Bruce T. Meyers made his first violin during his free time while studying mathematics at Yale University. It was a miniature, constructed of balsa wood, but it so impressed master builder Gunther Reuter of Chicago that Meyers won a year's apprenticeship in Reuter's violin shop.

The 30-year-old Meyers, who is assistant concertmaster of the Air Force Symphony Orchestra, now makes violins in his own workshop in Alexandria's Torpedo Factory and is recognized as a first-rate instrument builder in the Washington area.

In 1975, Meyers and his wife Stephanie, also a musician, moved to posts at Bolling Air Force Base, where they were assigned to the Air Force Symphony Orchestra and the Strolling Strings.

A year later, Meyers opened the Torpedo Factory violin shop. In addition to his own work, Meyers is training two apprentices, Harold Evans and Gregory Rodgers, in the delicate art of violin building. Stephanie Meyers has left the Air Force and is the shop manager, bookkeeper and clerk.

Meyers' first two instruments, Opus I, played by his wife, and Opus II, his own violin, were made under the guidance of Reuter during Meyers' apprenticeship. Since then, Meyers has built 15 instruments. One of them, a viola, was built recently in the Torpedo Factory studio for a fellow musician, Alan McConnell.

Meyers' current work is his first commissioned cello.