5 string Violin!

Yup! We’ve got one

33 Year Old Wood never sounded so good!

This stunning instrument was crafted from 33 year old Old Oregon Maple and Spruce obtained by special arrangement from the Mt. Airy Violins and Bows shop in Philadelphia, PA. It is rare to have access to wood of that age and quality.  Mr. McCluskie created a 16 1/8″ viola in a pattern well loved by McCluskie viola-owners over the years.

Players who have tried this instrument have remarked on how easily it plays.  The sound has been described as exceedingly resonant and full.

R. W. McCluskie Viola 402-back

R. W. McCluskie Viola 402-back

R. W. McCluskie Viola 402-front

R. W. McCluskie Viola 402-front


This instrument is being shown at

Mt. Airy Violins and Bows,
6665 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19119

mountairyviolins [at] gmail.com


Please contact them, or us (mccluskieviolins [at] gmail.com) for additional information

400 and Counting….

from article in April 5, Washington Post

from Washington Post article April 5, 2015

Today the Washington Post celebrated  R. W. McCluskie’s career-long production of 400 violas and violins with a centerfold article in the Arts and Style section, entitled “Staying Ahead of the Curve”  This article may be viewed online with this URL:

(Warning, this URL takes you away from the mccluskieviolins.com site. )

Oklahoma? OK!

Viola Instructor Donna Wolff Cain(right) has been playing her R. W. McCluskie Viola since 1994.  Her student, Michele Gebhardt(left) Two Ladies with RWM Violas has just acquired a 2013 R. W. McCluskie Viola of the same pattern.  Both teacher and student are affiliated with the Oklahoma University Music Education/ Viola Performance program.

Simpkins to play McCluskie Violin at Strathmore

The next opportunity to see and hear an R. W. McCluskie Violin in concert in the Washington DC area will be the Rickie Simpkins ‘Strathmore Artist in the Mansion’ concert May 29, 2013 at 7:30 pm.  Mr. Simpkins is a virtuoso on both the mandolin and the fiddle. His musical prowess and versatility has made him well-known and respected in bluegrass circles. Rickie has performed with bands such as Continental Divide and the Tony Rice Unit.  He may play a McCluskie Guarneri del Jesu at this event.

Rickie Simpkins

Rickie Simpkins plays McCluskie Violin at Strathmore Mansion May 29, 1013

Please follow this link for ticket information for the May 29th concert at the Strathmore Mansion, in Bethesda Maryland.

Rickie Simpkins

RW McCluskie Violins and Violas now at Mt. Airy Violins and Bows

Mount Airy Violins store photoWe are pleased to share that a resonant selection of RW McCluskie Violins and Violas are offered through Mt. Airy Violins and Bows, on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Elizabeth Shaak, the proprieter of Mt. Airy Violins and Bows is an acclaimed bow maker, recognized by The American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. She is a stalwart supporter of contemporary makers and we are honored to have our instruments represented in her shop’s offerings.

Mount Airy Violins & Bows (website)
6665 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Open Wednesday – Saturday, 1pm – 5pm
E-mail: mountairyviolins[at]gmail.com

Just in….from South Korea….

We have recently corresponded with Lee Kiseok, a rising star concert violist who graciously provided links to two pieces he recently performed with his 10 year old R. W. McCluskie Viola. Both are viola–classical guitar duets in which the sound of the McCluskie viola is clearly heard. We are thrilled to be able to share this music with you.

R. W. McCluskie 16 3/16″ Gibson Stradivarius Viola


This instrument was completed at the end of 2012.  It is a 16 3/16″ McCluskie copy of the Gibson Stradivarius Viola, a small, late-period instrument with classic styling and good sound.

This instrument is currently on loan.  Mr. McCluskie looks forward to another opportunity to make this instrument.

Photos by Gary Schonman

Bluegrass and Country Recording Artist Rickie Simpkins

McCluskie Violin, played by Ricki Simpkins

Rickie Simpkins plays an R W McCluskie Violin

plays his R W. McCluskie Guarneri Pattern Violin during a Kevin Dudley recording session produced by Grammy Winning Artist Cathy Fink.

This instrument was made in 2010 and is one of over 360 violins and violas constructed by R. W. McCluskie that have appealed to a broad range of musicians ranging from classical to folk.

McCluskie Violins at Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention

Saturday, June 11, 2011 · 11:00am – 9:00pm

Here’s an opportunity to talk informally with the luthier, play and or hear McCluskie Violins, live. Call 301-337-8521 to find us the day of the festival!

40th Annual Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention
— A Maryland Tradition Since 1972 —
Saturday, June 11th, 2011 10 am – 9 pm
Carroll County Farm Museum
Westminster, MD