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Neil Gow

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Everything posted by Neil Gow

  1. I just had to have a new bridge hand cut from a blank for my 5 string cello - it's both wide and tall compared to commercially available bridges. If I remember correctly the luthier (a very well respected German craftsman based in UK) charged me about the same as his usual complete cello setup with a new bridge, post and nut adjustment. I thought that was very fair considering that he remarked in passing that he could never price such a job economically taking into account the work involved. Maybe that's one reason why it's not so common.
  2. I bought a 3/4 Gama for my boy last year, and if it is generally representative of this workshop, they are excellent value, at least in UK (and from Elida Trading above - unsolicited plug!). The setup can be improved, as you'd expect from any modestly priced workshop violin. However, even with a first class £180 (>$300) setup it's still better value by far than any similar instrument I could find. Beware of dealers inflating the prices of these instruments, because it would be all too easy. Elida's website has prices right out there in the open for the whole world to see - if your local dealer has a price code on the swing ticket, a little comparison might be in order (UK only of course as Gliga has its own US website which sells on Ebay). BTW, if anyone suspects that I might be related to Elida, I'm not - my real name's Max Rankin.
  3. Jacob; And yet, an instrument which has just had the bridge and soundpost renewed probably won't sound the same in the workshop as after two or three weeks playing, soo presumably a luthier has to listen for the 'now sound' he expects to develop into a good playing sound in the future. I made a handful of guitars once, and even with that little experience I think I was starting to get a 'feel' for the resonance of wood. I wonder to what extent experienced luthiers rely on this and 'if it looks right it probably is right' judgement? The best person I know at setting up instruments here in UK doesn't play to the best of my knowledge. The only thing anything like testing an instrument I've seen him do is to pluck across the open strings quite hard (harder than most players would)and fairly quickly. Maybe long experience means that this is all he needs to hear?
  4. Quote: Why ever would one want to practice with ear plugs??? In case it's too loud for the neighbours, of course
  5. All those who can't afford this case now - never mind, just wait a couple of weeks and several just like it will appear on Ebay...
  6. The back looks to me to have rather a lot of black filler round the edges - German factory?
  7. Andy Victor: Hi Andy - What kind of plugs are you using in these circumstances? Solid foam ones, or Docs Pro Plugs with holes to let you hear certain frequencies, or custom fitted acoustic designs? I play a lot with an accordionist whose upper frequency hearing is not what it once was. As a result, he turns his monitor speaker up and I reach for my ear plugs. The interesting thing is that once the plugs are in (Docs Pro Plugs) I can hear what I'm playing better with both ears without the violin being included in the monitor mix. Am I hearing the sounds which come from the fiddle via my collarbone, chin bone, etc? P.S. (sorry others, Andy will understand this) Woods #72 violin is currently on its way over here to U.K., ostensibly for my boy Innes (unless of course it takes my fancy...) - looks like the regular Woods model, but with a spectacular quilted maple slab cut back. Kind Regards, Max
  8. Leslied: From past discussions on this group, you are right to be scared of paying that kind of money for an Ebay violin unless you are both an expert and confident that you know what you're looking at. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me there's something a little odd about this one. The outline doesn't look quite like most Collin-Mezin's I've seen, even though the scroll has the characteristic black lining and the back is highly figured. The signature (in pencil on originals I've seen) looks remarkably fresh and black for a 100+ year old violin. Note that the seller is very careful not to say that this is a Collin-Mezin, and hedges around the signature, which 'looks to read' Collin-Mezin. Collin-Mezin's signature is clear and distinctive even if faint, there should be no doubt on a genuine C-M, and on the ones I've seen it isn't photographable though the soundhole in that particular position - it ends roughly at the South end of the soundpost and starts between there and the end block. The seller is however equally careful to mention that maker's name whenever possible, but without committing himself. Another odd thing is that the neck is very clean, as if it's varnished. Most C-M's I've seen have unvarnished necks which although highly figured would look greyish in a photo. I'm dubious - there are lots of French workshop violins which can look like a C-M in a photo, this one has just too much convenient history. It was apparently found in a dirty condition, but has been cleaned and give a new setup, so read Dealer. Plus, not all C-M's are instruments you'd want to play - mine looked beautiful and occasionally sounded great but is built very lightly and is very temperamental, I wish it's new owner, and the new owner of this Ebay violin, luck. Neil
  9. My new 5 string cello looks like a Baroque cello, but has a modern setup, strings, neck angle and bass bar. I asked the maker to fit it with a Baroque model bridge for appearance. Currently it has Aricore strings, and even allowing for it being brand new, the sound is good but too small and too polite compared to a 4 string cousin I've played, so I'm experimenting with strings etc. to ikmprove that. Are there any reasons why it might sound better with a modern French or Belgian bridge type? I think the Baroque style bridge fitted probably has more wood and less air than a modern design. All comments gratefully received.
  10. Does having an individual who wants YOU to make an instrument for them inspire you to greater heights or just stress you out?
  11. I'm trying to envisage what it must be like to make a bass...
  12. Manfio: when I was talking to makers before comissioning this cello, one of them told me that every time he finishes a cello back his thumbs hurt so much he swears he'll never make another one, so you're not alone - but he keeps on making them anyway :-)
  13. Manfio: Spirocore make a wound metal core cello E which is OK if a bit 'zingy'. Ellen at cellos2go.com also found out that Supersensitive make a Stellar E. This cello will use a custom Pirastro Aricore wound synthetic core E string. I wanted to start with the lowest tension strings I can, as there are 5 of them at modern pitch, and Aricores seem to be that. I have two Es to try in different tensions - Pirastro are just amazing if you need a special string.
  14. Kessi: the body shape is from the ex Amaryllis Fleming Amati bros 5 string. From what I can gather that's pretty early, C. 1600. The rib height is about the same as a standard 4/4 medium Strad model, so it's quite deep for the body length. In fact the upper bout is slightly wider than a medium Strad model, and the bottom bout around the same - it's like a full size cello with a 2" slice taken out of the C bouts across the instrument. I can only guess that the short body length is an attempt to get a quick responding top (and not too long a scale length) for the high E string, while the full body depth is to maintain a reasonable body air volume for the C string - any ideas? William Pleeth's book 'Cello' has a photo of 3 old cello models in progressive sizes which he reckons were used at the time for bass work, general music, and solo playing. This cello looks a bit like the 'solo' one of those.
  15. Seth: Yes, I got them from Chuck, they arrived very quickly after ordering. These have ebony heads, and we're waiting for him to ell s if it's possible to make a short one for the top pef (the pegbox is quite narow there) Jacob: Thanks, 'faux-Baroque' is just my name for the style, but I think it has character.
  16. Wmeng: the maker is Clive Morris of Wales, UK. Jacob: No, this one is 'faux Baroque' - it's meant to look quite Baroque, and to that end it will have a tailpiece without fine adjusters to match the fingerboard (fine adjustment will be by PegHed internally geared tuning pegs). However for practicality and volume it has a modern bass bar and neck angle, and will be set up with low tension wound synthetic core strings tuned C-G-D-A-E. I intend to play mostly 18th Century Scottish music on it alongside modern instruments, so I need modern cello volume and tuning stability. Clive made a full Baroque setup 5 string version several years ago for UK cellist Susan Sheppard.
  17. Here are a few photos of my new 5 string Amati based cello 'in the white' for anyone interested (it's being made for me, not by me!). I think it's an interesting model - body length is about 27 1/2 ". The body outline is of an original Bros Amati 5 string, f holes are diferent from the original of course. www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_top.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_back.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_neck.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_head_top.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_head_left.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_head_back.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_corner.jpg www.musi.co.uk/Cello/5_String_Amati_cello_C_bout.jpg
  18. Well that's rock 'n roll for you, trash the bass in the middle of a gig - but how? And why would anyone pay that much for this when they could buy a healthy student bass for several £'oo?
  19. Does anyone see in the subject of this post anything reminiscent of the kind of Indian/Pakistani/Asian produced 'new antiques' and rustic instruments which people sell in the streets for a dollar or two? You also find them in all shapes and forms in 'junque' shops in Europe, they even do full size kiddie carts which look quite convincing and 200 years old at first sight. This violin has several things that suggest that to me - the style of wood and varnish, rubbing in mud as 'antiqueing', oxidation on all the metal parts, the shape and overhang of the pegs, and the kind of iron wire you don't get in the West any more. If this really is old, why is there little or no wear on the body varnish even though it's strung up and with a bridge like it's been played?
  20. I'm having a 5 string cello made after an original Amati model, but modern setup with synthetic core strings. As it has a high E string and I'll be playing as high or low on the fingerboard as I choose, I don't actually need a full length modern fingerboard. That's just as well, because this model cello appears to have been created by removing about 2" from the length of the C bouts of a 4/4 Amati cello (the body is about 28" long), and I think a full length fingerboard would look odd. I suspect the fingerboard will probably stop about level with the upper corners. Will a shorter fingerboard have any appreciable effect on the sound due to an ounce or two less ebony, and conversely, do the apparently longer Baroque setup tailpieces I've seen also affect the sound? It will have Peghed geared tuning pegs and no fine tuners on the tailpiece.
  21. Neil Gow

    Scrolls

    Someone has to ask, might as well be me - what are your favourites among well know instruments? I think I'd go for : 1) The 1580 Gasparo De Salo double purfled viola in the Strad poster - that scroll to me has a life and style of its own, at least in the photos. It's interesting that this is so early yet so elegant, it reminds me more of flowing Classical sculpture than many better known later scroll shapes. 2) Il Cannone - that scroll is actually kind of ugly, but it's so in-yer-face, challenging and different that it has to be one of the great scrolls - interesting that its best known player was a bit the same?
  22. Yes and no - if I was thinking of spending just under $4K on a bow and I lived well away from dealers, I'd have simultaneous trial bows from every shop in the country who would trust me with such an item. You need to know it works well and it's the best for you that you can get for the money. I think if I was looking at investment/collecting and playing, I'd go for a silver or even nickel mounted old 'name' rather than a new (is this? looks it) gold bow. I've just put a bow of about this value up for sale with a UK (where I live) dealer. It's a lovely bow but It's not quite right for me. I prefer a new $400 Classical period bow to play and would rather have several of them I use plus some spare change than one expensive bow which sits in the case. If you buy a new gold bow you may lose $'00's immediately.
  23. Try posting that Q on one of the www.cello.org forums, you should get lots of answers.
  24. I think I have all the Carmignola Vivaldi recordings on Sony, and to me he sounds like he wrote it. That's coming from a modern point of view, having a prediliction for clean clear precise elegant sounds, and having been to Venice (his interpretation just fits so well with the city, as I suppose it should) . I suspect the mixing desk has something to do with the wide contrasts, and top quality studio reverb something to do with the sound - it does sound a little 'produced' at times. I heard them playing Vivaldi live near Venice, though, and the spirit was exactly what you hear on those recordings. Above all, he sounds Italian to me - by contrast, to my ears Andrew Manze sounds English whatever he plays.
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