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Todd French

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  1. I fear to ask how long has the new design has been up...
  2. Bravo on a fantastic new forum software! I can tell I haven't been around in quite a while - will take a while to take advantage of all the features here.
  3. fantastic - thank you Ming! Didn't think the Shrine would have technical drawings, but I'm sure glad they do.
  4. Forgive me if this has been posted already, but I did a search and came up empty. Is there a place to get the full plans for the Charles IX Amati cello?
  5. Tuckers, the violin is most obviously a fake, not as represented in the listing 'by Vuillaume'. It is not Vuillaume, and therefore the auction is void. You should have every right to get out of it, and you should contact Ebay immediately. The shape is so crude, the button is pointed, edges very crude as well as is the purfling - it reminds me of the very inexpensive and widely available Saxon (right, Jeff?) instruments you can find. The back seems to have some serious cracks as well. I'm sorry to be so bold, but I hate to see a scam benefit the seller like this so publicly. From the history of this seller, he/she has a number of successful sales and they all carry this spurious attribution with them, none as blatant as this, in my opinion. All items are bid up by phantom bidders as well - it's a huge ruse and I am shocked to see it go on this long, and even more shocked that this seller's rating isn't about 15% positive, as those who purchase these instruments find out their true nature.
  6. The Romantic story sells more $8000 factory violins though...
  7. I'm trying to get more info from the person who posted it, but this is a new one to me. I wonder if part of the confusion in this event is the 'English as a 2nd language' barrier, but it sounds like a huge marketing tactic. Buying Chinese instruments, saying you are the grandson 5 generations removed from Antonio himself, telling everyone you only make 10 a year and they will double in value right away, and having it at a hotel or something sounds like a large scale Ukelin sales event. Interesting...hope someone else here got this - I couldn't find anything in the Google News search about it.
  8. Have any of you received notice of some person coming to a Washington suburb claiming to be a great, great, great, great...grandson of Stradivari and selling violins supposedly made by him or someone in the family (currently, somehow)? $7000-$8000 for these Strads. Saw this thread - Strad coming to town? and see that someone is falling for it. Anyone have more information about this? Anyone in the Washington area receive this invite? Sounds like some of the tricks the dealer with the last name Voirin used to pull in Las Vegas.
  9. Michael - what do you think of your colleague Michael Becker's restoration work? His reputation is quite extraordinary, at least here on the West Coast. Perhaps he would be interested in doing a restoration book? Hans was a first rate restorer, from what I hear, and his work on the Red Diamond Strad was nothing short of miraculous, so that's probably what garnered his reputation.
  10. Quote: Hyperbole understates the otherworldly perfection of this masterpiece. Truly the Platonic form of the Hellier Strad. The universal cosmic embodiment of stringed perfection. Michael is very diplomatic. You folks are too nice or I am too cynical. I suspect the original poster is the eBay seller trying to pump up business. Michael is truly diplomatic - that is why everybody respects him so. The rest of us are nice because we don't want to offend the interested bidder(s) present on the board. Now that it is over, I can say that his price was well more than triple what it should have been. I think he is drop-shipping instruments from Saga, but Angels Strings is certainly a possibility, although I'm not sure they drop ship. I think by now, judging by how many 'most exciting thing on ebay since the ribbon cutting ceremony' instruments he's sold, he has his 'new Mini Cooper', probaby the S model. It's a good way to supplement his performing income, as he has a kitsch that people respond to, with his flair for the overly uber-dramatic. (I'm not as diplomatic as Michael )
  11. I believe Michael was right on the money with his referenced instrument - this seller seems to have a lot of Saga instruments, and I believe most of them to be drop-shipped, as Saga is well-equipped for such sales tactics, complete with 'factory adjustment' which means when you get it, you need to take it to someone to get it setup...
  12. It's Chinese - I've seen violins identical to it many times from most of the mid-range Chinese workshops. No doubt they are skilled to put out these Hellier copies, but his description is so full of fluff I had to skim it. Knowing how much these sell for from the workshops also makes me twinge when reading his description and price. With the viola link, I've seen that wood innumerable times, and it's hardly the best that comes from that area. The wood supply in China from the upper Himalayas is nothing short of phenomenal, as it's relatively untapped in terms of how long it has been forested compared to the old European forests. This seller obviously has a strong penchant for the highly dramatic, and it is evident in all his posts. On ebay, one needs a kitsch, and his is the over-dramatazation of every listing as if it were delivered to him by angels from heaven. It works, because his prices are more than what the same instruments are selling for elsewhere on ebay, so hey, more power to him! Ebay has re-defined the adage 'caveat emptor'.
  13. Just talked to USC's early music director James Tyler, and he wanted me to spread the word about their new scholarship specifically for baroque string players. It's a graduate level scholarship (Masters, Doctorate, or PhD) and I believe is quite significant monetarily, if not full tuition (I didn't ask, but I'm guessing based on who is funding it). If you are interested, email me and I'll put you in contact with Professor Tyler - don't want to post his email address here for spam scans.
  14. Tim - this is fascinating!! Well done! Engineers (or those with an engineering mind) continually amaze me.
  15. Actually, Michael, it's not a spoof, this guy's for real. This fellow contacted me after reading an article in his local newspaper on me about this in advance of its formal 'launch', basically to get ideas from the violin part of the world on his microbow. I think my only suggestion was that he change the video as I really didn't know what else to say. He's serious about selling it and I hope he doesn't see this thread. Actually, as he's open for suggestions, perhaps we could turn this around and give him some feedback on what we think he could do to make it more palatable and less 'hilarious'.
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