Preserving Handmade History at Jacoby Fine Violins | Video Feature

[The following story exists as part of the 2017 Good Living Tour Storytelling Project thanks to presenting sponsor Nebraska Department of Economic Development, with generous support from Peter Kiewit Foundation, Nebraska Community Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Pinnacle Bank, Nebraska Loves Public Schools, Union Pacific Railroad, Center for Rural Affairs, and the Nebraska Arts Council.]

On the quiet street corner just east of downtown Auburn, Nebraska, a long standing tradition of violin making continues. Sunlight filters through the window of a small backyard shop, where Christopher Jacoby works on the body of one of his custom instruments. There are several in-progress projects, from construction to repair to intentional wear.

It’s undoubtedly an artform, one Jacoby has studied voraciously and dutifully since early 2001. His family had always been a musical one, and he had moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a career in violin performance. When a strung-out roommate sold a family heirloom out from under Jacoby, and after he tracked it down, he decided to change course and devote himself to the craft.

Today, Jacoby Fine Violins have been shipped all over the world, his knowledge and experience culled from and shared with other members of the violin-making community as old as the art itself. Its proprietor — also the Luthier-in-Residence at The Violin Shop in Lincoln — invited Hear Nebraska into his shop to get a glimpse into his rigorous process, discuss his history with violins and how he found a home in Southeastern Nebraska.

Christopher Jacoby’s work can be found via Instagram at @jacobyfineviolins. He can also be reached at

Video/Audio by Peter Barnes
Interview by Andrew Stellmon
“Sleepy-Eyed Thoughts” by Bernardus