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Everything posted by MeyerFittings

  1. I don't have a public shop and I don't set up instruments, so everything that say about the effects of fittings to sound production comes from the words of others. I do pay attention to my customers, especially those who earned their reputations in the violin world by attention to detail and realistic appraisal of variables. I can safely say that the weight, density, and length of a tailpiece can change the sound of an insrtument. Even if that change is one percent, that is significant, especially as one approaches the top of the crop - so to speak. I have been making alot of heavy tailpieces lately for certain shops to deal with wolf note problems. At least one shop that I respect is convinced that this works well. Most makers seem to think that the lightest tailpiece is usually best, even taking mass out of the back to achieve it. This may be the case in most instances, but It seems that experimenting with different tailpieces, as an isolated variable can be very rewarding. One shop had a beautiful violin made by a respected maker who's name I've seen mentioned on this site. It had a irritating wolf that nothing seemed to help. Most Hill tailpieces, as a reference, weigh in at 11-13gm. A light tailpiece is about 10gm, the one that I made for this one was 18gm. The trick is not to achieve this by making it long. There is a correct length and most commercial tailpieces seem to err on the long side of things. I made this one 108mm and tried to keep it pretty, yet thicker, to increase the weight. I used the most dense piece of wood in the shop. Seemed to work like a charm. The old axiom has been the after-length of string behind the bridge should be one sixth the string length. This doesn't always work out but it's usually a good starting point. At least on violin and violas many folks tune the after-length of the second thickest string to be an octave higher than the bass string plucked open. The longer the after-length the lower the pitch of this note and the shorter the tailpiece. There are a few good folks looking into all this empirically and we should all be paying attention to what they find out.
  2. In Richard Sadler's book on Arthur Bultitude he talks about a large group of bows that were made at Hills in the late twenties. The Pernambuco logs were cut on the slab and many of the heads came off. They retro-fit many with wood and brass dowels through the mortice and labelled them with an N as I recall. This may have been one that got out without the in-house repair and before they caught the problem and cut again on the quarter. I've never really liked the use of pins as a crack staple. Metal doesn't seem like such a great improvement. I know this is an old joiners method, but they had to remove all of the metal pins in the columns of the Parthenon because they expanded an contracted at a diferent rate than the marble and cracked them. They were outside though. Anybody know what the L stamp at Hill's signified besides the matching of a stick and a frog that were made seperately?
  3. It's really hard to fix a fix. Even water soluable hide glue is difficult to remove without scewing up the gluing surface, and you can't glue to glue.
  4. I was pretty much refering dealers identifying and sanctifying the dead makers, but the morass that I referred to certainly includes PR and Showbiz. Also location, location, location.
  5. In my humble opinion the reason that Masters are not accepted as such in their lifetimes is that it takes that long for the public to agree on anything. In Baroque times agreement was hampered by slow communication. Today the opposite is true, and it is slowed by morass of bullshit. Also, Great artists are not usually great businessmen and it is usually the dealers who set the prices, identify the Stars, and make the money.
  6. I was debating getting in my two cents on this issue because, although I have made a grand total of one bow which turned out to be a noodle, I have been a repairman for twenty five years. I have always agonized over what glue to use. I've been making a lot of pernambuco tailpieces lately and the wood is so brittle that if you drop a thin piece--forget it, it's gone, and so is the time that you spent working it to specs. It does make a loud clear tone when striking the floor however, which is why people want them. I was told by Steve Banchero,who often repairs bows, that if I could clamp the piece, I should try Gorilla Glue which is advertized as the stongest glue on the planet. I had nothing to lose as I would not sell it anyway but can always use another sample. The trouble has always been the awfull glue line, especially with super glue. I was flabergasted with the repair. You can't see a crack and I've wailed on the break to the point that I was afraid of cracking the good wood. I'm very conservative in my beliefs on wonder drugs for wood, but I have to admit in this case I was astounded. I still wouldn't sell the piece but I bet that I could. Has anyone else had experience with this glue? It might be the thing for cracked bows.
  7. Where was the violin exhibit in Las Vegas located, by the way? Who put it on?
  8. Mario is in Altadena, Ca. How about Francis Kuttner and Tom Croen? Don't forget that much of a makers reputation depends on where they live and how much they get around -- it's all showbiz after all. I'll tell you one thing, there are many great makers out there these days. The competition is fierce.
  9. Thanks for the kind words. I spend a lot of time on them and I have the same bills that everybody does in the USA. Most instrument craftsmen in the Industrialized World have the same problem these days, which is why so many are setting up shops in the Third World. Most of my customers are violin makers and we are all in the same boat. I think this is a great but painfull topic for discussion. It's not a easy way to make a living, but it's great to be appreciated. It's always been the case that the final 10% of quality in a handmade product triples the cost, because that is where the time and effort accrue. It's all about where Society puts it's priorities, I personally never thought that I would still be making fittings all this time. It's just great to get good at something and find a niche. I can't afford to spend much time on these forums unfortunately, time away from the bench is a killer, so thanks for letting me vent.
  10. I am well aware that my pegs are not for everyone and at the rate that I produce them I couldn't accomodate anyway. There were pegs made in Germany of MM over ther years but the producers thought that it was too hard on their machines and the supply was erratic. At least one Chinese company bought a bunch of wood and made the pegs very inexpensively but since it is not normally a commercial wood they had trouble keeping a supply. If you network you may find some sets around. I just broke a cutter so it's back to work.
  11. I always hesitate posting about the quality of fittings because I am in the business of making them and it always seems too self-serving to promote yourself in a forum such as this. My stuff is both custom made and expensive, and I don't advertise anyway. I will, however address this issue as I have spent some time researching the relative merits of different woods and have written on the subject. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Mountain Mahogany as an alternative to boxwood. It is harder, more stable, shaves like very hard butter, and doesn't require staining. I have made many sets for Strads, Amatis, and Del Gesus, and they have the Red Setter color of old Hill fittings-and only get prettier with age and hands. The wood is not in the same family as mahogany, but is in the Rosacia family. A twelve inch diameter tree takes 500 years to get there. If you are interested there is a talk that I gave on the subject of this wood and the way that it first appeared on the violin radar screen in the Violin Society of America Journal from the Oakland Convention 1994 Vol.14, no.1. I recently gave another talk last month on the history of Hill pegs and the men who made them. I have a piece of Salamonica box wood from the 30's Hill shop that Bill Watson gave me.I talk of this wood and the way that the Hill craftsmen prepared and stained it. All woods have thier points and applications, but I think MM is the perfect peg wood.
  12. Usually modern pegs conform to a 1/30 taper. If your outer hole is 7.25 and you allow for 10-15mm of shaft outside the peg box, 8.25 should be plenty thick.For most commercial makers that should be normal, however they often make their shafts huge to accommodate all possibilities. Does that help?
  13. Read my reply about pernambuco fittings on 5/2. I make whatever the customer thinks is correct for the varnish color and tonal qualities they hope to achieve, as all my work is customized. I know that tailpieces effect the sound, the problem is predicting what will work the best. Most of my clients are old hands at violin making, but they certainly don't all agree on the weight,length and material of the optimum tailpiece. I think that most commercial tailpieces are too long. This is a complex discussion and my typing skills aren't up to the time it would take to do the subject justice. At least one of my very talented customers is using short, but very heavy tailpieces to get rid of wolfs (or is it wolves). I have quite a few who tune their tailpieces by removing or adding weight. Some are not using nylon adjusters and going back to gut. I am working on developing an adjustable one that is not nylon as it makes sense to me that this effects sound transmission. All of this needs more discussion and some empirical measurement. If I ever can get my Visa debt payed up I plan on spending some serious R+R time on these subjects. I hope these older subject lists get looked at, I'm new to this type of forum and don't know how things work. Eric Meyer
  14. Cedar you live in the bowmaking Mecca. Port Townsand is home to Paul Seifried, Charles Espy, Chris English, and Ole (I don't remember his last name or how to spell his first,but he won a gold medal at the last VSA convention). Morgan Anderson is on San Juan Island and Bob Shallock is at David Stone's in Seattle. I don't know how many will do rehairs but they certainly hair some fine bows of their own
  15. Thanks for the plug Bruce. I've been making pernambuco tailpieces, and some pegs for several years. I depend on feedback from my customers as to the results from the changes of types of fittings. I don't have a public shop and don't do the installations. Most of my work is for makers and the idea was originaly suggested by Tom Croen in the Bay Area. The general agreement is that the pegs work fine, and the tailpieces brighten up and amplify the sound, especially of a dark instrument. Some players have been ectatic with the change. I don't think it is preferable for every instrument, as each one is different in tonal quality, but I have heard the difference that it makes all other factors being equal. I know that many makers discount the effect that a different tailpiece can make, and that it is hard to isolate one factor when making a change. But I think if you make the same change enough times you can make a generalization. I don't make chinrests out of pernambuco as it does react with some skin types, but I think it can be matched suficiently with some rosewoods. If it improves the sound, even a little it is worth it after all. Also, my bowmaker friends love to give me the excess wood that they don't use for various reasons and the end cuts, so it is not a waste of wood. I have a photo on my computer but I am a cyber novice and don't know how to post it. Rico
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