We work by appointment.

Appointments are available Tuesday-Saturday
contact us by
phone: 858-909-0319
email: paula@theviolinshopsandiego.com

10505 Sorrento Valley Rd., Suite 385,
San Diego, CA 92121


We specialize in all sizes of violins, violas and cellos. Our sales and rentals are backed by our world class workshop.

Welcome to The Violin Shop

The Violin Shop works by appointment to insure that they can meet each client's needs to the best of their ability with undivided attention. Appointments are available Tuesday-Saturday.

The Violin Shop is a combination of highly skilled Luthiers and professional string players offering the discriminating musician warm and personalized attention, from the beginner to the professional. The owners, Paula Simmons & Kevin Smith opened the doors to The Violin Shop in June of 2006 with the commitment to offer students, teachers, and professional musicians a full service string shop that guarantees the highest level of quality in both product and service.

Whether you are looking for a first-time purchase or upgrading, we offer an ever-expanding line of instruments, bows and accessories. We have both modern and old world instruments from Europe, Asia and America as well as handcrafted violins and violas by Luthier Kevin Smith.

Please see our sales page for more details on our beautiful selection of featured instruments. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment to try-out any of our instruments.

Keep in mind when you purchase an instrument through The Violin Shop our continued maintenance and repair service stays with you and your instruments!


The shop offers lessons from Suzuki to traditional teaching styles, for all ages and abilities by accomplished professional musicians, please see our lessons page to meet them.

Learning to play a stringed instrument is a challenging endeavor. Quality instruments with the correct setup will make a substantial difference in a beginner's ability to develop strong fundamental technique. With this in mind, Kevin has written a series of articles about stringed instruments. He understands that for the musician, it is all about the sound of their instrument. If you are considering purchasing an instrument for yourself or your child, take a moment to read his articles.

Read About Understanding Sound
image courtesy Shane Albrent Photography

an interview with

An interview with Kevin Smith and SD Voyager

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Smith.

Kevin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

In 1972 I became the first student of The Violin Making School of America. It was the first school of it’s kind in the United States and was modeled after the School in Mittenwald, Germany.

After graduating in 1976 I worked at a couple of high-end shops for 5 years learning restoration skills. In 1981 I struck out on my own and moved to San Diego, working from home for about 4 years. In 85 I moved to Dallas, TX and opened a shop for two and a half years.

Within 6 months I had a working radius of 600 miles. But alas, I still had wanderlust and moved to Venezuela to make instruments for a couple of years (my ex-wife is Venezuelan). But it was still hard to stay put, and in the fall of 89, we moved back to San Diego. And I’m still here.

For years I freelanced from home, either in a spare room or sometimes a garage. After some personal turbulence, I met Paula Simmons through some work she needed to have done on her viola. She’d been teaching and freelancing on viola (and some violin) for about the same time as I had in San Diego.

In 2006 it all changed. Paula and I started talking about the difficulties students had learning on rental instruments that were more limiting than helpful. The more we talked the more the vacancy became apparent. So we decided to do something about it and opened our shop. (Click to continue reading.)


Please call Bow Specialist Carlos Romero directly at: 619-312-7892 to schedule drop-offs and pick-ups at the shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Carlos specializes in complete restoration, repair and custom rehairing of all string instrument bows.

Watch videos of
Master Luthier Kevin Smith
share insights on instruments.

The Violin: An Introduction - Part 1 of 7

Provided by the Museum of Making Music Archives

To view Videos Part 2 - Part 7

Performances & Events

Quartetto Sorrentto


For more information, Click here to visit their page.

North Coast Strings

Spring Schedule

Saturday, June 16 @ 7:00 PM
Mira Costa Concert Hall, 1 Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA


Join our musical events mailing list.

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A special note to Teachers

Whether you are a classroom teacher or a private instructor we want to help you maximize your teaching efforts, by placing the best possible instrument in your students’ hands. Our set-ups start your student off with a better sound. We have instruments for sale and we have programs for upgrading and renting instruments. Additionally, we stock bows, cases, strings and other accessories. Come in and meet us, or feel free to call at your convenience, we want to work with you!


"Over the last 3-1/2 years, I have purchased between 50-60 violins for my Crown Point Junior Music Academy Suzuki Program from the Violin Shop. In addition, many students from my other school programs as well as those from my private studio rent or purchase instruments from the Violin Shop. As an educator who has dealt with many vendors over several years, the Violin Shop has consistently provided the highest quality products and supreme service.

Paula Simmons is always ready and willing to provide professional support for all my students needs. Master Luthier Kevin Smith does an incredible job setting instruments up to proper specifications. Most of my performing colleagues as well as myself bring our high-end instruments to Kevin. When I go around the classroom tuning instruments, the instruments Kevin has set up, needs little or no tuning. The pegs do not slip, even in severe dry, windy conditions."

Stephen Luchs

5 Tips to Quality String Installation:

Avoid bridge and sound post collapse by changing strings one at a time.

Increase string and bridge life by putting pencil lead in the string grooves once the old one is off.

When possible, wind the string on the peg once or twice and then crossover the top of the windings, finishing with the string exiting the peg from the peg-head side (make the windings lay evenly one next to the other).

To avoid string breakage never wind the string all the way to the peg box wall where it can get pinched off.

For the health of your bridge and instrument, constantly check the bridge to make sure it’s standing straight. Maintain the bridge position as you go and it will be easier.