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Jeffrey Holmes

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Everything posted by Jeffrey Holmes

  1. Besides other things, the player relying too much on fine tuners on the tailpiece (not using the pegs often enough; I notice chiaroscuro beat me to this while I was writing) and string grooves that have worn too deeply (or were cut too deeply originally) are often a culprit. I honestly don't have a problem with attempting to straighten most any warped bridge (for clients and the occasional neighbor's kid), especially if the cause for it deforming can be mitigated. Results can still vary in terms of re-warping (many student bridges are pretty terrible wood and some bridges do seem to have a "memory" of their past misbehavior, so I can't say I've never had a problem), but certainly in most cases the life of the bridge can be significantly extended. I do tend (not always) to steam the bridge straight. If they were cut with a small relief on the top of the backside I shim them appropriately and leave them clamped to a piece of granite so they can't deform while they dry (slowly and completely).
  2. Depends on the bow of course, but I don't think a relatively minor, well repaired, pin crack would stop me offering a nice old bow. I'd just disclose the fault and explain the depreciation involved. I own (personal bow) a very fine early T/G Tubbs with, yes, a properly repaired small pin crack. Love the bow. Great repair job. Almost undetectable. Can't say I really ever think about the crack. Properly dealt with I've not seen them return... and I'm sure the frequency of occurrence in my part of the world makes me, and the players here, less concerned about them. I believe the E/G engraved Wilhemj Tubbs (one or the one he actually used) that set the still unsurpassed auction record in the mid '90s (27,600 BPS) had a very small repaired one as well... of course I assume provenance and playability of that bow drove the two high bidders into their frenzy (I know who had the high bid, so I'm sure I'm half right) and the existence of the crack and the wear at the thumb of the frog was not an issue for them. I recall Phil Kass wrote and published an article later that year surmising that it was bid up and purchased by dealers trying to drive up the price of Tubbs bows. Never had the heart to tell him it was just a player that had a "jones" for it. If he sees this now, I'm sure it's enough in the past he'll forgive me.
  3. My experience, Hills occasionally, Tubbs often. It's often enough on Tubbs that I sometimes double check to make sure it's authentic if it doesn't have one (joking, kind of... ). Maybe my experience probably has something to do with these bows exposure to a geographic area with more severe humidity fluctuations than the UK... and the pin style & location used by the maker. One very good bow restorer here developed and produced slightly conical shaped pins for use when restoring or replacing metal head plates to prevent cracks from reoccurring, and another refers to pins in Tubs head plates as a design flaw, so I'm pretty sure it's not just me. Use of parchment reinforcement on the interior of instruments will tend to cause distortion and have adhesion problems much more quickly here than there as well. That method of reinforcement is/was simply not used here in recent history unless you were/are a "cowboy". I agree that, when caught before critical and repaired properly, pin cracks have a relatively small effect on "value".
  4. For what it's worth: Depending on the strings a player prefers and their playing style (orchestral, solo, fiddling, etc)... and taking into account the stability of the instrument and season the fiddle is set up (if there is a seasonal difference, strings will tend to be lower in the winter and higher in the summer), I have a relatively narrow set of specs I normally use. Fingerboard: Scoop set to string diameter. This can be varied slightly if the need arrises, but for me that is a rare occurrence. Bridge guidelines: Aggressive player: 3.8 E, 5.5 G; Less aggressive player: 3.5 E, 5.2-5.4 G; Lower string set upon request: 3.2 E, 5 G +/- a tenth or 2. I find that when the fingerboard is correctly dressed and nut height is correct, going outside these ranges is very rarely required to accomplish comfort and satisfaction for my clients... and any concerns can be remedied by minor adjustments of a tenth or two, though I'm sure there's some player out there that will someday walk in and wish something severe, and my experience may depend on my client base (mostly pros/accomplished players). Cheers!
  5. I don't wish to judge Mr Rosa's mandolin work. Concerning his violin work; My mother taught me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all... Never did mind my mother all that well. The nicest thing I can say (and hope) is that I doubt this fella works on much anything violin related of quality... Stick with John and please tell him I said hello.
  6. Yes, it can be. Even following Wood Butcher's advice isn't totally foolproof, but it's a heck of a lot better than nothing (or youtube)... there are quacks in all fields and some talk a convincing line of ----. Most of us don't hide their backgrounds/training/associates/past employment/approach/etc. I'd say read what's available (on their website or whatever). What's there, or not there, may be telling. Fact checking doesn't hurt either.
  7. Based on the video, I would guess he wasn't formally trained in violin repair in any traditional way, but I suppose I could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time). From his website: "Rosa String Works was born out of my desire to play and build my own acoustic instruments. Back in 1982 I couldn’t afford nor justify spending thousands of dollars on a mandolin since I was just a beginner. So I decided to build my own. I soon built another, then repairs started rolling in. The rest as they say is history." The (his?) violin illustrated on his website is (solid) purple BTW. In any case, I think the perils of titebond for violin repair and restoration was covered by the earlier discussion (and a several more before that) pretty well and also cites an alternate glue that may have been used by the classical makers for certain tasks (casein). The following link is to a single back crack repair, not a bunch of splinters, but it shows what's possible with traditional materials and methods. The repair was accomplished many years ago and time hasn't compromised it. A good hide glue bond tends to be stronger than the wood itself, does not leave a significant glue line and is not susceptible to "creep" like titebond. Link to old crack repair thread
  8. I'm just going to interject my own thoughts here pertaining to ebony... you are welcome to agree or disagree. While this philosophical discussion is interesting, I think the truth is that many here have had the opportunity to see various examples of ebony used for bow frogs, fingerboards and fittings. The most difficult type to find is the stuff that is sometimes described as "black ivory" (very small pores, even color, lack of significant silica, evenly dense). I see it used on a good number of nice old French bows by the makers we tend to covet and on some older fingerboards and fittings. I have a nice little block of it to show clients when they are interested in what has changed, material availability wise, over the years, and a some fingerboard blanks (too few) I was able to stash away 30 some odd years ago that I only use on very, very nice fiddles. Now, I'd ask, should you encounter such stuff, would you not consider it high quality? Personally, as I quoted earlier: "... I know it when I see it." Parallels can be drawn to other raw materials (maple, spruce, boxwood, pernambuco, etc) using various criteria and traditions of it's use in our industry... and taste is certain to enter the picture (and should, IMHO). That doesn't mean that what is currently available, with some effort, is not appropriate for the work at hand, or that a open grained chunk necessary indicates an inferior frog, or that a piece that does not correspond to my description above isn't absolutely perfect for another use, but it does indicate a "bar" from which each of us can make a judgement for ourselves. To take this (mostly) out of the arena of bowed strings, one of the long table benches I made for my shop is fir... It's old growth fir (some I was able to source from wood dealers, the rest is scavenged from old houses that my brother was rehabbing in Baltimore). Compared to the stuff that's currently commercially available, there is absolutely no comparison... old growth is tighter grain, more even in density, more attractive, and simply a superior material... for my intended use. I'm done. We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast. Carry on.
  9. During this whole thread, the words of Justice Potter, echoing Justice Stewart's "Casablanca Test" (concerning pornography) have continued to go though my head... to define the difficult to define... but, if you must, by all means carry on! "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it"
  10. Their website says they are open for special events and programs so far...
  11. The National Music Museum is a very cool place... Worth the trip to the northern plains! (maybe wait till spring/summer though)
  12. Yup! Thanks for putting up the links! It'll same me time editing my photos! ...and no, there aren't that many conversions. :-) The head is not original (of course). I believe John Dilworth restored a similar one in London many years ago and eventually made a "copy" of it on commission for an American player... That's really the only other one that was converted to a viola I personally know of. It's a wonderful beast. Makes me smile every time it visits.
  13. Happy to have peek in person. No hurry. Give me a call when you plan to hit that little white ball around. My contact information is on my website. :-)
  14. I believe it's pretty well accepted the guitar shaped Strad started off life as a violino or viola d'amore and was modified to a violin sometime in the second half of the 19th century. The thing actually plays pretty well as I recall... not that I could ever get what Josh Bell got out of it. If I remember correctly, Bruce Carlson posted a photo of a corner-less Strad viola d'amore made into a violin with corners added and pegbox shortened a number of years ago during a thread about the Bell fiddle. A number of 16th through 18th century instruments were modified from their original state in the 19th century. I see this viola (converted Lira da Braccio by Linarol, Venice c. 1580) on a regular basis (and I put the photo of the ffs up 'cause I know Dwight Brown likes and knows the instrument).
  15. I think that was the Library of Congress, not the Smithsonian... but the key word is that David arranged to "sell" them his American collection (gave the Library time to find donors). "Donate" might certainly have a different outcome.
  16. Look... it's not wood, but being aware there's a risk out there, what it is, and ways to broadcast theft on social media websites and forums isn't a bad thing. The difficulty with all stolen property listings is, and has been, keeping them current, however. The original motivations are laudable, but the effort of updating is usually lax. MN made an attempt at one point... fail. I'd hoped VDM would have included a couple string related resources I'd provided her as well, but no harm, no foul. I'll just add them here. For bowed strings, the AFVBM has a helpful page (https://www.afvbm.org/violin-family-stolen-instrument-resources/) and Tarisio still has a registry of sorts (https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/stolen-instrument-register/) Contacting law enforcement, shops, and news media has been effective in the past as well.
  17. Hey y'all. First, I think that the part owner of this instrument has been willing to participate in this discussion is worth some consideration. We are not entitled to any more information than he wishes to share, but he is entitled to civil treatment here. If I were to be consulted professionally concerning the instrument, I would certainly have questions for him, but I have not been (and I'm not asking to be)... and I assume I'm within 3 hours of his location. If the violin showed merit in person, I do know what I'd recommend however, and don't mind sharing it. Yes, it matters most what an expert writes, not what's "said". If I owned the instrument, there are 3 individuals who's opinion I would seek out in the US. They have all handled many Strads and their opinions have market value. One is more than capable of identifying, restoring and certifying a Strad workshop or del Gesu fiddle. He's been inside more of them than most anyone else alive. Two of these individuals are within a 5 hour drive of northern Ohio and have shops in the same city. We are all occasional visitors to each other's shops. All three have participated in contributing time and expertise to the restoration workshop we run at Oberlin College in the summer, one as a guest instructor (as Iris Carr who was mentioned earlier has been). I have no idea if TK has seen them. I do note he hasn't mentioned them... and I haven't asked my colleagues if they've been contacted. Then there are the few UK and European experts I'd recommend. Pete Biddulph has been mentioned, but other notable scholars have not. Has he seen the others I'd recommend? I have no idea. The story has elements that cause me to be rather curious about the methodology and strategy being employed, but we may only know part of it, so I'll be content with curiosity. Thank you for sharing what you have TK.
  18. Yup. Seems that we are headed for a world in which everyone is an extraordinary epidemiologist, legal expert, and an expert on historical cases... and in great part due to the fabulous education that 15 minutes with google offers (not). It's not unusual to have disagreements and strong opinion appear on MN threads, but I wonder how the behavior on this thread might compare to a face to face discussion. Frankly, I believe face to face would certainly have been more civilized and constructive... Dmitri presented information. He was not and is not obligated to do so. Others asked questions. He answered. Some went a step too far. My opinion. Time to consider if you all desire the participation of highly experienced participants willing to share opinion and ongoing research, or you'd rather squabble and hide behind screen names when acting badly and forsake civil exchange.
  19. plastercaster; Please consider not reviving old posts unless you actually have something constructive to add. Thank you.
  20. The glossary I use for my appraisals does not contain "Circle of", nor "School of", though I understand the draw of those terms for an auction house. My glossary does contain "In the style of", and should I choose to refer to an instrument as "School of", I'd add a very clear definition of the meaning I am referring to for that term.
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