Michael Appleman

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  1. Baroque bass bars

    Thanks, Ben, for starting this subject and bravo for your HIP-replacement idea and your first article in the series! I've been thinking and expressing myself along these lines for the last 20 years, ever since I started accumulating enough experience handling authentic instruments in original condition, and as Baroquecello mentioned in his post, my questioning of certain "HIP" absolutes and dogma have fallen on unwilling ears. For many HIP players, they already know what sound they want, so a discussion of what differences affect what, and what characteristics the instruments might have actually had is quite impossible in most cases. Now that experts such as yourself and Roger Hargrave have started questioning certain rigid beliefs, maybe some progress can be made moving towards a less dogmatic vision of how period instruments and performance practice might be approached.
  2. interesting violin

    I got some interesting lessons from different sources over the years on Voller identification, and much of it seems to be a combination of several minute details involving some of the more mundane elements of neck setting, scroll grafting, bassbar fitting etc. that can show up on any fiddle from anywhere. It's when all of them show up on a "likely culprit" that the Voller alarms start sounding...
  3. !8th century working methods

    One problem with making violins like certain old Italians is that the majority of players, the potential buyers, have hardly seen nor handled the real thing. Their "ideal" is a polished, smooth and shiny object inspired by the legions of factory instruments and ascepticized copies that they have seen. Personally, some of the most compelling violins I've ever encountered were among the "wonkier" old Italians, but I imagine that for a maker who actually hopes to sell his work once it's completed, it's probably better to have a level of finish closer to a Vuillaume than to a real Del Gesu, let alone a late Bergonzi or a Storioni...
  4. Or just an accident that broke out the neck along with the button and supporting platform. One mustn"t imagine bad amateur repairers are lurking everywhere behind every brick. We live in an amazing era of "invisible" retoration techniques. Not that long ago, a brick would just ellicit a "shrug" if the rest of the fiddle was intact. I've seen some retorer friends take a worm-eaten pulverized back and make it look absolutely perfect to the naked eye. I'd almost prefer to buy a fiddle with a visible brick and nothing else than a visually perfect fiddle that has had 80% of its original wood and varnish replaced.
  5. old violin for ID

    Don't forget that legions of Mirecourt trained makers set up shop in Spain starting in the 19th century.
  6. Bright Sound Tone

    Joe, how many have you made and how long have you had them around after completing them to see how they evolve? I ask because I've observed that several that I made became brighter as the materials hardened over time, varnish and ground, of course, but I believe especially the wood itself, which I don't coat or seal on the inside, as it oxydized over several years. I have made violins that started out well-balanced and became screechy after 2-3 years, and others that started out a little "soft" that became "well-balanced." For a given design and set of wood, my screechier fiddles were the thicker ones.
  7. Interesting violin on my bench

    Silly me for not looking more carefully at the original text! BF and Martin, you may be right, but I think i'm seeing a rib garland that was thoroughly repaired/restored, that's often how they come out if the restorer wants it to be clean and solid, and doesn't care to "re-create" the original look, whatever that was.
  8. Interesting violin on my bench

    What's the back length and are the purfling blacks ebony or stained wood?
  9. Interesting violin on my bench

    The repairs look quite real to me, and I have the hunch that even the corner blocks have been replaced. I don't think Wulme ot the Vollers are likely suspects here. It does seem old and nice, but where from, I couldn't guess with all the work done on it that has effectively erased certain clues. Certain makers were known to use "double white" purfling from time to time, like Carlo Bergonzi, but this is obviously not by him, and as has been stated already, back in the days when everyone had to maker their own purfling, it would have been a sensible way to get a thicker white strip if all one had around was thinner planings.
  10. Intro and question

    Hi Fletch, welcome to the forum, bravo for taking up the violin at 40, and good luck with making your first violin! I'm sure many of the people on this forum will be happy to share experiences and knowledge with you. As to the gouges you linked to, they look very good, but I personally haven't any experience with those. Brands I've bought new that have worked well for me have been Stubai, Pfeil and the Japanese layered steel gouges sold through Dictum and others. Over the years, though, some of my most enjoyable to use gouges have been old, un-named professional quality gouges I've picked up at flea-markets. I've come to find that learning to sharpen them well has been more important to my carving success and pleasure than the actual brand of the gouge. Make sure you budget time and money for sharpening and honing materials and practice.
  11. Interesting old violin for ID

    I had a J.A.Laske from Prague which had a similar A-string "lifter." I think it's a bit like the hole in the back of the peg-box, could have been original, could have been added later.
  12. Maker's Mark

    Sorry the post isn't about bourbon. I was wondering if anyone here is familiar with this marking. It also shows up (both marks) on the top surfaces of the end blocks.
  13. Interesting old violin for ID

    Could this be something like a Mausiel or a Widhalm?
  14. 18th century Sradivarius copies

    Gabriel David Buchstetter in Regensburg was one of the first German language area makers to start using a Strad (long pattern) outline, arching and f-hole model in the 1750's.
  15. 18th century Sradivarius copies