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Ron MacDonald

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Everything posted by Ron MacDonald

  1. The errors in this are so obvious that it does not deserve a correction.
  2. I assume the trophies had some resale value--they were silver but I would guess plated. They also took his TV set.
  3. My dear old friend and teacher, Alfredo Campoli, had his home in north London burgled one night. The thieves took all the tennis trophies he'd won as a young man and the bridge trophies he'd won when older but walked by the Dragonetti Strad sitting on a chair in his lounge.
  4. I suspect that few are aware that after Mr. Gordge died, the firm was purchased by a Canadian, Henry Janzen. He renamed the firm "Farnham Caseworks" and began making them in Toronto. To the best of my knowledge, he made only two cases before folding, one for violin and one for viola. The viola case is mine and while it is a typical Gordge, the workmanship is not as good, particularly the cover. However, the case is so heavy, I rarely use it.
  5. And, of course, this is a problem in a medium such as Maestronet. Often those with least experience and expertise produce lengthy and verbose (and annoying) dissertations. I am very grateful to the genuine experts who contribute here regularly.
  6. Of all these distinguished luthiers, the only one whom I knew personally was Joseph Kun who used to do all of my maintenance for me. The last time I picked up my instrument from him, he and his wife took me out to dinner and then drove me to the airport. I still have a beautiful tortoiseshell and gold bow that he made for me. He is much missed.
  7. He has a website which tells us among other things that the violin nut is made of metal and the bassbar of maple. I wonder if he has ever held a violin in his hands.
  8. There is an interesting scene in the old movie "Hollywood Canteen" in which Joseph Szigeti and Jack Benny play a duet.
  9. I'm sure I recall Menuhin using a tuner like this on one of his violins. His tailpiece made it impossible to attach ordinary tuners.
  10. Really well done!! Both the restoration and the video.
  11. Joseph Szigeti, who could have had almost any violin that he wanted, chose a Pietro Guarneri of Mantua as his primary instrument which he carried in a double case with a Pietro of Venice. Isaac Stern was heard to remark that he regarded Szigeti's Mantua Guarneri as the finest violin in the world. Szigeti's late recording of the Brahms Concerto has a lovely photo of both instruments.
  12. I have one with an identical lock. Certainly looks authentic.
  13. Glad you made it safely, Nathan. It really is a ferocious storm--I've cancelled all my students today. Ron
  14. Otto Erdesz, the Hungarian-Canadian maker used to make violas with a cut away shoulder. They were often used by professionals including the virtuoso, Rivka Golani. The aim was to make it easier to play high positions on the upper strings.
  15. If you like it then, of course, that's fine. I've never met a viola player who likes it. Most claim that it inhibits good left hand technique.
  16. The Romberg fingerboard should be replaced.
  17. Don't know about these holes, but one type of mechanical tuner involved a metal plate on each side of the pegbox (such as those often found on double basses today).
  18. I have three modern violas, one of which is by Michael Darnton. It is an enlarged copy of the 1670 Tullaye Stradivari violin and is identical to that in "Making a Viola" on his website. It has very good sound in the lower range but in the upper (D and A strings) it is really outstanding. At 16 inches, it is also very comfortable to play. Recently, one of my students performed the Mozart Kegelstatt trio and had trouble balancing the piano and clarinet so I loaned her the Darnton which solved the balance problem.
  19. FWIW, I've purchased several items from Bromptons and have had no trouble getting them to Canada.
  20. FWIW, I have a very nice viola by Michael Darnton based on the Tullaye Strad violin of 1670. It's identical to the one pictured on Michael's website. I don't know why this particular Strad was selected, but the sound is excellent.
  21. He was very nice to me (I did buy a bow) but he may have been swayed by the fact that I was with my teacher, Alfredo Campoli.
  22. Many years ago when visiting Hill's, Desmond Hill showed me their little ovens for making rosin. The pans did indeed look like little muffin pans. Unfortunately, I know nothing of the ingredients. He told me they made two batches a day, one of dark and one of light. The pan for each colour was quite large--at least 60 in each.
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