Cello f-hole, purfling and bridge close up

Gregory S. Sapp

Greg Sapp is originally from Sewickley, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh). The son of a cabinet maker, Greg's earliest memories are those of being in his father’s workshop. His father was also a talented singer, so his early years also revolved around music, primarily Russian and Eastern European folk music. As his college years approached, this interest led him to a four-year performance scholarship with the world famous, “Duquesne University Tamburitzans” (’73-’77), where he played bass, sang and danced.

After attaining his degree in Music Education, he attended the Chicago School of Violin Making (then the Kenneth Warren & Son School of Violin Making). Greg graduated with Distinction in Craftmanship from the Violin Making School in December of 1981.

In January of 1982, Greg started work at the shop of Kenneth Warren & Son in Chicago. While there he was fortunate to work directly with Zenon Petesh, as well as Choo Taik Rheem, Phillip Perret and Joe Krosnowsky, all extremely talented craftsmen in the violin/bow trade. As a premier shop in the Midwest, Kenneth Warren & Son provided many challenging projects and provided Greg with many fine instruments of historical importance to work on. In 1986, Greg became Head Repairman and continued on in that capacity until the time that he left in April of 1994.

In 1994, Greg opened his own shop out of his home. Though he continued to make instruments, initially his primary focus was providing repair and restoration service to a variety of shops around the country, as well as walk-in clientele. By 1995 he had developed a regular repair service for almost 22 shops from a half-dozen states. It was during this time that he began developing and implementing ideas for his system of making, which is constantly evolving. Using this system, he made 40 instruments in 2000 – 2003, while also maintaining an active repair schedule.


Early in 2003 Greg opened a shop in downtown Chicago, located in the heart of the Classical Music community. This shop is open for business two days a week and is primarily focused on Set-up work and Tonal Adjustments for concert level musicians.

With the help of his wife, Mary Ellen (Mel), Greg opened a full service retail shop in Montgomery, IL in 2006. A second, satellite storefront in Wheaton, IL was opened in 2014.

In 2018, it was decided to consolidate the two stores into one location, and the Batavia store opened in April.

Mary Ellen (Mel) Sapp

Mel, Greg's wife, has been the "wife with a good job" for most of Greg's career. Her experience with finance, distribution and logistics and, most particularly, customer service, made the transition to working with Greg and running the storefront a natural extension of her skillset. She most enjoys the interaction with the players and their families. The relationships she has developed over her years in the shop are what make coming to work a pleasure!

Daniel Gillespie

Dan has been with Sapp Violins since January, 2015. He graduated from Naperville North High School and received a Bachelor's degree in Studio Art and Art and Art History from Wabash College. He graduated from the Chicago School of Violin Making in 2012 and worked for the A440 shop in Chicago for two and a half years. Dan is a very talented restorer and repairman. The rib repair pictured on the Repair section of this website is an example. Dan also makes instrumens and has completed a number of cellos since he started at Sapp Violins. In his spare time, Dan is a fine violinist and he performs regularly in the Chicago area.

Sapp Violins' repair shop with many violins waiting for repair and tonal adjustments