John Osnes Violins


I am a violin maker living in Anchorage, Alaska. My name is John Osnes.

As of this year I have completed 65 celli, 143 violins, and 58 violas. I have also built several guitars, two mandolins, two Viol da Gamba and various other musical instruments.

I grew up in Everett, Washington, learning to play the violin at an early age. In 1976, I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Chemical Engineering and stayed in that field for only two years, before switching to instrument making. At present I operate my shop in Anchorage by day and play violin in the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, the Anchorage Opera, and other groups by night.

I have three models I work from. One is derived from the “Canon” by Guarnerius del Gesu with various modifications to suit my tastes. Body length is 14 inches and the string length is standard.
Another model I use is from the 1704 Stradivarius “Betts” violin.
The third model is based on a small Andrea Amati violin from 1566. The back is 13 3/4 inches long and the stop is 190 mm. The ribs and arching are full size resulting in a big sound.
I shade the varnish sometimes, but do no antiquing.

At present I have been building a 15 3/4 to 16 inch viola with a large lower bout and pretty low arching resulting in a lot of power with a rich bottom end. My latest foray into viola making involves a 15 ½ inch copy of a 1580 Gasparo da Salo with double purfling.
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I have four models. One is a small Strad model with standard string measurements. The second is from a 1739 Domenico Montagnana model with the same string length as the Strad but a larger body. The third modeled after the King David Andrea Amati cello of 1572. The Amati’s body is longer, but the string length is shorter; resulting in a big sounding cello that is easy to get around. My latest addition is a copy of a 1715 Guidantus cello. I had the cello for a summer and was able to take exact measurements.

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Vintage and new Instruments and Bows:
I have new and vintage violins, viola, celli and bows for sale in my shop.
I am a dealer for Arcus Bows , Coda Bows and now have Christopher Double Basses in the shop.
New cases from Bam, Eastman Strings, and Bobelock are also available.

In the shop we do repairs to violin family instruments. I buy and sell instruments, bows, cases, strings and most accessories dealing with the violin family.


The shop is open Wednesday thru Saturday from 1-5 pm. Other times are available by appointment.

All bow rehairs will now be by appointment.

Links to Inventory for Sale:
Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass
Bows for Sale
Cases for Sale

Other Links:

Extra Pictures

Photo Documentation of building Osnes Cello #46
2.Fingerboard preparation
3.Carving a scroll
4.Mold set up
5.Bending the ribs
6.Top and back preparation
7.Arching Top & Back
8.Graduating the Plates
9.Purfling & Edges
10.Fitting the Neck

John Osnes
8900 Jupiter Drive
Anchorage, AK 99507