• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About maxr

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. maxr

    Any ideas on origins of this bow?

    Well, violadamore - it plays! Light for a modern shaped bow, and I suspect made of finest treewood (not sure what it is - it's light but quite large). Nothing fancy, but quite fun.
  2. maxr

    Baroque bass bars

    So maybe it's walking on eggs time here I've often been surprised how few professional fiddlers and string teachers understand or are interested in what makes an instrument work. On the other hand, my personal experience is that there are many highly skilled luthiers who know how an instrument should look and have the woodworking skills to reproduce that elegantly, but aren't highly skilled in optimising the sound of a given instrument. The combination results in too many teachers and professional players with instruments that look 'the business' but sound nowhere near the best they're capable of. I've met luthiers who are really good at sound optimising and don't play but just pluck the strings and listen hard, luthiers who play but whose own playing fiddles sound very average, and elegant new instruments that sound much better after a visit to someone other than the maker for sound optimisation. Just starting to dip my toe into the Baroque setup world, I find that even near London (England), there are only a few luthiers or violin dealers with a reputation for Baroque style setups that sound good - despite the fact that most will undertake a physically 'correct' Baroque setup (if such a thing exists) if you ask them. We've all probably played a few dowdy looking eccentric bashed up no name rough old instruments that sound great, and some immaculate 'correct' ones that sound terrible. So, apart from the fact that luthiers turn out the occasional 'dog' for no discernable reason, why is this? Is setting up instruments to sound good a black art that few lutherie instructors have time to impart, or do lutherie schools put time into elegant woodwork rather than sonic adjustment, or are there just not that many people around with intelligent ears?
  3. maxr

    Unusual violin bow

    Indeed it does It's interesting that the Thibouville catalog linked to above has an 'instant rehair' system which attaches a metal crimp to each end of a hair band, and those metal end piece slot into holes prepared for them in the stick. So you just buy the pre prepared hair band and drop it in in one minute. Now why don't we have that now for student bows?
  4. I just bought this unstamped bow on Ebay (yes...) for no better reasons than I like the look of it, and it wasn't expensive. I'm hoping it turns out to be a useful 'player' to swap with pointy Baroque style things on a Baroque setup fiddle. It has no lapping nor signs of it and an open frog without slide or ferrule, but a head which I would expect to see at the other end of a bow sporting all three. It weighs 45gm at 4/4 length. Just out of interest, can anyone identify the general origin or date of this, and what variety of treewood it's likely to be? Also, if this isn't a 'bitsa' and was made contemporaneously with bows fitted with slides, ferrules, and lapping, why did they continue fitting this style of frog - cheaper to make? Thanks, Max
  5. maxr

    Baroque solid ebony fingerboard?

    Returning to the photos of the Chappuy instrument above for a moment (thanks Ben): it looks like that elegant tailpiece has no more wood than is necessary to bear the tension of the strings. Has anyone done research on the effect of tailpiece mass on quality and/or volume of sound?
  6. maxr

    Cheap but OK-ish 'Baroque' bows?

    Thanks guys. The Amati auction bow is unfortunately a bit too long for my purposes at 743mm. Pierre Affourtit makes beautiful bows, but we're talking about cheap bows here. I know many of the better know makers charge over $1000, but you can certainly get a good plain Baroque bow for considerably less than that, check out David Van Edwards (UK) website.
  7. maxr

    Cheap but OK-ish 'Baroque' bows?

    Thanks Andrew - I've found that new bows are often fitted with far too much hair, and I've ended up removing up to 1/3 of it on some bows. I tension the bow lightly and cut any hairs which protrude out from the ribbon, indicating they're not tensioning like the rest. The 'Bach bow' idea with an astonishingly convex stick and low hair tension is interesting - not least because, so far as I understand it, there are no bows surviving from his period to that design, nor illustrations of such bows. So, perhaps when Bach wrote 3 and 4 string chords, what he had in mind was 'do what seems to make musical sense with the bows available'?
  8. maxr


    I think the Ebay definition of 'antique' is a bit different - possibly 'dusty and beat up' covers it?
  9. maxr

    Cheap but OK-ish 'Baroque' bows?

    Thanks Stephen: I used to play in semipro Scottish ceilidh and dance bands, and there's no 'bow police' there, so I've been holding modern bows North of the frog for many years. It seems to make more sense all round for dance and folk music, and it saves lots of energy compared to the 'over the frog' hold. With my Codabow that means my thumb is about 1.5" above the frog and my little finger only just over it. I can't see any reason why the Chinese archetiers can't make first rate Baroque bows, because some of them are making extremely good value modern bows and have excellent violinists in-house. I'm not sure whether they have good players of Baroque setup instruments yet though. My favourite moderately priced Chinese bow workshop is . I've had a number of excellent value modern style bows from there, but haven't tried their 'Baroque' style ones.
  10. maxr

    so ugly it's almost cool...

    Anyone else think it has a Scandinavian look? The head reminds me of a Viking longship prow. Now it's posted here, look out for new ones like this - available on Ebay from anytime next week
  11. maxr

    Same Finger Double Stops?

    If the nut of your fiddle or the action generally is too high, it may be very difficult to play double stops without 'squeezing' the notes out of tune. - if not, it should be possibleHowever, many of us have spent happy hours (!) practising parallel 5ths with one finger. If you rock the finger across the strings you'll hear one or other note go out of tune. The exercise is to do just that to get the feel of when they're in tune. So, the answer to this question may be the same as to 'Say Bud, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?'
  12. I recently bought an old 18thC fiddle in Baroque setup. I'm looking for a period style bow to suit it, and unfortunately I don't have £1000-1500 to spend. I play mostly Scottish and English folk with some Irish and French, and intend to get back into amateur Baroque etc. period classical. I have two David Van Edwards period style violin bows (one snakehead, one 'transitional' 18thC). They're excellent bows, but before I got this fiddle I had them shortened to about 640mm overall to use on nyckelharpa, where they work very well. However I'm tall, and they now feel too short for me to use comfortably on fiddle. After a good deal of searching I threw the dice and bought an Ebay Chinese Baroque snakehead violin bow. The 'melodywoods' Ebay shop has these on permanently. This is 700mm long, and light at (I'd guess) 50-55 gms. Unusually for a Chinese 'Baroque' bow, it's straight when untensioned and convex when tensioned - snakewood with bone fittings and a screw frog, well made and an elegant shape. It was cheap enough to risk the Ebay purchase at £54 (US$70?), and astonishingly good value at that. Don't you just love the captions above - direct from Ebay Although this bow plays well, it feels ultimately too 'whippy' and not quite enough tension for me, compared to both my modern bows and the two other period bows I have. On the other hand, what I'm more used to is the tramlines style tracking of my Codabow Gold. I've played some new Chinese 'Baroque' bows in violin shops which feel very like a modern bow in weight, balance and length. I gather that's not the way a Baroque bow should be ('snakehead' design rather than 'transitional') , and maybe my criticism of the Ebay bow I just bought has that basis?. So - any recommendations please for cheap Baroque bows that work as a Baroque bow should, or recommendations on length, weight etc? It looks to me like a few of the Chinese workshops are making good sound Baroque style bows at amazing prices, but rather more are selling 'Baroque bow shaped objects' designed to feel like a modern bow. Thanks, Max
  13. I have an anonymous, probably late 18thC German or English, Baroque setup violin that needs work, including replacing the tailpiece, tailgut and tailpiece nut. It's not a wonderful quality instrument but has potential to be a good player if well set up (it sounds OK even badly set up). There appear to be a number of styles of going about this, including: * Nut raised above the edge of the top edge like a modern violin, relatively thin tailpiece with tailgut running vertically up through it * Nut level with the edge of the top, thick tailpiece butt end, fairly thick tailgut runs vertically up through the tailpiece. * Tailpiece with a thicker pad integral to or glued onto the butt end, with a medium to very thick tailgut running either up through the tailpiece or parallel to it like a modern tailpiece. Examples of some of these: Left is from a member's post here. Middle is from a member's photo posted here of a museum exhibit. Right is from String King's retail website, this is a new tailpiece made on the principles explained by Damian Dlugolecki at set-up.htm For this instrument, I'm not concerned about historical authenticity, just sound. Which tailpiece design/tailgut thickness/nut height setup would you recommend for the best sound transmission?
  14. maxr

    Bow Holds???

    Maybe I've been playing so long I don't remember what it's like not to. However, remember when your early stage violin teacher asked you to pick the pencil off the table wih your hand hanging downwards in front of you? Then he/she asked you to put your pinky on top of the stick. Well, that felt more natural to me than anything I've tried since. Every time I tried to emulate someone else's formalised bow hold it felt awkward and unnatural, so it's what I still use 40 years later. The only difference when I took up cello was dropping the pinky off the stick and down the back with the other fingers. Works for me, maybe not for all
  15. maxr

    Baroque'n roll in UK?

    I'm a UK folk fiddle player (mostly Scottish style) returning to play some Classical for fun - specifically, Baroque with a period setup violin and bow. I'd appreciate some help with the following: * What's the most common amateur Baroque ensemble pitch in UK for period setup instruments? My Baroque period instrument recordings seem to range from A=415 to A=440 (e.g. the Venice Baroque Orchestra). * Do string players switch pitch in the range of A = 415 to 440 if they play with different groups, or do they generally have different instruments set up for the extremes of that range? * Are there any websites with links to amateur Baroque ensembles, groups, orchestras? I'd be looking in Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire/SW London. * Anyone know any fiddle fixers in any of those areas who are good with Baroque setups? Thanks, Max