Please note that as of April 2022, Blackburn Stringed Instruments is no longer trading.


On this page you can learn about the origin and philosophy of, London luthier, Blackburn Stringed Instruments.

London Luthier

Tom Blackburn in the workshop

Blackburn Stringed Instruments began operating professionally in London in 1969 and we have maintained our position as premier Luthiers since that date. We are situated close to the Royal Albert Hall and Royal College of Music in South Kensington, central west London.

Welcome to the site...

Our Philosophy

Basing our business activities on integrity, honesty and the accumulation of over forty years of increasing expertise, we now have an international reputation and are pleased to serve the musical public from the youngest musician to the top professional player.

Value and Sound

Every instrument and bow that we offer, must be in the finest possible condition. This is absolutely essential if the value is to be sustained and increased. It is then that we set about fastidiously preparing and creating the best possible sound for each instrument. We only use the finest materials!

Blackburn Stringed Instruments ...

Tom Blackburn

GRSM FASC ARCM & Member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen

Tom Blackburn

Tom Blackburn, proprietor of Blackburn Stringed Instruments, began his interest in stringed instruments and restoration whilst still at school, inspired by the work of his grandfather who was a master cabinet maker. Most summer holidays were spent learning from and working with Luthiers both in Britain and the South of France. After leaving the Royal Academy of Music in London, having studied violin, piano, organ and composition, he worked as a free-lance violinist both in London and abroad, together with some teaching and lecture recitals touring schools in the south of England.

By 1969 the decision was made to devote most of his musical energies and experience into the fascinating world of Lutherie and gradually professional playing was reduced, so that today it is a pleasurable hobby.

Featured in 'Kensington and Chelsea Today'

Click on an article image to see Tom profiled in Kensington and Chelsea Today (Adobe pdf format).

Tom Blackburn profile in 'Kensington & Chelsea Today' Dec 2011 Tom Blackburn profile in 'Kensington & Chelsea Today' April 2019


I was introduced to Tom Blackburn over 20 years ago by the distinguished violinist Emanuel Hurwitz and have had dealings very regularly ever since. Being a professional violinist himself, Tom can speak to his clients not only as a dealer and luthier but also as a player who understands what today's professionals require. As a result of visiting him, my pupils are stimulated to learn more about the instruments themselves and they also gain a better understanding of how each violin sounds which helps them improve and develop their playing. Tom has a great love for each of the instruments that passes through his hands and he provides his clients with a highly professional and personal service.

Yu Finch - Professional Violinist and Violin Professor

After spending more than 30 years as a member of the Orchestra at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, I have great pleasure in highly recommending Blackburn Stringed Instruments. I have played most of my professional life on a beautiful George Craske violin which I bought from Mr Blackburn, and have been the envy of many violinists over the years. I realize that to replace the instrument for something better would be almost impossible. I highly recommend Blackburn Instruments for quality and honesty in all things.

Alan Edwards - Professional Violinist, Ex-Member of The Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden, London

Just to let you know that I am enjoying playing on the Gagliano more and more, much to my surprise (and joy!) and thanks to your superb work on it - and generosity in suggesting that I gave it another try. So for the moment at least I shall be keeping hold of it!

Maya Magub - Professional Violinist

It was kind of you to telephone yesterday evening to explain the work you have done to the Chappuy viola. I was amazed and delighted at the transformation in the viola's appearance and can see now how dirty it must have been. Thank you very much for all the work you have done.

David Goodes - Canterbury

Thank you very much indeed for setting up the Luigi Legnanai violin for my son Henry at the request of his teacher at Eton. We are all thrilled at the transformation to the violin's tone and sound which you have affected. It is really an instrument for him now to be proud of.

Guy Leach - Gloucestershire

Very many thanks for your great generosity in dealing with Charles' problem violin. It is rare nowadays in any profession to come across an instance of such concern, way beyond the limit of time when you might have felt an obligation. This speaks most favourably of your care for your customers and your business ethic - and your generosity and understanding.

John Fetcham - Surrey

Many thanks for all the years of excellent advice that you have given me and my pupils.

Marius Bedeschi - Professor of violin, Royal Welsh College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama

You are preaching to the converted! I know Tom and would recommend him. He is a violinist trained at the RAM and he is a good repairer/restorer. With a lot of experience. Apart from that he is a very nice genuine bloke. He does not deal in bull****. I've bought an instrument and a bow from him.

Peter Charles - discussion