John Hsu, a violin and bow maker, opened his shop in the early 1980s in New York City, offering a complete service for stringed instruments. His fine workmanship, affordable prices, and personal service have attracted professional, amateur, and student musicians of all ages, as well as teachers. From 1986 until May 2008 the shop operated from 250 West 54th Street, in the heart of Manhattan. As of June 1, 2008, John Hsu sees customers in Bergen County, New Jersey, by appointment.

Photo of John Hsu at work

A Musician's Ear

For over forty years a professional musician himself, John Hsu understands from personal experience the needs of the musician and the acoustical issues involved in restorations and adjustments. Raised in Shanghai, China, he began studying violin at a young age. Though he entered college intending to study electrical engineering (he loved to make radios, tape recorders and television sets), his passion for music won out. He heard of an audition for the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, tried out, and was hired. Thus began a 25-year career as a first violinist with the orchestra and a leader of the orchestra's violin ensemble.

A Luthier's Expertise

Private violin shops were prohibited in China at the time, but John Hsu realized there was still a need for professional-level repair and restoration. While still a violinist in the orchestra, he embarked on a course of study with Professor Shu-Zhen Tan, China's foremost violin maker, and learned violin- and bow-making, as well as repairing and restoration. He set up a workshop for the orchestra and ultimately became responsible for the care of all the instruments played by the orchestra's members.

Satisfied Customers

Since he arrived in the United States in 1982, John Hsu's remarkable experience and expertise have brought him a loyal following. With personal, friendly, and knowledgeable service, his shop offers a variety of rare, fine, and student instruments, as well as accessories, adjustments, and quality repairs.

John Hsu Violins & Bows has been featured in several magazines, including Living in New York and the 1992 New York Magazine special issue, “The Best Places to Get Everything...”