The Epoch display at AMAC 2014 turned the heads of delegates with its dynamic new backdrop featuring its top players from around the world.
And if that wasn't enough, the second head-turner was the bold and black double bass, finished only days before the show, and to be delivered to its owner, Australian music icon James Morrison. Epoch's chief instrument maker Neil Laughlin was on hand to talk about the double bass and the Epoch technology. Here he is now – introducing the Epoch family and talking about the attributes of a carbon fibre instrument:
GOLDEN FIDDLE AWARDS 2015
The iconic John Williamson at the 2014 GFA show in Tamworth
The Golden Fiddle Awards will launch its inaugral Heritage Award at its annual awards showcase in 2015.
This award is about a discovery of tunes
that were traditionally played on a fiddle
during the first 150 years of Australian
Epoch Musical Instruments is the major sponsor of these annual awards, which are a major alternative event in the famous Tamworth Country Music Festival, every January around Australia Day.
The 2015 Awards show will be held at the Tamworth Town Hall at 9am on Thursday 22 January. Each event has a mystery guest – last year it was John Williamson. This is a show well worth attending. Bookings at Tourism Tamworth Ph: 02 6767 5300 Online: www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au
And for a piece of history, here is how Epoch was launched back in 1998.
Date: December 31 1998
The first Australian designed and made mass produced
violin will be introduced to some of the world's leading
music teachers at the Suzuki Pan Pacific Conference
International in Adelaide next week (Jan 4 8).
violin, called the Epoch, challenges the establishment in
its range of 15 bright colours including silver and
green. Looks notwithstanding, it still represents the
most significant revolution in violin technology in 400
The firm behind the product, Gondwana Musical
Instrument Company Pty Ltd of Hobart, hope its Epoch will
help stem the flood of cheap violin imports.
As a bonus, the musical inventor has taken the
`squawk' out of the violin by producing a ready-to-play
instrument on which even a novice can produce clear notes
and advanced students will be able to practice at the
most advanced levels.
The motivation for redesigning the violin came from
the fact, acknowledged by many music teachers, that the
frustration of trying to get decent notes from a cheap
import was the biggest single factor in the music
drop-out rate among young people. There is also the
problem of the high cost and short supply of instruments
for top level students.
The Epoch Violin is the product of more than a decade
of re-engineering of violin acoustics by a team
comprising an award winning rock-drilling engineer and
one of the world's finest concert violinists.
The engineer, David Sugden of Hobart, says his
reconstruction of the violin represents the first
significant change in the instrument's structure and
operating system in more than 400 years.
The result, he says, is an instrument which not only
looks and sounds good, but is easy to play, easy to fix
and is still considered to be a relatively low cost
violin for beginners.
The music teacher and former soloist with some of the
world's top orchestras who started David Sugden on his
quest for an affordable violin for beginners is Jan
Sedivka, master musician in residence at the Tasmanian
Conservatorium of Music. He had challenged his engineer
friend to make a cheap violin which sounded like a
What we need is an affordable instrument with
sound quality and response for the top level student and
which also stands up to the wear and tear of a school
music department environment, Mr Sedivka said.
Australia imports about 8,000 cheap violins a year,
with about half coming from Korea and the rest mainly
from China. Most are used in schools.
However, many music teachers claim music rooms are
littered with broken imported violins, with repair costs
making it uneconomical to consider restoration.
We never set out to rival the Stradivarius, but
we did produce a home grown instrument with a rich tone,
which we are sure will result in many more young people
staying with the violin and going on to a better
appreciation of music, said Mr Sugden.
Mr Sugden's company, Gondwana Musical Instrument
Company Pty Ltd, is applying its patented technology to
violas, cellos and double basses.
The company has found a ready market for its Epoch
Violin in schools and in the entertainment world of
Celtic music. It can be used up to concert standard, and
is particularly suited to music of the baroque period.
The Queensland University's finalist in the 1998
battle of the University Bands, Andrew Maddick of
Brisbane plays an amplified green Epoch in his Celtic
group the Shenanigans. He claims the unique design
enables him to play faster and louder than with a
Our marketing edge is that the Epoch is
Australian made for Australian weather conditions. It is
robust and most of the basic violin problems can be fixed
by the owner on the spot. If not, large scale repair and
maintenance is an overnight courier away, said
Queensland distributor of the Epoch Violin, Ken Newton of
SuperCool International on the Gold Coast.