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Michael Appleman

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Everything posted by Michael Appleman

  1. Bergonzi's earliest recognized work shows a lot of Ruggieri influence, and it seems the research has shown he got his start most likeley through Vincenzo Ruggieri. This violin looks nice, but more of a southern german style than any Bergonzi I've seen in person or in photos. Bergonzi did let in his linings with points, not square, but his interior work seems to have been mostly in willow.
  2. Markneukirchen, Mittenwald, Mirecourt, Réghin...Austrian invasion, war of Spanish Succession...Cremona's still there and still making violins, (even if for a while the best it could "do" was Pietro Grulli)...I can't imagine any quantity of Chinese violins or propaganda will sink it.
  3. I tried that for a while. I found it protected the bridge well, but I found the sound of the E harsher and more metallic compared to parchment/drumskin. I've found for my tastes the drumskin with no glue under the top, just on the sides, gives me the protection, sound and response I like best, but that's just my opinion.
  4. I've played a couple of Carlos, a Carlo/Michelangelo, and a bunch of Nicolos and Carlo II's. The Carlos and the father/son were along the lines of what one would expect from a good late Strad: deep, warm and powerful but still with silvery "zinginess" and clarity. All were fiddles I'd be happy to be able play on regularly. The grand children's fiddles were more variable, some very good, some a little muffled, but still interesting to play on.
  5. I can't say anything about this bowmaker Meinel, but I do think that good quality German bows can be a real bargain in most markets, US and France especially. When I was still living in the US I used a bow I think is a Hoyer for many years as a favourite playing bow, and I'm beginning to amass a number of excellent German bows in my "woodpile" these days. I'll probably make a trek to Dresden one of these days since no one around here is able to certify these.
  6. It's live right now! I won't say anything about the score if you plan to watch the replay.
  7. I believe that Grestch fitted a number of their archtops from the 1950's with soundposts, but you'd better check that with experts on the subject. I did fit one to my Martin F-65. Its top was sagging from an unglued treble side brace, and I wanted to gently nudge it back into shape before gluing up the brace. I didn't make it round, but rather a long oval, hoping it wouldn't distort the top. After the arch seemed stable, I reglued the brace and decided to try the guitar both with and without the soundpost. I found the guitar noticeably louder and more responsive playing acoustically with the post, so it has stayed in ever since. This is a two parrallel brace top, and the treble brace is still in, the soundpost standing just inside of it. It has a Melita bridge with wide feet, so there's plenty of contact area next to the brace. This is just one anecdote about one guitar, so I wouldn't extrapolate any generalities from it, but I thought I'd share it if it can be of any help. P.S. I can't comment on whether the soundpost has reduced feedback or microphonics, since I never crank this guitar up that high.
  8. If there's a JTL brand, then it's a JTL. After that, there were higher quality violins produced, and some excellent makers who did produce some very fine "copies d'ancien." Take a look at the the Viaduct violins site for a wide variety of JTL examples, some quite "artistic" and even "quirky."
  9. Curious. New pegs and tail piece, but why black out the interior of the pegbox?
  10. Whenever pictures of what might be a high quality violin show up on MN, I usually PM the poster and suggest they seek out a reputable expert. It seems that several other "regulars" do so as well. Photos like this would have probably ellicited that sort of response from several people here, "hard to tell from the photos" in public, and "show it to..." in private.
  11. The number of high quality makers that seem to have been building on the back is actually quite impressive. Besides the Neapolitans and the Piemontese like Catenar and Cappa, the Brescians, the Milanese (before Landolfi and Guad), Contreras, the Parisians like Pierray and Boquet, the Dutch like Jacobs and Rombouts, the English like Parker, and of course the higher quality Saxon makers. It seems as if no one was using an inside mold besides the Amati family until their apprentices and some mobile family members started spreading the technique towards the end of the 1600's. In many places where the makers were doing just fine with their own methods, there was no point in changing. In others, like Piacenza, Mantua, Venice, Absam, Mittenwald, Vienna and Prague the Cremonese method got imported, adopted, and sometimes adapted, in places like Regensburg where the inside mold seems to have been combined with a through neck.
  12. Bruce, does this "new" Filius also have a long body stop? I'm wondering if the same influences that led Stradivari to make his long-pattern (and Rogeri his Maggini copies) didn't also inspire some other makers to start trying long body stops at this time (Joseph Filius and Alessandro Gagliano, for instance).
  13. Wittner sells a guitar-style crank for faster string changes. I've got the Stew-mac one that fits in a drill chuck. that makes it fast! Of course that makes a stage side string change sound like an Indy 500 pit-stop...
  14. One can also choose to use a "functional" instrument and prepare for one's retirement in "conventional" ways. Pianists and wind players don't plan their retirements around selling their instruments. If one buys an instrument as an investment as well as a professional tool, one had better invest a lot of time and research into making sure the investment is sound!
  15. This is sadly a universal story. I think just about every musician I've ever known has had this sort of experience or is close to someone who has, and most definitely, every person I've ever met who has tried to buy and sell an instrument for a profit has run into something like this at some point. The only way to avoid getting "stung" for a musician is either to buy only new instruments from living makers, or blue-chip consensus-inspiring examples from well known and documented makers with multple certificates (and dendro), or if one is in love with a speculative instrument, to not pay more than the price of a decent new violin or bow. If one is in the fray to make money, then it's up to that person to decide how much he knows in terms of expertise himself and recognize his own limits. Anyone who buys a violin or bow solely based on a certificate or a description in a sale without examining it and coming to his own opinion is begging for much pain.
  16. if only I knew of a place in Paris where you can get seafood like at Ramiro's! Very interested in your "wolf killer" thickness tongue...I regret that I just closed up the box of my latest violin and am preparing the neck...too late to try a new experiment. My approach which has been working on the last few fiddles has been to leave the top a little thicker just below the bass ff, but I find your approach interesting!
  17. I saw your Facebook post, Christian, and I found it intriguing! I hope one day soon things will get back to normal, and I'll be able to pay you a visit in Lisbon and try one of these wild creations, before heading over to the Cervejaria Ramiro for some étrilles and araignée de mer...
  18. I would second the suggestion of Chris Reuning, and add Phillip Kass, as well.
  19. It's very interesting to hear your report on the UK take on the "French sound," Martin. After taking the time to digest your description and think about it a bit, I think I get what you're talking about, and I think your intuition about the sometimes extreme neck set-back with a low "overstand" is probably pretty accurate as far as why some of these instruments soud "brassy" and "colourless." From my point of view, however, I rather associate these "qualities" with Collin-Mézins and the more "commercial" Mirecourt production, and less with G&B, and the more "hand-made," artistic lutherie output I think of like Blanchard, Sylvestre, Jombard...for instance, I would be surprised to see a G&B with a "brittle" varnish. There has been a family of varnish makers in Paris that had basically been producing the "Lupot" recipe since the days of Gand Père (until the last of them passed away a few years ago. I managed to get the last bottle...) and all of the G&B's (and Caressa & Français and Emile Français) violins I've handled have this soft linseed oil varnish that wears off if you look at it too long. There has been a long practice of passing off Mirecourt violins with brittle shellac varnish as something nicer, and some of the worst culprits were the Paris makers themselves!
  20. I thought I'd just add that Gand & Bernardels are a sort of "workhorse" fiddle for orchestra members here in France. Growing up in the USA in the 60's and 70's, studying and later playing with Boston Symphony Orchestra members, I got used to the idea that professional orhestra players all had Gaglianos or better for their "workhorse" violins, Moving here in 1990, I discovered what life was like where orchestra salaries are 70% lower... I have heard it said that Etienne Vatelot intentionally kept his prices low, conscious that the average French player could not afford to pay the kind of prices that players in the US, England or Germany could pay. Since he kept a lid on his prices, that forced the other dealers in France to do the same, but when he passed his shop on to his successor, the lid came off...
  21. I don't know if I would agree with you 100% on this point, Martin. I think we would agree that in terms of model (Strad inspired), technique and finish, they were very consistent, even if there were a number of different workers in the shop over the years, but my experience (based on contact with a whole lotta these fiddles, maybe closing in on 100) is that they are relatively consistent and predictable with a certain number (maybe 10-20%?) of exceptionally good ones, and a few real "dogs." Although it's generally felt that the earlier Gand Père/Frères violins tend to be better made and better sounding, In my experience I've found basically the same ratio of excellent/good/dog across the century and a half production of this family. The basic model was set by Gand Père after he took over Lupot's shop, basically inspired by the late Lupots he was making for his boss, and as the firm continued through the Gand Frères era into the Gand & Bernardel era, it got "standardized" and it carried through to the Caressa & Français and finally Emile Français period into the 1940's. You can find Maggini-inspired and even a few rare Del Gesu inspired Gand Pères and Bernardel Pères, and there was recently a DG model Gand Frères era violin in the sales, but once Gand & Bernardel started cranking out their several hunderd violins using more hired help, the Strad model seems to be all they produced.
  22. Thank you, Bruce, for this excellent set of presentations! I especially liked the bow presentation by Pierre Guillaume. I was aware of the correspondence concerning the Vuillaume metal bows, but I never heard about these "excellent Neapolitan bowmakers" before!
  23. Or maybe this represents a new frontier in "virtual concerts". All the violins will have no strings, but the one used for Paganini will be virutally played with a Vuillaume bow and the violin used for Ysaye will be virtually played with a Sartory...
  24. I couldn't resist sharing this. I received this e-mailing from my alma mater to publicize an online violin recital. The violinist will be playing "period correct" instruments for a program going from Biber to Ysaye, and the organizers thought it would be helpful to explain what a "period violin" is...
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