Alex Grant Violins

Alex Grant Violins

  • our passionate experts

    Our dedicated team of highly experienced craftspeople and working musicians are passionate in providing the finest services and instruments to the string community..

    Our values

    We value our independence, ethical and quality standards. We aim to offer only the best and to deal honestly and fairly with everyone we welcome through our door.

    At Alex Grant Violins, we have a proud history of supporting environmental, social and live music initiatives in Melbourne, Australia wide and internationally.

    Live Performance

    Some of our long-time sponsorships of music groups and festivals include the now famous Sanguine Estate Music Festival in Heathcote, Flinders Quartet, Tinalley Quartet, and  Firebird Trio amongst others.


    We support the Climate Council, an independent authoritative Australian scientific body concerned with the study and dissemination of information relating to climate change.


    In support of equal access to musical education for children, we provide free instrument repairs and set-ups for donated instruments for the El Sistema programme Crashendo, run from Laverton College.


    Through donated instrument sales, we support environmental programmes that have a direct relationship to music and lutherie such as Eben¡Holz, EILA and the Alliance.

    COMmunity outreach

    Hero-Rats! Lovable rodents, trained to locate and mark land mines in previously war-torn regions where innocent farmers and children are still killed and wounded by ordinance left from by-gone wars.

    We purchase sleeping bags specially designed for those experiencing homeless through Backpack Bed, support The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Sikh Volunteers who provide meals for disadvantaged members of the community.

    Introducing the team

    Alex Grant

    In one of Melbourne’s most vibrant precincts, an area famed for its cafés, curio shops, and galleries, Alex’s workshop attracts musicians eager to try new or antique violins and bows or to discuss the repairs or restoration of their own treasured instruments.

    Born in the Highlands of Scotland, Alex participated in music making from an early age. He was given his first violin at the age of four and although he gained some playing skills, it was the construction of the instrument that fascinated him and, in his teens, he was repairing his own and other local musician’s instruments.

    After marrying Marina, his New Zealand born wife, Alex moved to Wellington where he apprenticed in the early 1980s, here he had the opportunity to work with other talented luthiers and, over six years, to develop his skills, making several new instruments whilst also restoring for the capital’s musicians.

    Formal training was undertaken at the Welsh School of Violin Making; an intensive three-year course studying the Italian method of violin construction in the lovely old college located in Mid-Glamorgan. Alex still loves the creativity of making new instruments and although opportunities to indulge in new making are few, he always keeps one or two projects on the go.

    Alex headed the workshop of Classic Violins, one of the UK.’s leading dealers to the trade in the London area and in 1992 was invited to head the workshop of Sandra Wagstaff Violins in Hong Kong. The years in Hong Kong were memorable for both the exceptional instruments he was entrusted to restore and the many international artists who frequented this wonderfully frenetic city. Alex has worked on several of the great master instruments, and complex restorations, with a particular focus on conservation, are a deeply held passion.

    In 1996, Alex and Marina moved to Australia to open Alex Grant Violins where first class workmanship with a focus on conservation and efficiency, has placed his restoration skills in great demand, this being testimony to the uncompromisingly high standards which are maintained in the workshop.

    As an amateur musician, Alex understands the peculiarly strong bond that links musicians to their instruments and nothing gives him more pleasure than working with customers in their quest to find just the right instrument or bow.

    Alex is a member of the Australian Violin Makers Association (AVMA) and the Entente Internationale des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art (EILA).

    Marina Grant

    Marina is a founding director of the company and oversees the efficient running of all aspects of the day-to-day business. She has been a part of Alex’s violin making journey from their initial meeting in Scotland, to New Zealand, Wales, England, Hong Kong and finally Australia, where they established the workshop in Melbourne.  

    From managing the office and co-ordinating our rental and sponsorship programs to working with Alex on other aspects of the business, she is the cornerstone that keeps us independent and running seamlessly.  

    She will often be the friendly voice who answers your phone calls, email enquiries or fulfils your e-commerce order and If you are looking for a specific item then Marina is the person you need to speak with and she will do her best to track it down for you. 

    Stephen Hughes

    Stephen joined the team at Alex Grant Violins in 2003 as an instrument consultant. His industry experience as a musician, management skills and expert product knowledge are invaluable in diagnosing problems and liaising with workshop staff on complex repairs.

    His insights from both inside the orchestra as a musician and as a consultant in the makers workshop, mean he can assist players with anything from a stubborn wolf note to their search for a new advanced instrument or fine bow.

    Drawing on eight years of teaching experience at both school and university levels, Stephen also has a great enthusiasm for assisting students in their choice of instruments and bows for exams and performances.

    Since 1986, Stephen has worked as a freelance cellist in Melbourne with professional and amateur orchestras, including Orchestra Victoria; Melbourne Chamber Orchestra; Stonnington Symphony; Melbourne Musicians, Darwin Symphony and Oz Opera. Stephen currently plays cello with the Preston Symphony Orchestra.

    Stephen’s cello studies have taken him to the USA, Croatia, Europe and the UK, where he lived and worked for three years. He is particularly interested in string chamber music and has attended the Chamber Music Summer School at Mt Buller with his piano trio and various string quartets.

    More recently, Stephen has been focussing on baroque cello performance, taking part in on-line early music workshops run by Canadian cellist Elinor Frey.

    Richard Cox

    Richard has been a member of our Alex Grant workshop since in 2004. Like all the violin makers at the Alex Grant Violins workshop, he will usually liaise directly with the musicians who’s instruments he is working on and this immediate contact is of great value in complex discussions.

    Richard loves to work with his hands and finds that the hours he spends at the workshop are just not enough so he usually has at least one new instrument project on the go at home. A genuine violin making enthusiast, he has been providing practical assistance to Melbourne musicians at all levels for over twenty years.

    Originally from Adelaide, Richard completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University), majoring in painting and began studding classical guitar, discovering a growing passion for classical music.

    After a period of living overseas, exploring various cultures, arts and languages, he returned to Adelaide and undertook Technical and Further Education (TAFE) classes in violin and cello making with Dante Roccisano. On relocating to Melbourne he worked at The Violineri in Richmond for six years. In 2004 he joined the team at Alex Grant Violins.

    Eva Rankin

    Eva joined our workshop to work alongside Alex and Richard in 2005, after emigrating to Australia from Switzerland. She particularly enjoys complex restoration projects and precision fitting-up work.  With the input of our player consultants, she searches for each instrument’s optimum sound potential . . . each offers a new challenge requiring a considered, tailored approach.

    Born in and raised in Switzerland, from an early age Eva was drawn to craftwork. Wood, with its tactile and organic nature, has always been her favourite material.  Since childhood, music has been a constant in her life and, with several string players in her family, there were always instruments to be admired and discussed.

    After high school she decided to combine her interests in craftwork and music and moved to the UK where she studied violin making at the Newark Violin Making School in England for two years before completing her studies in Switzerland as an apprentice to Rudol Isler and gaining a diploma from the Swiss Violin Making School in Brienz in 1996.

    Cath Turnbull

    Cath Tunrbull

    An experienced player and teacher, Cath has over eight years experience as part of our team, assisting Marina and Stephen in the showroom with her expertise in viola and violin. Fuelled by her keen interest and involvement in the Australian string community, Cath edits our newsletter and keeps our website and social media up-to-date.

    As a performer she specialises in the viola, and moved to Melbourne in 2003 to complete her studies at the National Academy of Music. Since then she has freelanced with the Melbourne Symphony, Orchestra Victoria, and many smaller groups, as well as teaching the violin and viola and working at Alex Grant Violins.

    Cath is our go-to player when the workshop want to put a quality violin or viola through its paces; she has the experience to find its weak or strong points and to assist in finding the optimum balance.

    She enjoys demonstrating the instruments and finding the right fit for every player, whether you are choosing an instrument, or needing help finding the right size or set-up for your instrument.

    Mia Dorrington

    Mia is a cellist and teacher who joined the shop in 2019. She graduated from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music with her Bachelor of Music Performance and Liberal Arts. Taking up the cello at the age of nine she has since developed a love of classical music through orchestral playing and chamber music. This, along with a passion for travel, led her to study cello at NYU in New York then on to the UK for literature.

    Mia enjoys trying out the flow of new and post repair instruments that move through the shop, each one a little different from the others.  Providing feedback to the workshop on these instruments is a constant but enjoyable challenge.

    She has turned her hand to playing violin and viola as well and the resulting in-depth knowledge of current stock is hugely helpful in the desire to guide customers through the process of finding the right instrument or bow.

    As well as attending to customer’s needs, Mia assists greatly with administrative tasks and, being tech-savvy, is a font of new and interesting ideas with which she keeps the rest of us on our toes in a humorous, light hearted way.

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