gowan

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About gowan

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  1. gowan

    Tonewood storage & mould advice

    I believe that when you see fungus on a log then the entire log is contaminated with fungus, at least in the region near the observed fungus. That leads me to believe that surface treatment, even with oxalic acid, won't totally get rid of the fungus. Heating the wood to an internal temperature to kill the fungus might work, but it might not kill the spores present. Best solution is not to have fungus active in the wood at the start and keep the wood in a ventilated, humidity controlled place.
  2. The living makers I know who place instruments for sale at shops, the shop prices agree with the prices direct from the maker. That benefits both the maker and the shop. Many shops offer trade-ins for instruments they sell and the trade-in can be used at the shop to buy another instrument from a different maker. A maker might allow a trade-in but usually just for a different instrument by the same maker. A maker might offer free adjustments and minor repairs which would be paid for at a shop.
  3. gowan

    Community orchestra

    More important than playing every note is to know where you are in the music so you can play the notes you can play. In fast sections when you can't play that fast try playing passages of sixteenth notes by playing every other note, changing it to eighth notes, or even just playing the first note of every group of four sixteenth notes. As your technique improves you'll get more of the notes.
  4. gowan

    Reattribution of an old Violin

    Attributions change over time, even assuming good faith. One interesting example is Arnold Steinhardt's violin. It was at one point believed to be a Gruarneri del Gesu and sold by a reputable dealer as such. Later the violin was determined to be a cut down viola by Storioni. Quite a change and, maybe, accompanied by a major change in money value.
  5. gowan

    First build plans

    I know people who swear by the Stroebel books. The opinion was that they give more detailed practical instructions than the Johnson and Courtnall. Get them both?
  6. gowan

    Galamian Violin Hold

    I know of experiments in which a (good) player plays the same instrument with and without a shoulder rest. The audience heard no difference in the sound. It does sound different to the player, but not to the audience.
  7. gowan

    Boxwood fittings discoloring (darkening)

    Boxwood (genuine) like many other woods (e.g. maple, cherry) darkens some with exposure to light. Here is a chinrest by Otto Tempel made of European boxwood:
  8. gowan

    Ever seen anything like this?

    Helps with pizzicati?
  9. gowan

    Tips for Removing Cork Residue From Top?

    I doubt that felt is totally printless. I have seen violins that have "prints" on the back from the velvet in the case. Perhaps it was meant that felt doesn't leave itself behind. As for doing without chinrests, maybe it would be OK but for a lot of post-Baroque music a lot of position shifting is required and it would be necessary to clamp the instrument using the chin. Abrasion and sweat would eventually wear off varnish on the top, I think.
  10. gowan

    about crack in carbon fiber bow? another thing

    As you say it is carbon fiber, not wood. I don't really know anything about repairing it but perhaps it could simply be glued with some kind of epoxy or other high tech glue. If so it might not cost very much.
  11. gowan

    Galamian Violin Hold

    double post
  12. gowan

    Galamian Violin Hold

    Saying that people who use a shoulder rest do so because of faults in their technique may apply to some people but I can't believe that players like top soloists such as Leonidas Kavakos, James Ehnes , Frank Zimmermann, Gil Shaham, Christian Tetzlaff, Lisa Batiashvili, and many more, have faulty technique because they use a rest. I think both methods, rest or no rest, can work wonderfully but, as for anything, it has to suit the player, it's not just a matter of technique. People dogmatically assert that rests are bad. I think that's a reflection of their own choice whether to play restless rather than a rational analysis. I also think that playing without a rest as a child is a lot easier than for an adult. I was always amazed at how players with fat fingers (e.g. Perlman and Stern) can manage to play so well above first position. The reason might be that they started when their fingers were slender and adjusted as they grew, something like the farmer who lifted a pig every day after it was born.
  13. gowan

    why does workmanship matter?

    Thanks for this. It seems that those of us who are fans of violin making and also amateur players probably aren't able to discern the results of trained hands as opposed to hasty or sloppy work. In the end we have to trust someone to advise us.
  14. gowan

    why does workmanship matter?

    I guess that "workmanship" means proper construction for the purpose of playing and making music. Some makers leave tool marks, is that bad workmanship? There are, of course, great makers who might be faulted for workmanship. For example Guarneri del Gesu might be faulted in a contest for poor scroll construction, unsymmetrical outline. Maggini left tool marks and rough finish. Storioni used poor quality wood (large knots). So it seems that poor workmanship can produce great instruments. Certainly poor workmanship can contribute to poor function of the instrument, so one has to know what sort of poor workmanship in judging an instrument that sounds good and plays well.
  15. gowan

    High resin content varnish

    I could be wrong but pernambuco was used for dye making long before it was discovered to be a fine bow material. I think it was used to make dye for cloth, so it might also have been used for coloring varnish.