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Meet the World's Oldest Violin (Sort Of)

By Michael Vincent on April 10, 2023

Youtuber Michael Barker pictured holding the Bog Oak violin.

A 5,000-year-old Bog Oak discovered in Norfolk, UK, has inspired a violin maker to create a one-of-a-kind violin.

Initially reluctant to use such ancient, dense wood, Philip Taylor was ultimately convinced by a wood preservation expert after he showed him a guitar made from the same Bog Oak.

Despite concerns about the instrument’s potential sound and responsiveness, Taylor’s Bog Oak violin exceeded expectations with its rich, clear tone. Even the pegs, crafted from the same material, defied the skepticism of Taylor’s regular peg maker, proving to be a suitable choice.

Why it matters:  Due to the growing scarcity of traditional materials, violin makers are starting to embrace the exploration of alternative woods for crafting exquisite musical instruments. Violins like the Bog Oak violin mark successful examples supporting non-traditional woods in instrument-making.

Eat your heart out, Amati: While the Bog Oak Violin has the oldest wood, the oldest actual violin is thought to be the “Charles IX” crafted by Andrea Amati in Cremona in 1564. Some believe another 1500s Amati violin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the oldest, but there is no way to be sure.

Michael Vincent
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