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Peter R. Seman Instruments

prs 5 string

Originally designed for David Ragsdale of the rock band Kansas, I designed this instrument to have great power, clarity, and balance across all five strings. Due to the fact that it is an acoustic electric I took some liberties with some of the more classic violin shapes.

“ex Soldat” Guarneri Del Gesu 1742

The ex Soldat was once owned by Johannes Brahms and was named after 19th century violinist Marie Soldat. It is currently being played by Rachel Barton Pine who lives in Chicago and was nice enough to loan it to me to make a bench copy.
I really enjoy making copies of this instrument and each copy has a huge robust sound, like the original.


Betts Stradivari 1704

This violin was made in 1704 by Antonio Stradivari. It was purchased for next to nothing in 1820 by a British violin dealer named Arthur Betts . It currently resides in the Library of Congress, and I had the pleasure of seeing the instrument in person when the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers had our meeting in D.C.
I love the outline and long corners of this violin as well as the wood selection and varnish.

Carlo Bergonzi “Cramer Heath” 1732

The Cramer Heath was named after William Cramer, who was the son of the violinst Francois Cramer.Also for Baron Henry Burnley Heath, whose father was Consul General for Italy and a close friend of Paganini.
My favorite feature is the wide scroll with extra long ears..

Just a few accomplished artists that play Peter R. Seman custom made instruments

Yuan-Qing Yu

A native Shanghai,Yuan-Qing Yu has won numerous competitions, including Menuhin and Jacques Thaibaud International competitions.

Liz Knowles

Since I regularly perform two very different styles of music--classical and early music and Irish traditional--I needed a fiddle that has the sensibilities of a 'classical' violin.

David Ragsdale

David Ragsdale’s five-string violin playing has been getting attention for years, first through his work with country star Louise Mandrell, then with the rock band Kansas, and always in his many distinguished solo projects. It would be safe to say that he’s played his share of fine violins, both traditional and electric. Over time, however, Ragsdale found that even under the best of circumstances the electric instruments sounded like

Gallia Kastner

"Everyone always asks who made my violin. They even ask if it is the real Gaurneri.The sound is deep, rich, and incredibly warm.

Other Shop Makers

Noah Scott

Noah Scott

A valued member of Seman Violins since 2006 and a graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making, Noah Scott is a dedicated violin maker who truly enjoys helping players of all ages and abilities find their next instrument or bow.

Kristin Siegfried Ballenger

Kristin Siegfried

Kristin grew up in Aurora, IL playing all types of music. After a few summers at Interlochen she was enamoured with the viola. It brought her all the way through college and she graduated in 2009 with a music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Hee Young Kang

Hee Young Kang

Hee Young was born and grew up in Korea, where he played drums in the national police band. He moved to the United States in 1991 and graduated from Chicago School of Violin Making in 1995. He joined Seman Violins in 1993.

Daniella Appel

Daniella grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and started playing piano when she was 6. After high school she studied for a year abroad in Israel and then returned to study music at Yeshiva University Stern College. After graduating with a degree in music, Daniella moved to Chicago to attend the Chicago School of Violin Making where she graduated in the summer of 2012.

Drew Harding

Drew Harding

Drew Harding grew up in North Aurora, Illinois, and became interested in instrument-making from seeing his guitar being repaired at the local guitar shop. He attended a guitar-building workshop at Vermont Instruments School of Lutherie in 2009 and a year later attended the stringed-instrument repair program at Southeast Technical College in Red Wing, Mn. From there Drew went on to study at the Chicago School of Violin Making, where he graduated in 2014.