Christopher Edel began his career repairing and restoring stringed instruments in Chicago, where he was born and raised. His interest in musical instruments was kindled when he was required to take a music course in high school. By chance, he attended one of the few Chicago public high schools that had an orchestral program, and he chose to learn the double bass. He enjoyed playing in local orchestras while studying a variety of subjects in college, including music. In addition, he played with several bands, which inspired him to teach himself to repair guitars and to build a few electric guitars from scratch.
In 1986, he got his first job as a professional repair technician at the downtown shop of Kagen & Gaines, a storied institution full of colorful characters. It was here that he was first introduced to the world of violin making and repair.
A detour to Los Angeles in 1990 led to a job at the violin shop of Robert Cauer where Chris acquired a strong foundation in violin repair. Though he enjoyed his time in L.A., San Francisco seemed more his kind of place. When he talked to his boss about moving, he discovered that Mr. Cauer had an old friend in San Francisco, Roland Feller, who happened to own a violin shop that could use a good repairman.
Chris loved living in San Francisco and working for Mr. Feller. During this time, he married Christine, whom he had met in 1992, and they started a family. Having to support a wife and child prompted a revelation. Chris had always thought in the back of his mind that he would return to school to become a designer or an engineer. It suddenly struck him that he was in fact a violin restorer and a good one at that! He continued to work for Mr. Feller for several more years, learning and honing his craft.
San Francisco is a wonderful city, but an expensive place to raise a family. Chris had been thinking New England might be an interesting place to live. When he heard about a job at a well-known shop in Boston, he decided to apply. When he flew east for an interview, it was autumn. The crisp air and scent of fallen leaves evoked a strong feeling of home.
In January 1999, Chris started work at Reuning & Son Violins, a shop that emphasizes collaboration and shared learning to facilitate the best repair and restoration work possible. Here Chris was given the time and support to really develop his restoration skills on instruments of the finest quality. He now concentrates on long-term, high-end restoration projects with the occasional bit of new making on the side.