martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. The photos are too small for an identification. It looks nice at a distance, but we can't tell what condition it's in without better photos or what school or period of violin making it belongs to. The person who attributed it may be a misguided fool, who knows. This seller has no track record, it's a private listing, there's no back-up to any of the claims, I wouldn't touch it without a return policy ..... If it was valued recently by a dealer at $5900 then $4000 is a hell of a lot to pay to someone who has absolutely no reputation and won't let you see the thing properly.
  2. Would anyone like to hazard a guess at this? Not a Barnabetti, although the label looks right ...... Ebay Barnabetti I note that the seller claims to be located in Newark, home of the UK's violin-making school. A sexy address for a violin seller but also a fabrication. Private feedback too, never a good starting point ... no returns accepted, not registered as a business seller though he/she clearly is. I'm always amazed at the prices commanded by genuine Barnabettis - they're lesser student violins, quite low down on JTL's list of models and very variable in shape, finish and tonal quality. Dealers like to perpetuate the fallacy that Barnabetti was a genuine Italian maker working at JTL although this is pure bumfluff. The bizarre popularity of Barnabettis seems to be down to name recognition, and the fact that violins with labels ending in "i" always cost more than other violins. this fake Barnabetti is doing very well already with 4 days to go.
  3. Yes, I would say the price is far too high, even if it proves to be a genuine 1920s Roth with a new certificate (which is entirely possible but somehow improbable). At the recent London sales I missed out on a perfect 1928 Gaurnerius pattern which sold for around £4200 including the buyer's premium. I thought this was a bit expensive, and Bromptons have recently sold nice 1920s Roths for less than that. Jjust because it's on Ebay it ain't necessarily a bargain. There's a definite trend towards over-selling wildly, and many sellers are using the Buy It Now or Best Offer facility as a way of asking ludicrous prices, which people sometimes pay. In my opinion Ebay prices should be well under auction house prices since the buyer is taking a greater risk, buying "sight unseen". Return policy - in the UK it's illegal for a business seller (i.e. someone doing it for a living) not to offer a return policy. That's the way it should be - the buyer should have full protection and the right to be a pain in the arse, sellers can look after themselves. I've sold about 400 violins and bows on Ebay with a full return policy and have never had a dispute of any kind. The key to avoiding trouble is to describe things precisely and accurately, and to take things back if buyers made a mistake - just my opinion. These days paypal is an effective "return policy" since it will uphold pretty much any buyer complaint, so why not live with it. Sellers who don't accept paypal and who don't offer a return policy are inviting you to let them steal your money.
  4. The seller has relisted it : "Carassi" Clearly doesn't feel the observations of our learned body merit any kind of re-assessment. It's still a Carcassi, still sounds fantastic, still £7000 (but you can't pay with paypal so no recourse if it isn't genuine).
  5. Not wishing to pick on this violin or this seller in particular, could I raise the question of what constitutes a soundpost crack on the table. I see this violin has two cracks travelling up from the right of the saddle - the innermost appears to just touch the outside of the right leg of the bridge. In my view this is a soundpost crack, since it can only ever be 3mm away from a correct soundpost position, and was almost certainly induced by a soundpost sitting a bit to the right. I'd also call it a soundpost crack because the only dependable repair would be a patch which would cover the soundpost position. Or am I being a spoilsport? is it in fact a crack which is "well off the soundpost"?
  6. Jacob - you can have a look at the scroll on the ebay listing!! Carcassi (or maybe not) I see the seller also refuses to accept paypal, although this is illegal on ebay uk and regarded as fee avoidance "not marketing as a carcassi" is an odd way to describe this listing
  7. Yes, no-one is saying that balance point isn't important to players. People have very strong feelings about this, but opinions differ hugely, and a pseudo-scientific measurement doesn't help anyone. If everyone measured the balance point in the same way, and also gave the weight of the lapping, then we would have an agreed system that contained genuine information. But this information would still be useless when it comes to selecting a bow, since everyone likes something different, and people adapt pretty quickly to changes in what they're used to, provided there are other advantages in tone or spring. As a player I have no preference for weight (between about 55 and 64 grams seems fine if the bow is otherwise excellent, and the weight has no direct relationship to the volume or tone or the quality of spring) - however, it's useful when making out certificates etc, and it makes auction catalogues look more informative and scientific! When you're buying a Sartory or an Henry, people tend to buy "by the gram" - a Sartory of 64 grams will sell for a few thousand more than an otherwise superb example that weighs under 60. It's quite common practice to put a double lapping of heavy silver wire under the thumb leather so the bow reads better on paper, and achieves a higher sale price! I have even heard of examples of lead shot in the tip and the mortise. These days teachers seem to favour blunderbusses over 63 grams and very hard sticks, but fashions change ... as I understand it, heavy wire lappings are a relatively recent phenomenon. Not sure whether this is in pursuit of additional weight or a balance point that's closer to the frog. I imagine some of this is controversial, apologies in advance.
  8. learn from great masters, make violins from good materials, string them up and play them (to a high standard), make modifications, string them up again and play them some more, make more modifications (always having in your head an ideal of tone and playability you want to achieve), throw away the ones that just don't work, rebuild the ones that kind of work .... then if you're lucky, after 100 years get some very talented marketing people to buy up your entire stock and start talking them up, raising the price by any means possible, get a few acousticians to spout a load of guff, get some great professional players to buy into the myth, hint at lost secrets, sell sell sell .... after another 100 years with a bit of luck you will have an unassailable, self-affirming and entirely circular set of proofs, various contradictory theories of secret knowledge etc, auction houses will be sitting back and pissing themselves laughing, and superb modern makers will be tearing their hair out and weeping with frustration after another 100 years nothing will have changed (for evidence of this read Hidalgo Moya's hilarious treatise on Violin Tone published in 1916) except that the prices have increased stratospherically and now no-one can afford them except financiers and speculators
  9. Teachers seem to like to talk about balance point, but no serious player would judge a bow this way - weight is equally a red herring. I have never found a player who could correctly guess the weight of a bow! If one must determine the balance point of a bow, it should be done from the front of the frog, since every frog sits in a different position on the stick, and every stick has a different amount of wood behind the frog, different length of pin etc. A measurement from the end of the pin is meaningless since the hand is always gripping the bow around the frog. I would re-iterate LeMaster's observation : relevance = no!
  10. Peter is right - I had a Carlo Storioni German violin c1890 that had very similar-looking wood and it sounded wonderful. I tend to avoid wood with disproportionately wide latewood as it seems to be difficult to work (tonally), but with this "French" violin I would expect it to sound bad just because it looks very like a lot of Chinese violins I've tried which all sounded bad! I don't think any given piece of wood is good or bad, it's all to do with how it's thicknessed. Chinese violins, like all industrially produced violins, are thicknessed according to set measurements, the result being that one violin in 10 sounds OK and the others are failures.
  11. Maybe "nasty" is the wrong word - it's just very characteristic of more basic Chinese violins - quite equal distribution of early and late wood, some kind of funny speckling overall ... it looks soft and spongy, from fast-grown trees.
  12. There really is no room for doubt here - this type of spruce is only seen on Chinese violins - I could point to another 5 or 6 unequivocal features, but it's more a matter of seeing these features in combination.
  13. Jacob - now I can copy your posts before you've even posted them!
  14. Well if you want a nice modern Chinese violin and a basic Chinese bow, then go ahead (there's even a case included, with room for another 3 fake bows along with the Vigneron) - but you could buy something better direct from Yitamusic in China and it would probably cost less than this will finally go for ..... As Chinese violins go it's a bit ordinary, nasty spruce and a crude yellow ground and spirit varnish - I would splash out and get a properly labelled Chinese violin like a Jay Haide or Ma Zhibin workshop.This one claims to be old, which it isn't - I would therefore be inclined to also mistrust the seller's claims about its projection and sustain! Martin Swan Violins
  15. Lyndon, I was close to paying £4000 (over $6000) for a Derazey in terrible condition the other day - I wouldn't think $5000 was a low price of a nice early 19th or late 18th century French violin, even with these patches. Peter could maybe have a look at the dendro and tell us if it's likely to be Italian or French ....
  16. Lyndon, This is outside my (very narrow) field of expertise, but are you sure this is Italian? I agree that its eccentricity points us in that direction, particularly the low-slung f-holes. But something about it suggests an early19th century Mirecourt instrument (1800-1820), though there's a lot of extra varnish clouding the issue slightly, and the purfling seems a bit close to the edge. The spruce is particularly reminiscent of a few early Mirecourt instruments I've had. Given the condition and the patches I don't think u was ripped off - a fair price for a lovely but battered old violin, and a very satisfying and worthwhile project. What did it sound like? I have what I think is a Charles Simonin in similar condition - will post some photos when it's done! Martin Swan Volins
  17. Perhaps your faith in other sciences is misplaced! Especially with the increased dependance on computer imaging, applied sciences study deviations from norms that are increasingly virtual ....
  18. I think we're both right, I should have said 500% of its fair market value, not 500% overpriced. What we're talking about is whether a Nurnberger you buy for $5000 is a bargain just because the seller originally wanted $10,000.
  19. I vote for American, not a professional maker (what we'd call a "Heron-Allen" over here), reminds me a lot of a Louis Hastings Hall I had a few months ago. The maple, the type of varnish, the purfling, corners and scroll are all quite similar, though it's definitely not one of his. The non-matched 2-piece back isn't something I've ever seen on a German or Bohemian violin of this era (late 19th century) ... and as Jacob never fails to point out, there was no Czechoslovakia at the time this violin was made.
  20. I thought he had a shop in Virginia. Does he apply the same pricing policy there?
  21. Let's say you go into a reputable violin shop (Fine&Bushy for instance) and take a fancy to a 1960s silver-mounted Prfetzschner violin bow. The price tag says $8000. You approach a member of staff : "That's a ludicrous price, I never saw one for more than $4000 and that was pretty steep". His answer : "OK we'll sell it for $3000 then ......." Do you think that's a reasonable scenario? I don't.
  22. Sorry you're quite right - they're black bobbles! Same deal ...... btw I was looking at the Ebay listing.
  23. Caspace, Where did your original photos come from? I don't think this violin is Chinese - everything about it suggests a Bohemian trade violin to me, not a truly bad one either, perhaps from around 1920. All the Chinese violins I see have very big buttons, the wood is rather characteristic, and other points of style are a bit exaggerated. I wouldn't know from the pictures that the flaming is painted - I've seen plenty of real figure like this - however I take others' word for it, and there does seem to be a "smudge" on the lower right rib. However, as has been pointed out, this is not a sure sign of a bad violin - I have had at least one great old Hungarian violin with fake flame, and people don't seem to mind the Michel-Ange Garini/JTL fake flaming. The cheap boxwood fittings are evidence only that this violin has been set up recently and on the cheap, since these sets with parisian eyes on the pegs are about the cheapest fittings you can buy - inevitably they're very popular! Martin Swan Violins