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Everything posted by luthier

  1. Hello everyone, My question concerns when the use of a neck block became common practice. I have acquired a few violins that have no block. The ribs are let into the neck, which is glued to the plates. Is there a specific geographical area where this was the practice into the 1800's? I have an Austrian violin dated 1806 with this configuration. The fingerboard is spruce, with a thick ebony vernier, and the neck is hollowed out under the fb, to reduce weight, I assume.
  2. It was long thought that there were two Andreas Postacchini's, because his later works did not resemble his earlier works at all. He was active from early 1800's till around 1860 in Fermo, Italy.
  3. Hello again, Has there been any documented research on the acoustical differences between European and American (Canadian) maple? If not, what is the general consensus on this subject? This leads to the same question regarding spruce, I suppose. Thanks!
  4. I will be the first to admit, I have a lot to learn. The process never ends, for guitar builders as well.
  5. Thank you for that clarification.
  6. "There is very little difference between building guitars and violins" My take on this is based upon my experiences doing every imaginable repair on violins over the past few years. I've also read everything I could find on the subject, but have only recently discovered Maestronet. Before that, I would probably not have come to that conclusion. Some of the first wrecks I got on ebay were too intimidating for me to even think about. I wisely set them aside for a later date, when I had more knowledge, and looked for the easy stuff. Basically, tools are the same, with a few specialty items for either, selection and materials are similar, the ability to hear tap tones and shape them, the gluing process, clamping, fitting, bending, cutting, inlays, etc. The concept of vibrating plates, string tension and it's effects, and so many other aspects are interchangeable. I've been collecting wood, and it will only be a matter of time before I actually build one. I don't expect a masterpiece, but I'll do my best. As far as marketing guitars, you got that one right! I wasn't aware of the diverging paths, other than the neck block, instead of fitting the ribs into slots in the neck.
  7. Latest on the Vernier violin: Yesterday, I stripped off the ugly, very thick slopped on one coat varnish around the root and ribs, suspecting something had been altered, because the ribs were a little out of alignment at the neck block, and a number of very interesting features came to light. My suspicions were also fueled by a plug centered in the neck block, visible from the inside (the top is off). The root has been extended with the addition of a block of maple, and elevated under the button, as well. As the heel had been cut back to fit the button, the end of the nail hole also came to light, offset 6-7mm above the plug in the block.This seems to indicate the violin dates back to 1800 at least, after which modern configurations were used. Thank you for your input, fiddlecollector, but I think this one pre-dates Jean baptist by a century...and I do appreciate your pun, seth_leigh...but the mystery deepens. Actually, my reason for this update is to bring it back to the top of the list again, hoping someone has seen one of these, and to thank those who have replied.
  8. Thank you Bob, ...for your time and consideration. I would post a picture, if I could figure out how.
  9. Thank you Bob! I would post a picture, if I could figure out how.
  10. Hi Melving, I have been building stringed instruments off and on for over 40 years, and haven't used the "has to be played in" pitch in all that time, but I'm not a salesman. My experience has been that a stringed instrument with vibrating plates does need to be "played in" to reach it's optimum performance. There are an infinite number of variables in every instrument, even by the same maker, using wood from the same log (I can go on indefinitely on this subject alone, but I'm drifting away from the original topic). Violins from makers 300+ years ago vary greatly in tone quality today, just as they did back then. To say that violins improve from being played in, and therefore must all sound the same, being the same age, is redundant at best. The ability to get the best possible sound out of the materials used is what separates the masters from those who aren't. Wouldn't this be a boring place if all violins sounded the same, being the same age? I feel this argument has no relevance to the "play in" question. I have noticed a vast improvement in tonal quality in every instrument I've built, as well as those made by my numerous students. That doesn't mean they were all masterpieces, but they improve. This has to do with the plates "loosening up", or adjusting to pressure changes, the finish curing (to a minimal extent), wood fibers flexing, and a whole host of other factors, some of which I may not be aware of. I'm a hack as far as playing goes, and wouldn't even know how to adjust my playing technique to make the instrument sound better, but my ears are as keen as it gets. Stringed instruments improve greatly by being played in, if the potential is built in. David
  11. Sorry people, if my handle choice offends anyone...but it best describes my trade. I recently bought a violin (you know where) in dire need of a complete restoration, in progress, and the name is etched into the back where the label usually is. I don't think it is stamped, because the two R's are slightly different, and the name has a slight wave to it. It is written in capitals, A. VERNIER. It appears to be a Andrea Amati model, around 1560, based on the corners and f-holes. The violin looks to be between 150 and 80 years old. It is made of very fine materials, and the neck and scroll may not be original, although I can't be sure. The plate thicknesses are in line with all the information I was able to find on the internet on Amati violins. Workmanship is superb, maybe with exception of the purfling, which at one point has a slight wave in it. Any information would be greatly appreciated, but cut me some slack! This is my first post. David