Making Violins...

UNISON STRINGS began in 1991 as a concept amongst three established violin makers, restorers, in the West Midlands, U.K, to combine our services to professional players, teachers, students and enthusiasts.


Francois Bignon

Francois Bignon bow rehairing

French luthier, FRANCOIS BIGNON, has a wealth of restoration and repair work of over 25 years in the West Midlands/Birmingham.

I was born in 1957 in Laval, Mayenne, France. I completed my Secondary Education in 1975 with main subjects of interest in classical music generally, piano in particular, French, English and German, sculpture in wood, French classical literature.

From 1975 to 1977 I completed a course in carpentry in my home town, followed by another in marquetry and cabinet making. As my love for music grew stronger I embarked on an apprenticeship in 1978 as a piano repairer.

In 1979 I came to work in Birmingham to establish a shop annexe in Constitution Hill for a French piano dealer/importer.

After realising that my initial aptitude for woodwork and music combined needed to be more creative I seized the opportunity of employment in a violin shop based in Birmingham.

In 1981 after two years of working on student’s instruments, I made my first violin and graduated to restoration of antique violins. and learning to re-hair bows, specialising in finishing new instruments and setting them up to professional standard.

In 1989 I established my own restoration workshop and eventually settled in Camp Hill, Birmingham in 1992. During that time I have been inspired by makers of the 1820- 1860’s and I have made and sold 22 acoustic instruments over a ten-year period, mostly for professional performers, up and coming students and amateur players.

In 1998 I joined David to form Unison Strings, with the aim as ever, to offer a professional and complete service to all players of bowed instruments.

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David Bruce Johnson

Canadian born, DAVID BRUCE JOHNSON is the man behind the success story of world-renowned Violectra electric violins, violas and cellos which began in 1992. David's instrument making background is from a diverse range of experience in acoustic making and restoration . (for full biography tour click here)

Restoration Duke of Wellington Cello,

1984, Rosehill Strings

Born: 1956 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

1975: Completed secondary High School with main interest in landscape painting, pottery, & a broad musical experience learning piano, French horn, cello, clarinet, saxophone and flute, before settling on guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and eventually the violin.

David plays many styles of music, following his Canadian roots in Cape Breton traditional style fiddling and Irish Traditional music.

1975-76: Studied at the Nova Scotia College if Art & Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

There he took the foundation in Fine Art but also broadened his interests in ceramics and woodworking. He completed his first acoustic steel strung guitar.

1976-78: Continued to pursue guitar making from workshop in Ottawa, Ontario.

1978-81: 3 Yr Certificate in Musical Instrument Technology, London, U.K., making his first acoustic violin.

1981-86: Employed as full time Violin Restorer before opening own business in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham in 1986.

1986-92: Maker and restorer of all stringed instruments including violin family, guitar, mandolin, lute, & dulcimer. Exhibited at the Early Music Show in London 1991. ......Development and research into electric violins...

1992-2000: Design and patented Violectra electric violins violas and cellos. Over 100 made to players worldwide including, Nigel Kennedy, Jean- Luc Ponty, Oasis, The Wonder Stuff, Dave Swarbrick, The Pogues etc.

2000-2003: Design changes to Violectra models ...continues work by customer order including new models for Bass/Violin and Viola/Bass.


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