Penrose Strings A Nick Rail Music Exclusive!

As the newest member of the Nick Rail Music family, Penrose Strings in Camarillo is a specialty shop for orchestral strings - Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. In conjunction with Maple Leaf Strings, we have launched our own Private Label, the Penrose Strings Mission Series, showcasing instruments hand-picked by our owner, Laura Penrose. Here is an overview of some of the excellent instruments you can find at our shop.

Pedro Benito Cambón Collection

Designed with the progressing student in mind, the Pedro Benito Cambón Collection of instruments ensure that they are capable of easily responding to the more advanced playing techniques of a growing player. Throughout the entire handcrafted process, design decisions were carefully balanced to ensure that resources are focused in places that have the greatest impact on playability and tonal quality. These are visibly seen in the aesthetic characteristics of the flame maple and various varnish styles. 

All of the Pedro Benito Cambón Collection Violins, Violas, and Cellos feature a high-quality, blended spirit and oil-based varnish. Beginning with the shaded tones of the San Fernando 1797, and transitioning to the tastefully textured antiquing of the Albeniz 1860, each model progresses with more personality and simulated antique authenticity. Likewise, the well-seasoned curly maple begins with well-figured examples and increase in definition through the entire collection, culminating in the mesmerizing materials utilized in the Hellier 1679 and Victoria 1548 Violins. 

While the progressions in varnish and material elections can be seen, these are mere extensions of the real differences that can only be heard. With each step in the collection, calculated additions to the graduation patterns enhance the tone and response of the top and back.

San Miguel 1797 Cello - Top Selling Cello!!

Hand-carved boxwood fittings featuring a decorative cherub tailpiece and matching pegs pay homage to J.B. Vuillaume, who first crafted detailed fittings for instruments made by the Italian masters. Available with standard or carved fittings.

Available in fractional violin, full size viola, and fractional to full size cello 

San Juan Bautista 1797

Beginning with the most figured wood they could find, the workshop then lathered it in some of the most accentuating golden varnish available. The result is an instrument that is as striking in appearance as it is in silky sound.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

San Sebastian 1835 - Top Selling Viola!!

The San Sebastian 1835, a renowned Guarneri violin from 1742, was famous for its exceptional sound and performance. Our copy features well-figured curly maple with an expertly applied and antiqued varnish.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

Hellier 1679

The Hellier 1679 Model is a copy of a famous violin made by Stradivarius in 1679, owned for nearly two centuries by the family of Sir Samuel Hellier. Its attractive decorative inlays make copies of this violin highly sought after. Available with plain or decorated ribs.

Available in violin ONLY

Victoria 1548

The one-piece back and ribs of this instrument are constructed from unique burled wood, created in a tree when growth abnormalities occur. The seasoned spruce top and golden brown varnish compliment the unique burl maple and ensure it sounds as beautiful as it looks.

Available in violin and viola.

Fermín Francisco de Lasuén Collection

Carefully hand crafted in small, focused workshops, the Fermín Francisco de Lasuén Collection embraces the needs of demanding players. Whether you are a progressing student, or a discerning advanced player, the Fermín Francisco de Lasuén Collection has an instrument that aligns with your needs. 

Beginning with the Santa Clara 1770, this instrument embodies everything you would expect from an instrument of this caliber. With its gorgeous curly maple back, and well balanced antique varnish, it sets the aesthetic benchmark high for its successors in the Fermín Francisco de Lasuén collection. 

Available in violin, viola, and cello

The Bench Copy instruments, each modeled after actual examples or patterns of prominent historical makers, round out the Fermín Francisco de Lasuén Collection. Each of these instruments has its own color and character, but the overall aesthetic quality is maintained between each. The difference in these instruments are within the patterns, outlines, and graduation templates that are referenced during construction. As a result, each instrument produces a unique tone and response timbre, much like the original master luthiers - Stradivarius, Guarneri, and Guadagnini.

San Gabriel 1771

Guarneri del Gesù Bench Copy

The San Gabriel 1771 represents Guarneri del Gesù’s earlier style and patterns and traditions of the Brescian and Cremonese styles of violin making more than his later works which are known for their mercurial and unique patterns. Our San Gabriel 1771 Bench Copy features choice European spruce and well figured curly maple. Each instrument is professionally adjusted to ensure all copies meet our high standards of sound quality and tonal clarity.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

Capistrano 1776 - Top selling Violin!!

Guarneri del Gesù Bench Copy

Modeled after the famous violin that was coveted by Jascha Heifetz, arguably the best violinist of the 20th century, this violin demonstrates del Gesù’s movement away from the delicate Amati-like detailing found in his earlier instruments. Its austere detailing and broader outline indicate Guarneri’s evolution towards the minimalist approach of his later works. This unrefined style suggests that del Gesù knew exactly how to manipulate materials while crafting his instruments, so that he would not be held back by the details, which did not directly influence creating impeccable sound.

Available in violin ONLY

Junípero Serra Collection

While there are many violin makers in the world, few have the expertise, experience, and insight to be called a master violin maker. When labeled as a master, they are naturally compared to historical masters like Stradivarius, Amati, and Guarneri. With each of these masters, as well as the makers in our Junípero Serra Collection, their level of expertise is so high, other makers cannot determine what contributes to their high-level tonal characteristics and response. This expertise is much deeper than understanding and developing graduation patterns that stand out amongst the competition. The true expertise lies in taking these great graduation patterns and making adjustments as needed in the final stages of each instrument’s construction. The unique characteristics of each piece of wood, a natural material where no two pieces are ever the same, add a variable that can only be accounted for with decades of trial, error, and Perfection.

The Junípero Serra Collection starts with Maestra de Padua and Maestro de Borromeo. They are master makers with master workshops. With a small team of apprentices, they are able to balance higher volume needs. The apprentices allow them to process many instruments at one time, with each apprentice starting each of the many processes, then passing them to the benches of Maestra de Padua and Maestro de Borromeo to make the final adjustments that only they know how to do.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

Maestra de Padua

Maestra de Padua brings the precision and exacting craftsmanship of the classics to a modern instrument. The expert antiquing in the skillfully applied oil varnish provides an aesthetically pleasing match to superior sound quality.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

Maestro de Borromeo

With its expertly applied and antiqued oil varnish and meticulous attention to tonal clarity and adjustments, Maestro de Borromeo brings artistry and fine detail to each instrument.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

The Empress Cello

Penrose Strings is the exclusive seller for this cello in all of California. This hand selected instrument is only available sporadically throughout the year. This beautifully aged and varnished instrument also includes hand laid double purfling and an artistic maggini decorative back. Each instrument has a unique inlaid pattern determined by the mood of the maker. This powerful sounding cello is a masterpiece both artistically and tonally. 

Available in cello ONLY

Maestro de Patino

Presenting our highest quality cello, Penrose Strings is proud to offer professionally made modern instruments. After selecting the finest tonewoods, the raw materials are air-dried for over a decade before being carved into extraordinary instruments. Each instrument is hand-selected and inspected to ensure it meets our exacting standards of excellence.

Available in violin, viola, and cello

José Ramón Abella Collection

San Rafael 1817 Bass

This hybrid bass is the perfect instrument for the gigging musician. With a laminate back and sides, it is durable enough for travel, but with the solid top its sound is powerful enough for solo playing. This tastefully antiqued bass includes an ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, D’Addario Prelude strings, inlaid purfling on both the back and front and a graduated top and back plate. 

• Outfit includes French or German graphite composite bow and embroidered padded bag

Santa Inés 1804 Bass

The Santa Ines is a powerful sounding bass with beautiful violin corners to create a larger sound chamber within the instrument. This light colored varnish often misleads players into thinking it has a lighter sound, but not so! This deep and resonating bass is designed for advanced and technical playing. It features an ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, D’Addario Kaplan strings, a fully carved top and back.

Pedro Benito Cambón Collection

San Luis II 1798 Bass - Top Selling Bass!!

The highlight of our bass collection! This beautifully aged instrument is hand selected direct from the workshop to ensure the highest quality of sound and craftsmanship before making its way to our shop. This advanced bass has been professionally set up with expertly hand-applied oil varnish with beautifully delicate antiquing. The San Luis features fully carved tone woods of the finest quality and a well-fired curly maple back.

As you can see, great care has gone into the construction and selection of the instruments in our exclusive Mission Series of orchestral strings. Everyone is welcome to come by our shop in Camarillo Old Town and test play any of the instruments we have in stock. Appointments are recommended but not required. Bring your favorite bow along or test play one of the many fine bows we also have available, and we hope to see you soon

Danny Smolenski - Store Manger, Penrose Strings Camarillo Location