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b sharp

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About b sharp

  • Birthday 07/16/1969

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    www.bekkerviolins.com
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    Johannesburg

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  1. Very sad day, indeed. He will be missed...
  2. I see all the suggestions about a less stiff, lighter bridge. I might ask her to allow me to do an experiment at no cost to try this and report back...
  3. So just some feedback.... i changed a lot on the violin: moved the bridge back to a more standard position, new heavier stiffer bridge, shortened afterlength, dropped the string height, and some soundpost work. It still rings, but less. Client is happier now, although, if it was my violin, i would have done less to kill the ring. It grew on me... very good fiddle! I also asked about recent changes. Not much clarity, but the bridge did fall over recently and the FB was shaved. We've also had a change of seasons here from very dry to very wet. Maybe it was a combination of many things... One thing I noticed was that the neck is very thin... 3-4mm less than normal. Maybe that affected the body resonance? But that doesn't count as a recent change...
  4. I've recently come across a problem with a client's violin (classical player). Her violin that she has played on-and-off since the seventies has recently become much more 'ringier', i.e. lots of sustain and very resonant. I played the instrument, and it is honestly the most ringiest violin I've ever played... to such an extent that it would have bothered me as well. The sound just carries on - almost guitar-like. Now from a setup perspective, I normally aim to increase the ring or sustain, not decrease it. An examination of the violin shows no glaring issues. As an initial attempt I tried shortening the post slightly and moving it closer to the bridge. And then I temporarily added some weight to the top of the bridge and the tailpiece, thinking that if this works, I can always make these changes permanent. She reported back that the instrument is better, but not enough. So I'm asking for a bit of advice how to proceed. My ideas currently are: Shortening the post more Decreasing the afterlength Different strings? Change the bridge to a stiffer, heavier bridge Different tailgut? Maybe change the fingerboard resonance? Any other advice?
  5. Thanks for all the responses and valuable advice. I will revert to the family...
  6. Yes, I think that is probably true. Unless there is anything obvious on the pictures to indicate that the violins are not what the family think they are, I am inclined to just give them an indication of the values with a big caveat that I can't confirm authenticity...
  7. No ruse. She was quite old and probably did not play any more. I am a longstanding member of this site and understand the etiquette. Here are two more pictures of her playing the violins if it will add some credibility.
  8. I am requesting the collective wisdom of the forum to assist a family following a terrible event in South Africa. About a month ago a retired professional violin player, Sophie Gehring, was murdered in her home during a robbery. Amongst other things her two violins were stolen. Her family is busy dealing with the insurers and approached me to provide a value on her missing violins. The information about them is very sketchy and the attached pictures are the only ones remaining. This is what the family believes: Violin 1: HC Silvestre - Paris 1896 Violin 2: Jean Baptiste - Paris 1850 (I suppose it is meant to be a Vuillaume?) I am aware that these two makers' names might also be attached to 'workshop of' type instruments, and that will affect the valuation substantially. So the question really is whether these instruments are from the hands of the makers mentioned. I don't have the expertise to answer this. Any assistance will be appreciated. Also, if you happen to come across these two violins, please contact me. Albertus Bekker
  9. Here is a (quite lengthy) article by Edward Docx that really made me think. I often wondered why many people find violin making attractive in the 21st century. The crux of the article is right at the end, so keep on reading. Here is a preview: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/07/postmodernism-is-dead-va-exhibition-age-of-authenticism/
  10. I visited a family member in hospital earlier this year, and there was this guy in the same ward with a massive bandage on his hand. He was a tough looking guy with a heavy tan and serious tattoos. I overheard him saying that he was a professional diver in Nigeria. This made me curious - I was thinking 'shark' or 'moray eel' or 'terrorists'... So I asked him what happened. He told me he was on leave and home in South Africa when it happened. He was trying to fix his old motorbike and struggling to remove the exhaust pipe. So he used his trusty old hammer. One of his blows missed the exhaust pipe and struck his other hand that was resting on the edge of the workbench. He removed one finger completely After commiserating, I told him that he will have to work on his story before returning to Nigeria...
  11. What I found very useful was to draw the F-holes on the top and then take a picture from straight above the plate and from a few feet away. Do the same with the poster that you are trying to follow. The two pictures can easily be superimposed on each other using most photo editor software and any differences will pop out. This method eliminates the curvature effect of the arching and I think our brains spot differences much easier in two dimensions rather than three.
  12. b sharp

    Ground (Sealer)

    I think plain old shellac is probably a good choice as a sealer for a beginner. It is really foolproof and looks pretty good.
  13. I think this is a very elegant solution. A few of these on the label, behind blocks, under the varnish, even embedded in the wood in a hidden place and the instrument is marked for eternity for a very low cost. It is also not linked to any technology like a scanner. A handheld microscope or loupe is all that is needed. Microdots
  14. I agree with all of what you said, Oded. I don't think I have any firm recourse to the auction house or to the owners. The problem with buying an instrument like that is determining the price. In hindsight, with the knowledge of what it eventually sold for at auction, a fair price would have been +- $5k (if you factor in setup work, transport, insurance, commissions, risk, profit etc.) Now from the buyers point-of-view that looks quite bad. If they sold it for $5k and I manage to sell it for $30k they will tell everybody that I conned them. The problem with charging a consultation fee is that in the majority of the cases these violins are duds. At what point do you negotiate the fee? And do you still charge the fee if it is worth zip? In some sense I am worse off, because I asked favours of contacts to get confirmation of the value and attribution. Will they help me again in future? Maybe it is better to just decline to give an opinion...
  15. Thanks Jacob and Manfio - good advice as usual.
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