Our Story

The Frirsz family is the oldest family of luthiers in the world, and perfected a method of making violins using no forms. At Sixth Generation Violin, we carry on that method. We are innovators, musicians, and artists.

Thomas Dunn headshot

Thomas Dunn carries on six generations of family traditions

Frirsz family of luthiers


The Frirsz family of luthiers began making violins in the mid 1800s, as patriarch Antol Frirsz moved from making cabinets to musical instruments. The Frirsz family is the oldest family of luthiers in the world, and perfected a method of making violins using no forms. At Sixth Generation Violin, we carry on that method. We also carry on the family varnish recipe and method, which gives our instruments a unique look.

handcrafted violin


The Frirsz family became extremely influential in the Hungarian school of violin making under Lajos, Miksa, and Maximilian Frirsz in Budapest. The Hungarian revolution caused Maximilian to leave the country with his tools in a briefcase, to begin a new life in Canada. He subsequently moved to New York City and set up a shop on 57th street, where he became known as one of the foremost luthiers and restorers in the US.

handcrafted violin
Max’s son, Nicholas, became the youngest luthier to win a Gold Medal in International competition in 1974 at the age of 17. He took over the NYC business in the 1980s, as Max retired and moved to Florida.
luthiers award


In 1990, Nicholas moved out of the city, and eventually settled near Saratoga Springs, NY, where he developed the Frirsz tailpiece and continues to work out of his home. He is also known for his unique asymmetrical viola model, which he pioneered and we continue to make.


Thomas Dunn working

I am the oldest of a musical family of 9, born in Albuquerque, NM and raised on a farm in Fort Plain, NY from age 11. I developed manual labor skills and built many model tallships as a teen, discovering my love for crafting and woodworking. I decided to combine my passions for music and woodworking with my love of science, and study physics and violin making. Violin making is something that combines knowledge, skill, artistry, science, and even philosophy.

luthiers repairing a violin
crafting a violin


In 2010 at age 17, I began working with Nicholas on small repairs and learning how to make violins. In the meantime, I pursued my physics degree at Siena college, focusing on Acoustics and researching the effects of the tailpiece on an instrument’s sound production. In 2011, I became Nicholas’ full apprentice and began learning all aspects of the trade from him and other makers such as Mark Womack. After graduation with my physics degree, I began making and repairing instruments full time, and opened up the Sixth Generation Violin Studio in Saratoga Springs, NY in 2017.


We stand for quality, integrity, personal service, and engagement at Sixth Generation Violin. We provide the highest quality of instruments and service in the area, from our decades old materials to fittings and bows, and we perform repairs and restoration to the exacting quality standards held by the most respected members of the violin making profession.

We are committed to being open, transparent, and honest with all of our work, estimates, and instruments- we will always strive to impart all the options, and recommend the best course of action within budget and needs.

We are always available to answer any questions, and will do everything in our power to make your experience a great one. Finally, we are committed to giving back to the musical and local community, whether that is providing service, instruments, advice, or donations to needy and deserving individuals and organizations who promote or create music, community events and/or charity work.