The Strad is pleased to announce that the latest in its top-selling series “The Best of Trade Secrets” is now available for pre-order from The Strad Shop. The Best of Trade Secrets 5 reveals some of the most closely guarded secrets of stringed instrument making.

This 120-page volume includes some of the best-known contemporary luthiers that have lent their expertise to this latest collection of articles from The Strad’s legendary Trade Secrets section. Necks, scrolls, f-holes, arching, edgework, inlay, tools, set-up – this new compilation covers more topics than ever before.

Special offer: The Best of Trade Secrets 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 bundle
£163.50 £140.00

The Best of Trade Secrets series brings together some of the most useful articles from The Strad’s ever popular section on the instrument making process. Luthiers from all over the world have contributed articles explaining their own special methods for overcoming some of the trickiest problems in instrument making. All the techniques are fully illustrated and clearly explained in step-by-step how-to guides.

Almost every part of the making process has been covered in these four best-selling volumes containing more than 150 articles between them. There are techniques for everything from casting an f-hole to antiquing, along with tips on edgework and purfling, necks and fingerboards, varnish, set-up and making tools. In recent years there has been more emphasis on restoration techniques, as well as on bow making.

Luthiers including John Dilworth, Joseph Curtin, Gregg Alf, Francis Kuttner, Raymond Schryer, David Burgess and Jan Špidlen have lent their expertise to the section in its decade-long history. Collectively, these four volumes make up an essential addition to any instrument maker’s library.


This year’s calendar celebrates the work of Dextra Musica, the Norwegian foundation that has built up a fine collection of historical and contemporary instruments over the past 15 years.

Some of the treasures include Stradivari’s golden-period ‘Rivaz, Baron Gutmann’ violin, the 1744 Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ used by Henning Kraggerud and the 1783 Guadagnini cello once owned by Rostropovich, which was sold for £1.93 million in 2018 – a record for the maker.

The calendar will be shipped at the beginning of September.

Antonio Stradivari 1694 ‘Benecke’ violin – NEW

A masterpiece from Stradivari’s ‘Long Pattern’ era, the 1694 ‘Benecke’ remains in an almost pristine state of preservation. It was named for its owner Paul Benecke, a friend of Mendelssohn, and was greatly admired by the Hills, who called it ‘probably the finest of the Long Pattern that we know of’. As well as containing full measurements, this poster includes micro-CT scans, thickness and arching maps, and all the information luthiers need to make their own copy.

‘In contrast with the earlier production of Stradivari, the refined aesthetic of the ‘Benecke’… communicates a sense of fluidity and softness… which was a primary source of inspiration for other Italian makers working at the beginning of the 20th century, particularly in Milan’ – Andrea Zanrè in the July 2020 edition.


In Focus 2 – NEW

The Strad ’s second compilation of fascinating articles, written within the last 5 years, brings together fine instruments by some of the world’s greatest instrument experts. In this new anthology, every instrument has been given three pages to include more close-up photographs, archings, angles and tiny details.

Makers such as Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ rub shoulders with lesser-known names such as Alfredo del Lungo, David Stirrat and Willem van der Sijde, with each article including biographical details as well as points of interest regarding the instrument’s form and construction. This book is a must for every luthier’s library.


A selection of products from our third party vendors which you can purchase via The Strad Shop

If you would like to become a third party vendor on The Strad Shop, please email Kirsten Lloyd