John_London

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About John_London

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  1. Storing instrument in unheated place

    Nothing against it. Probably a good idea.
  2. Storing instrument in unheated place

    In this situation safety desposit boxes and rented space make no sense. I just want a second violin to keep at this place I stay sometimes, and thought I'd buy a nice one from the maker of my current instrument to treat myself. Maybe a Strad copy to go with the DG copy. Sounds like it is a bad idea, and a cheap instrument would make more sense.
  3. Storing instrument in unheated place

    Well currently I have no violin at that location, which I occupy for a few days every month. I could travel with an instrument. And I could live without one at that location, or get a cheap one.
  4. Storing instrument in unheated place

    There is a shed where I run a dehumidifier, mainly to stop a largely disused motorcycle from rusting. I could put it there. There is also an insulated shed which could be provided with a dehumidifier, and I could use the dehumidifer I have if the bike, of little value, is left to rust. Thanks for the idea!
  5. Storing instrument in unheated place

    I will be storing a violin (by a modern professional maker--to given an idea of the value) in an unheated place, on a canal boat or on in a shed on the shore close to the canal, near London (so unlikely to be extremely cold but could be quite damp). Previous experience on another canal boat is that it survived in a Hiscox case and in a cheap styrofoam case, whereas a viola in an old-style plastic-covered wood case got enough damp gathering inside the case for the viola to fall apart in the case. Probably putting a humidifier in the case makes little sense(!) and it always surprises me when humidifiers are recommended for cold environments. Maybe in the mountains you need them. I have ordered a Musafia Lievissima case, to have a decent case which is lighter than Hiscox and probably better insulated. What else should I do, if anything, when storing an instrument in this or any other unheated place while I am away, which is most of the time?
  6. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Some skilled violin teachers teach this expressly. And teach looking for the centred sound as the test of whether you are in tune. And teach that because vibrato varies pitch between centered and uncentered, that is one reason vibrato is a variation of timbre. There is nothing new in the idea that a player who is 'in tune' has a bigger sound. Some violins seem to pull the player towards the centre of the note perhaps by giving timbral cues when near the centre of the note, and others give few clues and little help, but both kinds (particularly fine instruments) will reward 'in tune' playing with a better sound. The first kind, which 'wants to play in tune,' is more likely to inspire love at first sight because it makes the player feel they are better than they are. The other kind, which makes you work for the in-tune resonance, may be the keeper you could miss on first encounter, which sings as sweetly and with more colours, but only when the player deserves it. Of course, none of this can be true. It does not stop one believing it.
  7. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    T The analogy might not appeal to someone who is looking for their 'soulmate' violin. Having started the thread, I tried to make clear it is not that I think all fine violins sound the same. I have felt lust at first sight for an instrument, more than once. It is more that with my related question--'what is a good violin?'--I suspect violinists like lovers are kidding themselves, and maybe missing treasures, if they think they can work out quickly which one's the keeper. And dealers, however well-intentioned, naturally want to sell the most profitable instruments, provided the client is also happy. Maybe luthiers actually do know the secret!
  8. Is there a Sound Post "General Rule/Tendency"?

    Made me laugh :-) I'd let an unspellable luthier starting with "Z" adjust my soundpost any day. I wish someone with an impressive sounding name would promote gluing them in. Or perhaps retaining them with a neat brass screw through the back. My last fallen soundpost went down unprovoked, with only one string off. It is unrealistic to visit the maker, unless they happen to be local, to get it stood up again. Maybe that is another reason to support your local makers--of violins as well as of food and wine.
  9. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Not sure which instrument that was? Szerying was maybe not the best example. He speaks briefly about the three violins he had not given away at In German; the poster adds a translation in the comments.
  10. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    My impression is that one can expect to lose if reselling an instrument by all but the most celebrated makers, unless one can wait many decades. You only have to look at auction prices for many good contemporary makers, or try to sell one to a shop who deal in that maker, to discover that.
  11. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Thanks for taking the trouble to write such a long and informative post.
  12. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Maybe show him something with an uncovered gut D :-) There may be an element for self-selection in the buyers you meet. For the kinds of buyer you write about, the facilities of a dealer to show a range of instruments are hugely valuable. For someone who is not searching for that special instrument, I think they can still love their particular instrument, whilst being more flexible about picking a soulmate, so ordering a new instrument or even taking a punt at auction, is less of a problem.
  13. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    Sounds like a wonderful ideal. It never occurred to me that a maker could even aspire to that. I have read and doubted so much advice about searching for the instrument with the sound you like within the budget, and how a bigger budget will aways bring someting better into the frame. By contrast, this ideal, when pointed out, seems obviously the right answer.
  14. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    I use a violin to play for myself and close family. I should preform really and put something out there on youtube instead of posting stuff on forums--though far better players put stuff on youtube which get a tiny number of hits! I am not in an amateur orchestra and unlikely to join one because I travel the whole time. Chamber music would be nice, and when I did it I enjoyed it, but not recently. However, to say I play for myself does not tell you as much about appropriate choice of instrument as a seller might think: the reason the violin is a chosen source of amusement for which I am willing to spend far more than I would on a car is the fascinating quest to create certain sounds and musical ideas and to conquer certain technical challenges so that playing is relaxed if not effortless. It is an outlet for a certain strange violin fever which has lurked, sometimes dormant, sometimes active, since childhood. So if I want to make certain sounds the instrument needs to be capable of it. I like Szerying's comment about the Le Duc having a human voice. It does not need to be heard at the back of the hall, and if I find myself in a position where it does, I will not be too proud to use a pickup. Neither does it have to be heard well under the ear, where I expect a bit of 'zhit' and lack of volume is ok, and where there is a knack, albeit possibly illusory, of projecting one's hearing. (Some violinists will expressly teach students to do that.) So, big sound aside, a lot of what I am willing to pay for as a hobby is not different than what many soloists say they want an instrument to do, albeit no one is likely lend me an instrument worth millions. If the violin is only a good student instrument I can still work on most of the challenges which I focus on in my practice sessions, though achieve a bit less and have a bit less fun and less exploration than is possible with an master-made instrument, and the playing is where the focus should be in my view, not in kidding oneself that audience will really have a better musical experience if you 'find your voice' by buying a particular instrument, or if you play very good violin x rather than very good violin y. Yes, some instruments are more generous in responding and maybe suggesting sounds than others. They are more alive. Primarily, the instrument should also be visually alive. That visual aliveness, if it makes any sense, is my key test for evaluating an instrument. Because I am a sceptic about one instrument being tonally better than another. I am a sceptic about tonal qualities because also I suspect that the person trying out a violin, and who thinks they know it will still be inferior to that Strad they tried after the same amount of setup work, or that they can predict how the instrument will respond after two years' playing or big humidity changes, are probably kidding themselves. Therefore the focus on looking for the voice in the instrument, rather than creating the voice with the mind and hands, is the wrong way to think although it is what many dealers recommend. However, the look of the instrument, and a very approximate idea of how resonant it is, are something one can evaluate before purchase, and is probably as good a guide as you are going to get. I am on the whole persuaded by the Frtiz/Curtin blind trials: even if under the most rigorous testing the great instruments of the past were to win, most of them do not blow away the recent instruments decisively enough from the point of view of audience or player, to justify their price and inconvenience, and I cannot imagine changing that view if I were making a living performing, though admittedly that is speculative. The same is going to go for comparing one new instrument with another: so much of it is in the setup, the humidity, the playing in, the maker's name, the room acoustics, the bow, and the expectations of the player, that provided the violin is basically made to very high standards, it is better to stop worrying about the instrument, find something which visually speaks to you as a superb piece of craftsmanship, then focus on giving it a voice. Have I tried a lot of fiddles? Not enough I suppose. I know what it is to struggle on low-grade German instruments, I own a nice Mirecourt student instrument which is entirely adequate for almost all purposes (though probably wanting in the projection a soloist would need), and a modern master-made DG copy, so I do know the difference between these is huge on certain levels which I could describe in detail; and I contemplate buying a Strad copy--partly for fun, but I really only need three instruments because I live in several places and prefer not to fly with an instrument routinely. If any of the hardware really matters that much, it is the bow. Some players play with the left hand. I grew up playing that way, but the violinists I like play with the bow. For those who find that nonsense, fair enough but perhaps put it in another thread!
  15. Selling in a saturated market

    I agree, there certainly nothing illegal in that. Neither is it unethical If the seller or the person receiving commission lied and said there was no commission, that could be a problem, and if the contact said they were getting the colleague a special price when they knew that was not true, you are still potentially giving grounds for a claim. Collusion over writing certificates to pump up prices might be the grounds for a case, and was alleged in the Segelman Estate vs Biddulph case (settled before trial). Just keeping your mouth shut about a commission in that situation would be legal in any English-speaking system of law where there is no general duty to negotiate in good faith when making a contract. I think by most standards it is also ethical, although in such a small world it might be better for everyone to be upfront!