Skip to main content

Violin Making in the Philippines - Amador Tamayo

I have mentioned my friend and colleague Amador Tamayo in Musicfest 2012 and PWU School of Music Performance Program as a cello mentor to our younger generation of talented cellists.

Amador has appeared as soloist with the Philippine Youth Orchestra, Manila Symphony Orchestra and Manila Chamber Orchestra while serving as principal cellist for these orchestras. An avid chamber musician, he has performed two Beethoven Cello Sonatas with pianist Charito Pizzaro and collaborated with esteemed Filipino violinist, Gilopez Kabayao and his pianist wife, Corazon in performances and a recording of Schubert Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major.

He was a music student at the University of the Philippines, College of Music but eventually finished a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. As fate would have it, under the auspices of the Goethe Institut he was awarded a scholarship to study violin making in Germany. From 1978-1982 he worked as an apprentice to Hubert Schnorr in Hamburg supplemented by studies at Mittenwald School of Violin Making.

Lets visit his shop in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range outside of Metro Manila where...

...he is assisted by three associates.

Due to our tropical climate a temperature and humidity controlled environment is essential for storing wood and varnishing instruments.

Production figures since 1981 total to an estimated 140 violins, 20 violas and 20 cellos. Most of these instruments are played by Filipino musicians but a few have also made it abroad: Australia - 3 cellos, Canada - 3 violins, Germany - 4 violins, 2 violas + 1 cello. Singapore - 2 cellos, Taiwan - 2 violins + 2 cellos, USA - 6 violins + 1 cello and Vietnam - 1 cello. With more commissions and repair waiting, the shop is kept busy...

Amador doing routine maintenance on my old Italian mistress, a copy of which is in his long term project list ;)

Tamayo violin ca. 2007

Tamayo cello 2011


  1. hello,

    i would like to get in touch with Sir Amador Tamayo. i bought one of his violins before but i am needing maintenace and work up to be done. adaoes he have an e mail account or specific address so i can personally go to his shop?

    thank you


    1. In my quest to protect the privacy of individuals, I refrain from posting their contact information in this blog. But perhaps a bit of clever internet search would help. Thanks for understanding!

  2. An owner of a music store in Baguio repaired my broken cello, fixed some nicks in it, and then painted it brown! (It's an old school cello, had a nice tone.) What would it take for you to remove the paint, and varnish it with the high-quality varnishes required for a cello?

    1. Mr. Tamayo is on Facebook, please contact him there directly.




Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Altec 2-way horn system redux

Truth be told, I was never fully satisfied with the performance of the Altec 2-way which is why I never uploaded the old article in the Arkiv.
Let's recap how the 2-way horn system evolved...

The project was conceived in mid 1998 because I needed a monitor system that was more efficient than the OB/755 so I could listen to SE amps with 2 watts output and below.
I commissioned my cabinet maker neighbor to build 614 bass reflex cabinets and loaded them with Altec 419A 12" drivers + 811 horns (early version/heavy sand cast) and 804A compression drivers gathered from hamfests and radio shows. Crossover was a textbook 1st order/6dB/octave hinged at 900 hz and the horn padded down to match the sensitivity of the low frequency driver.

Eventually I acquired proper 12" woofers - Altec 414As, which lack the upper midrange nasties of the 419As. The 414As have great midrange quality even if they lack the bass end of their larger 416/515 brethren.

802D compression drivers replaced t…

2017 Update: Hi-Fi Room

One year progress report

Garrard 301 + Ortofon RMG 309/SPU GME or SME 3012 + Denon DL103 Altec 4722 MC step-up
Digital line level sources processed  through UTC A20 transformers

JEL Stereo Preamp DX
JEL Stereo SE2A3 DX amp with Tango NY15S OPTs
Altec 2-way Altec 414As in 3.5 cf bass reflex enclosures + Altec 32A horns with 802D compression drivers
Mono Neat P58H 4 speed idler turntable + Velvet Touch viscous damped tonearm with Denon DL102 or GE RPX cartridges

je2a3 mono integrated amp

Stereo > Mono Line Level Mixer

Mixing line level stereophonic signals into full dimensional monophonic ;)
Here's a DIY project for mono aficionados that's so basic, I should have uploaded it many years ago. But other things got in the way.

Just like an MC step-up, these are entirely passive devices. 

The simplest way to convert stereo to mono is to connect left and right channels via a Y connector. But there's a more elegant way than just shorting two channels.

Resistors can blend two signals into one better by...

...using Allen-Bradley carbon composition for warmer sound ;)
We can end the mixing quest here but...

...the most elegant way of mixing two channels as was done in the studios by audio pros of yesteryears was through transformers.

This single UTC A-20 transformer was in a box lot of tubes and parts I picked up at a radio show. It's a high quality transformer designed for mic, mixer or line matching applications. Instead of trying to find a mate for MC step-up duty, I repurposed it for a g…