martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. In UK shops 5.5 and 3.5 seem to be the norm. This is probably off topic, but my opinion is that string height should first be judged in absolute terms ie. on the basis of sound/string tension, and should be governed by ideal bridge height, not by the existing position of an often badly fitted and easily corrected fingerboard. Assuming that the bridge height is right for the violin (a difficult but important judgment call), then the fingerboard has to sit under the (ideally tensioned) strings so that the strings feel comfortable. That degree of comfort seems to depend a lot on the type of str
  2. To my eyes there's definitely subtle fluting to both f-holes, although the right lower tongue is a replacement so we should really only look at the left. Althought it's not very pronounced it is there, and there's also a telltale dirt line which follows the path of where the fluting used to be before it was largely polished off. I think this violin's had quite a bit of restoration to the varnish, understandably given the inserts around the f-holes and the cracks in the belly. Is fluting a sign of a good violin? Is a lack of fluting a sign of a bad violin? I don't think either is true so it's
  3. As always I would heavily recommend Warchal Karneol - I've tried every string in the book and for some reason Karneol are perfect for me, definitely superior to Evah Parazzi, Obligato, Dominant, Larsen, Infeld etc ... I've set up about 300 violins with them, and sold dozens of sets to customers. There was a minor problem with the silk at the bottom of the E string, which would unthread slightly if you handled it too much. I pointed this out to Warchal a few weeks ago, they immediately re-designed the string and sent me a dozen free samples and a big thankyou. I was impressed. The E stri
  4. OK the Scottish perspective (Jacob are we still a colony of England even though we have a devolved parliament?) ... This violin is getting better! I liked it from the start - "I would bid quite a lot on it if I saw it in an auction and it sounded good". I like it even more now but obviously it's become less of a proposition since the estimate's gone up. After all, who can sell an nice violin online without a label or an attribution? I still think Bohemian in a slightly more drifting towards the Tyrol kind of way .... let's say Carinthia. That would fit our various theories and the dendro a
  5. Hi, Honore Derazey is one of these sexy names that just gets people scrabbling for their cheque books! 90% of violins with authentic Derazey brands and labels are superior Mirecourt (trade) instruments made either in the Derazey workshops (including many of the "1855" instruments) or by Laberte Workshops who purchased the brand, but not by Honore Derazey. They can be very good indeed, and the 2nd of your eBay Derazeys looks like a nice example of the latter. One would expect to buy it at a London auction for a similar price, but with the added advantage of playing it first. Though in my e
  6. The top eye on the left f-hole looks a bit wonky, particularly on its right side. The right f-hole looks pinched generally in comparison to the left, particularly as it approaches the lower eye, but maybe the table is deformed here and the right edge of the f-hole has sunk? The top eye looks smaller than the left, but maybe it's the angle of the photo.
  7. sorry about the photo - it's a photo of the relevant page of the sothebys catalogue. I can re-attach it in a bigger size if you like?
  8. There's a quality about some of the small dunts in the table which suggests they might have been put there pre-varnishing.
  9. Photos are a bit small but I'd say Dresden circa 1880. Then Bohemian, then Berlin ..... A good trade violin. Even "mass export" violins were often very nicely made, though the scroll guy in that shop looks a bit better than the f-hole guy!
  10. I have a Peccate school bow that could do with an expert's eye. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Paul Childs? I have googled without sucess. Please use my website email address Martin Swan Violins
  11. Yes this looks more like the Sothebys one, except for the varnish. The varnish on this one seems like Jeremy's, and looks "right" - the Sothebys varnish felt quite strange, which made me wonder if the violin was really mid-19th century. But maybe it had just been heavily retouched or cleaned with something silicone based. Jeremy, my mistake - I'd thought yours was also a copy of the same Paganini-owned instrument. I'll have to go back to the photos, but on yours the upper curve of the C bouts looked much flatter, and the angle of the lower f-hole tongue seemed to be situated much further out
  12. This is fascinating - I wouldn't have said your Lembock and the one at Sothebys were by the same maker! Particularly since these were meant to have been copied directly from the Cannone. Am I right that yours is also "Gabriel Lembock fecit secundum Josephi Guarneri ex Nicolai Paganini Concertuosa Violina"? If so, there's a lot of detail that looks very dis-similar and couldn't be taken from the same violin by the same exert copyist. Yours looks more like it to me .....! Do you know the name of the gent who certified the Sothebys one? Thilo Kurten Dusseldorf .... By the way the Spiegel looks b
  13. Following on from the thread about Nemessanyi, here's a picture of the Lembock that reached £30,000 at Sothebys. The catalogue estimate was £7-10,000, and beyond about £8,000 the bidding was entirely between two buyers, one of whom (the eventual buyer) was striding very visibly around the back of the room like his life depended on ownership of a Lembock. We are currently seeing annual doubling of book prices for many Bohemian & Hungarian violin makers, lesser French bow makers etc. etc. The system is inherently inflationary, but it's pretty staggering to see a record price being set that'
  14. I'm afraid this violin may always remain a mystery ... it reminds me of two violins I have owned. One had a spurious label "Joseph Beltrami", the other had an equally spurious "Meinradus Frank" label. Both were lovely sounding violins, and both came out of Bohemian workshops. The fact that a violin has a fantastic sound is no indication that it's a "good" violin, and it's ingenuous to think that just because a violin sounds great one ought to be able to recognize the maker! Lots of French trade violins play better than many contemporaneous named Italian violins worth 50 times the price. Anon
  15. Still think you should send photos to Bromptons .... I like the last set of photos. But will stand by my feeling that it's Bohemian, and I also think there may be a bit of antiqueing - but this was quite common even in the mid 19th century.
  16. Sothebys' Lembock was 14 3/16.
  17. You're assuming that whoever bought it was familiar with Nemessanyi. I think a lot of people who buy at Bromptons are orchestral players - quite often they go on sound, and if there's a piece of paper saying something nice then that's worth a few more thousand! Bromptons are one of the few auctions where you can try out instruments in a hall well in advance - this works very much to their advantage when it comes to nicely made and great sounding violins of dubious provenance. In my (limited) experience, auctions are no different from any other part of the violin trade - at least 50% of what'
  18. Retail prices for a great Spiegel may be $25,000 in the States, but auction prices are about £5-8000 over here - since this one went for £14,000 it's safe to assume it was bought by someone who thought it was a Nemessanyi (with certificate!).
  19. Interesting - I'm sure Bromptons also doubted the Conia certificate, since they avoided stating "by" Nemessanyi. Reached a pretty ludicrous price on the basis of that certificate I would have said. Could you go back to the top of the post, check the photos, and tell us if you think it's a Nemessanyi? I think the scroll is pretty lumpy, though I like the violin as a whole ....
  20. Brilliant - thanks for that link .... As I thought, the E is in a league of its own. Very interesting that Eudoxa D have the lowest tension all round, perhaps explains why people who like them can't get on with anything else!
  21. I'm a skinny person with a really long neck! My main problem is that I can't get any of the strings far enough away from my fingers .... Has anyone got any data on relative string tensions? I have a feeling that the E is under far more tension, but I'd like to know for sure. What about using more fingerboard relief on the E string to allow one to drop the bridge on that side - is that addressing the same issue? Don't like it myself but some people seem to insist on it.
  22. Can I just chip in that the only person who linked this violin with nemessanyi was the original poster, and along the lines of "he's the only mid-19th century Bohemian I've heard of ...."! Personally I think we're all barking up the wrong tree - I don't think the scroll is good enough to be from that level of maker, and the arching around the f-holes looks a bit "dull". I think Bohemian, not Hungarian. But I only really know anything about French violins, and then only between about 1890 and 1920!
  23. Jacob - if it's nae moving ye can deep fry it! I would refer you to the back cover of my album "The Order of Things" (photo attached) - this is a poster from an actual fish&chip shop in Broughton Street, Edinburgh. Deep-fried pizza, haggis, white pudding, and of course mars bars! I think you could put rather more faith in the existence of a deep-fried mars bar than an accurate Stefano Conia certificate.
  24. Mr. Burgess, I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this, and it's good to have a reasoned explanation of the "Weisshaar tilt". (btw the experiment simply doesn't work for me, I just seem to put the violin where I want it ....) However, I think this tilt is more easily achieved by using a slightly different chinrest, or dropping the shoulder-rest foot on the treble side - doesn't need to involve removal of wood! Perhaps this relates back to whether you use a shoulder-rest or not? For myself I am seriously inconvenienced by having the E string approach the table too much, but I do ha
  25. Maybe Stefano Conia's certificates have the same hollow ring as his violins! Without the Ottoman invasions, Hungarian cooking would be insufferably dull - Scotland likewise saved from culinary misery by the influence of the East ...