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Bruce Carlson

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  1. Does the top go together well with the back? It sounds like someone may have slightly re-dimensioned a top to fit another set of ribs. Other times it is just the reconstruction of badly worn or damaged spruce edges. Is the purfling material the same front and back?
  2. What does the formaldehyde do to the protein in the hide glue you are using to hold the violin together?
  3. It appears that most of the decorated instruments starting with Andrea Amati were not carried out by the maker himself but were done by craftsmen specialized in decorations, possibly from the royal courts for which they were intended. Actual painting and gilding like we see on Andrea Amati is a specialization. I'm sure at the time, decorated instruments were prepared for special commissions and were thought to be aesthetically superior to a plain instrument. Times change and when we arrive at the time of Stradivari he was carrying out a more discreet version of decoration. On the other hand, the arabesque ribs and scroll like the Stradivari 'Hellier' were likely carried out in the workshop as designs exist in the collection of artefacts in the Museo del Violino. The dots and lozenges in between the two rows of the purfling you can also see in Stradivari's rosettes on his guitars. Most decorations ended with the conclusion of the baroque period. You will still see J.B. Vuillaume and others doing it for commissions from special personages.
  4. Is the fingerboard smooth in that area?
  5. Yes, it's a long stop but I'm going on memory as I don't have my data at home. Stradivari precedes slightly as he was making the long stop already in 1690 but you see it off and on in other makers. It certainly wasn't as standardized as it is today.
  6. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of all the frilly packaging but I think that's one of the reasons the companies do it like that. Personally I could care less about the packaging.
  7. It's one thing to question the airtight provenance of an instrument from Stradivari workshop in Cremona in 1716 to the violin display case where it is currently kept in the Ashmolean Museum. Only a handful of instruments have a flawless line of provenance from the time they left the workshop til today and even then, without photographs and totally unequivocal documentation, even they can be doubted. It's quite another to question whether or not the violin is an authentic work by Stradivari. Many details of the Cremonese working method were unknown to Vuillaume and if all you need to differentiate a Vuillaume from a Stradivari is the presence or not of a pencil point we are approaching the ludicrous.
  8. Fabio Biondi plays in a baroque ensemble, he's using a baroque style bow and the strings on the instrument appear to be modern.
  9. The 'Baron d'Assignies' of 1713 is heftier in the belly than many.
  10. Unfortunately Stewart got that wrong. He's a true expert on keyboard instruments but continues to make errors regarding violins.
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