country made by varying levels of skill of hand.  Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects on this subject to me is the lengths people will go to just to have an instrument to play music on as well as those who endevour to perfect the craft, it's also worth considering how the aspiring luthiers managed to emulate the works of the Italian masters long before the information available to the modern maker was as readily available as it is today.  Commitment and devotion to a chosen art or craft will always speak for itself.    


  As a luthier I endevour to understand every aspect of my craft.  From processing the wood at an early stage, seasoning and using hand tooling techniques as past masters have done to preserve these skills.  Cooking and mixing my own varnishes and preparations from organic materials. 


  In an age where quality often takes a back seat to compete with highly mechanised production techniques where almost everything in our realities is becoming "flat-pack", and dissposable we're in some ways losing touch with our humanity and true creative nature.  I am all for a simple life yet also deeply suspicious of dumbing down and that is one reason why it is important to me to keep many of these hand skills alive.

Luthier Background Info


Will has been making instruments for over 20 years having started with solid body electric guitar and bass guitar.  Beguiled by the interaction of player, materials and the dynamic response of the acoustic instrument he built his first acoustic guitar under the instruction of Norman Reed, Totnes, Devon in 1995.  Norman was a knowledgable and kind teacher who made early musical instrument of the Viol family before opening the Totnes school of guitar making.  

Luthiery work became part of a self employed income for Will along with being a regular gigging musician in the Highlands.  The bulk of the work taken on through that period was the setting up and repair of instruments, re-frets and customisation including re-finishing.


2008 - 2011, Will studied at the Newark School of Violin Making, internationaly renowned and known for its high standards.  


  2011 - present.  After leaving Nottinghamshire in 2011 Will returned home to Caithness to further establish himself as a luthier and build the reputation of his workshop for high quality, individual instruments made by hand.

Workshop Info


The workshop is situated on the Highland estate of Berridale in the county of Caithness.  It produces instruments of the violin family. The double bass being a speciality interest to me.  I also make guitars, both electric and acoustic as well as the occasional stringed oddity when I can just for the sake of it. 

Highland shed artwork.
Purfling mitre.
Auld fashioned coo
Luthier W Mackay.
Stringed oddity
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