About Us

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Gailes’ Violin Shop, located in College Park, Maryland, specializes in quality instruments, bows, repairs and restorations. We also carry a large selection of music and accessories.

Bill Gailes (1956-2021), our founder, was majoring in music performance at the University of Maryland in 1974 while working as a free-lance musician and studying violin making with a local craftsman. After completing his first violin, Op. 1 No. 1, in 1975, Bill decided to concentrate on making and repairing bowed stringed instruments. He continued to study restoration technique at summer sessions with Hans J. Nebel (almost every year for over 30 years). He also studied bow rehair and repair with Arnold Bone, and bass work with Samuel Kolstein (yes, once upon a time we did bass repairs). He even had a short course with the great Dario D’Attili in 1975. Bill worked for 46 years to build a shop where respect and kindness rule, where quality and service are our top priorities, and where all are welcome no matter their background or experience level. He is legendary in the community for his kindness, generosity and knowledge. We are doing our very best to continue his legacy. We will always miss him.

Betty Gailes married Bill in 1999 and worked tangentially with the shop whiles she taught elementary instrumental and general music in Anne Arundel County. When she retired from teaching, she joined Bill at the violin shop full time. She now runs the business with the help of a great staff.






David McDermott has been working with Gailes’ Violin Shop since 1985 when he graduated from the Chicago School of Violin Making. In addition to fine repairs and restorations, he is a gifted maker of violins, violas and cellos. His instruments are available at Gailes’ Violin Shop and pictures are available on the violin page.



Mark Mihlbauer has been responsible for all of our bow repairs, restorations and rehairing since 1980. He studied at the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute. He particularly enjoys the challenge of restoring antique bows.

Eddie Matus is a graduate of the Violin and Bow Making Schools of Cremona, Italy, as well as of the UTU Guitar Making School of Uruguay.He came on board in 2011. As a violist, he was a member of the various music groups, ranging from symphony orchestras to popular music groups. Eddie speaks three languages, Italian, Spanish, and English.


Chris Nelligan has been working at GVS off and on since 2008. She graduated from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts with a degree in Physical Education and Health. After working as a gymnastics coach for many years, Chris brings to the shop great customer service skills. She especially enjoys keeping the rental fleet ready to go. She played the violin in fifth through seventh grades.







Alex Jackson manages our accessories inventory and does beautiful touch up work on our instruments. They are also instrumental in managing the rental fleet during summer cleaning. Alex grew up in University Park and played violin through high school and beyond. They are currently majoring in video and gaming arts.





Gaelle Rameau joined our team in August 2023. She has a degree in Sociology from Boston University. With an extensive background in retail sales, business administration, management and logistics, it took her no time at all to learn the ropes of running the office. Her customer care skills can't be beat. And she speaks three languages: French, English, and Haitian Creole. She played the viola in eighth grade and hopes to take it up again in the near future.