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NMM 13503.  Violin by Mario Maccaferri, Mount Vernon, New York, August 6, 1990
Gift of Jeremy Tubbs, Cordova, Tennessee, 2007

Note: Click on any image below to see a larger image.

NMM 13503.  Violin by Mario Maccaferri, Mount Vernon, New York, 1990

Mario Maccaferri concentrated his efforts on the production of a professional quality Styron violin following his retirement from the plastics manufacturing industry. The violins were assembled by hand in Maccaferri’s Mount Vernon home.

The Maccaferri violin had its debut in a recital given by Dorothy Happell at Carnegie Hall in March 1990. However, the instrument did not receive the accolades hoped for by its creator. In his review of the recital, Allan Kozin of the New York Times wrote that, "The plastic violin's deficits, mainly, were in projection. Although all the sound of the bow on the string came through with all its usual characteristics, the upper range of the instrument sounded scrawny, and its richer lower range lacked the resonance and bloom one expects from a good wooden instrument. It might be useful as a student violin, and it is ideal for players who want to fiddle in the rain, or on the beach. Its attractions as a concert instrument, though, are limited."

In spite of the criticism of its sound, the instrument is well constructed and set up, requiring minimal adjustment for a player accustomed to a standard violin. The Styron parts from which it is made are significantly less expensive than wood and an instrument can be assembled in a day, rather than the weeks or months it takes to construct a wooden violin. Maintenance poses a significant hazard, however, since plastic is not easily repaired and is an unfamiliar material in most violin repair shops.

Front, Back, and Side Views

Front of violin Bass side view Treble side view Back

NMM 13503.  Violin by Mario Maccaferri, Mount Vernon, New York, August 6, 1990. No. 411. Gift of Jeremy Tubbs, Cordova, Tennessee, 2007.

Technical Information

Paper label, printed, with single line border, the number and date written in black ink: Mario Maccaferri / Date 9-6-90 No. 411.

Violin label, view 1 Violin label, view 2

Violin label viewed through soundhole

Top: one-piece, red styron; raised ridges in front of each bridge foot
Back: one-piece, red styron
Ribs: red styron
Head and neck: red styron; raised center ridge along back of scroll and pegbox; no fluting on scroll and pegbox
Arching: full
Purfling: double, impressed, black-paint-filled lines
Varnish: none
Fingerboard: black styron over black-painted spruce core
Nut: black Styron; integral with fingerboard
Tailpiece: black styron; tulip-shaped
Tailgut: black nylon
Pegs: black styron
Saddle: black styron
Endpin: black styron
F-holes: undercut
Linings: none
Corner blocks: red styron; integral with ribs
Top block: red styron
Bottom block: black styron
Bassbar: spruce
Other: aluminum rod between bottom and top blocks

Front Views

Upper bouts Soundholes Lower bouts

Pegbox and Scroll

Front view of pegbox Bass side view of pegbox Treble side view of pegbox Back

Neck Heel and Lower End

Neck heel
Lower end

Neck Heel

Lower End


Back length:  353 mm.
  Upper bout width:  165 mm.
  Center bout width:  113 mm.
  Lower bout width:  209 mm.
  Upper rib height:  31 mm.
Center rib height: 31-32 mm.
Lower rib height: 32-33 mm.
  Stop length:  195 mm.
  Vibrating string length:  327 mm.
  Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs):  131 mm.
Total violin length: 589 mm.

Go to Checklist of Stringed Instruments Made by Mario Maccaferri

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