Rossow Stringed Instruments

About Steve Rossow

rossow violinProfessional Philosophy

Steve Rossow’s work as a professional luthier is grounded in a love of music, a knowledge of stringed instrument history, structure, and physiology, a commitment to excellence in design and function, and a creative drive to explore and innovate.


Steve began his career in the early nineties as a woodworker, designing and building custom furniture. An avid acoustic finger-style guitar player, he initially explored stringed instrument construction as a hobby. After making several instruments on his own, he was hooked. He decided to pursue lutherie full time and enrolled in the guitar, violin, and archtop contruction and repair programs at Minnesota State College – Red Wing. After graduating from the Red Wing programs, he apprenticed with luthier John R. Waddle, under whom he studied violin making and restoration. In addition to violins, Steve has also built many guitars and arch-top mandolins. He continues to do repair and restoration work with Waddle.


Steve has returned to the Red Wing programs on several occasions over the years as a visiting instructor, teaching topics ranging from acoustic guitar construction to violin ebony work. He has designed a curriculum for incorporating CNC work into guitarmaking and has taught advanced acoustic guitar construction and computer-aided drafting in the Red Wing guitar program during the 2010 and 2011 academic years.


Steve has always been fascinated by innovative design and by inventions that can streamline and improve creative processes. As a luthier, he has been involved in the development of cutting-edge technologies in the stringed instrument world. Working with machinist Chris Ramirez, he researched, designed, and built a CNC machine specifically engineered to execute precision lutherie functions. He uses this machine for the CT re-creations of famous violins, as described in the May 2010 article in The Strad magazine entitled “The Progress of Progress” (PDF), and also in the probing/digitizing and carving processes described on this website.


Steve’s workshop is located on Harriet Island, overlooking the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In addition to his lutherie, teaching, and CNC work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and baby daughter.

Steve Rossow
Luthier/CNC Services