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    The E String Review - Harmond - 1999


    The Straussel family violin shop of the Bonn Germany region is located on 4 wooded acres just outside of Bonn Germany. Here, the violins, violas and cellos, are built by workers in line fashion with limited machine and by hand from select hardwoods. From 1949 until present production continues to grow. Created by Karle L. Straussel , a German Master Maker. Straussel 's assistant and friend Val Keitle whom he meet at the Violin Craftsmanship Institute in West Germany some years before, now officially the Federal Republic of Germany soon became interested in the production of affordable but precise hand crafted instruments. Owning a full time violin shop in Bremen, Keitle operated an instrument rental program, performed repairs and restorations and also hand made new instruments. In 1957, the retail business was sold when he and his family moved to their family farm just a few miles away from Straussel . After several years had passed, while shopping in town one day the two old friends came to meet again. Keitle, explaining his loss of business and learning that Straussel was still building only a few instruments per year and combined with the cost of a German built instrument on the rise, the two decided to join forces and create a new company. To revive an affordable violin and take back a piece of the market that the Chinese had a firm hold on at the time. Thus, Bonn violins were born. Both vastly experienced and dedicated luthiers, they hired in talented locals to undertake the work of production. Both Straussel and Keitle where both solely dedicated to the trade and therefore directed the violinmaking program within the shops of Bonn as a well conducted orchestra. Production soon developed from 40-580 units to well over 3500 per year to date, due to this joint partnership. Although, both in their mid to late 70's at this time and unable to continue working, there are several family members from both sides in place and keeping this small and quaint company alive. There, within this small family business still you will find no computers, no internet and no public sales. With only a handful of wholesale buyers fetching almost every instrument built, there are few and very limited suppliers world wide. Bonn is Straussel and Keitle's answer to a quality instrument at an affordable price. ESR/HARMOND