martin swan

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  1. It belongs to the Nippon Foundation. They have recently introduced a policy of 7 year maximum loans, which means that performers can no longer make a career on a particular instrument.
  2. It's actually not an uncommon experience ....but I suppose the big question is what we were all listening for. I can only speak for myself - in that situation I was listening for what you might call "completeness of tone", but also for clarity in fast passages. And most importantly, how relaxed the performance felt. Ultimately small differences in tone are not as important as the expressiveness that any given performer can achieve with a particular set of kit.
  3. Bein & Fushi used to be the place. Chris Reuning has a very good reputation and is better known internationally than Philip Kass. A Christophe Landon certificate also carries some weight. Bows, whole other story ...
  4. I had an interesting experience with Veronika Eberle trying bows in the Berliner Philharmoniker Hall. There were 3 of us, and the lights were down. She took a bunch of bows (2 Peccattes, 2 Persoits and a Simon), laid them out in front of her in random order and played. Number 4 was by far the best with her violin (the Dragonetti Strad) - we all agreed. So we turned the lights up and identified what bow number 4 was. Then we put the lights down, she mixed them all up and laid them out and tried them again. "Number 2" we all cried. We put the lights up ... it was the same bow.
  5. Severe case of cart before horse here. These are the parameters that need to be observed .... 1. a bridge is a compromise between bow clearance over the c bouts, downbearing and damping - generally this means getting it as low as possible 2. overstand needs to be at least a minimum height for comfort of playing in high positions 3. overstand should not be too great or the neck will feel too chunky 4. (and this one is hotly debated here) nut should not be too high in relation to the plane of the belly or it will exercise too much torque on the top block and warp the belly 5. action should be high enough to be resistant and buzz-free but low enough not to slice your fingers up Put all these together and what do you get? A string angle over the bridge of around 158. This is not a rule, merely an invaluable approximate starting point. Rather than being some arbitrary imposition of a number on the process of making a violin, the convention of a 158 degree string angle is a result of observing other constraints and pursuing certain goals with regard to tone and playability. The "Gand & Bernardel" approach with a dropped nut is a significant historic deviation from this otherwise generally observed pattern. With a conventional overstand this inevitably means a bridge that's a bit too high, resulting in what people erroneously describe as "the French sound". With a low overstand and a conventional bridge height it feels very uncomfortable in the high reaches of the fingerboard.
  6. It looks like a very nice English violin of the period, more in the style of Chanot than Paul Bailly ... pity the varnish isn't original
  7. Paolo's Blog is great! I think it's important not to get terminology mixed up - the bow doesn't have a sound, it's a means of producing sound. Recently we had a very important bow recambered - it had been given a modern 20th century camber and we returned it to something closer to what the maker (early 19th century) would have done. The sound it produces on a violin has changed quite radically, and yet it's the same piece of wood. The resulting change is to do with the way the bow contacts the string, and the fact that the spring is now more forgiving.
  8. As rudall says, these are most likely homemade assay marks too ...
  9. Sospiri, we hashed this out in gory detail a while back, but I think pretty much everyone involved in this professionally would say that a good starting point for set-ups on "regular" violins would be a string angle of 158 over the bridge and a bridge height of around 34mm. If you aim for these, then all other measurements (overstand, fingerboard projection etc) must fall into place depending on the height of your arching etc. Mostly it's a good idea to start from this safe centre ground and then gradually start experimenting over many hundreds of violins until you arrive at your own personal, well reasoned path. With time you may find yourself observing a very similar geometry while somehow arguing that string angle doesn't matter! The Lady Blunt is a very odd example to choose as one of the few remaining Stradivaris with its original neck, and much more of a museum piece than a player's instrument. I would also suggest that anyone who thinks to master violin set-up by googling is heading up a major blind alley.
  10. To hallmark the silver parts of any bow that has historic value is an act of vandalism. Fortunately the person who does this seems to restrict himself to hallmarking crap.
  11. These are found on pimped up cheap bows oversold on Ebay by a deranged individual whose company name is FX Strings.
  12. Same tree or same age and climate signature ... It’s a pretty crucial difference. I can’t remember the last time we had a dendro done that didn’t feature a couple of Strads and del Gesus along with a whole slew of lesser Italians, French, Klozs etc ... same tree match is a whole other story, and rare enough between violins made by the same maker ... Dendro has to be understood primarily as a tool for determining the earliest possible date of manufacture. Nothing more ...