martin swan

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About martin swan

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  1. Gasparo Duffenpraegar

    Never actually seen one of these in the flesh but I believe the Derazey shop made them then JTL.
  2. Bow familiar to anyone?

    yes, something wrong there, even with a light tinsel lapping
  3. Well, not to beat about the bush, I don't see anything of Fétique in this bow. The head chamfers are clumsy and far too close to the plane of the back of the head, the adjuster is not Fétique for sure, more like a Prosper Colas or inferior Mirecourt, the throat of the frog is much too shallow and the thumb projection too short and the wrong shape (though I suppose it could be filed down) - everything is quite inelegant.
  4. Well it's getting cheaper the longer we discuss it!
  5. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Yes, the only kinds of buyers I meet are searchers, people who wish to try a lot of instruments (not just from me either). And all are searching for that special voice ... I can only think of one client in the last few years who didn't choose the most beautiful sound, and he was a young concertmaster who needed to assert himself and be heard by the rest of the orchestra above all other considerations. However, not even he was looking for a neutral palette ... he just wasn't that concerned about the lower register. Even the rare customers who tell me they are more concerned with investment value than sound always switch lanes later in the process. I have real trouble imagining a different kind of customer, but they must exist. You have described yourself that way. For such customers, I think the road of commissioning a new instrument could be very rewarding.
  6. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    I am with Curious1 on this. Maybe there is a breed of muscular pro players who say "I don't want to be given a sound, I make the sound" and maybe such a player is more likely to gravitate towards modern makers than old instruments, but I just don't meet these people. This is the sort of "Formula 1 car" paradigm, where the violin is a functional tool subservient to the genius of the player. I'm much more familiar with the "soulmate" paradigm, where in addition to this utilitarian side, people are looking to be inspired or to fall in love. There are endless interviews with famous soloists speaking in exactly this way about their instrument, though I suppose we just don't hear much from the Nigel Mansell types. A conversation I had yesterday with a client is typical. He is a very accomplished concertmaster (or leader of the orchestra as we call them here), and he has had 2 del Gesus on loan during his career, so he's someone with considerable experience. Right now he's looking for an instrument to buy for himself. Talking about what he was looking for, the most pertinent thing he said was that if for example he was performing "The Lark Ascending", he wanted to be able to start on an open D, rather than having to start on a stopped G string just so he could make a nice noise ... He was looking for an instrument which, at its least manipulated, had a complex and captivating voice. I agree that there should be a neutrality in the way the instrument responds across the range ie. it should be consistently responsive everywhere, but this is a property which can be found on humpty sounding violins as well as great ones. This is really a sine qua non. Beyond that, people always try violins against other violins, and they are looking to be seduced ...
  7. Reg

    I would still be a bit cautious - you'd really expect an Italian violin made in 1949 to still have a receipt from the maker 5 years later. There was as much money to be made passing something off as Italian then as there is now. In this case I would simply show it to Dmitry Gindin or Eric Blot - without a paper from a heavyweight you don't got s**t. I'm afraid Hamilton Caswell and Christopher Marlow will simply have endorsed the Paul Voigt certificate without necessarily having a reference example or any kind of photographic archive of Bobbi's work. I'm not claiming to know either way - I just start from a position of doubt. I had hoped someone on MNet would know a Bobbi when they saw one (or not).
  8. German or English bow?

    I would have said a German "Tubbs copy" - there's a nod in that direction but the nose is very fat and the proportions and collar of the adjuster aren't very Tubbs at all!
  9. Evaluating a Violin

    Well, a violinist is only a violinist up to the point when they are actually parting with money. Then they suddenly become a collector, and the resale value of the instrument becomes paramount.
  10. and look carefully at the photos
  11. Germany or French

    Sorry yes, should have said sold. but sold by the artisan to the wholesaler or by the wholesaler to the retailer? or both?
  12. Germany or French

    As several have said, the "JB Schweitzer ad forman Hieronymus Amati Pestini" violins would be the most common example of this type.
  13. Germany or French

    Dutzendarbeit is a technical term. It means a violin which was made "by the dozen". There is a relatively wide range of quality, but there's no getting away from the fact that these are objects made by people with no responsibility for the sound or for customer satisfaction. So it's a bit of an oxymoron to say that "Dutzendarbeit" carries negative connotations. The term denotes low grade work, even if it happens to look quite pretty.
  14. This post has been deleted

    Seconded. Jacob may be short on social niceties, but he can tell me to piss off any day. Yes, many people who work on violins (makers or restorers) are of a curmudgeonly disposition, and some dealers are so exclusive they probably put a clothespeg on their own nose to take a s**t, but I don't agree, as some have suggested in this thread, that these attitudes are damaging to the trade. What's damaging to the trade is relieving people of more cash than is appropriate, or exploiting specialist knowledge for unfair advantage. To return to the original post, I'm sure I'm not the only one who becomes impatient with clients who know more than me because they've spent a few days online. I am constantly trying to unpick peoples' false beliefs and to help them to make informed choices, but expertise is dead now, and years of patient study and application mean nothing. It can be very hard to stay polite in the face of professional disrespect.
  15. This post has been deleted

    Likewise. I have had two examples of this in the last couple of weeks, where someone has been persuaded to spend a lot of money "preparing an instrument for sale" on the basis of a serious and wilful overestimation of the instrument's value. Much better to have someone like Jacob tell you to piss off when you turn up with your worthless VSO that your Grandad swore was a genuine Lupot than to be lured in by some smiling Uriah Heep who will separate you from a couple of thousand in exchange for polishing your turd.