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Posts posted by scordatura

  1. Rosin oil is one of the products I like to avoid. It can be polymerized initially to seem dry, but then the "essential oil" content continues to evaporate, rendering it more brittle with time.

    It's just part of my quest to deliver a stable sounding instrument to the customer. Stradivari may not have known, or cared, so this has nothing to do with whether it may have been used historically.

    Care to tell us what you use as a sealer and ground? I am not holding my breath on this one... :)

  2. The article didn't mention that Mann preferred the Castelbarco violin, just stated that he didn't like the Betts.

    From my own playing of the Library of Congress violins (about 30 to 40 minutes, in total, for the 3 Strads and the Kreisler del Gesu), I agree with you on the Castelbarco. It was butter smooth under the ear, but no sizzle, a one tonal color instrument, great for the living room but not a concert quality instrument. I thought the Ward had the same limitations. My favorite of them all was the Betts, which really let you lean into the instrument and pull whatever tone you wanted. The del Gesu was a close 2nd. But those impressions were from a rather short exposure to the instruments.

    The curator told me that Mann preferred the Castlebarco. I agree one dimensional sound.

    I loved both the Betts and the Kreisler. I preferred the Kreisler as I could push the instrument more without it giving up. I would kill to have either though. :)

  3. Whatever your name is who tunes himself up a bit.

    Tiger woods could hit a ball with just about any club, as could a good player use a violin.

    Comparing the design of golf clubs to violins is a little bit far fetched.

    Did you read the article? Jensen a good player states that she was playing on inadequate instruments. Im sure she sounded ok. Professional golfers do not play off the shelf clubs. Professional musicians play the best instruments they can afford or find. You mustn't be a golfer are ya laddie? ;)

  4. Why is there this negative attitude expressed here to Sam's work. Surely we should be celebrating the fact that makers like him are pioneering an acceptance and a good price for contemporary work. Sam is the real deal as far as I am concerned and when I met him last year I met a very cool and humble person. I doubt that Sam is getting rich on following his passion of lutherie. If we can't get the same results as Sam it is better we look at ourselves


    The negative attitude is jealousy or frustration, which are natural human emotions. Why should we take something away from someone who is successful at doing something that most people on this planet couldn't give a hoot about?

    At around 6 instruments a year would gross 324k for doing somthing that is your passion. Not a bad life if you think about it.

  5. My own feeling is that while Zig's instruments may be overpriced, more power to him. He is getting the same money as Kinberg, Becker, Peresson and even older makers are going for. He is obviously excellent but he has been clever enough or lucky enough to have gotten the interest of Stern, the Emerson Quartet, Jensen, etc. This is advertising for his instruments. Get a big soloist to play on one of your instruments and you will watch your prices go up. Did the instruments themselves change? Probably not. It is perception.

    When I visited with Luiz Bellini a while ago, he recognized how Ricci put him on the map. It was by pure chance that when Ricci was in Francais’shop one of the other restorers pointed Ricci to Bellini’s instrument that was hanging nearby. That changed his career. He is a first rate maker and copier but without Ricci he may not be as recognized or taken longer for him to establish is name. It allowed him to eventually leave Francais and make full time.

    This process reminds me of golf clubs. If Tiger Woods plays Nike clubs then they must be something special. What many golfers do not realize is that while they are Nike clubs, he has a highly tweaked custom set--far from off the shelf. If fact what he plays would be detrimental to the average or even decent golfer. The same can be said for violins. An average player might want a "game improvement" violin that covers up technical inadequacies whereas an accomplished player has greater control and needs an instrument that has more potential to tap into.

  6. Was the same bow used in these cross-preference tests?

    Why is optimal bow-violin matching ignored in these types of discussions?

    Don't make too much of this as this was not an empirical find out which is "best" test. All I can tell you is that my observation was that the Castlebarco lacked sonority (or the sizzle as Jensen describes)...not matter what bow or bows you used on it. You have to work to get that instrument to sound. I forget what strings were on the instrument. If memory serves I did use more than one bow, one of which was a Tourte.

    For the record, I wholeheartedly subscribe to matching a bow to the instrument.

  7. -- The Betts Stradivari, in the Library of Congress, was disliked by Robert Mann of the Juilliard String Quartet but very much liked by Joel Smirnoff, Mann's successor in the quartet. Just goes to show how personal the preference for a violin can be, and goes to show that talking about how good or bad a fiddle is without considering the player can be pretty meaningless.

    I find the above very interesting. I have played those instruments a few times and found the castlebarco instrument that mann prefered to clearly be lackluster tonally. It really does not have the sonority that the betts or the ward have. The first time I played it I thought nice fiddle but not a players instrument. Different strokes for different folks...I could be wrong but if you had twenty or so players try the three strads, not many would pick the castlebarco.

  8. Remember your instrument is always worth less going into a shop

    than out. The denial of authenticity followed by an offer to buy

    sounds more than suspicious. More like criminal.

    That being said, here is a picture of a Ventapane cello for

    your viewing pleasure.

    If you can find an honest dealer who will appraise the violin

    for you, please do. You must realize that most dealers will either

    want to consign the instrument before giving an appraisal, or

    charge 10% or more of the actual value for a certification.

    Very few major dealers will simply hand you an appraisal if it's real;

    that's for them tantamout to giving you 200K when they're not even making

    a penny.

    I'm sorry to tell you the art world is as corrupt as it gets.

    Best of luck with your violin!

    Wow...that is one beautiful cello.

  9. I cut my miter slots with a Dremel held on a Dremel 220-01 Workstation. I move the garland under the bit by hand much like a milling machine. I am done is a few minutes.


    Stay Tuned.


    I do the same with my drill press on the highest speed. I make sure that the cutter is not sticking out too far from the chuck. I use a bungee to hold the spindle down.

  10. The price you quote for the Rosand fiddle is correct as I remember it from the Strad. Don't be misled about del Gesu/Strad; some say tomato, some say tomahto. Doesn't make one more valuable than the other. Cellists, for instance, often prefer Venetian school.

    (And hang onto your hat: another fiddle is said to be coming to market with an MSRP in the neighborhood of $18 million. Some neighborhood, eh?)

    If you are talking about the Vieuxtemps del gesu, it is in play and the asking is 18 million.

  11. If one is going to put that much money into instruments it would be smart to purchase those that have provenance. Certificates like hill, wurlitzer, beare, etc help. If you buy instruments with no provenance caveat emptor. Many if not most have a history. In my opinion there are not many attic, monestary, castle instruments that are undiscovered.

  12. Have we had a discussion on Maestronet about the meaning of dark and bright sound? There are some really interesting discussions on other forums, the clarinettists have thrashed this one out, the flautists have been arguing about it for years.

    Does it mean "bassy" vs "trebly"?

    Yes. I would also add smooth or gritty or harsh, more core sound (fundemental) or more complex (more overtones).

    That's interesting, so could you demonstrate that to yourself by drawing the bows over open strings?

    Yes but you need to have enough bow technique to vary the speed, pressure and sounding point (the lane that the bow contacts the string relative the the bridge and fingerboard). The relationship of the above dictates the volume and color or timbre

    I know, but I'd like to keep the "feel" of the bow out of the picture in this discussion, if possible. Personally I also find it hard not to take account of the appearance of the bow, and the price.

    What I would like to know is, for example, how much influence does the weight of the bow have on the sound, just drawing the bow over the string like a machine?

    And what about the density?

    I believe that the relationship of weight, density, camber, bow graduation, design and vibration speed (lucci meter) combine to influence sound characteristics. Leaving out the bow hair and rosin variables.

  13. Bows do vary quite a bit in how they sound. Some sound darker or brighter. There is also a difference in the ability to produce different color witin the basic sound. In other words some bows have one sound and others have more sound flexibility. It is also hard to not take into account the feel balance and weight of the bow when assessing sound. I like to find an instrument that I like and match a bow to the instrument. Certain bows bring out characteristics or compensate for quailties. E.g. a bright instrument can be matched with a bow that darkens it a bit.

  14. Did you mean to say this? If you base pitch on the lower note (which is correct), the 4th finger is what you must adjust as the base note must be solid. Now you want to adjust the 1st finger to get the lower pitch in tune, then adjust the 4th finger (or 3rd if using fingered octaves) to match (or temper from) the lower pitch. There is no magic bullet for playing octaves except a lot of practice. Practicing extended intervals such as 10ths will help expand the hand postion and make octaves feel more comfortable - if that is an issue.

    I absoulutely mean to say this. If I may toot my own horn or bow my own violin, I have excellent octaves.

    What I mean is that it is MUCH easier to move the 1st finger when you are adjusting from one octave to another than sliding the fourth finger. When I am going to a higher octave I move my first finger closer to the fourth. I do the opposite when descending. The fourth finger shares the same tendon as the third. The mobility of the first finger is leagues better than the fourth.

    Another important aspect is to voice the octave in such a way that the lower note is slightly louder or more present than the higher.

    There are few things that are absolute in playing...well almost absolute. This approach to octaves is correct! Fingered octaves is another issue.

  15. After watching the videos of the oldwood 1700 where they are applying a glaze of artist oil paint right out of the tube I think I may try that to get a layer of color and then a thin finish coat of varnish on top. In the video they describe it as oil paint and medium. So I think they are thinning the paint a little bit with medium? It's been a long time since I did any painting!

    I have done the glazing technique. It worked well. Excellent color saturation and the ability to shade the color if you wish. You might also research fulton's glazing technique. From what I remember it was described in Ed Campbell's little red book. One thing that is suggested it to apply a varnish coat over the glaze before it fully dries.

  16. Sorry, not an official violin term. nono.gif

    And in our business, it carries a certain ambiance, like a physician noting in the records that a patient had diarrhea by writing, “Dat feller coulda $hit through a screen door”. :D

    Suggestions for an official term? We need something which sounds as lofty and sophisticated as other words we use, such as "chatoiancy" and "dichroism".

    Belly laugh!

  17. Hiya Julian,

    Strobel is ok, but for starters I'd nudge you toward Sacconni and Weishaar, if you can get a copy of each. I photocopied mine, took hours but worth every second.

    I use both split and sawn, prefer split because it's bound to be straight where sawn can be a bit off. This helps when working the ends of the violin front. Particulalry helps with bass bars. Otherwise it's up to you to find a good supplier of tonewood.

    Melvin G. had an amazing selection of wood last I saw. I get stuff from Andreas Gleissner, mainly because they are very reliable, they can also supply me with a one piece split front, or some wild flamed backs, as well as 'normal stuff', & it's all good quality.

    I started with 4 Ashely Isles gouges, they were good enough and still are. I like the old Sorby ones.

    A very flat gouge is invaluable for cleaning up scrolls.

    You shouldn't need very many tools.

    The Pfiel gouges are hard wearing steel, any good make of gouge will do as long as you like and feel comfortable with the handles....so if I had to start over again I'd go for a set of Japanese gouges with short blades and short ball handles, for scrolls. A separate set for the plates. What I ended up doing was collecting many gouges new and old, cutting two inches off the end of the blades, and making some very short scroll gouges. If you can afford to buy em all new, then do so.


    Who is Melvin G. ?

  18. I am going to keep records of impact spectra. I want to have an idea how the temp and humidity effect things. Right now my workshop is in my basement which can get pretty humid during summer even with a dehumidifier. Also reading the strad letter about the effect of humidity in the ct scans regarding density reminded me about it. After all if you are going to take the trouble to measure things why not go all of the way.

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