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About gowan

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  1. manfio viola

    Quite a few years ago an instrument by Douglas Cox appeared for sale on ebay and the person who bought it contacted Cox for more information about the instrument. It turned out that the instrument had been stolen from a shop where it had been consigned, stolen by someone who worked in the shop!
  2. There was a contest several years ago in Bergen, Norway, in celebration of, I think, some anniversary of the great violinist Ole Bull. Contestants were to submit instruments that were either copies of or inspired by the GdG Ole Bull instrument. There was some discussion of this on these boards. If I recall, the idiosyncrasy of the Guarneri "Ole Bull" violin was a challenge to the contestants.
  3. There is actually a lot of room for variation in making good violins. Just consider the differences in Stradivari's work e.g. the Falmouth (long period), the Baron Knoop 1715 (golden period), and the Habaneck (1734?). All of these, or instruments like them, are considered great violins. Then, of course, there is late Guarneri del Gesu. The "details" differ greatly between any two of these. So the question is not whether the "rules" should be observed but rather what are the rules that must be observed.
  4. living makers at auction

    I know many shops will accept an instrument back , at the original price paid, in trade for a different instrument from the shop. I know of at least one maker who offers the same kind of trade-in terms. As for commissioning an instrument from a maker, I think it is common to have the person ordering reject the the instrument at no penalty. I could be wrong but I think David Burgess does that, and probably other do, too.
  5. living makers at auction

    As is the case when buying retail you can't trust someone else's valuation. Especially if you are buying the instrument to play yourself you have to try the instrument yourself before buying. If I were advising someone who was shopping for an instrument I would say that the instrument should be tried in different spaces over a time of a few days and get someone else to play the instrument for you to listen. All of this is really not possible for an auction instrument. If you are interested in a particular instrument by a particular maker whose track record you know and you can get a condition statement from the auction house and you can try the instrument you might take a chance on it but you would still be taking a chance. This is especially so if your financial situation is such that you are looking to buy an instrument at auction because you don't want to or can't afford to pay retail. I know of people who bought instruments from a maker or shop with the benefit of a two week, say, trial, only to find that after a few months they don't like the instrument as well as they thought originally. In that sort of situation many shops or makers will take the instrument back in trade on another instrumant. If you bought the instrument at auction you might be in the position of reselling the instrument at auction and being at the mercy of price changes and auction house fees.
  6. William Harris Lee 16 1/8 Viola

    Whedbee is a well-regarded maker. If the instrument is indeed by him it would sell well and it shouldn't be difficult to find a dealer to take it on commission. If it has a William Harris Lee label it might be possible for them to determine whether Whedbee actually made the instrument.
  7. Starting viola

    Like many people who play both viola and violin I experience automatic physical adjustment to which ever instrument I'm playing and also which clef. When sight reading I also sometimes spontaneously switch finding myself playing the other (wrong) instrument. This seems to be triggered by something like an editorial fingering, like a 3 above a note on the third line of the staff, which could appropriately be third position B on the D string on the violin or the first position G on the D string on the viola. If this mental switch happens it takes a concentrated effort to yank myself out of it. Fingering for viola can be different from that of the violin in that more shifting might be necessary. I play viola in an orchestra and have large hands but my stand partner has small hands and I can play passages in first position for which she has to shift back and forth between first and second position.
  8. Starting viola

    I'm assuming you already play the violin. Of course you have to learn the new clef. Once you have that under control then your ear from playing violin will help in playing the viola. You already have a viola to play, but is it the right size? Many people make the mistake of trying to play a viola that is too big for them and develop bursitis or tendinitis in the left shoulder. Holding and playing the viola is not exactly the same as playing a violin. Fingerings are different; using the bow is different, too. It's an obvious recommendation, but start out with a viola teacher to develop good habits from the start. I did what you are saying, I took up the viola to increase my opportunities for quartet playing and it worked! Have fun.
  9. Beautiful tool! I love its patina of use.
  10. I am happy to own two bench made instruments by a maker I know personally. Still, I'm not sure that use of machines, even CNC, rather than all hand made, is not so bad. It might consistently bring a high level of function of the instrument at a price that is more affordable than totally hand made instruments. I find myself thinking of cabinet and furniture making. In these cases there doesn't seem to be automatic disparagement of using machines. I think for furniture making it is the design and the materials that is most important rather than how the piece was put together. Or am I wrong here?
  11. What's the Name of Your Violin?

    Manfio names all his violas. He usually uses names of famous women. See his thread in Contemporary Makers.
  12. If you are converting a violin to make it "left handed" wouldn't you want to do something with the graduations? Aren't the graduations perfectly symmetrical? At least you might want to do something about where the post would go. If this is taken into account it might make the best sense to start from scratch and build a new violin for left handed use.
  13. Storing instrument in unheated place

    Wouldn't there be a possible problem with condensation inside the plastic bag if the temperature of the air outside the bag drops? If so then the liquid condensate could do damage to the instrument.
  14. Many orchestra string players have their mutes semi-permanently affixed to the after-length of a couple of strings. Knowing the importance to sound of the after-length I wonder whether this practice of affixing mutes would have any effect on the sound. Some cheap rubber mutes buzz annoyingly but I'm wondering about the kinds attached firmly to the strings or to the tailpiece.
  15. Selling in a saturated market

    deleted repost