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Everything posted by flamenco

  1. I'm no expert on wood, but I've worked with it a little. Wouldn't heating for a bit past a certain temperature harden any residual gums, pitch, or whatever you want to call it? That might well be beneficial, I suspect.
  2. Check with the BBB for complaints. Make sure you have a street address for the shop and owners. Essentially, look for past troubles (online searches do nicely for some places with real problems) and a way to contact the shop and owner. If a corporation, go the secretary of state site for the state and find out current status, agent of record, etc. If something in that record doesn't match your other information, check with the shop to find out why. For an expensive instrument sent on consignment, one might want to file a UCC1 financing statement. Easy and protects you if they go bankrupt. I like packing double boxed even better than in a case.
  3. I'm trying to find a subcontractor to do professional-level bow wrap, grip, rehair for me. I've run out of time. Any suggestions? I tried one service and am now redoing all their work. At least they didn't hurt the sticks. Thanks much for any suggestions. Steve
  4. We collect fake cashiers checks. The biggest so far is $11,000. The sended (usually a third party) can't be located. Call the issuing bank and check whether the account is active for non-cashiers checks. Ask directly whether they issued a cashiers check numbered such and such to you for the given amount. Takes away the various bounced check fees. I'm hoping to get a $100,000 or even $1,000,000 check. Nowadays when people start the scam I ask for a larger check indicating I collect fake checks. Only one guy has still sent a check! But his followup wasn't as enthusiastic as usual.
  5. There's a difference between someone asking a more knowledgable person "What is this worth" and the same circumstances where the seller asks "Will you give me $100 for it?"
  6. I don't see how a contract formed on eBay is any less toothless than a contract formed any other way. One has writings from both sides and a venue clearly intended to result in a contract. I suspect one could enforce such a contract in the usual way. Similarly, one can reject goods that differ from their description without any problem. As far as fraud goes, that's a rather general term. I've certainly seen a good deal of negligent misrepresentation, the type that could get a seller into some hot water. Seller puts up 4 violins a month for a year. They're a dealer under the UCC at that point. They put up a violin and describe it as "1922 EH Hackleburger" with good pictures and images. It sells at $1000. Buyer has a contract for a Hackleburger. If the instrument arrives and isn't a Hackleburger, but instead a clever copy, then the seller is on the hook for a Hackleburger meeting the description or damages. Normally this isn't worth pursuing, but if a real Hackleburger was worth $10,000 and the buyer exercised reasonable diligence . . .
  7. Useful to have a list of things one wants along. Plays soft and loud, wide range of tone colors, fast response, easy neck, easy fretting, adequate adjustment range for the saddle, scale length that works (usually 650 mm these days), lots of "ping" at the top end without sacrifice of warmth (probably why I like flamenco guitars), tuning machines that work very well (the clearer the sound, the more important), and sort of a quiet open nature to the tone. While this is a good deal to seek in a student guitar, many aspects can be found with a bit of diligence. Clarity, fast response, and easy playing characteristics are a shorthand way to think of it. Be sure to get a decent case, too. I like the Travelite from Saga for an inexpensive one. On the higher end, the fiberglass cases from Eastman are excellent. I keep thinking of getting one of those myself! Steve
  8. http://www.acousticguitar.com/ubbcgi/ultim...=7;t=004692;p=1 suggests Arturo Huipe and the Lucida Artiste Concerto. I have experience with the Concerto. We've sold a bunch. They are an excellent value. Spanish made, of course. I prefer the flamenco guitar from the same source, the Picado. Crisp and responsive. The Huipe is available via www.zavaletas-guitarras.com Concerto from all kinds of folks. Another good guitar is the Aria AC-80. I think one is on eBay right now. Good luck!
  9. Have you seen the Calvert that International Violin has? Where do they come from? Steve
  10. I suggest studying the C&J book for a while. Ignore the plate tuning. Get reprints of M. Darnton's setup articles from American Luthiery. If you can't figure out which issues, give me a call and I'll check (865 986 9966 at the shop). Get a Strad poster. Milanollo or Betts or something like that. Or a del Gesu. Milanollo makes a nice violin. You don't really need that many tools. Howard Core, International Violin, lots of other places. I really don't get very much specialty stuff for violinmaking, but I have tools from several generations of workers to pick from (using tools daily that were used by my great grandfather in the late 19th C). On the web, look at the viola series at www.darntonviolins.com Also, visit www.mimf.com and register. Read the archives. Don't try anything fancy. I try to build an absolutely standard violin. Works fine. The other thing to do is to visit makers and good shops. Really learn to look at and understand violins. Play some good violins and get them demonstrated for you. If possible, get a tour of some great maker work. Stradivari or whatever is available. Don't be afraid to say you're making a violin after Stradivari, but have never seen one. People with masterworks are often glad to give a tour to polite and highly interested people. I notice folks will open cases in museums, let one go past the barriers. I played a rather famous composer's piano in a museum once - the curator was doing something and I asked if the piano was playable. After a chat, there I was, touching the famous (highly restored) keys. Don't hurry. Concentrate. Don't work when tired. Don't worry the little glitches. If you mess something up, fix it. If you don't know how, call someone. If you really don't like something, redo it. You might make a violin with rather inexpensive lightly flamed wood and a decent, but not great, top. Makes starting over much easier when the wood didn't cost much!! A plain maple neck and scroll are authentic and might be a good place to start. Good luck. Steve
  11. flamenco


    Vote me crosswise w/Michael. & then to sharp scrapers.
  12. flamenco


    http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=4867 Works. More technique than one might anticipate. Fast, lots of effort required, get the plate down tight, don't screw up. Big pieces of spruce will come out, so one has to make sure that the big pieces don't include pieces better left in the plate. On maple, OK, too, across the grain.
  13. The best sounding and (much more important) playing violins under $3000 (and over for that matter) are ones properly set up. In violins coming into my shop, I have had two come in very very nicely set up. Otherwise the best I see is the basics. That's probably all one can expect, but much more can be done. Watching what people like in person and not having Haide and Cao (although I recall them being very nice), the most accepted violins in that range have been various US shop graduated and varnished instruments. Of these, the most effective widely distributed model is the Frederick Wyss. There's a good deal of skill in objectively evaluating a violin. A violin doesn't have a specific tone or response. It has a tone and response envelope for each note with each player under its current environmental and setup (structural) conditions (including strings). One also needs to consider playability. Neck shape and thickness, stop and neck length, etc. All the details.
  14. Seems a continuum to me. Light/transparent color to dense/opaque and thick/mostly pigment to thin/mostly medium. And different times, too. One can use a varnish heavy pigmented layer, followed by clear, topped by a scumbled coat of umber for an aged look. As an example. I doubt there's a clear line between violin glazing (scumbling or painting heavy color) and varnishing with strongly colored varnish once one starts to use varnish as the medium.
  15. Overhead storage. Outside attached shed for wood curing. LOTS of outlets. Dust collection system and all the power dust makers in one area. LOTS of windows and skylight. Several angle-poise lights. I'd like a dentists light myself, to pull down. Details of setup depend so much on how you work and what you're working on. I don't build anything in. I have a router table that I put a marble slab on. Do most of my work on it. I'll move it around depending on what I'm up to. But I wish I had a pillar in concrete with a vice on it for holding plates while arching and graduating. Steve
  16. Ebay: We're just a venue. Those using common sense and reasonable principles of remote dealing shouldn't have any problems. Buyers: Then why do you give the illusion of protection with these fraud plans and so on. Ebay: That's just limited protection for buyers of very small items that would be impracticable to check out given their low value. Buyers should exercise the same level of diligence as they would with any other venue and use the same remedies as any other venue. We do pull items reported to us that we find are fraudulent. I can see both sides of the argument. Ebay is just a venue. Buyers and sellers seem all too often to leave common sense behind and be lulled by the casino-like hummm of the auction setting. Ebay is perfectly safe for sellers and buyers if treated as if the transaction were any other kind of transaction. Proper diligence, use of intermediaries, agreement on all terms ahead of time, use of common sense. My personal assessment is that eBay contributes to buyer's unrealistic expectations and that buyers fail to gain knowledge about buying & contracting PLUS fail to exercise minimal common sense. I suspect that an equitable middle ground could be reached. EBay SHOULD work towards making this middle ground work. Until they do, I hold eBay somewhat more responsible than I would a simple classified ad board. I still hold buyers doing things they wouldn't do in another venue mostly responsible. Keep in mind that quiet law suits result in damage awards all the time over eBay things. I have heard of an award well up in 5 figures. So the usual contract remedies work. I hold that anyone who simply ships off a money order for $700 to a post office box and someone named Marco Polo has unrealistic expectations and has failed to exercise reasonable diligence. As does someone who deposits a $10,000 cashiers check and immediately wires the balance over the purchase price to Nigeria. Steve
  17. I have a little jig I made for my Wagner SafTplaner that lets me cut ribs to about 1.3 mm. A little scraping and I'm good to go. Very fast, very accurate. If the planer is sharp. Scraping I like a No. 80 Stanley scraper thingie. Very sharp with very little scraper showing. Steve
  18. www.multicarver.com looks good. Saw it at the NAMM show in Nashville.
  19. Various pantograph systems have been used very successfully for manual carving. The newere computer controlled systems are working well. Mandolin builders seem quite happy with them. I know one who even cuts his F holes that way. I saw a nice and reasonably priced router system at the summer NAMM show. Probably have the information somewhere if you email me and ask (steve@giannaviolins.com). One can even rough the inside to get a 10 mm thick plate or whatever you like to work from.
  20. A number of travel violins along this line were patented. I've been tempted to make one. Usually they have flat sides and an end that wedges against one's shoulder. Typical design has a long bridge reaching down into the body and resting on a post between the two sides. All kinds of interesting violins in the patent office! I wrote an article on them for Strings once, but they didn't publish it. Steve
  21. One aspect of bow buying that seems overlooked: how does the shop select the bows it carries? Does the shop primarily buys from salespeople who carry around a large selection (say 50 nickel-mounted sticks) and goes through all the sticks to select a few for sale? Or does the shop simply order bows and some arrive. I'm generally impressed at the overall consistency of bows at given price points. But I'm also struck by how quicky the top 10% rise to the surface in a given group. Some particular bowmakers seem to consistently be in the select 10% in the groups of bows I examine. This is true even of the carbon bows. Variability in the sticks. Steve
  22. I wouldn't really worry about tap tones too much. You're welcome to pop over here and have a look at the Chladni patterns if you want. I can dust off the system. SW of Knoxville. I might be able to make other suggestions. email steve@giannaviolins.com Most people just go by the numbers and experience. Others combine lots of things. Many paths to a decent fiddle.
  23. Looking at the range of violins I see, even if only at intervals, I suspect that many "amateur" violins exceed the raw construction quality level set by the average 18th C worker. What is an amateur anyway? Someone who does something because they desire to do it. And who is to say what a good violin is? I had one of mine called "rustic" -- which is just right. I like rustic violins (e.g., Brescian and other fast nifty work), so having someone far away recognize my ideal is nice. Back to why to make violins. For me, to understand them, to get inside them, to do something with them. I've always been building things. Building violins is just more fun that other things, and people buy them. I have one going now that isn't fighting me at all. Very easy. The last one fought me every inch of the way. This one is just flowing very quickly and easily. Should be fun to see how it turns out. I think it is the first one I've done with only European woods.
  24. A couple of possibilities for faster breakin. 1. Vibrate. The robotone did this. I'll get around to rigging a small electric motor with slight eccentrics and making a bridge attachment system. Ought to vibrate the $##(* outof a violin. 2. Cycle humidity. I read this in some VSA Journal I think. Cycle between maybe 35% and 75%. As I recall, different salts that would stabilize the humidity were used. Salts in a jar connected by tubes to aquarium housing violin with aquarium pump providing flow. I haven't set that up, either. I just loan new violins out to people who like them. They either keep them and pay or give them back better broken in.
  25. flamenco


    Yuen, There's a difference between taking a modern no-name Italian with a 3.5 mm top plate down to something that will work (which I've seen done) and cutting a thick-centered Austrian school fiddle in good shape to 1.9 mm so it gets really loud before it blows up. I've seen the results of both. In one, a historically interesting violin was ruined, in the other a non-selling commercial job was turned into a pretty decent box. But that does highlight the problem for new makers. Thick top and long breakin or thin top and buyers now? I'm going to make myself a breakin machine. I suspect that makers who want to sell will be more and more forced to do this. Steve
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