Mr. Stapp's exposure to violin making began when he was 12 years old. One of his first violin teachers, Ron Pepper, was an amateur violin maker and friend of violin makers Carl G. and Carl F. Becker. Ron owned two Becker violins. Before studying violinmaking formally, Mr. Stapp was trained as a professional violininst/violist. He received a B.M. in violin/viola performance from the University of Alabama in 1991 and an M. M. in viola performance from the University of Michigan in 1993. He started his training as a violinmaker with an Associates Degree in violin making from Indiana University in 1996.
Upon receiving an Associate Degree in violin making in 1996, Mr. Stapp moved to the suburbs of Washington D. C. where he continued studying violin making and repair with violin maker Howard Needham. He participated in the Oberlin bow making workshop. Living close to Washington D. C. gave him an opportunity to play and study a number of Cremonese violins. Mr. Stapp takes his design inspiration from the great masters of the past, but does not specialize in copying individual instruments. He is highly involved in tree selection and harvesting which ensures that the highest quality tonewood will be used in his instruments.
As a performer and teacher, Mr. Stapp has held positions at the National Philharmonic, Maryland Symphony, and Shepherd University. He performs in a violin/harp duo with his wife harpist Astrid Walschot-Stapp, and maintains a studio of private students at the Frederick String Initiative. His background as a professional violinist/violist and teacher offer a unique dimension to his violin making. Mr. Stapp's instruments are played by professional violinists in such groups as the Maryland Symphony and National Philharmonic.