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Posts posted by skiingfiddler

  1. Back some time ago, a violinist gave a recital of the Bach Partita 2, all movements, including the Chaconne.

    The first 4 movements were a smarmy indulgence in "look at me," with lots of extraneous body movements, rubato. The player seemed to be displaying themself more than the music.

    Then the player got to the Chaconne and a transformation occurred.  The extraneous body movements disappeared along with the rubato, and the player just stood there, playing what Bach wanted, nothing more.  The player's Chaconne was mesmerizing and completely swept you away.  The Chaconne made an honest musician out of that performer instead of the self-indulgent performer of the first 4 movements.  The Chaconne is too hard and mentally demanding to play any other way.

  2. Don Noon,

    A Del Gesu model doesn't have to be gnarly.  A Del Gesu model can be as clean as any Strad model.  Here's a Del Gesu from Jan Spidlen:


    Granted, this seems to have a bit of shading, or maybe the varnish is so soft that it wares quickly.  But it's not hard to imagine that fiddle with an absolutely straight varnish, in addition to that very clean outline and f-holes.

    My point is that a maker doesn't have to give up the idea of making a clean, precise, symmetrical instrument with a straight varnish in choosing to make Del Gesus.


  3. The differences between straight line, caliper measurements and flexible tape measurements over the arching are surprisingly small, although, given the standardization of what the dimensions of a newly made violin should be, those differences can be important.

    A while back I did some measurements with both caliper and tape on the 4 or 5 instruments I have to see what the differences were.  Off the top of my head the differences were (all measurements taken of backs still attached):

    Upper bout: with caliper, shorter by about 1mm, or less,  than with tape.

    Middle bout: shorter by about 3 to 4 mm .  Some people on Maetronet have reported differences of 5 mm.

    Lower bout: shorter by about 1 mm.

    Length: shorter by about 1 maybe 2 mm.  This is measuring from the bass side of the neck button straight down to the edge at the bottom, the same distance from the center line as where one is measuring at the top.

    I should double check these numbers, but what I distinctly remember is that the middle bout gave you the biggest difference as an absolute number and, of course, as a percentage.  The other differences were almost not worth worrying about unless you were going to worry about a 1 mm difference.

    In doing these measurements, you would want to calibrate your tape and caliper to each other.  Maybe, say, the tape measures 1 mm shorter on a straight line than does the caliper.  I did not notice any great difference between my tape and caliper on a straight line, but I wasn't extremely careful of checking that.


  4. 5 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

    I spend most of my time around early music professionals, and I don't know a single one that oils their gut. 

    I can think of one very good reason not to oil gut or any other strings:  The oil would get on the bow hair, and then you have to replace or clean the hair.  That is my conjecture.  I've never oiled the many gut core strings (metal wrapped gut) I used a lot decades ago, and that is the reason why.

  5. Hope some questions from a non-maker about measuring arching heights are ok.

    What distances are used for arching height measurement?  I assume that one point is the highest point in the plate arching.  But what do you measure down to?:  The surface that the plate would be sitting on if it were detached and lying on that surface? (In other words, is the thickness of the plate included in the arching height?) The outside surface of the plate at its lowest point? (You're not including plate thickness.)  If you are not including the plate thickness in the arching height, where on the plate surface do you measure down to?:  Where the plate is thickest, probably at the edges, or more inward, in the channel, where the plate would be thinner? 

  6. 4 minutes ago, Stephen Perry said:

    Skiing, look up consignment agreement on google.  Lots of examples.  I attempt to find and borrow from agreements involving big firms in general.  Likely expensive agreements, highly reviewed!  Put in all the usual.  Merger clause, survival, counterparts.  The typical contract parts that give so much trouble later if not done right!  


    Thanks for that tip, and thanks for your willingness to offer help throughout this thread. I will search for examples. 

  7. 1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

    You ommit to notice that (in such a case) I would have found someone who wants to buy a violin, and didn’t sell them one of mine.



    Nobody's trying to convince you to become a consignment dealer.  I would hope that you would allow others to do consignment selling if they wish.

  8. 58 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

    Ski should realise that when he asks someone to help him sell his violin, he is asking for a favour.


    I don't regard it as a favor.  It's a business transaction in which I can get my property sold, and the dealer (the consignee) is compensated typically by 20% to 30% of the selling price.  The dealer has no property at risk, while possibly earning a sizable sum.  As others have mentioned, consignment selling is an acceptable business model,  at least in the USA, offering advantages to both consigner and consignee.

    My questions about a consignment agreement is what it should look like so that this business transaction gets done to both the consigner's and consignee's satisfaction.

  9. 2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

    Dear Ski,

    I think your draft contract rather ignores two (at least) things.

    Firstly, I wonder why I (or anyone else) should want to sell your violins for you at all. I wouldn't. I prefer to sell violins that belong to me (I have a whole house full of them). I am a violin restorer and not some desperate shopkeeper.

    Secondly. Should I be in dire straights and have to file for bankruptcy (not something I intend or expect to do), it would be because I have no money (or credit) left. If I have no money or credit left I would be unable to pay you anything, even if I wanted to, and even if you came around with your contract glued to your forehead.

    Thirdly, I rather wonder if it is any of your business, how much I earn from selling a violin, and wonder where the sense of entitlement arises from. After all, you are the one who wants to sell something.


    I assume your reference to a "draft contract" is to my outline in the initial post, and not specifically to Stephen Perry's old contract.

    Either way, it sounds like you, in no way, would do something that is pretty common here in USA, consignment selling.  Is there any consignment selling in Austria at all by dealers who aren't auction houses?  Any you know of in Europe?  I assume the only response you could offer a violin owner who wants to sell an instrument is to buy the instrument outright from them.  That's fair enough.

  10. 1 hour ago, Stephen Perry said:

    There is no "the law."  There are statutes, judicial decisions, standard courses of dealing.  So, without any specific advice, I will simply observe that terms like "fair market value" end up debated in court.  

    A big issue is when the consignee fails to honor this type of term and ends up in bankruptcy anyway.  You're still screwed.  The UCC-1 is likely more effective.


    I realize that "fair market value" is ambiguous.  I assume that that could be resolved by having a line in the contract: "Fair market value is _________."  Alternatively, one can use another term.  If the proposed addition were to appear in your old contract, I assume that addition would make reference to "minimum sale price." 

    The addition in your old contract would thus read:

    "Prior to the dealer ending ownership of their business or prior to the dealer beginning the process of declaring bankruptcy, the dealer agrees to return to the consigner the consigner's property or the minimum sale price established in item 2"

    The wording, I leave to lawyers, but the idea was to hopefully get the instrument back before a shop closes or goes bankrupt.  In line with Jacob's thinking, I was afraid that there is no inoculation for the consigner against bankruptcy.  There is no way to force a dealer to deal with return of instruments before closing its doors.  

    Would the UCC-1 force a dealer to return instruments before filing for bankruptcy?

    Would there be any harm in having both the above proposed addition to a consignment agreement in the consignment contract and doing the UCC-1?  Does that create any conflict?  The proposed addition would at least remind the dealer what' the consigner expects of the dealer.


    29 minutes ago, Stephen Perry said:

      Notify and return if bankruptcy contemplated.  



    Does the part I quoted from your post indicate that you believe the following proposed addition to a consignment agreement would be acceptable and enforceable in a consignment agreement? (I took the proposal from my post on Manfio's thread.)

    Proposed addition to consignment agreement:

    "Prior to the dealer ending ownership of their business or prior to the dealer beginning the process of declaring bankruptcy, the dealer agrees to return to the consigner the consigner's property or its fair market value."

    i don't want to appear anonymously, here, while you are being quite open.  I know nothing formally about law.

    Many thanks,

    Steven Csik


  12. Stephen Perry,

    Many thanks for that form.  That answers a lot of my questions.

    I'm surprised by item 7, risk of loss.  That item makes the consigner responsible for any damages while the instrument is with the dealer.  I would have thought that shop insurance, rather than owner's insurance, would cover that.  That leads me to believe a consigner had better check with consigner's insurance to see if consigner's insurance would cover the instrument in the shop.  That, or seek another consignee, who is willing to insure the instrument while in the shop.

    In a contract like the one, above, I wonder which insurance would cover the instrument while it's out on trial.  I'm guessing it would not be the dealer's (consignee's) insurance, if the dealer doesn't want to insure the instrument while it's in the shop.  

    The more I think about it, the less I like item 7.  I wonder if it's typical.

    Anyway, thanks again.  Would you be willing to elaborate on the changes you would like to make?

  13. PhilipKT,

    Back in the late 1960s, one of prominent violin shops in Hamburg was the Winterling shop.  That was 50 years ago, so I have no idea how the shop is doing today.  But that might be a place to look in.  The maker Georg Winterling passed away in the 1st half of the 20th century, but the shop, in the late 1960s, still carried his name.

    Here's the website, but it's all in German: https://www.geigenbau-winterling.de  The current name is "Geigenbau Winterling."

    How do foreign buyers in Europe these days deal with the VAT (value added tax)?  Are they exempt if they're just passing through?


  14. deans,

    Thanks for the tips.  I will definitely seek clarity on allowing or not allowing set up modifications.

    I hadn't thought about using auctions.  I might consider using one dedicated to string instruments and related items only.  That might be a good place to sell the books, too.  That deserves further research.

    My concern about auctions  with public viewings is the idea I have that there isn't any oversight about how potential customers are handling the instruments.  Any stranger can walk in and handle an instrument. (At least that's been my experience with the auctions I've been to, but those weren't auctions associated with major auction houses.)  At least with an instrument on consignment, possible buyers go through some kind of filtering process by having a dealer present the instrument to them.

  15. PhilipKT,

    Thanks for that suggestion.  I've never used Ebay, so I probably won't do that.

    You bring up a good point.  Selling the books will probably take a very different route than selling the instruments and bows.  Some violin dealers sell books, but I don't know if they are willing to sell books on consignment.

  16. It's time to plan for selling off some of my instruments, bows, and books.

    Manfio's recent thread made me aware that I really don't know anything about consignment agreements, what's typical, what isn't, what the consigner (the instrument owner) should look for to protect oneself.

    Never having seen a consignment agreement, i assume it should contain the following:

    1. A statement of the selling price.  This could be done in the following ways:

    -- a. As an exact, single number.  The dealer agrees to sell the instrument at that exact price.  Changing that price would require getting confirmation for the change from the consigner.

    -- b. As a price range.  The dealer could negotiate within that price range without consulting the consigner.

    -- c. No specific price or range at all.  The consigner trusts the dealer to get fair market value with no additional consultation with the consigner.

    2. A time-frame for the consignment.  Possibilities are:

    -- a. The consigner and dealer agree on a certain date, prior to which the consigner will not seek return of the instrument.  After that date the consigner may ask for the return of the instrument, having given the dealer adequate notice, say, 7 days.

    -- b. There is no time-frame, but the consigner may retrieve the instrument at any time, giving adequate notice, say 7 days, which the dealer may need to retrieve the instrument out on trial.  Once the dealer gets the notice that the consigner wants to retrieve the instrument, the dealer may no longer pursue its sale, even if it is in the hands of a willing buyer.

    -- c. The dealer will no longer offer the instrument for sale after a certain, specific date, and the consigner must retrieve the instrument within a certain time period after that date, say, 14 days.

    3. Fees for consignment. Any of the following can apply, I assume:

    -- a. A  commission for the dealer based on the selling price.  I remember this to be between 20 and 30%.  Has that changed?.

    -- b.  As an alternative to a, above, a fixed amount of dollars charged by dealer, regardless of selling price.  I've never heard of this, but maybe it happens with inexpensive instruments.

    -- c. A charge for making needed repairs prior to offering the instrument for sale.

    -- d. A price for evaluating the instrument to arrive at a fair selling price.  The dealer will need to evaluate condition and provenance of the instrument to determine a fair selling price.  Also the dealer would need to know market history and current market demand, specifically for that instrument and generally for instruments. The dealer could, reasonably, charge a fee for that.  Maybe they don't.

    I thank anybody with experience with consignment agreements who can offer their insights into what works and what doesn't, and can offer judgments about what I've assumed, above.

  17. Manfio,

    Sorry to hear of your misfortune.  I hope some of the legal advice offered above helps you.

    I hope there's some comfort for you in knowing that you've made people aware of a possible problem in consignment that we instrument owners hadn't considered, but now will.

    To all of you legally minded, whom I thank for your great help, a couple of questions:

    In following up on Nathan Slobodkin's concern about shops with consignments folding and following up on David Burgess's suggestion of using the consignment agreement, would the following language in a consignment agreement help the consigner in a bankruptcy or closing of business?  Would it be a permissible part of a consignment agreement, and would it be enforceable?

    Proposed addition to consignment agreement:

    "Prior to the dealer ending ownership of their business or prior to the dealer beginning the process of declaring bankruptcy, the dealer agrees to return to the consigner the consigner's property or its fair market value."

    Another legal question:

    Does becoming a "secured creditor" guarantee the return of the instrument if not yet sold or, if it is sold, payment of its fair market value?  Does becoming a "secured creditor" offer you anything more than being in line before the "unsecured creditors"?   In other words, if becoming a "secured creditor" does nothing more than put you closer to the front of a long line, then it sounds like being a "secured creditor" might leave you with nothing more than a few more pennies on the dollar than being an "unsecured creditor" gets, especially if the instrument has been sold, and there is no longer an instrument to return.

  18. The lesson Craig taught me in his posts and exchanges was to offer and assume good will toward people you talk to, to share honestly, truthfully and thoughtfully as best as you can.  The goal is not to win arguments, but to assume best intentions in exchanges and offer one's best intentions.  Thanks, CT, for that much valued lesson.

  19. And this is one of my favorite poems, which was given as an example of "anti-kitsch" in a poetry text called Western Wind.  The editors were pointing out how maudlin greeting card poetry was.  I want to fire the maid, too; that's a powerful poem!  :)




    Thanks for posting that Roethke poem.


    Roethke is/was a favorite poet of mine too, back in the days when reading poetry was an important thing to do.  The geranium poem is so life affirming, that you have to smile at the whole situation in the poem.  Getting angry can be life affirming.   Contrast that affirmation with the resignation in his poem which starts "I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow" in which embracing an end seems to be part of what's going on.

  20. My mother would have thought I had become a success in life if I could only have been the cellist on Lawrence Welk.  


    I suspect your family and mine could have spent Saturday evenings pleasantly together.


    The musicianship in the orchestra, strings included, is of pretty high quality.  Getting into that orchestra would be an accomplishment.

  21. Could somebody help me with this, please? Because, I'm not sure what to think...  :unsure:



    Well, for me, after just one listening, it's pretty impressive.  It's a mixture of theme (chop sticks) and variations, a medley of pop tunes, some references to classical music and opera, various classical composer styles, all stirred together rather seamlessly.  It's more than elevator music and it's more than background music in a high end restaurant.  If I were eating dinner while this was being played, it would definitely cause me to pause and listen and smile with amusement and admiration.  The visuals -- clothing, jewelry, piano, candelabra -- push hard toward mega-kitsch, but the performance, the aural experience, does -- maybe this is an embarrassing admission -- engage my mind.


    But now you have to tell why you're conflicted about it.

  22. You want compelling and disgusting?  You want kitsch, already??  I'll see your North Korean accident and raise ya a train wreck.   :lol:






    Definitely compelling.  Lawrence Welk was the high point of our Saturday night family gatherings in front of the TV when I was a kid.  Hey, he played a great polka and at a tempo so the old folks could keep up.  Just like any good politician, he gave the folks what they wanted, not what they needed.  It was definitely music that wasn't going to stretch your tastes.  It was, undeniably, heavy duty kitsch, but still fondly remembered.

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