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About JBiggs

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  1. JBiggs

    Starting salary for violin shop tech

    Thanks, TimDasler, that is a lot of very useful information! I agree that violin school isn't necessarily a great starting point if one only wants to work in a shop. You should certainly know how to use your tools and how instruments are put together, but in three years a person might only cut a half dozen bridges and soundposts, with no real time pressure, and never try the more difficult repairs. A dealer I know of in CA has bought a number of really fine modern Italian violins, but usually had to do the set-up as these excellent makers weren't skilled at this. If you only make 4-6 violins a year you'll never get good at set-up and I would say the same for repairs.
  2. JBiggs

    Starting salary for violin shop tech

    Thanks, Jim and Mike. Of course, salary definitely depends on location. Jim, did you happen to see where the shop in your posting was located?
  3. I have a question for shop owners or managers or violin shop repair techs: What should a recent graduate of a three year violin-making course expect to earn as a repair/setup person at your shop? What about after, say, two years shop experience? Five years? Many thanks! PS I posted this same question on the Violin Business Professionals page on Facebook, usually a very good source of information and got zero replies. Have I uncovered some dark secret of the violin trade?
  4. JBiggs

    Favorite small viola model?

    Thanks to everyone who posted, even the digressions were interesting! I'm started on copies of the Conte Vitale and a Maggini, both will be 390mm. Will post pictures soon!
  5. JBiggs

    Favorite small viola model?

    Thanks to everyone for the information, lots of help! I'm very fond of the looks of the 1765 Guad and the Da Salo, anyone have more information on either? My third viola was based on the Conte Vitale, but shortened to 404mm. Kept all other dimensions, it sounded fine and was much easier to play than the full 419mm length original. I may just shorten the same model another 10-12mm. I have the Maggini Contralto Viola Strad poster, has anyone copied this viola? Thanks again to everyone!
  6. JBiggs

    Favorite small viola model?

    Hello! I'd like to build a couple of small violas, somewhere around 15 3/8 - 15 1/2". Has anyone built one this size that worked well? What model did you use? I've already built 3 based on the Conte Vitale and would like to try something else. How would you characterize the sound of such a small instrument? Thanks a lot!
  7. JBiggs

    Montagnana Sleeping Beauty cello questions

    Thanks Melvin and David!
  8. JBiggs

    Montagnana Sleeping Beauty cello questions

    David Burgess, jwesol and Conor Russell, thank you for your very helpful information. David, one more question: Do you raise your saddle to keep the normal break-over angle? Many thanks, Jim
  9. Hello, my name is Jim Biggs, I'm a student in the violin-making program at Indiana University. I'm starting my first cello, using the Strad poster for the Montagnana Sleeping Beauty. I have some questions for Maestronet members who've built cellos based on the Sleeping Beauty. 1) Scaling off the poster, I get 32.5mm for the top arching and 30 for the back. I've read the Sleeping Beauty has a lot of distortion in the back and possibly in the top, do you use these measurements? 2) The high points for both top and back seem to have migrated toward the tailpiece. Do you center the high points in the middle of the long arch? 3) To gain clearance in the wide C-bouts, do you raise the overstand or projection? What measurements do you use? 4) Do you prefer maple or poplar? What difference do these two woods make to the sound? 5) Do you have a preferred bridge type, French or Belgian? Favorite strings? 6) Do you have a Montagnana model that you prefer to the Sleeping Beauty? 7) Does anyone know who currently owns the Sleeping Beauty? Any other bits of information regarding this model would be greatly apprecitated. Many thanks, Jim Biggs
  10. JBiggs

    Looking for Comte Vitale Viola Strad poster

    Thanks, I'll give them a try.
  11. Hello, my name is Jim Biggs, Im learning to build fiddles here at Indiana University. I really appreciate all the collective wisdom here on Maestronet. I'm looking for the Comte Vitale Viola Strad poster. Strad Magazine doesn't have them in stock and apparently won't get them any time soon. Does anyone have a copy they'd consider selling? Many thanks!
  12. JBiggs

    Where to get Kevlar Tailgut

    Try these guys: http://www.acp-composites.com/home.php?cat=252 Very nice people, you can order Kevlar cord by phone and they'll mail it to you. As you can see from the site, it's very inexpensive. I use .025 for violins, .035 for cellos. It's more than strong enough, but you might use .035 for violins and violas and .070 for cellos just because it looks a bit more substantial. It seems to give some improvement in tone. Use a fisherman's knot, usually takes a few tries to get the length right, it's really not that difficult. The cord doesn't stretch, but the knot will have a little slack that goes away after you tighten the strings. Good luck, Jim Biggs
  13. Hello to everyone on Maestronet! I've been following this site almost daily for the last 1 1/2 years. In that time l've built a couple of violins from Stewart-McDonald kits, and re-graduated, varnished and set up 4 white Chinese violins, all of which turned out looking pretty decent and sounding amazingly good! Copying the Viotti Strad poster, I've got ribs finished and scroll, top and back arching roughed out. I'm using Courtnall's very good book, but at every stage I consult Maestronet. Sr. Manfio's tutorials have been incredibly helpful! Someone recently gave me a badly damaged Joh. H. Hanning cello. It looks like a fairly nice cello, built in Markneukirchen, no date on the label. Edit: Sorry, it's Johan Heinrich Hamming in Mittenwald. Does anyone know about this maker? Any idea when this cello might have been built Does Hanning have any particular reputation? The back was crushed near the neck. I've glued and cleated a lot of back cracks, grafted in a 100mmx100mm piece of maple with button and am about to set purfling and glue the back on. Something I find quite interesting is that the maple back is really tan, a consistent light coffee color, all the way through. Does old maple eventually darken this much? Thanks to everyone on Maestronet! Jim Biggs Alameda, CA