Jimi Glenister – Luthier & Archetier

“I have made and restored guitars and mandolins in South Africa since 1975, specialising in carved top & back ‘f-hole’ instruments for jazz players”

The bulk of my work until 1989 was in the area of set-up and basic repair.
In 1989 I moved to the UK where I stayed to further hone my lutherie skills until returning to Cape Town in January 2004.

In the UK I studied guitar design and construction under Norman Reed at the Totnes School of Guitarmaking, Totnes, South Devon, graduating in December 1991. I still make guitars and mandolins, tending to specialise in acoustic guitars and mandolins with carved top and back as in the violin-making tradition.

My making, restoration and maintenance of bows for orchestral instruments began in 1989 during which time I studied the making of all parts of the bow inspired with the help of the late Arthur Bultitude of Hawkhurst Kent. My bows stylistically favour models of Dominique Peccate, Pajeot & the Hill bow by W.C.Retford.

I commenced study of the violin family instruments in September 1992, graduating from Newark School of Violin Making in 1994, majoring in restoration under the tutelage of Glen Collins. I was the first student in the history of N.S.V.M to graduate as a restorer with an informal commendation by Charles Beare who was responsible for judging graduate’s work in the final year.

The orchestral instruments I make are generally modelled on Stradivarius, Guarneri ‘Del Gesù’ and leaning toward the Nicolo Amati aesthetic, depending on the musician’s request and/or preference. For varnish I favour darker but transparent red-brown of either oil or spirit depending on the main climate where the instrument will be used or on the musician’s preference.

Instruments made and repaired in my workshop are not limited to standard instruments or designs: I enjoy the challenge of the unusual. For example, I was a co-founder of Bridge Musical Instruments of Sleaford and was principal designer of a range of electric violins, celli & double-basses with hollow carbon graphite, Kevlar & Epoxy Resin bodies of unusual ergonomic shapes (as can be seen in the Hindersine rosin advertisements in the Strad magazine).

I have also made Bowl Lyres, David’s Lyres, hurdy-gurdies as well as other instruments requested by musicians that don’t conform to any traditional or standard description other than being a portable stringed musical instrument.

I generally work alone without assistants or apprentices and pride myself in the manufacture, restoration and maintenance of top-quality, functional musical tools used by working musicians.