Arwed Harms

Violin Maker

“...these are instruments I have known for many years and I recommend the extraordinarily good sound carrying qualities of Arwed Harms's violas. They are also very aesthetically pleasing. Many of my former students are now playing all over the world on violas made by Arwed Harms...”

Hatto Beyerle


Arwed Harms has been making violins, violas and cellos for twenty years, initially in Cremona and for six years now in Fivizzano, Tuscany.
In the roughly one hundred instruments that he has build, there is a wide range of models and concepts. There are for example sixteen different viola models and five different Guarneri del Gesu' violin patterns.
Many well known musicians like Hatto Beyerle (founding member of the Alban Berg quartet), Johannes Luethy (solo violist of the SWR Symphonieorchester Baden Baden and professor in Karlsruhe), Grzegorz Kotow (violinist of the Szymanowski quartet ), Patrick Jüdt ( viola professor in Bern, Switzerland) and Fabio Marano (violist of the Pellegrini quartet) are constantly playing and teaching on his instruments.
He makes workbench copies, which allow him to deal very precisely with the originals.
Otherwise the instruments are free interpretations of the old masters instruments.
In this way the great variety of the classic period of violinmaking has become part of his repertoire.
The instruments are varnished with a self-produced amber linseed oil finish.
The well balanced proportions of the ingredients, coloured with natural dyes, gives to every instrument a very personal character. The varnish protects the instrument without hindering it in its vibrations.
Despite increasing demand, his aim is to have always some instruments in the workshop, especially a range of different sizes of viola.



The different viola models and who is playing them

The vibrating string length is often more important for playability than the body length

ModelBody sizeString length
Gasparo da Salò17,3'' / 43,5 cm14,80'' / 378 mm
Gasparo da Salò16,5'' / 42 cm14,56'' / 370 mm
Gasparo da Salò 16,5'' / 42 cm14,21'' / 360 mm
Maggini15,7'' / 40 cm14,3'' / 362 mm
Camillo Camilli 16,5'' / 42 cm14,80'' / 378 mm
Camillo Camilli16,1'' / 41 cm14,40'' / 365 mm
Camillo Camilli15,7'' / 40 cm14,21'' / 360 mm
Vuillame - Maggini15,7'' / 40 cm14,00'' / 357 mm
Vuillame - Maggini16,1'' / 41 cm14,21'' / 360 mm
Andrea Guarneri16,5'' / 42 cm14,56'' / 370 mm
Andrea Guarneri16,3'' / 41,5 cm14,40'' / 365 mm
Stradivari 171516,1'' / 41cm14,76'' / 375 mm
Stradivari15,7'' / 40 cm14,56'' / 370 mm
Lorenzo Storioni 16,3'' / 41,4 cm14,68'' / 373 mm


Johann Sebastian Bach - Prelude Suite BWV 1007
Leonid Gorokhov: Cello

Anton Stepanowitsch Arensky - Chanson triste
Leonid Gorokhov: Cello, Larissa Gorokhova: Piano
The joys of visiting friends: wonderful company, fantastic wine, delicious barbie; but perhaps best of all, first notes on a great new cello.


  • ...compared to many violin makers causing a stir in recent press discussions, Arwed Harms is not typical. He is a master of his art and his instruments promote themselves by their excellent workmanship and by their maker's great sense of sound plus his fundamental, ethical honesty...

    Hatto Beyerleemeritur professor of viola and chamber music Hannover, Basel, Fiesole
  • ...I've been following Arwed Harms's work for the last 10 years. I know all the violas that he has built in this period, and for the past 7 years I have myself been the happy owner of one of these instruments. I like the warm, often dark sound of his violas a lot. The solid workmanship, the flexibility and the sound carrying capacity correspond with my concept of the highest quality...

    Johannes Lüthyprofessor at Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe
  • ...initially I was only looking for a good second viola, but Arwed's instrument convinced me totally and will not be substituted easily...

    Patrick Jüdt professor at Hochschule der Künste Bern
  • ...what could be more convincing? Without making a song and dance about it Arwed Harms simply asked me if he could copy my Andrea Guarneri violin from the collection of the Austrian National Bank, simply for the sake of the exercise, and without a commission. The outcome of this experiment was a violin that impressed me so deeply that I eventually bought it and I've been having increasing amounts of fun with it ever since. I recommend Arwed Harms as an excellent violin maker and a person of intense noble character...

    Johannes Meissl Violin professor Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna
  • ...all violas made by Arwed Harms are impressive for their very beautiful workmanship, having a warm varnish and a big tone. I, myself own and play on two of his instruments. One is a very beautiful copy of a violin made by J. B. Vuillame (Maggini model) and it compares very favorably acoustically to the original instrument...

    Hatto Beyerle emeritur professor of viola and chamber music Hannover, Basel, Fiesole


Arwed Harms

Via Ponte n 21, 54013 Fivizzano (MS)
tel +39 (0)585 92418