martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. For me there are very few cases where a nickel bow might be classed as equivalent to a silver bow, and that would be in the first 10 years or so that it was used. An early nickel Pajeot for example would not be devalued, because at that time nickel was the next big thing, very hard, and apparently better. Within 10 years everyone could see that it didn't wear nicely and it became an indicator of the lower quality of bow. I'm sure this is the same in German making as in French. However, it doesn't follow that nickel bows were necessarily made with less care - some makers were incapable of producing a bad bow, others incapable of producing a good one! I would say that the decision started with the wood. As I understand it, all of the busy makers and shops had a pile of roughed out sticks ... they would grab the next stick to hand, make a quick determination about its density and its visual appeal, and then decide wither it was a nickel bow, a silver bow, a gold bow, a gold and tortoiseshell bow etc. Nickel bows, apart from the very few examples such as early 1830s Pajeots, are worth significantly less than the ostensibly identical bow in silver. The proportion will vary with the maker but generally a half to two thirds ... When it comes to playability, the materials used for the mounts are generally not relevant, though some makers used nickel for softer sticks.
  2. The point is that many of the violins "made" in Markneukirchen started out in Schoenbach or were completed there. I don't think the distinction is very relevant in the context of this violin.
  3. Have you looked at a map? They are basically the same place ...
  4. Thanks, I'm glad you like our photos. Yes - there are obviously a few different approaches to violin photography, and I suppose that for archive purposes some soft, flat, non-reflective lighting might be the best. Most of the major auction houses choose a style of photography that eliminates reflections. While this allows for a certain kind of scrutiny, you don't really get to see the arching or the quality of the varnish, nor do you get to see when cracks aren't quite in register. Our approach (directional LED daylight lighting) creates a few hot spots and it's very uncompromising, but at least the violins look like they do in real life, and if you're selling valuable items at a distance, often to people who can't visit in person, it's a reasonable approach. The last thing we want is someone sending back a violin or a bow that they're trying out because it looked better in the pictures.
  5. Unfortunately it went out on approval today, but the back length was around 39.6. Yes it's a nice model - most French violas of this period seem to be based on the Archinto, with rather narrow upper bouts - this seems a bit more balanced. I think that as with most French instruments, when you see the real thing you realize that many of these makers were re-working Mirecourt boxes. I've seen plenty of Brugeres than weren't of this quality ...
  6. We had an "R. Weichold a Dresde/Imitation de Tourte" a couple of years back which was made by Heinrich Knopf. One of the best bows I have played ... https://www.martinswanviolins.com/heinrich-knopf-violin-bow/
  7. It's a nightmare! Weight becomes very important when people can read what it is on a website ... with increasing years I become more and more conservative.
  8. I was at a friend's workshop the other day, his dog ate two cello bridges ...
  9. We have lighter bows that we never manage to sell ...
  10. But when Mozart's father got it from Mayr it would have been antiqued ... right?
  11. I have yet to sell a cello bow under 78 grams ... you might take that into consideration before committing to this bow. For me the acceptable rage of weights for a cello bow would be 78-83 grams or thereabouts.
  12. You're not trying to tell us that Mozart played on a violin by a contemporary maker ... like a NEW violin? I don't believe it.
  13. Just for interest's sake, here's a Charles Brugère from 1894
  14. The taste does kind of get stuck doesn't it ...
  15. This seems to be just another Ebay ID from the serial relabeller and faker also known as france 69, marsupilami, frcfra11 etc. Back in the good old days when feedback wasn't private you could work all his IDs by seeing who gave the best feedback Not a Brugere, not even sure it's French. I do in fact have a Brugere viola which i have just taken on consignment - I'll post some photos later today, I think the comparison should get a few laughs!
  16. With respect, I think this is a bit of a misunderstanding of how different materials are/were used in bow-making. The quality of the stick and the intended price point determine what mounts are used. Apart from a very brief period around 1830, when "maillechort" was invented, all later bows have used silver, gold, ivory, tortoiseshell, chased gold etc etc, to denote the quality of the bow, both in terms of wood choice and in terms of care of workmanship. As with everything in violin-making, the cost of the materials is pretty irrelevant to the sale price since you are primarily paying for time, effort and competence.
  17. I just love this guy's voice! This is a rather fantastical violin from the early 20th century built as a vague imitation of Gedler I suppose. The varnish is deliberately black to make the violin look old ... Judging from the sound sample I would say this is a pretty poor-sounding violin, and I think its commercial value is quite low. It's also huge (back length 36.4cm), so I would think relatively difficult to sell.
  18. That's an established fact. But Bazin is the principal name that comes to mind with French bows... and HR Pfretzschner for German bows.
  19. I'm not sure everyone agrees on this stuff - I think we once had about 5 pages of argument on "scoop" ... I was amazed at how many well thought out positions there were. leading to different practices
  20. It's interesting that more and more makers are experimenting with neck reinforcement, even truss rods in cellos. Generally a fingerboard of normal thickness will stabilize a neck, but if it's too thin or poor quality it can fail to do that job. Nowadays, minor elevation corrections are being done by taking off the fingerboard, bending the neck, taking a plane to it to flatten the new surface and then replacing the fingerboard. If this is going to become the norm, then all new violins should be made with a bit of a platform for the fingerboard.
  21. The rule of thumb that I was shown is to hold down the string against the board at the end nearest the bridge. The amount of relief/scoop should be the same as the thickness of the string ... ie. more on the G than on the E. Of course when you're actually creating the scoop you need to use a straight edge rather than a string! There's a lot of debate about whether the centre of the scoop should be halfway up the board or not - my observation is that if the scoop is centred about 2/5 of the way up the board you can get away with a bit less of it, which makes the board feel "racier" and easier for fast string crossing. I have always used a block plane to get the board straight, and then used a small cabinet scraper with a heavy burr to create the scoop. I find it more controllable and better for "targeting" the area of scoop.
  22. Warping upwards that makes the instrument unplayable with any ease above about 3rd position ... Warping downwards around the neck stop which causes buzzes and choked notes ...
  23. I think this is all reasonably well documented. The trade in tonewood was established, and we can see from dendro that the wood used in Cremonese instruments came from a very narrow source, essentially one valley, probably wholesaled through Venice merchants. I really don't think Stradivari was out in the Italian Alps all winter chopping up wood to keep himself warm ...
  24. I would bet a fair sum of money on an overtight post - I don't think it's a good thing to leave it this way indefinitely but it's not super-urgent either.
  25. As J-G's list shows, a vast number of bow-makers went through the Bazin workshop. But they made Bazin bows, I don't think you would find traits of any of these makers in the work ...