Jacob Sokoloff is a thoughtful, articulate man sincerely devoted to his craft — a man who feels that somehow he has always had a "true, organic calling" to make musical instruments. As an anthropology student at California State University Long Beach, he studied Japanese Classical and East Indian music. Living in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, Jacob's first designs were flutes and beautiful gourd harps made from natural materials using only hand tools.
Knowing that his mother collected windchimes, in 1981 Jacob created a set of chimes he called a "musical instrument for the wind" as a gift to her. Friends and family were taken with the magical and enchanting sounds produced by these chimes, and encouraged him to make a few more.Jacob's overriding emphasis in the design of his windchimes is the musical quality of the sound. The pitch of each pipe, the relative tuning of the whole chime, and the "sweetness" or purity of each tone are all factors that he constantly refines, years after creating that first, magical chime. Because this element of sound quality is so fundamental to the success of a chime, Jacob takes extreme care in making sure the tuning and resonant quality of each pipe meets his exacting standards. He carefully evaluates each new batch of raw pipe, adjusting for differences in seam and alloy composition that can affect pitch and create discordant sounds. Out of this evaluation comes a set of "masters," which are used to cut the batch of pipe.
When describing the rewards of his work, Jacob emphasizes his fundamental desire to make something beautiful — "a musical instrument for the wind." His greatest pleasure, he says, is "in making something that feels perfect every time."