Bob A

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    Takoma Park MD
  1. I don't have a shop, but a few dozen stringed instruments of varying types all require some sort of humidity control for the sake of stability. I run a Sears type evaporative humidifier in the LR/DR where the instruments live. When temps fall to freezing and below, I will run 4-6 gallons of water a day through it. It's surprising to see how rapidly the RH will fall if I let it run dry. I usually set it up when the temps require heating the house. In the summer months, central A/C keeps the interior at or below 50%.
  2. Thank you, David. My post was more focused toward the marketplace, especially the one catering to what you might term "antique". Certainly an artisan is fully entitled to name his price, and stick to it. But once an item enters the stream of commerce, it's a whole new game. I have fond memories of a cabinetmaker friend, who did wonderful work and loved his craft, but was always on the edge of starvation because his market was too narrow to support the true value of his efforts. (There it is again, that pesky True Value). Those who decline to haggle will ever be eaten alive in the marke
  3. Oh, please. Envision an angler, sitting on a bank on a fine afternoon for fishing: overcast, breezy. Delicately trolling his lure, trying, without exertion, to interest a fish into biting a lure. Envision a rug merchant, sitting in his shop, brewing up a pot of tea and chatting up a customer, while an assitant brings forth the woven splendor of the shop, one after another. The potential customer indicates, willy-nilly, his preferences and desires; a canny merchant picks up these signs and delicately encourages a level of cupidity to rise within the bosom of the customer. The customer himse
  4. It would appear that there existed a luthier named Luigi Salsedo in Napoli around the turn of the century, a maker of respected Neapolitan (of course) mandolins. Aside from owning a couple examples myself, I find he was mentioned in Paul Sparks' book, "The Classical Mandolin," as being a maker of superior quality instruments in that city. Whether he made violins is not a question I'm in a position to answer. As far as an English connection might go, I'm aware that at least one Neapolitan mandolin atelier, DeMeglio, had an English distributor, Albin (sp?) Voigt. There are a lot of Voigt-label
  5. When I was a young man, my Greek teacher told me that it had been bruited about that the Odyssey was not written by Homer, but rather by another Greek with the same name.
  6. I gather that the study in question demonstrates that professional violinists are generally unable to discern differences of performance suitability between old and new violins, in a hotel room. I gather that some professionals who deal in quality violins feel that they are able to make a reasonable judgement on an instrument in such an acoustic environment, although this was not part of the study; merely anecdotal evidence elicited in these pages. Insofar as the working venue of violins of quality is not usually a hotel room, the conclusion is not surprising. That said, it remains useful;
  7. Having skimmed the posts in this thread, and having no qualifications to enter the discussion, I'd like to say that I thoroughly approve of the attempt in question. The more humans who can audit and render judgements (OK,opinions)on the instruments in question, the better. The inclusion of factory violins would be a truly excellent idea. Spreading the affair over a few days, and having several sessions, would also be useful. While having a group of professional orchestra musicians render their opinions (OK, judgements) on the various instruments would be useful, it might be noted that, for
  8. While the odds are that it's nothing special, posting pictures could help to prove that one way or another. Take a look at the way photos are done on this site; front, back, side of scroll, the better the picture the more likely you will get a meaningful response. Good luck.
  9. I have a couple large metal cans filled with bars of home-made soap, probably 50 or more years old, at least. It's sort of grey, If I recall correctly, made by my wife's late grandmother, and stored in her barn. (Gray because it was doubtless cooked up with wood ash to saponify the fat, and not filtered. Tis is the real stuff, made the way it was done for millenia. Stradivari might have used it. (Did people wash themselves, back then?)). It reminds me of some unscented olive oil soap I got from Lebanon a while back, at least in appearance. I haven't washed with it. If there's any interest,
  10. It's all very well to joke about bow heating, but recall that flour dust is responsible for granary explosions; the proper air/powder ratio will support hyper-rapid combustion. That being so, the more progressive states are contemplating banning the amateur performance of Flight of the Bumblebee. Rosin dust plus bow friction has resulted in at least one youtube video (alas, I've misplaced the link) wherein a flash fire does serious damage to a performer's facial hair. Leave that sort of thing to the professionals; don't try it at home.
  11. Lots of solar flares recently. I'd attribute the breakage to the metal becoming brittle due to increased radiation levels. Of course, there's always the possibility, however slim, of a local anomaly of some sort. My Dad had a bottle that contained a sand picture, which he agitated until the pattern was degraded. Whenever it began to reassemble itself into its old form, he would take precautions. (Of course, he had to shake the bottle to see if it would regenerate a pattern. These things do not move on their own, you understand). The OP might be well advised to rotate his bow stock 90 degre
  12. Y'all ride the Hound hard, and put him away wet, but I find his ads entertaining, and his violins usually worth the price. Certainly his guarantee can't be beat. I notice he doesn't post here much any more, which is a shame, because he does seem to know what he's doing, and he does get around the Northeast to scope out the available fiddles. Also, he's fun to read. True confession: I have two of his violins. They're worth what I paid for them, I think, and they easily reach the back of my hall. They exceed my abilities, and must be good, because my dog stays in the room when I play. Thun
  13. Is it camera angle, or does the fiddle have unusually wide f-holes?
  14. In Britain, firearms have been banned for the most part. Subsequently knives are being used to take up the slack in the personal assault business. A UK inventor has come up with a knife with a blunt point, which might be mandated to replace the more dangerous pointy kind. (It's unclear to me what they plan to do about the edge). Meanwhile, pint glasses are increasingly being used in pub assaults. So they too are on the way out. In the foreseeable future, our British cousins will be eating mush through straws, while wearing padded suits and helmets. It's for the children. For those of y
  15. It's possible that the greater part of "amazing" is the personal improvement of the player. Practice and improved skills and becoming aware of how to extract the best tone from one's ordinary violin must lead to an overall improved violin experience. Congratulations on your new personal best.