The world’s first vegan violin gets Vegan Society Trademark

Author: Helen Greaves

Read Time:   |  13th January 2022

Years of research into vegan-friendly alternatives has led to musician Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh registering the world’s first Vegan Society Trademarked violin.

An Irish master violin maker has created a set of violins that are completely free from animal products, and they’ve become the first in the world to be registered with The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark.

Launched just in time for Veganuary, the vegan version of the classic Italian instrument is a passion project of musician Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh.

Padraig is a long-standing campaigner for sustainable and ethical violin-making and when the pandemic hit in March 2020 he was inspired to create something positive in an uncertain world.

Padraig devoted his time at home in lockdown to consolidate years of research and managed to create a violin that is entirely free from animal products.

While vegan strings and bows are also available they are not currently registered with the Vegan Trademark.

Ericka Durgahee, Marketing Manager at The Vegan Society, reacted to the news: “It’s incredibly exciting to have the world’s first vegan violin registered with the Vegan Trademark.

“This will be music to the ears of so many violinists who have longed for a high-quality instrument that is free from animal products.

“Every violin is also completely bespoke with the sound and feel tailored to the player’s individual style and preference. Padraig has done a fantastic job and we’re extremely proud of what he has produced.”

What stops musical instruments from being vegan?

In the past, horsehair, hooves, horns, bones and serosa, the outermost layer of the intestines of cattle, have all been used to create instruments including drum sets, piano keys, and guitar strings.

Instruments can also use animal-based glues in their construction, and lanolin or tallow particularly in the cleaning of drumheads.

Padraig, however, has created his violins, including the back, neck, ribs and scroll, without the use of any animal products.

Purfling inlay, the decorative strips around the edge of violins that can also help to hold the instrument together, are often inlaid with animal-based adhesives.

For his vegan-friendly violins, Padraig opted to make his own purfling inlay, using wild berries and local spring water.

Creator Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh said: “I learned a lot about my craft during years of research and ultimately, it was the science of conservation that brought about a series of breakthroughs leading to success.

“During my experiments, I also discovered that there are unforeseen advantages to a vegan violin.

“Apart from the benefit to animals, society, and our environment, it has become very clear than animal-based glues have harmful effects on violins, inducing powerful tensions on wooden components. The adhesive used in my vegan violins however, has no such effect. Irrespective of ethics, this is an acoustic improvement.”

He added: “With our planet facing crises on almost every front, the collective voice of people wanting a fairer future grows stronger every day.

“Ethical musicians are part of this movement and have long wished for a violin that is fully vegan yet retains all the qualities of the classic instrument.”

Are you surprised to learn that violins may not be vegan? Here’s why alcohol may not be vegan either. 

Written by

Helen Greaves

Helen has been vegan since 2018 and has a background in vegan food marketing and social media. She's mother to a mischief of rats, and loves to spend her spare time making vegan cakes and bakes.

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