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Everything posted by viola_license_revoked

  1. hello furom i'm working on a lamy with 2 labels on the top... why is that? is this common? i've only seen lamys with one tag. and what's with the two "fang" marks at the top and bottom of the both plates? i'm not familiar with construction technique that would lead to this... tahnks r
  2. i'm not familiar with Mr. Sommer's work, but i think it is possible to bend bassbars just like you can bend tops, backs, ribs or even massive architectural and ship hull structures for the matter... IMO there is no provable improvement to the playability or sound of the instrument. i bend mine for entertainment purposes. R
  3. i'm not familiar with Mr. Sommer's work, but i think it is possible to bend bassbars just like you can bend tops, backs, ribs or even massive architectural and ship hull structures for the matter... IMO there is no provable improvement to the playability or sound of the instrument. i bend mine for entertainment purposes. R
  4. i am not a professional violin maker and the views expressed here are my own. hello all. not sure if anyone has posted about these calipers in the past... i make violas. i just got my outside calipers today. they are considerably cheaper than professional thicknessing calipers. they are NOT very sturdy and i'm using them for the first time so i don't know how long they will last. i've mentioned these calipers before in another posting and thought i would include a picture of it as it is used by me. i'm measuring my 15 1/4" viola top here. as i see it, and perhaps as proof of my lack of professional aspirations, i think thicknessing calipers are not important and i use them more as an afterthought. these calipers will only measure down to 0.1mm. which is good enough for me. they will also reach over already attached rib structure to measure the backs of violins and violas. i should explain that i start my backs by depth drilling and then marking off excess thickness with homemade marking calipers. my tops are already about 1/4" thick from the start since they are bent from guitar planks. thicknessing is just about marking off with marking calipers. in my amateur version of "graduation" , i typically hold the plate in the palm of one hand and scrape it with the other hand. the resultant flexing from the pressure of the scraper tells me if i should scrape more or stop. i see no point in following set measurements because every plate is different. i aim for tops at under 3mm all round and backs at a little over 3mm all round. dense maple thinner, light poplar thicker. the recurve thins out the border and the middle bouts are always a little thicker, just because they keep ending up that way. i would suggest avoiding viola tops thinner than 2.5mm all round if they are not bent. please feel free to disagree. i would love to hear your thoughts and why... seriously! off i go to measure every fiddle i can get my hands on!
  5. Dean_Lapinel- thank you for your response. i get your point. stick to fundamentals, its good for you. i mean to study the old masters and their core techniques. as an amateur, most things happen in a blur. you can only read so many copies of strad and watch so many videos. its sometimes hard to tell. as my band director used to tell us, "do what i tell you to do, don't do what i do" Tets Kimura- thank you for your translation. i would understand the world a little more if only i could just learn a couple more languages... ctviolin- thank you for the picture of your nut. they are perfectly legal here in florida, and at most airports. your humility puts me in my place. so what did ancient builders like Amati and the gang lube their nuts with? pencil? attached is a picture of what i was working last night. did i mention i hate inlaying purfling? i rout the purfling channel with a 1.27mm bit from international and widen it a little with a homemade chisel. i use an approx. 1.3mm synthetic purfling. the corners are always a disaster.if i'm lucky, i might get one out of 8 right. from most videos and pictures i've seen on the internet, i assume its ok to have to push the purfling in with some force at least some of the time. for me this translates into the biggest hammer i can find. in the lower corner, it is clear the purfling exploded in the channel. question then: how tight or loose is the purfling really suppose to fit in the channel anyway? thanks. hello to all r
  6. hello all a friend asked me to help fix his bass. i don't know much about basses other than they are tuned weird. i did replace the fingerboard on another friend's plywood Englehardt bass a couple of years ago, the Upton bass shop videos on youtube inspired me to hatch that massacre. it turned out ok. i love their channel. so here's a cursory look at my latest victim... attached pictures are: bass01: lower corner, treble side. open back seam bass02: lower bout, bass side. open back seam bass03: lower corner following through lower bout, bass side. repaired rib crack re-opening. bass04: lower bout, bass side. bass05: lower bout, bass side. cracked rib as seen from the inside. glued. bass06: lower bout, bass side. large cleat behind sore spot seen in picture #04. questions: the glue is mostly dehydrated all 'round. looks almost like most of the back could pop right off. the bass just got moved from Virginia to here, 100% humidity Florida. how should i re-glue the seams effectively? the rib crack is starting to open up. should i re-glue as it was, or should i add cleats? i'll take a closer look later today, but everything else "appears" to be ok. appreciate any input from anyone who cares to drop a suggestion or two. i'll wait a bit before i start the mutilation. i'll have to make a bunch of giant clamps anyway. it'll take as long as it needs to take. thanks. r
  7. i am not a professional violin maker. but i really really like making fiddles at my level. and i do like his set of videos because most of it is... so quiet and calm. put a banzai tree in the back and the studio is complete! perhaps they were made to sell fiddles, i don't know. i do admire any professional or amateur who can build a fiddle, so long as it is playable. i think this is the right forum to discuss making traditions, technique and preferences etc. as i recall from a TED video about English coffee houses, this is one of those forums where great ideas can come to have sex. not sure how the coffee fits in... i think many of the most prized antique instruments would not make it through the opening round at a modern violin making competition today. i would further extrapolate that the methods employed to create these wonderful instruments were probably less than perfect. many generations of very skilled luthiers have also added their touch to harness the potential of these fine antique instruments more than ever, sometimes resulting in the "early" demise of a few really neat fiddles. i think many of these instruments, once living organisms in the form of a tree, have now decomposed sufficiently to produce a well aged sound. and they will continue to break down. none of their original arching survived. many are patched to an absurd degree. many have not retained their form, particularly violas, cellos and basses. some were not even from the violin family to begin with. all of them feature hot rod parts that are not stock. probably every known trick in the book has been tried, discarded, rediscovered and re-invented. my question is: where does less than perfect technique fit in, in the greater scheme of things? i think Gaspar Da Salo, DG & co. are most awesome when their fiddles look somewhat their least perfected. is this controversial to say? in advance, my comments are not meant to offend. hello to one and all. on a side note, if anyone is interested in outside calipers: rockler outside calipers the paper catalog price is wrong. and there might be a phone sale going on. i got mine for $23? + $10 shipping. happy turning! r
  8. just kidding. purfling start to finish in 720p this is recent. i like it. i need to learn to inlay purfling as quietly and focused as this maker... right now its a matter of pulling out a dremel with a blunt bit, stepping on a dead man's switch and panic all the way until done. hate purfling secret oil? hello r
  9. just kidding. purfling start to finish in 720p this is recent. i like it. i need to learn to inlay purfling as quietly and focused as this maker... right now its a matter of pulling out a dremel with a blunt bit, stepping on a dead man's switch and panic all the way until done. hate purfling hello r
  10. Hi Don i enjoy all your posts. please keep testing/investigating and/or busting all the fiddle making myths you ever get your hands on. without diminishing the importance of form, i think shape has more to do with aesthetics than acoustics. it is customary to see a violin take on a particular form. it gets less strict as you move down through violas to basses, where variance in size and model run the gamut, resulting in instruments that run contrary to expectations in term of form, but top the scale in terms of preferred sound, as dictated by whatever sound is fashionable at the time. i think in my unscientific head that compliance and damping is important, a bit like speaker and cab. thus for me personally, looking for a particular plank that is strong over its arch, resonates and "springs" well ( somewhat along the lines of what jezzupe may have referred to, as i understand him), that seems to be important. i bend my tops for this reason, while not advocating that a bent arch in itself is some secret to a great viola, but it makes sense to me that lots and lots of uncut fibers running from top to bottom makes for better strength. placement and shape of sound holes turned out to be less important than i anticipated. but then again, i don't do this for a living, nor will i win any awards. thus i don't have to follow the rules that i don't know in the first place. thanks for cool posts and please keep investigating. r
  11. a few thoughts to share... YMMV. i like the zyexes because they represent the minimum i can use to get away with the maximum. they are by no means the best strings i've ever tried, but i do not have money to keep using extravagant strings. it would be terrible if i spent all the money i just made playing a lousy wedding on replacement strings for the set i just busted at the gig. i burned through a few hundred dollars worth of strings one summer trying to get the playability i want. this may sound like a lot, but as everyone knows, strings are too darn expensive.(and the rent is too darn high) i did it not because i was rich, but because i really really really had to do it... i put strings ahead of groceries. it was an idiotic summer, what can i say. i went at it by trying the least expensive types of cores for C's and A's, and then finding the "best" makes i can afford for that type of core. then i guess matched the G's and D's. i now stick to zyex c,g, and d. the A is a helicore, but any twisted steel A will do. medium and hard tension hardly makes too little difference for me to fuss over. light and hard does make an impression. i tend to stay away from solid steel A's because they feel a little less matched to the tension of the rest. twisted steels may also whistle less, but that may just be in my head. i stay away from all other types of A's because 1) multi-strand nylon types crush under my fingers in extreme high positions on all my violas, whether they be the ones i make or the ones i buy. it takes more work for me to keep them from squeaking. 2) solid synthetic cores do the same. 3) gut core A's do the same and in addition, they are constantly out of tune under 1000's of watts of stage lights. under the stress of performance, when i do all the things i'm not suppose to, i cannot afford to add a dead string to my already flayed nerves and questionable technique. multi-steel strand and solid core steel C's and G's feel thinner under the fingers then all the other types in comparison. i don't like that. they also go up in pitch if i bow them too hard. this is not detectable when the bow is on the string but is annoyingly detectable whenever my bow leaves the strings while burning through an exaggerated passage. its okay if one string goes up in pitch a tiny bit, but if both C and G go up in pitch at a different rate, especially in a loud triple stop, etc, my intonation problem becomes exaggerated. again, not good for me. for a while, i did like a very heavy and flexible steel C that i wasn't able to identify. after buying a dozen different C's that looked like it but didn't play like it, i gave up. i still have that magical C and maybe i will find a match for it one day, but for now, it is too precious to play on if you put your fingers on a large string like a viola C or some cello or bass strings, you can roll the strings side ways over the finger board. the metal ones roll relatively less and the multi strand nylons roll the most. i'm extrapolating a little here, but it think the hissy fit nylons go through in the begining may be because the outside and inside of the string are not on the same page until they get done stretching. and it is basically down hill from that point. as a poor student, i used to play on the same dominants for an entire semester. but i do believe they actually sounded better old than new. now as a frustrated unemployable and easy annoyed musician, i hate them. the zyexes allow me to bow till all the hairs on my bow go bust, and they retain their pitch, playability and dynamic range the longest. tone differs from set to set, same make or otherwise. i've given up trying to find a set with a tone i really like. every set is a compromise and takes getting used to. and playing in a viola section, the singing quality of my wonderful strings is hardly detectable to anyone. most conductors wouldn't know violas from violins and only want volume and rhythm anyway, and its not like i'll be auditioning for the LA phil any time soon. one string i haven't tried are the corelli carbon strings. or are they kevlar? i think i just made that up. i don't remember what they called their strings, those Savarez guys can be so enigmatic at times. all my current tailpieces are wood from Dov Schimdt, with built in tuners. i have also tried the wittner ultra light which turned out to be quite heavy and a few other crappy exotic ones. i would like to go back to a light "hollowed" boxwood and just put one titanium fine tuner on it when i can afford it. i'm going for light. everything is so expensive, heck, i think i'll just have to make my own. another thing to try is to replace the tailgut with steel or titanium like the Akusticus fans do (apparently ugly is in), although titanium is way out of my budget. in my experience, i like the crispy effect of a wired tailpiece... don't know why... and the effect of after length seems a little less obvious to me, when compared to nylon. maybe that's just in my head too. 'nuff said. greetings R
  12. i marvel at the works of masters past. your question makes me wonder about a few things. it seems to me that individuality is an undeniable eventuality. its not as though there was an overlord confining Stradivarius and GDJ to a fixed style. especially towards the end of their careers. these guys make things that have to sell, if they wish to pay rent. an early work by a master, as with for example an early Beethoven symphony with Haydn and Mozartian overtones, is bound to be vastly different from a late work. given the onset of life, etc. Haydn may not approve, but things go the way they must. which is why they lasted the test of time. because they are rare and not repeatable. a vso is mostly forgettable from the day it was made. Stradivarius can't help but be Stradivarius in the end. and i'll bet he desperately needed that to be like that especially towards the end of his life. who would dare contradict the master? some exhibit individuality early, some late. some try to conceal it, some flaunt it. the most stubborn and focused artists wind up defining the era. the masters weren't necessarily the only persons who had a hand in the making of an instrument from start to finish. so i guess there are supporting players...
  13. hello saintjohnbarleycorn i use my instruments primarily as acoustic rigs, but yes, i remember setting up 2 5-string acoustic/electrics. both were given away and i used these pick-ups glued to the inside of the back: it helps with the shrill quality with most metal/hard piezo pick-ups . i've used schattens from stewmac (link here) in the past, but i wanted something a little more mellow. unfortunately, i chose the 6 inch films and they were too hot and acted more like microphones sometimes. still, a jazzer violinist friend of mine didn't object and used it on a gig the day i gave it to him... brave soul... presently, i'm still coupling the soundpost to a modified bridge with a steel pin made from a large sewing needle. i hope to make purpose built bridges next time and embed a piezo pick-up right into the bridge. I have spoken to LR Baggs a while back and they told me they do custom installs, but i really want to figure it out for myself a pre-amp or EQ will help with the shrill. a purpose built bridge will also help a little with the nagging premonition of a bridge snapping in half at a gig. the baritone violin vibrates quite violently. we'll see if it holds together for another year. the overtones from these mods light up my harmonic tree in a very different and strange way. i don't think of them as violas but some sort of musical instrument that requires playing techniques related to the viola family. r
  14. hello all i suppose you could say the idea isn't new. it does come up once in a while for discussion. this mod overcomes the spagetti C string on small violas. works very well as a 5 string hot rod without having to re-design or build a bigger body. works amazing well as a baritone violin. for any fiddlers, jazzers and non-conformists out there, this is the best way to open up a new tonal palette for cheap. its like slapping on a hexacore for the first time. for classical violinists, 5 strings is the most fun in a few hundred years. but you can't play in the nose bleed positions sul G. (which unfortunately kills the performance of 3/4 of the bleeding-heart violin concertos out there ) classical violists can scream away on the Bowen concerto. the quinton isn't exactly a new idea. doesn't sound like a violin or a viola really... but very nice and pleasing because it no longer hurts to listen. doesn't do very well with young or inexperienced musicians because the bridge will shift during tuning and start to buzz against the top. can be "cured" with a lesson on careful tuning/set up. a hard foam ring can be glued into the hole to reduce the problem until the next time teacher or luthier gets his or her hands on it for an adjustment. works best with small thick tops. not so good with thin tops or bigger violas. i want to build this into a 1/16th sized double bass, maybe put in a bass reflex port too. it might do wonders for a Suzuki bass program somewhere. (if it works... home depot here i come!) but don't take my word for it, i'm no body! try it for yourselves folks, most of us own at least a few vso's don't we? working on a 6 string with this set up.. will post when ready. cheers r
  15. hello haven't posted in a long time. prefer to just lurk. the "hole-in-the-heart" method works. the strad article mentioned earlier and a few other sources are awesome. imagine the viola section of a youth orchestra outfitted with a buzzillion number of these hot rod bad boys... the viola kids would love to be on a level playing field for a change... ha... from my own unscientific experiments, my opinion is that the traditional high rib on a small viola model does not work. never mind how wide the bouts. unless the top is quite thin, the tall ribs will just strangle the viola's sound. putting a hole in a 4/4 violin makes for a better sound. which makes the Diaz ex-Primrose rig seem even more intriguing to me... i played a modified 5 string viola for a while in school orchestra and elsewhere, but never did muster enough courage to go play my lesson with it... weird doesn't work well in classical music. cheers r
  16. greetings. i have tops that are stiffer than others. in my mind, the flexing carries over after the top has been made into an instrument, you know... that chunk between the sound holes over the sound post. how much of that particular area is affected by the flexibility of the wood and lengths of sound holes, length of bass bar, sound post tension etc, and i wonder about the longevity of both stiff and flexible tops. oops. time to go to work.
  17. yes definitely. the relationship between how slanted the rings are and its effect on flexibility is interesting to me. over the years, exceptions do leave me scratching my head... i guess i need more observation to get a boarder sense of it. yeah, the first top has a progressive slant, from 90° on the treble side to nearly 45°on the bass. i'm not set up to measure, but it resonates differently from a stiffer board. can't wait to feel how the top behaves as an instrument. thanks. R
  18. hello forum i bend my tops. the sitka i typically use is the cheapest guitar tops i can find. they are cheap mostly because they don't look pretty to most folks. but i find the wide and wilder grain patterns exciting and perfect for violas. anyway, i frequently run into planks that are unnervingly flexible across the grain. i've posted a video to show what i mean, please have a look if you like: i'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but what are your experiences, comments and thoughts? thank you R
  19. interesting question... what minimum playing ability should a luthier possess to know he/she hasn't created a dud? just a thought or two from my own experience, which is limited. i've handed the abominations i create to many competent players and have gotten back responses that run the gamut. i've shown pictures and actual instruments to makers and dealers and have gotten feedback that run the gamut. i've played my stuff in concerts, gigs and solo performances and feel all sorts of love and hate over them. audience reaction is another story. plus a good player can make a lovely sound on the most unlikely instruments, that is if he or she likes it. if not, he or she can make a nice fiddle sound horrible with utter professional bias. so its back to me. i make the darn thing, and i let it go out on its own and find a place. maybe a long time later, i will hear back with a few kind thoughts, if not, i assume it's in a dumpster somewhere. maybe someday i might even get paid for the fiddles i make... what the heck.
  20. i agree with you. i think its a hard life if you are not famous or an obvious genius . 150 hrs is roughly 3 work weeks for me. though i'm sure it is possible to make a fiddle in under a month, it sure doesn't sound sustainable. not unless you were Stainer or have helpers. you'll have to make and sell one fiddle a month just to feed yourself and barely make it to the next month, provided nothing serious ever happens to you, like hacking off a thumb etc. and if you have a family, to make £1000/mth (is that just under US$1500?) is not enough to pay rent, buy gas, keep usable tires on your car, pay bills and the kids fed and attending school. tools, maintenance/breakdowns etc have to be accounted for, not to mention travel, insurance and buying off the in-laws and taking martial arts class to fight off creditors and the re-po man. a large machete by the front door can only do so much. thus if the point is to make a living, than the price of a new instrument has to provide life (style) support. and it surely has to be augmented by doing multiple bad repairs at 2 in the morning and the occasional furniture work or floor installation or plumbing or manning the hot dog stand. *gee* sucks to be at the bottom of the food chain. how do you get to the top to get some air? brrrrhhh r
  21. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ high level organic certifible real virtual a.i. proxy avatar involved. troll alert. elements of 4chan detected. Anonymous is attacking. about to be rickrolled. DDoS expected... agent Smith otw. love to see your 5 string soon jezzupe.
  22. i like: check it out if you have an hour to kill (yeah right...) keep trolling folks r
  23. will you all kindly allow me to be contrarian for a bit. not all violas have problems projecting. only the bad ones do. yes, its a big claim for me to make, to say a soloist had a bad viola. but that may just be the case. or at least that sounds obvious to me, to be fair, i wasn't there, so i might be all wrong about this. check out Lawrence Power on a Brenzi playing Mozart next to Vengerov at the Proms. you guys know which video i'm talking about... ok, i'll find it: or Richard Yongjae O'Neill playing a Tononi in the finale of this Beethoven quartet or his who should be playing a Strad in this video i think. or along side anyone elsea good concert viola produces a much deeper and robust G and C that screechy little violins can't. the D and A is arguably more agreeable under the ear as well IMHO. Primrose said somewhere in some book that playing the viola furiously on the C string can often come across as "scrubbing". but asks the violist to do just that. and it can be done! Primrose's early recordings on his Amati is just as extraordinary. the Amati in question is again in the hands of another great violist.Tertis argued for steel strings to get more sound, response and clarity out of his Montagnana (viola with questionable origins) but this never caught on and modern solid core composite (non multistrand flubber) strings exceed all soloistic demands. maybe its just me, but i've never met a violin i couldn't bury with my violas. whether with tone color or just volume. as a last resort, i can definitely outplay anyone by making more unlistenable noise... R
  24. what kind of professional was that? SP cracks are NOT repaired from the outside. oh no... how much damage did he do? there may be $1000+ worth of repairs right there already. sad... R