The "Lautenmacher-Brunnen", the lute makers' fountain, is prominently positioned in Füssen's market square. Cast in bronze, it depicts Caspar Tieffenbrucker, a famous 16th century lute maker from Füssen. The instrument maker proudly shows off his lute to everyone that's passing.
When Achim Hofer, 50, glances out of the window of his violin making workshop, he looks directly onto this fountain. Here at his workbench, surrounded by different types of wood, pots of glue, bows and instruments, he keeps the ancient craft of violin making alive. Hofer learnt his trade in Mittenwald, but has also spent time in the USA and in England. However, when he decided to establish his own workshop in 1992, he was in no doubt: it had to be located in the Allgäu, in the traditional violin making town of Füssen.
By the way, Füssen did not develop into a centre of violin and lute making by coincidence. It was located on the important trading route Via Claudia Augusta, which offered excellent southbound sales opportunities all the way to Italy. And here, by the Lech river, the most important instrument making raw material grows in abundance, especially spruce, maple and yew trees.
Achim Hofer is on site in person when the timber he is going to turn into violins is felled. He discusses which type of wood will be used for which violin, the colour and the varnish, and also the preferred tone with the client in advance – in this way, a totally unique instrument is created in the course of around 250 working hours.