martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. actually I wasn't aware that the word turd was used in the US atall of course you and I would be incapable of identifying a deep fried turd, and would probably claim it was a mars bar!
  2. I've received this email from someone claiming to be John Thornton - it was in relation to a comment I made in the thread Bow Identification start quote ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "An expert eye would be able to identify the workshop, but not from 2-d photos." "It's a good idea to get the weight right - teachers and other prejudiced buyers are obsessed with weight (as if one bought a bow by the gram), and if it ends up around 60 grams that's always popular. So choose the right lapping!" Hi Martin! After reading the sentences above, (below the lines) I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that you're as dumb as a brick concerning anything about fiddles AND bows..The net worth of your "agreeing" with Jacob Saunders equals one fried TURD, doggy style.John Thornton end quote
  3. Lyndon, raising or lowering the bridge changes the string length (albeit by small amounts) but actually I'm interested in the effects of altering the downbearing on the bridge, and have found this makes much more radical changes to the sound of a violin than altering after-string length for instance Michael, I have no "fixation" with getting the E lower (I wouldn't touch it if it was sounding well), and am strongly in favour of horizontal necks, but I have noticed that lowering the bridge on the E seems to have a strong effect on all of the strings, whereas lowering the G has little or no effect on sound. My argument is that the string height should be determined by what's going to sound best on a particular instrument, rather than by formula, though obviously it's handy to have some numbers as a starting point.
  4. String Tensions David Burgess provided this information last time we discussed the issue .... no stats for Warchal, but I'm pretty sure Karneol are generally slightly lower tension than most. Baiorin - don't understand how string tension and string angle are different. Different angle, different tension - there's no other way of altering the tension than modifying the angle. Maybe I misunderstood your point? And how would this relationship impact more on a very nice instrument than a less nice one?
  5. I agree with Jacob. As far as I can see the condition is good, and in my experience these sticks are generally very strong ... 1960s and later silver-mounted bows are hard to get excited about, but this is a nice old bow and they're only getting rarer. An expert eye would be able to identify the workshop, but not from 2-d photos. Definitely worth restoring - assuming a proper job it would retail for £1200 or more in the UK, but it might cost over £200 to restore ... rehair, new ivory, new lapping, judicious cleaning (not with emery paper!!) maybe a bit of a straighten. It's a good idea to get the weight right - teachers and other prejudiced buyers are obsessed with weight (as if one bought a bow by the gram), and if it ends up around 60 grams that's always popular. So choose the right lapping! Martin Swan Violins
  6. I would have thought the amount of pressure was more important than the exact direction in which it's applied. And does the curvature of the bridge actually make a difference to the direction of force? I would have thought it summed vertical anyway, but then my physics is appaling ... I have been working on a very good French violin which sounded pretty strangled and lifeless. I made various adjustments which were a significant improvement - the last thing I did was to lower the E string height by 1mm. The effect was immense, and the violin opened up through its entire register. As before, I can only make observations about violins, but pressure from the E is over 1.5 times the pressure exerted by any other string, and in almost all modern strings greater than the G and D combined, so the angle on the E will have much more effect on overall bridge motion and therefore sound. Martin Swan Violins
  7. Firstly, I can't comment about cellos! But when it comes to "poiriette" (tilting the neck on its horizontal axis) on violins, I don't think this can have had its origins in issues of playability. As a player who spends plenty of time up the neck I can see no argument for this practice, and the arguments that have been advanced are incomprehensible to me, if not nonsensical - I also think that bringing the bow and the bowing hand closer to the treble corners is bad news for any violin, and particularly for a historic violin. If the issue is new violins, then I think it's fair enough for makers to have their idiosyncracies - judging from the previous thread, some makers dress to the left, some to the right, most are in favour of zero tilt but will accomodate difficult clients. With old violins, I would assume that poiriette is there to minimise tension on the belly. This could be for one of two reasons, tonal or structural. The amount of downbearing on the bridge has more effect on the tone of the violin than pretty much any other element of set-up. Even with modern sets of strings the E string is under greater tension by far than the other 3 strings, and the string angle needs to be lower to create a balanced sound. Go back 50 years or more and this discrepancy was massive, in that everyone was using gut for the lower 3 strings and steel for the E. Hence the need to get the bridge proportionally lower on the E string. Hence the need for poiriette .... The second reason would be to lower string tension generally in order to preserve a weak instrument, this has already been mentioned. When it comes to restoration of old violins, I would be very cynical of anyone recommending resetting a neck in this way. Some luthiers, particularly big and renowned shops, will charge the earth for totally un-necessary modifications - they see a Guadagnini coming into the shop, they see a goldmine .... These days there's no point lowering the neck on the treble side just for the sake of it - it should only be done for reasons of tone, since if the instrument is fragile it would be better to strengthen it. But you can generally get the same result by cheating the fingerboard, and even very demanding players aren't aware of a tiny bit of taper along the length.
  8. What did it taste like? Sounds a bit like what happens to pastis when you add water .... but you'd get more of a fix off vodka & shellac for sure!
  9. Maybe they're thrown by the groove that the ribs fit into!! If he posted the pictures here I think he'd get a rapid response .....
  10. Matthew, last time we discussed this (about a month ago) you said "This is a very interesting topic, and I appreciate hearing the different viewpoints. Thanks." I wonder what has happened to you in the last month? Contributions from Michael Darnton, Jacob Saunders, David Burgess, and Melvin Goldsmith, are now dismissed by you with a very broad brush - you seem to think their practice isn't valid because they have time to waste on maestronet. You must concede that even amongst those who deal with Strads on a daily basis there is no consensus on this issue.
  11. You may be right - never come across it on a 20th century French copy, but older ones may well be different. Certainly there are a lot of early 1800s French violins with back lengths of 36.1 or 36.2. But this violin ain't one of them!
  12. Joseph, Mirecourt workshops like JTL and Laberte also made "Maggini" and "Da Salo" violins with double purfling, for instance this one of mine : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/330611396913?ssPageName=STRK:MEUSX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1562.l2649 However, a longer backlength (36.2 in the example you have found) indicates a German or Bohemian version, and without looking too carefully at the listing I'd say it doesn't look like Mirecourt - round edges and corners, round scroll eye, heel shape, varnish, wood all say NOT French to me .... Looks to be in very decent condition.
  13. fabuy is one of several eBay id.s belonging to a seller from Germany who specializes in relabeling cheap trade-in instruments. His merchandise is uniformly poor quality, and I would avoid him like the plague! Any seller whose feedback is private should be avoided - generally it allows the seller to bid up his own items, and to relist items that have been returned without people being able to access photos of a previous sale. There are no legitimate grounds for a seller having private feedback, at least not since eBay made bidder id.s private. The seller doesn't offer a return policy, but allows people to return goods if they promise to leave positive feedback. All very cheap and nasty ...
  14. OK! Very unexpected ... Indeed, after a bit of further homework, I read that although density in conifers coincides with a high proportion of latewood, density in ring-porous woods is higher in faster grown trees, and in diffuse-porous woods density is greatest in trees with average growth speed. Maple is diffuse porous, so the densest wood is to be found in trees with neither abnormally tight nor loose grain. My pursuit of tight even grain has been based on a false premise! It's always enjoyable to be disabused ...
  15. Hi Tarisiofever, There are at least 2 factors governing the density of maple, and the first is the grain. This has nothing to do with flame/curl/fleck, it's purely to do with speed of growth. Density cannot vary with the orientation of the cut - a block of wood of a given size and weight weighs the same whichever way you slice it. I assume that denser wood has less damping in that it is more conductive of sound waves, and that slower grown maple is denser than fast grown maple ..... is this right? I can see how a quarter-cut board and a slab-cut or crown board would have different elasticities (flexibility) across the grain, and I can see how ripple or "fiddleback figure" would introduce an extra element (though whether it causes stiffness or not and how this affects tone no-one seems to understand!), but I find it bizarre that no-one is very interested in the speed of growth of the maple they're using ... I imagine a great maker can make just about any piece of maple sound decent, but do think that ripple is likely to be a hindrance rather than a help, in that's it's an interruption of the conductivity along the grain. 99% of the curly maple being used these days is from very fast-grown trees, very little is old growth, and I imagine this wood has very different properties to the old-growth timber that early makers found in Croatia and Bosnia, in paticular it's lighter and softer, and probably not as good for violins! Can anyone shed any light on this?
  16. Will there still be a European Union then? if so, will they force us to stop distilling rakija in the back yard? This would be the end of Croatian culture ......
  17. Salve already posted this link to a previous maestronet thread, but I'll do so again because it covers the subject pretty exhaustively, with contributions from many great makers and restorers ... Horizontal Neck Angle
  18. except Croatia ... still waiting
  19. I'm afraid I slept through most of history (and geography) ... and all of religious studies and Latin. Surely a lot of what is now Germany wasn't included in Bismarck's Germany? Or am I wrong about that? I am OK at 20th century Balkan history, getting better fast, and have a passing understanding of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but Germany is a bit of a blur. Forgive my ignorance - I ws just trying to point out that the violinist probably wasn't German, and that the question of whether they had lady violinists in 19th century Germany was based on a false premise. Should have kept my cakehole shut!
  20. I would have thought the acoustical properties were more closely allied with the tightness of the grain ie. how fast the tree has grown. This would be determined by the amount of space around the tree as it grew and the climate/altitude. You can get a lot of curl in very soft and spongy maple, and vice versa, so I think the whole idea of attributing acoustical properties to specific pieces of wood has to start with growth pattern. It's what we do with spruce - just because it's harder to see grain lines in maple doesn't mean they aren't there. My own choice of wood for backs is almost entirely determined by the grain (I like it to be very even, though I'm sure this is just prejudice ....) But after reading this thread I'm thinking I should stop stressing and start using poplar, of which I have mountains .... Martin Swan Violins
  21. German was definitely one of the big ones! not even sure there was a "Germany" in 1900 ...... anyway, I do think it's highly unlikely this violinist was German Jacob?
  22. The photo was almost certainly taken in Zagreb, as the postcard says "postcard" in Croatian! The language is German but I don't think anything else points to Germany - the stamp is Austrian, and much of Croatia was at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. What language were Austrians speaking at that time?
  23. Wood cut on the quarter will show medullary rays, if it's the sort of wood that has visible medullary rays (oak being an extreme example - in maple/sycamore it shows up as mirror figure or fleck as seen mainly in bridge wood). Flame is the result of a growth abnormality, either genetic (like the majority of ripple or "fiddleback" sycamore/maple) or to do with compression wood (steep hills, burrs, branches sticking out etc). Flame is most visible in quarter-cut maple but is not present in the vast majority of quarter cut maple. In Scotland ripple sycamore tends to occur in pockets, but on average about 1 in 20 sycamore trees have any ripple figure, and even less have the sort of figure that violin-makers favour. Hungarian cellos used in traditional music are still carved out of solid willow.