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Posts posted by scordatura

  1. Currently you will wait two years or more for a Bellini. Recently I tried a three day old unplayed violin by Bellini. It was an awesome instrument considering it was unplayed. He takes his time and is very meticulous.

    A word of caution about your maker assessments. No one can make instruments that sound the same. Granted some are more consistent than others but...

  2. If you have some grainy wood, commonly you'd like to use a filler of some sort to get a smoother surface for the final finishing. Would it be terribly surprising if the Cremonese did that? And what "filler" would they be likely to use?

    Yes. And the lack of minerals on the top would explain that they needed to fill the more porous maple and not the spruce. I wonder if top samples showed mineral/filler from other studies? And is the particulate matter merely visual and accidentally acoustic or only visual?

  3. Perhaps they used something which was known to wood finishers as a standard, tried and true sealer and protectant, before putting on their fancy colored stuff. Maybe the more durable sealer didn't lend itself well to adding transparent colors, so they needed switch to something else for the colored layers.

    Just guesses, obviously, but I like to think of them as practical people.

    I am with you on this one. I highly doubt that they spent lots of time and energy with varnish outside the conventions of the time. If anything, they took existing methods and tweaked as they saw fit.

    It occurs to me that the mineral content that we find (that is sometimes missing depending on the sample studied) could be a means of smoothing after scraping. Remnants of the sanding material are what MAY constitute their presence.

    I know that some of you will get hot and bothered that Strad and others ONLY used scrapers. Or if you believe Sacconi and others used horsetail or fish skin post scraping. Perhaps there may have been another method...

  4. And yet Echard's recent study claims no mineral ground was found [allegedly] on Spruce.


    Depending on the sample(s) used there seems to be some inconsistencies in the various studies. The recent strad article did point out basic agreement between the three systems outlined.

  5. Sergio Peresson was an interesting maker. Much sought after in the 70s and 80s. His fame was secured when Jacqueline DuPre used one of his cellos. Eugene Fodor was another proponent. Many of the Philadelphia Orchestra members at least at one time used his instruments. The better instruments have good volume and projection.

    In model and approach he evolved into a maker that took a left turn. Worked for Moennig. Some became critical of him after the demand went up. His fiddles go for a decent amount.

  6. On a less than scientific hunch, I feel that there is something to the acoustic properties of the sealer (the first contact with the wood). Not only the composition but the method of application. I have found that Sacconi's, Peresson's and Zigs clues reguarding this to be thought provoking.

  7. Potassium silicate has a ph of 11.3. At least this was from an online source. Not sure of the concentration. I had heard that the alkaline nature of waterglass is bad for the wood over the long term. As pointed out above it is hydroscopic. But then again so is wood...

    Did the cremonese have access to potassium silicate?

  8. Read most of the blog posts about the viola and cello. Some interesting points about violin making. Pretty well written too.

    I enjoy his preferance/exploration of poplar and willow vs the maple dominance. He also does not shy away from slab cut backs/sides.

  9. Hi Matthew;

    I spoke with John about that particular talk after the workshop, and he mentioned that he might work with his son to put it down on paper... for later presentation or possibly publication. I thought it to be a good idea.

    Going into the subject in detail might be interesting here, but some of what I found memorable and insightful when John talked personally was that knowing the guy (or for some, at the very least, knowing the guy's work), and hearing how he approaches his work, gave the subject real "weight"... so let's give him some time and see what he comes up with?

    For those who are curious, to touch on the subject generally, John discussed the general order in which he plans an executes a restoration. It sprung from feeling that many kind of "dived in" without a specific plan/order in mind. He felt it was hard to "win" the job (have top notch results) if things were done "out of order". Simple things (like having a general approach plan and budget or cleaning the instrument before disassembly) as well as more technical things (working from the center of the plate out when dealing with significant deformation/reinforcement/flaws) were covered within the talk.

    I can respect this. It is for this very reason that I am leary of posting information from a visit that I had with Luiz Bellini. Out of respect for him I need to ask before I post. It is fair to say that he is not bad with antiquing :)

  10. Also, at Oberlin, John Becker gave an overview and order to how he approaches a restoration. I found it to be very helpful to have an overall approach from such an experienced person. If some of the more experienced antiquers on this site feel so inclined, it would be very helpful to hear your approach to antiquing, especially an order of operations. John gave an order to every restoration he handles. It was very organized and well thought out. I'm thinking of something like that for antiquing.


    Could you share some details about Becker's system?

  11. You guys need to keep in mind that Don was part of the team thay designed the Mars rovers that the original spec was for 90 sols (Martian days). The Opportunity rover has lasted 2737 sols. That is off the charts "over engineering". That gets my deep respect and could be beyond the scope of most fiddle engineering. Remember the shuttle tiles?

  12. how long do strings, dominants last, on strung up instruments only rarely played, if its 6 months ive got 20 instruments to string and over 800 to spend on strings!!

    Strings that are not being played would have a longer life than those that are being constantly played. Strings under tension will very slowly degrade over time.

  13. I would describe the sound of strings that need to be replaced as dull and less reponsive than they need to be. When you put dominants on they are buzzy and metallic. Dependiing on how much playing you are doing, you need a minimum of four days and as much as a week for them to settle in. If the instrument is not being played it may take more time. This is provided that the instrument is not very dark to start with.

    After strings have been played out they lose the overtones and the small amount of sizzle that is desirable. It feels like you have to be more aggressive to get the sound you want vs the sound being there.

  14. My respectful advice to you would be to listen really careful to renditions of Beethoven by Kreisler, Enesco, Szeryng, Grumieux, Ferras and from the moderns, Isabelle Faust. And, by the way, Beethoven was an excessive sentimental. Quie mad, you know...

    And that's about it.

    Ditto on Szeryng and Kreisler!

  15. I used to be an admin of a very active board. We used a different software (vBulletin) and had some problems with the search. It was better than here at MN but only a bit. The indexing was an absolute pig with resources though. We scheduled it for the wee hours of the morning. Fond memories...The board software is not bad othewise here at MN.

    Someone should sticky to use google to search.

  16. looking at the Cozio Calendar it lists Janos Starker as playing the 'Lord Aylesford Strad' I've always thought he played a Gofriller. Does he own both or has he changed cellos in the last 10 years?

    BTW that Del Gesu cello is really hard to play but I bet in the right hands it would be awesome!


    Starker has not had the Strad for many years. When I was at Indiana in the early 80s he was playing the Gofriller. The Aylesford is a large instrument and Starker did not like playing it for that reason. His Gofriller is gorgeous.

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