Giovanni Corazzol

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About Giovanni Corazzol

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  • Birthday 02/09/1970

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    Siracusa, Italy

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  1. Jerry, I am happy to hear this really, I am aware that I can rely too much on "conventional" rules and I should rather say "I hope that there is a consensus on this"! I usually don't want to change things that are working good, and in case an instrument with a slanted post (if the fit is OK) needs servicing, I will pay attention and try to understand why it's been made this way. But, please can you explain further: Mat was talking about "moving a sound post", and whenever I make small movements of the top of the post, I try to adjust its back too, (and restore "vertical") if I'm moving it North <-> South, but if I move the top on the East <-> West axis, and I find any improvement, I don't always move the back. My idea was that this doesn't ruin the fit (if the movement is very small) most of the times, while in bringing the top nearer or farther from the bridge without moving the back end, it's easier to create a gap. If I make a bigger movement, and bring the soundpost out of vertical, it will need trimming and I can't put it back where it was before... I am sure that my scheme is too rigid and that I need to look at the acoustical function of the instrument's back with more attention. I am looking forward to reading your answer, thanks to you and to David for posting (or recalling) all this useful information.
  2. No, it's the measurement taken along the arching. Caliper is around 131mm
  3. I would like to say something about contemporary making in Italy from my point of view. I am an Italian maker and (mostly, for now) repairer and I was trained in Cremona, had a home-based workshop there for some years before moving south to Sicily. I believe that many of the instruments that so-called (calling themselves?) "makers" buy in-white from Bulgaria, Romania, China, then varnish and set-up (sometimes badly), are sold in our domestic market, with the assistance of complacent music teachers. I am not saying that there are few counterfeit instruments selling in the US and in other markets, it's just that our students are often the first who pay the price of this situation. Secret commissions are very high and widespread, while "legitimate" shop owners, can only rely to selling their products and services to a smaller, more knowledgeable group of professionals if they want to stay out of that swamp. It takes years, it's very frustrating and that's why I am still trying to move and work in another country. My "plan B" was to move back to Cremona, but having seen how far and long this debate is going among foreign customers and violin enthusiasts, I am asking to myself whether to look for an alternative. This is sad for me, because I really enjoyed living in Cremona for 12 years. Everyone should keep in mind that Italy is a corrupt nation, and that the enduring economic crisis has definitely made things worse, even in the wealthier and, in some ways, more orderly parts of Italy. The positive commercial reputation that Cremona had made in the past has been eroded and tainted in our own country. How many teachers are traveling there just to find cheap, "attractive" instruments that they will resell to their pupils. For myself, I have tried to build connections with the United States for a couple of years now. Perhaps I will specialize in "Skype violin making sessions" or something like that, but I think that wouldn't be very productive. A lot of fun, indeed! Secondly, I am trying to distance myself from the "Cremona standard" with a more personal style and it's true that having many people living and working door-to-door makes some stylistical trends almost ubiquitous; and more, there have been some senior masters who were much in control of the newcomer's market, who used to impose their style and idiosyncrasies upon the young makers in order to get more saleable instruments, especially for the Japanese market. This is not a straight and hard criticism towards all Cremonese makers, "siamo intesi". And finally, "buyers beware"! Be it for violins, or wine, or Parmigiano Reggiano, one should be aware where he/she is putting their money... Giovanni
  4. I think that there is a consensus on the soundpost looking vertical when viewed from the side, apart from this, moving the base of the soundpost slightly nearer to the ribs, or towards the back's centerline, can be a way to adjust the soundpost tension when needed. I do that on basses especially (They rarely need "seasonal" soundposts and bridges here in Sicily). When I make a new soundpost, I always try to make it vertical also when looking from the button/endpin hole. I think that Donbarzino's answer is in perfect agreement with another fact, that is, quality of contact of the soundpost with top plate is very important (2nd string especially). Chungviolins' advice is something that we recommend to musicians in our workshop, but sometimes they say that they are a bit afraid to do that.
  5. Hello, Tango! I am posting some measurements taken from a viola we made for a student in 2017. It turned out to be successful so we made another one this year. Minimum width at the CC bouts is 135 mm on our instrument. The stop line is at 220 mm, top arching height is 19 mm. Span between upper eyes is 52 mm but --- we use a 48 mm bridge and the bassbar is positioned according to that bridge width, regardless of the upper eyes' position. For viola, we set the bassbar 1,5 mm inside the bridge foot. Our viola is loosely based on Guadagnini's style and not an exact copy, and when it was time to make the f-hole cuts, I decided to draw f-holes freehand on the top plate and made a template out of that. One reason why we make student instruments in our workshop is that we can make "experiments" and have a small income at the same time; then we bring all the findings into the making of better quality instruments. In this way we can still give some service to our local musician's community but we strongly depend on foreign markets for the survival of our business. I hope that in these dire times for Argentina, you can find your way to develop your style and be successful. Cheers, Giovanni
  6. Salvatore Costa is a luthier currently living and operating a workshop in the Palermo area. I think that he, like myself, has only a small production of new instruments and he is busy with repairs and set-up. If you need any information from him about this instrument or his current activity, feel free to send me a personal message and I will help you. Giovanni
  7. "Liquin" painting medium has already shown some negative effects over the years. I remember that there is a thread, here on Maestronet, containing information about this one and other products it's better to avoid entirely.
  8. Hi all, I would like to share some findings about a chemical compound, that is, ethyl lactate, (C5H10O3). It is sold as a solvent for both natural and synthetic resins, and as a replacement for xylene, because it is less toxic and it's also "environmentally friendly". I don't know anyone who uses it in violin restoration, it probably has more application in restoration of paintings. I decided to try it as a thinner for my (spirit) retouching varnish, that's what I found: brushability is improved it seems to help when mixing some dry pigment in (Orasol); when colored varnish dries in the palette, I can redissolve it with the ethyl lactate more easily works with Deft too! Using ehtyl lactate like it is usually done with xylene is not possible but, it would be ok for stripping varnish of course. Looking forward to reading your comments, there's always a lot to learn here on Maestronet. Giovanni
  9. I will try the hair dryer method the next time (there will be a next time, unfortunately)! And, yes, I have Vulpex soap in the workshop but, I have used it with distilled water only. If I understand well, dissolving in mineral spirits helps in getting all the oily stuff out... I have another question: is it good practice to try to bleach the wood before retouching, or it just makes the wood even weaker? I usually try to hide the grey/greenish hue with some aniline dyes but, sometimes the rib wood looks so bad...
  10. @tony echavidrethe yellowing effect that you noticed looks interesting to me. Could it be that the chemical reactions causing the polymerization also affect the wood? And, have you tried rosin oil as a ground? What is the difference between rosin oil and linseed oil used in this way? Can they be used in combination?
  11. Recently I had to clean and retouch a violin whose upper treble rib was looking so bad because of perspiration, and the wood was an ugly grey color, covered with a layer of dirt + something looking like mold... I noticed that the inside of the upper ribs had been covered with a layer of hide glue in an attempt to make an old repair hold better. Since perspiration can get through a rib, I think that the problem cannot be fixed completely unless the violin can be cleaned on the inside, and I told my customer. I did my best to clean and retouch the outside and I used a basic retouching varnish for that (dewaxed shellac+manila copal). Is there a way to "neutralize" the glue layer without having to open the instrument? The liners may come loose! A question for @Jeffrey Holmes: the transparent plastic sheet for books is the thing I wanted to use but it's hard for me to find a fresh product here. I couldn't make it stick to the rib well enough and I think that the glue dries after the product stays on the shelf for some time. What is the other product you were talking about? thank you so much!
  12. Hello, Tony! Nice to meet you again here on Maestronet. Have you made any experiments with Roger Hargrave's method for the ground already? I am following a different approach now (more along Gregg Alf method) that is, a ground layer made by mixing mineral particles (pumice, pozzolana) into varnish -- it works for me. Giuseppa is going to try a different ground soon, it's a refractive liquid with a very strong smell that looks like oil but I think it's drying much harder, she got it last year at Mondomusica. I believe she needs to use some kind of sizing first, anyway I suggested to her to apply it with a small sponge to avoid soaking the wood too much.
  13. Hello Palousian, if you expect that the humidity rate is going to be lower in the next months, and if you see that the hair is getting too tight, you can unscrew the frog temporarily and hold it to the bow stick with a rubberband or something like that, and ask the luthier if he/she can gain a little bit of hair length by trimming the head plug, if possible. I learned that the rehair person has to be aware of the weather condition in the area and also where the musician is going to, in order to prevent any problems. I usually leave the head plug as high as possible so that I can take some wood away if necessary, but here in Sicily we have the opposite problem and the hair stretches a lot with the humidity from the sea during the summer, so I try to set the hair just a bit tight, never sloppy or baggy. I know that the hair I normally use (Siberian) stretches during the first weeks. So, I think it depends on the climate in your region for this season.
  14. this is going far from the original question but it is getting interesting anyway! I believe that a good spirit varnish is totally acceptable on a violin even today but, if I chose to buy varnish, I would go for oil varnish. Anyway, it seems wise to me to choose a varnish that will develop a nice, good-looking patina over the years. That's the main reason why I decided to try oil varnish and this was the advice some older makers gave to me. A hard oil varnish looks a nonsense to me and I would fear that it does not age well. I remember discussing this with Gio Batta Morassi years ago, and he had an anecdote about a maker who brought a varnished violin top to a meeting, he showed everyone that the varnish was so tough and he couldn't scratch it, even by rubbing it hard against the bench. This varnish would have obviously turned an instrument sound dead. After some time I started experimenting with Fulton varnishes and I made some terpene resin, but I decided to use natural pine resin instead, and I still have a jar of untreated Fulton resin that is now more than ten years old. But, if I remember well, Fulton wrote that a freshly made resin is necessary in order to prepare the red colors. I wonder if this old terpene resin can be simply heated (with precautions) and turned into a coloring matter for varnish. Would it turn dark brown or greenish brown perhaps? It would be useful if it gave a transparent, warm dark brown.
  15. @JacksonMaberry that's why I recommended a "commercial" (I would say made by a professional) ground... I think that making a good ground can be harder than making a decent varnish... Refractive ground has become much more popular now but, when I was a student I knew about just one company making such a product - it was Northern Renaissance Instruments' Rosin Oil, but it was too complicated for me at the time to buy from abroad (no Internet, no online payments) and anyway, the company discontinued that product after some time because it seems that the process was costly and hazardous. I know just one other way to use colophony in a ground coat (this is from my Cremona school years too): Michelman's varnish (linseed oil+rosinate+turpentine spirits). A maker showed me how to use it as a ground. His method was to mix up enough of the ingredients for two coats, then give a first light coat; on the following day he would take the remainder of the varnish, which was in an already "gelling" form, and use it to fill the pores by rubbing it on the wood. He would finish the instrument with a spirit varnish afterwards. Since the Michelman's varnish can be made using colored rosinates, this is the kind of ground that I would like to experiment next. For now, I am sticking to Gregg Alf's method of mixing up varnish and tripoli powder. What do you think?