Contact Philip

Call 0422 945 752 

or email

Kellys Steps
Battery Point, TAS, 7004

+61 (0) 422945752

Philip Smith is a master maker of stringed instruments and their bows. A master of refined artistry and exquisite tones from his master crafted bows and instruments. One of Australia's finest luthiers!







Maker Restorer Repairs Sales of Violin Viola Cello Double Bass and their Bows
Traditional and Baroque
Tasmania Australia

Do you use Tasmanian timber?

Georgia Sutton

It is one of the questions I am asked most often in the atelier.  The curious tourist wanders into the workshop, drawn in by the smell of varnish, the trail of curly wood shavings and the warm timber glow of the instruments and bows.  They take a moment to look around and then they ask the classic questions which have become almost inevitable. Firstly they  cast a hand around the racks of instruments hanging and ask " DId you make all of these?", then its "Do you use Tasmanian timber?" and often, the last question is " So, what is your real job?". 

My answer to the Tasmanian timber question has been, largely " No.". I did build a couple of instruments from King Billy Pine and Blackwood some time ago, but the tonal qualities of traditional, quarter sawn, maple and spruce from Europe, air-dried for a decade and selected with love by my German supplier is very hard to beat. 

I have also trialed several Tasmanian species for bow making: Musk, Horizontal Scrub, Native Olive, Mountain Tea Tree, Dog Wood and She-oak, but none of them is strong enough.  The need to replace Pernambuco, the endangered Brazilian rain forest timber used in traditional bow making, is ever-growing as the USA CITES authority cracks down more and more on listed products entering US borders. It would be incredible to find a timber with equivalent strength and flexibility in Tasmania -  a sustainable replacement.   

Tasmanian timbers are extraordinarily beautiful and I am very pleased to use them in my work. I have hand carved these stunning double bass tailpieces from Tasmanian Blackwood. These stunning tailpieces are significantly lighter than standard models.  This, together with the superb wood selection, results in a superb tone with quick response and projecting sound.



Philip Smith is an Australian Instrument and bow maker living and working in Hobart Tasmania. 




Philip Smith

This is my 35th instrument played beautifully here by Alex. This violin is brand new and this is the first time it has been played. It is my version of the Kruse Stradivari dating from 1721. It has a strong and robust sound with great depth and projection. It is also very quick to respond which means it takes little effort to create a sound, an aspect that my instruments have become known for. It is being delivered to its new owner today, hopefully I will get to hear it again after it has been played it.

Cello Numero Dieci

Philip Smith

This is cello no. 10 in the white being played by a 'mystery cellist'.

Based on 'The Sleeping Beauty' Montagnana made circa 1739. This is my preferred model, because of its broad proportions which results in robust, earthy sound with much depth and presence (like a fine wine or a good woman). I always have players test out an instrument in the white before the final varnish, to gauge the instrument's potential and for final adjustments. This particular instrument has an excellent open sounding A string and more C string than you know what to do with. Thanks very much to my willing mystery cellist!

The cello is currently being varnished and polished to within an inch of its life, as is required. And is soon to be heard in a southern Tasmanian venue near you.