martin swan

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Posts posted by martin swan

  1. 6 hours ago, duane88 said:

    I believe that Marco Raposo has been passionate about trying to use recycled wood. I don't think that Arcos does that, but Vito does post here on occasion, so he could be asked about that. Arcos is more into planting sustainable harvest products for the future.

    Not to be disputatious, but from Marco Raposo's own website

    We only use mature Pernambuco trees, that are over thirty years old. Once a tree is selected, the heartwood is extracted from the core. The wood must have straight veins and be free of knots in order to be used for bows.

  2. Old fenceposts and sleepers are incredibly uneconomic to mill, since they are full of metal. New blades and downtime are the bane of any sawmill, massively increasing the cost of milling. In fact milling reclaimed and fully seasoned timber is a nightmare from all points of view.

    I fear this is a story the current Brazilian makers put out to assuage the buyer's conscience.

  3. 5 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

    Do we have any idea where the wood comes from since it is in short supply?  I suspect it is from old stumps, railroad ties, fence posts, buildings, etc.  Non-ideal sources when you prefer the wood to be split from the log so you can get straight grain.


    It comes from sustainable plantation programmes. Probably more consistent in quality than most of the old growth wood used by previous generations.

  4. Just to agree with the consensus ...

    Hope springs eternal, but these are modern student cellos.

    I don't believe this is a trustworthy source.

    If the owner doesn't know they aren't genuine then they shouldn't be selling instruments.

    If the owner knows they aren't genuine but hasn't been explicit about it then they shouldn't be selling instruments.

    Either way, go somewhere else ....!


  5. I don't see anything French about it ...

    On the subject of cracks, there is one long crack coming off the right edge of the saddle that does travel sufficiently to the right not to be strictly speaking a post crack, but there's another parallel crack to the left of it which is directly in line with the post.


  6. 2 hours ago, Carl Stross said:


    Some of her performances ( on CD or YT ) suffer of an affliction called abysmal recording... She should pay more attention.




    Since we can't hear the original recording I'm not clear how you can tell - isn't this just low bandwidth Youtube dirt ...?

    The balance seems very good for a live performance - that's the only element I would feel safe to judge here.

  7. 4 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

    If only we could know. I mean this genuinely. Regrettably, centuries of Mantegazzas and those like them have insisted on tampering. I must say, I agree with Jacob with regards to aggressive interventions. We'll never know what we have lost. 

    There seem to be two conflicting schools of thought ...

    One states that Strads are only great because they have been brought to their current point of perfection by generations of top level restoration and set-up.

    The other states that if a Strad is a stinker/lemon it's down to generations of abuse by poor restorers and poor set-up.

    These two speculations seem to cancel each other out - you choose one or the other depending on what you wish a Strad to be.

    It seems more logical to me to assume that things are as they always were ie. great Strads always were great, some Strads less so, right from the start. We don't really know of any great makers who consistently produced the highest quality of sound - all are capable of disappointing. Same with the great bow makers ....

  8. On 4/3/2021 at 5:01 PM, reguz said:

    Since it has been vet important or some people following the thread if I ever made some instrument. Her just a picture on what is on the table.

    violas under construction.docx 334.29 kB · 34 downloads

    What I find strange about this photo is that the instruments on your table are violas, which is a bit surprising since you always speak only about violins.

    Also, from what I can see they are very clean and professionally made trade instruments, not the sort of thing you would expect from a self-taught acoustician or scientist.

  9. On 3/28/2021 at 4:18 AM, shaq said:

    Hi everyone,

    Has anyone tried them? Would you like to share some testimonials or videos?

    Also, I'm a little curious as to what the reason for these violins seemingly being much lower than the actual price could be.


    I always try all these Contemporary Italians at UK auctions, but have never come close to wanting to buy one. I have often wondered how/why they end up there ... this phenomenon predates the pandemic btw.

    I suspect that some of them are consigned by the makers who need cash flow (because they make more violins than they can sell) or who recognize that they've made a lemon. 

    Fortunately there appears to be a queue of naive buyers stretching round the block who are prepared to shell out for something just because it's Italian. It may sound like a mouse that was run over by a tractor several months ago but at least it's Italian.

  10. As Duane intimates, how you devalue the bow depends on why the work was done.

    If the nipple was a bit worn and the adjuster off-centre, then i would't devalue at all. If it's because of a crack in the handle, then a small devaluation would be in order, but I wouldn't think more than 5-10% since it's not a vulnerable part of the bow. 

    The average retail price for a historic bow assumes a certain amount of wear and maybe even some very minor restoration. If a Dominique Peccatte was genuinely mint then I would expect it to sell for quite a bit over the standard retail price.

    DP viola bows are very rare - even rarer to find one with all its original silver parts, in fact I only know of one which is in original condition.

  11. 2 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

     Back to what we were actually discussing I wonder if  Strad & Sons would actually offer for sale "lemons". Or let them out the door... I have to suppose they knew at least what good enough is.

    It's an interesting question - I suppose I would refer it to the standard practice of other great workshops whose work remains relatively unadulterated, and who clearly were more than happy to sell lemons to less discriminating clients. 

  12. I would say a lemon rather than a stinker ...

    No indeed I take your point - we can happily fantasize that at the time of creation all these violins were equally perfect, just as we can fantasize that only regraduation, degradation and minute alteration by successive luthiers has made themas good as they are today.

  13. If it were well known amongst those who actually trade in Strads that a good few were stinkers, it would hardly be polite or fair to the owners to flag this up on a public forum.

    Of course there are plenty, del Gesus too ... this doesn't in any way undermine the fact that these were the greatest makers whose reputation is deserved. 

    People are strangely willing to bypass the evidence of their own ears in favour of a label - we see this in all price ranges, why would classical Cremonese violins be an exception?

    In the words of one of our principal sellers of Strads ... "everyone loves the sound of a Strad" :lol:

  14. Paolo Fiorini was definitely a Beare & Son trade name along with Francois Barzoni, but I don't think there is any documented connection with the EH Roth firm. Worth bearing in mind that every good trade violin from Markneukirchen at that time looks very like a Roth :lol:



  15. 4 hours ago, vio.lino said:

    Thank you for all of the help. What would you value it at? The seller is asking for $3900 USD

    Also, is there a reason why Richard Grunke seems less esteemed than his son Klaus?

    A. it seems a very low price for a gold mounted Grünke ....

    B. I don't think this is the case 

  16. Yes, in my view this instrument is new - possibly a reject from a workshop, unless someone has deliberately put a crack in one of the corners in order to enhance its credibility.

    The varnish is very strange, someone's idea of antique-ing perhaps.

  17. It's a lovely example. I don't see this violin as having had any of FC's naff original antiqueing, so I still think it's the result of removal of caked on rosin and dirt - I have ended up with something similar quite often when removing major build-up of historic gunk.

    The blacking where the ribs meet the plates is not original and I would probably try to get it cleaned off by a competent professional. 

  18. When you say "H. Derazey" is this an original Honoré Derazey or something later? What we can see if it looks very nice ...

    Either way, blacking on the rib joins is very common on French violins. However, the blacking where the ribs meet the plates is unconnected. It's either an accumulation of dirt or  an attempt at antiqueing - sometimes it's a way of covering up varnish damage from bad workmanship when some hack removed the top or back.

    The marking under the bridge suggests that at one time the table of the violin was very dirty, perhaps ancient rosin build-up that had oxidised or absorbed a lot of dust. Someone has polished this off as best they could, but sensibly has stopped short of damaging the texture of the varnish, hence the spotting.

  19. 2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

    When I was working alongside Johannes Finkel, I witnessed him gluing all sorts of stuff, with the outcomes being largely invisible.

    Do you think he would have left something like this visible on one of his stamped bows?