Mark Caudle

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About Mark Caudle

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    Lodz/Colchester
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    Professional baroque and renaissance cello, bass violin/viola da gamba and viol player in UK and Poland since 1973. Also makes baroque instruments - mainly celli. Around no. 15 + some restorations of baroque wrecks!

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  1. Some performers have their viols set up like this and find it works well.
  2. I don't see why this would not be worth repairing. The damage seems to be fairly easily dealt with and parts of the instrument are in quite good shape. of course it would not be worth paying the restoring costs of a real expert violin restorer but there are plenty of people who could do a decent job on something like this without exceeding it's value. It's a question of being patient and taking the time to find someone who is sensitive to the concept of only performing reversible restorations on the original materials..
  3. I don't know much about this but would have thought that an American instrument (church bass) with original machine heads from the 1830's is very possible.
  4. Excellent plans for that Meares exist drawn by Stephen Barber but I don't have them. It might be possible to track them down or I could ask around if it proves difficult. That instrument seems to fit your requirements well or there are various Barak Norman's.
  5. Yes the Meares in the "Shapes of the Baroque" is the same instrument which is now in The RCM. I am still not clear what kind of instrument you are thinking of making. If you are going to make the Lewis as a 7 string French viol, the best models are going to be other unaltered French viols by Bertrand, Colichon etc. I am not sure what has happened to the neck on the original instrument because it is obviously reduced in width but maybe altered otherwise as well. But for an original reconstruction of the Lewis, English sources and examples will be more relevant. You might be interested in the measurements from the Talbot MS which I attach here in Donington's edition. Donington_-_talbot's_manuscript.pdf
  6. Another thing- I remember David Rubio made a number of very successful 7 string viols based on this Lewis in the 1970's and you might like to track one of these down to see what solutions he came up with. The advantage of the Lewis model over other available ones is that if you don't want to make a bent front model he made them with a carved front .
  7. The presumably French conversion to 7 string gives the 720mm string length which is about ideal for a multi-purpose 7 string for playing both solo and continuo. The original Lewis 6 string set up would probably, according to Ben's formula come out a bit less, which would be fine as a 6 string but might leave the low A string a bit short if you are making a 7 string version. You might expect the neck angle to be a bit less on the original version as well as it is documented that the French increased the neck angle when converting old English viols to their needs. You can look at the Meares in the RCM collection for an original English neck angle. Another major difference between the 2 versions would be the stringing- probably 3 covered strings and an open wound or gut c string for the 7 string version and only one covered string at most for the 6 string. The bridge position should probably be similar for both versions and would also maybe change the sound for good or bad if you change it from the original bearing in mind the position of the back plate. .
  8. I have 2 old cellos with flat backs!
  9. This beautiful instrument would benefit very much in appearance from from a new fingerboard and tailpiece as the present one looks very crude. Most likely in ebony veneer??
  10. Typical room decoration in Poland was, and still sometimes is, distemper decorated with patterns in a contrasting colour made using a roller with a carved rubber surface or stencils. I think this is what the photos show and the distemper has a matt and slightly dusty look which could be confused with dirt.
  11. Bridge height depends on several combined values such as neck angle and wedge thickness so it is possible to have a high baroque bridge with a straightish neck that gives light downward pressure of the strings on the bridge.
  12. According to my Polish dictionary of violinmakers by Zdisław Szulc, (1953), a younger Marcin Groblicz lived at least till the middle of the 18th century and there is or was a violin with a label dated 1764 which the writer speculates may have been completed after his death. I think I have more recent references that I can look up if necessary. But the Groblicz dynasty of violinmakers seems to have been active from the 1580's to circa 1750 and most of them were named Marcin! I have seen a number of Groblicz violins and none of them were decorated beyond the carved heads and double purfling. The pictures I have in another book show instruments by Marcin Groblicz IV 1729 and V 1738 which still retain a "Brescian" look with shallow ribs, pointy soundholes and double purfling and the typical carved heads (no painted decoration). However the 1729 instrument has broadened the points of the f's while retaining the other features and shape. A late one that i remember seeing personally looked to have more normal 18th century mid-European features.
  13. It seems to me that the procedure for the mystery violin would not be quite as described above. I suspect the order was: Make the back with it's groove, glue in the ribs and level the top, place top wood on ribs and draw round the ribs, make the top and make the groove along the drawn rib outline, etc etc. This seems quite simple and controllable.
  14. Thanks Jacob, you had mentioned this before and I had forgotten. Useful to remember.
  15. If you repair it the varnish retouch should be quite easy in black!