Break-in at Nashville’s The Violin Shop – instruments stolen

The Violin Shop on 8th Avenue, in the Berry Hill area of Nashville, was broken into on Sunday, December 18, at about 5:11-5:13 a.m. local time. 

The intruder busted in the partly glazed front door with a sledgehammer, stole five violins, and left via the back door with the instruments in a trash bag. 

CCTV footage of the incident is available.

The instruments are five German/Czech trade violins from circa 1900-1930, one of which is a Da Salo model with a carved head of “Pan, God of the Wild,” and the other four are Guarneri models. All instruments have “The Violin Shop” or “The Fiddle Mercantile” stamped on the bridges, and are fully set up. 

A pragmatic owner, Brandon Godman reveals what life has been like at The Violin Shop during the past few days ….. 

“This has been an already busy week made busier in dealing with the aftermath of having our shop broken into Sunday morning, the first time in the 34 years that we have been in business. While we may be feeling angry, violated, and remorseful that five nice instruments are missing, each over 100-years-old and fully restored by us, the bottom line is it could have been so much worse! No one was hurt, no damage was incurred beyond the front door being destroyed, and there were no consignments or instruments belonging to customers stolen. 

The employees of The Violin Shop quickly stepped in to clean the shop up to be back open by Monday, our friend and mandolin player extraordinaire Sterling Abernathy was able to replace our front door, Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 ran a story, and we had a shop full of fiddlers playing Christmas Carols together on Monday night.


We are very grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support from our community. We have all received calls, texts, emails ,and social media messages with condolences and offers to help. We ask everyone to keep their eyes peeled for the instruments that were stolen, and please notify us if you have any leads. Thank you and Happy Holidays everyone!”

If you have any information about the actual robbery, or if you see the instruments posted anywhere for sale, please contact Godman at 859-391-9290, The Violin Shop at 615-662-1570, or the Berry Hill Police Department at 615-414-6642. Thank you for your help!

The Violin Shop was started by Fred Carpenter in 1988. 

In February this year Godman, who spent nearly five years with The Violin Shop before moving to San Francisco in 2016, became the new owner and director of the business. 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.