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Torbjörn Zethelius

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Posts posted by Torbjörn Zethelius

  1. 7 hours ago, Landolfi said:

    I am actually surprised that no one has given me an objective measurement how to judge if a scroll is well made or if the purling is detailed etc.   If that's the case, how do one generation passes down its standard to the next generation?   If judging a quality is such a subjective acquired skill, how can a novice learn to appreciate a good quality violin?

    A novice has better to trust the opinions of more experienced people until he gets some experience of his own. Standards do change over time, but often very slowly.

  2. On 8/11/2018 at 9:30 PM, stahre said:

    I finally got a violin unlocked that has been in family for decades. Never knew who it originally belonged to. No one played. I looked in the F hole and there's an ancient piece of paper with a name and address on it.

    It says Reparere af.

    Ole Petersen

    Hedex?gata No. 3

    Vaalerengen Kristiania


    It has the year 1889. The address is Norwegian, as Vaalerenga is a neighbourhood in Oslo, and Kristiania is the old name for Norway. My family lived not far from there by 1893. So, I'm not sure if it's the manufacturer or the original owner.

    Any insight? And thank you in advance for any help!


    Kristiania is the old name for Oslo, the capital of Norway. It's a repair label. I guess he knew that it was going abroad since it states Europa.

  3. 14 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:


    I'm sorry, but I just needed to re-make up my eyes, after being forced to re-examine all those scrolls of Del Gesù. ;)

    No need to take it badly, neither I do want to be your teacher, but it seems to me that there is not much to understand when we start from assumptions that are only personal ideas without any verifiable real evidence (pegbox first).

    In any case, even I finish the pegbox first, but I do not just dig it inside,  and it seems to me sufficient to see if there are any defects such as to have to discard the head before waste time in carving the scroll.

    Where is the difference?


    The difference is that you only see an ugly scroll in the Cannon, which I do too by the way. But in realising that it wasn't completed the way it was intended it becomes much more interesting as a study object.

  4. 26 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:

    B)  It's a journey to navigate in the mine field of MN.

    I made a promise to be nice a while ago (I haven't always been nice to you). Hope being nice doesn't mean that I have to be a follower in the mainstream.

    What is the mainstream in MN? Violin makers are a bunch of individuals. Somebody whose name shall remain in the dark once said to me, If two violin makers agree, one of them is lying.

  5. 37 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

    This makes no sense to me, if the heads were prepared with the pegbox and the first turn finished, why leave it so wide if not for a definite choice,  if the aim was to get a scroll similar to those of the first period.

    In violin making school we learn to finish the volute before the pegbox, because we are obsessed with decoration (due to the copying illness). But for them function and structure came first, so the pegbox was finished before the volute was carved. It's a matter of saving time and energy. If the pegbox turns out to have a flaw in the wood and deemed unusable, scrap it and go on to the next. The volute is purely decorative, so don't waste time doing it the other way. That's what we see happening in the Cannone.

  6. 16 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

    If he was not able to finish the scrolls because of eyesight issues then it would not be possible to do purfling, lining, f hole cutting. Therefore just anybody else had to make all his violins. I don’t see a complete change of style, but another interpretation of the same story. 

    It's evident to me that Del Gesu had help. I also think that he had a bunch of violin parts waiting to be assembled. An assistant would finish them, carving f-holes and scrolls and in some cases putting in purfling.

  7. Yes, the Carrodus had the same treatment. Where you see ugliness, I see work in the making. The process went like this: a bunch of pegboxes including the first turn were finished. Right in that process something happened and Giuseppe was unable to finish them properly. Someone else, or Giuseppe himself due to failing eyesight as Melvin suggested, did the best they could.

    Why would del Gesu go from his -37 style, which is his best period in my opinion, to this "complete freedom of expression". It does not make any sense. Yes, I know, I took that quote out of its context. 

    Conor has a good point.

  8. 1 hour ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

    However, I feel pretty certain that Giuseppe didn't have the artistic intention to transform his Cremonese heritage. Why would he do that? It was all an unfortunate accident which copyists are doing their best to preserve.


    4 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:


    My personal theory (which is not worth much outside of my workshop...) is that the heads like those of Leduc, Lord Wilton, Cariplo, etc. let's say with some Bergonzi's influence,  are really those made by him in complete freedom of expression.

    After so many years under the eye and influence of his father trying to equalize it without succeeding (the best scrolls as technical execution are those of the first period and made by the father most likely) finally he could follow his irrepressible instinct and style and probably his attention to acoustics (clearly lightened scrolls).

    The only srolls of this late period that I would attribute to other hands are those like that of the Cannon (the worst and heaviest) but to attribute them to his wife seems to me decidedly not very elegant for a gentleman.....:rolleyes::lol:

    So we have opposite views. And you still haven't realised that the scroll on Il Cannone is good all the way up to the second turn. It's a scroll in the making. 

  9. I might add that everything except the scroll on Il Cannone is perfectly made. Somebody took a half finished scroll from the heap to finish it up. Giuseppe might have had a bunch of finished and half finished violin parts laying around for maybe Katerina to finish and assemble. I have no theory of who carved the funky scrolls.

  10. 21 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

    Do you think she did also other work than scroll carving? To my eye the main evidence/eminence is that she did the leduc/wilton style scrolls.

    I didn't say that she carved the Cannone scroll. I said that it's a half finished scroll. She might have cut the 40's funky f-holes though.

  11. 43 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    Yes. In my very limited experience (which is arguably better than most), insufficient mass toward the center of the back, or insufficient stiffness, results in an instrument which is rather like a "castrato" male. Lovely, treasured, but not quite what I am personally  looking for.


    11 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

    Based on my much more limited experience, I'm with you 100%. Too thin in the middle, especially on the back, and you sacrifice chutzpah. 

    Here's the C-bout.


  12. 20 hours ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

    When I was in VMSA I used to make Strad models, but since then I've developed a personal model which is the only model I make now. It takes more effort to fake than putting a fake label inside a factory violin. 

     According to one such label I live in Florence, Italy and may be contacted by fax only. :rolleyes:

    I should add that a personal model opens up for a tremendous freedom with stylistic features and arching which you don't have with a fixed model. It was sort of a revelation once I had my own model ready. 

    18 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

    I've heard Stanley Ritchie's Stainer played in Auer Hall at IU, and it filled the space well. It's worth noting also that, per Charles Beare, a Stainer led the LSO for decades, meaning it would have been used for many a concertmaster solo and possibly a concerto or two. I would imagine that if it weren't equal to the task, it would have been replaced.

    Melvin Goldsmith has attested on this forum that one of the best sounding violins he encountered was a Stainer with a fairly low arch. 

    I make Stainer pattern fiddles for baroque players and everyone who has played one has been pleased. I hope to make one in modern setup and see how it fares. 

    I think that there is only so much worth in repeating the wives tales that persist in the community of violin enthusiasts. The proof is in the playing. Not all violins from a single maker are equal in quality, each must be judged on it's merits. 

    As you say, there's no reason why a Stainer or Amati shouldn't be as good as a Strad. It takes a special talent, or technique to get the best out of a Strad or del Gesu which few in reality have. A Stainer/Amati I suspect, might be better suited to the mass of players who are looking for an instrument which gives them what they want but with less struggle.

  13. 42 minutes ago, Janito said:

    I have been traveling and miss some stuff.

    Within the 107 pages, which "it" are you referring to?

    To make an Amati type arch with broad scoop which is also quite thin in this area. I suspect that this kind of arch might be better suited for many if not most players than the Strad/GdG type with narrower scoop and thicker. Does anyone have experience with this kind of arch?

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