derek-dezarn-smNext up in our “get to know us” series is Derek DeZarn, one of the luthiers at Encore. Instead of Derek writing his own bio (you can read a little bit about his background at, I thought I’d talk about some of the reasons I love having him here on our team.

When you think about entrusting someone with your personal instrument – whether a humble starter instrument or a valuable antique Italian – you find yourself in a vulnerable position. Your instrument is not only one of the primary tools you use to make music, but is also part of who you are as a musician. Handing it over to someone, anyone, is something many musicians find difficult. Derek understands this. He is very soft-spoken with his clients and makes sure they understand what he plans to do and why he plans to do it. I’ve seen him spend an afternoon with a customer who is searching for a particular sound from their instrument and I’ve seen him set a sound-post in no time for a mom desperate to get the instrument to her student’s concert in time. 

Another great thing about Derek is that he understands that there is some mystery in the violin world…but that not everything is mysterious. Anyone who has been in the violin world long enough has run across someone who was ambiguous about the efficacy of their approach – “I only set a cello post during a full moon, at midnight, after consuming 2.7oz of bourbon, with an original pressing of ‘Kind of Blue’ (platter speed adjusted to compensate for pitch issue) playing in the background…”. Some of these people can develop a loyal following of musicians who feel the “special sauce” makes a difference. I’ve always believed that skill, patience, and a good ear are just about the only “special sauce” anyone needs. Derek has all three.

Derek DeZarnFinally, Derek believes in value. Some repairs are expensive. Some are not. Derek is always looking for a way to get the job done properly at a reasonable cost. He and I share incredulity about the prices charged for certain services in the industry. In this regard, being located where we are (area/city/state) allows us to charge significantly less for many repairs and adjustments…and that makes us and our customers very happy!

Oh…and Derek has awesome sweaters.