Joseph A. Thrift

Joseph Thrift was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He spent his youth working with his father, a pipe organ builder. In the early 1970’s he apprenticed to a local guitar maker, and his passion for the instrument making craft developed.

In 1976 Joe was accepted to attend the Newark School of Violin Making in Newark-on-Trent, England. In 1979, after graduation, he returned to the states and opened a violin shop in North Carolina where he made, repaired and restored violins, violas, and cellos.

A lifelong friendship and working association with luthier Roger Hargrave has influenced Joe’s development in expanding his technique of making in the Cremonese style. Each instrument is crafted using the same method of the classic Italian makers of the 1600 and 1700s.

Making instruments full time in his workshop located in Elin, North Carolina, Joseph Thrift makes copies of Guarneri del Gesu and Antonio Stradivari violins with warm tome and the power to project. Known for varnish transparency and depth of color, these beautifully crafted instruments may be finished in a straight ‘new’ appearance, or finished to replicate an authentic antique instrument.

Joe Thrift is an active member of the Violin Society of America and of the Southern Violin Association. He has attended the international violin making workshop at Oberlin College in Ohio. Besides making instruments full time in his shop in Surry County, North Carolina, Joe also teaches a course in violin making at Surry Community College, where he currently has 30 plus students. Joe is a well-known fiddler in the traditional Appalachian style of Oldtime music and has written several tunes that have been recorded worldwide.

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