Strings N' Things


James Johnson, Co-Founder & Luthier

James was born and raised in Indiana and studied music education at Indiana University and Murray State University. He later returned to Indiana University to study String Technology with Ole Dahl, a European Master Luthier. There he received extensive training in building, restoring, setting up and repairing stringed instruments. Studying instrument and bow history, famous makers and means of identification, supplemented his technical skills. Training to play violin family instruments made it easier to adjust and test his work. James graduated with honors from the Indiana University School of Music with a degree in String Technology. With over 35 years experience in repair and restoration of stringed instruments, he has an impressive level of expertise. James was a member of the VSA, NAMM & MVA.

James passed away on August 10 of 2022. Many of our instruments were bought, set up, enhanced, or restored by him. He loved his work, excelled at it, and left a wonderful legacy.

Judith Doyle, Co-Founder

Judith was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Northern Kentucky. She attended Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, graduating with honors. She majored in Psychology and Sociology and minored in English and Art. After college, Judith first worked for Procter & Gamble and then moved on to a career in real estate. Helping to create Strings N’ Things has been a fascinating challenge which resulted in a very satisfying career.

With over 30 years experience in the stringed instrument business, Judith will be managing the shop and office, doing purchasing, customer service and varnish repairs.

Emily Damerow, Associate

In 1999, Emily Damerow graduated Summa Cum Laude from Geneva College with a B. A. in Music. She is a valuable staff member, serving customers, doing office work and preparing instruments for rental and sale.

Michael Rennels Thompson

Michael is a professor emeritus from the UC Medical Center. In the mid 1990s, he set up a research lab in Naples, Italy. While there, he met luthier and violin maker Ernesto De Angelis and apprenticed with him for two and a half years. On returning to the United States, he worked at the Baroque Violin Shop in Dayton doing instrument set ups and restorations. Since then he has been an independent luthier specializing in historic stringed instruments. He is also a fiddler, playing folk music and dance music.

He will be doing bow re-hairs, set ups and restorations for Strings N' Things.

Sebastian Barron-Nutzel

Sebastian grew up in Oakland, California and played violin at school in the 4th, 6th and 12th grades. He was self taught for a year after high school, then started private lessons with Carol Schwamberger from the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. He continued studying with her on and off for the last 10 years, until he moved to Cincinnati. He is currently studying with Dylan Firlie. He started working for Strings N' Things part time in July of 2022, and went to full time in December. He is in training with our luthier, Michael Thompson.

He maintains the rental fleet, demonstrates violins and violas, and helps with tonal adjustments.