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wmeng

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Everything posted by wmeng

  1. in 2 weeks time there is a book launch in Cremona of the first comprehensive monography about Nikolai Kittel.

    Written by the experts on Kittel: Grünke, Gabriel and Chins. 30 Kittel bows in it. And some photos of documents contributed by kenway.

    There will be a lot of your questions and answers in it. www.nikolai-kittel.com

    best

    bowlover

  2. Hi everyone, I'm normally based elsewhere but am in the states for a few weeks, and as I don't know the suppliers in the USA well anymore, I wondered if anyone might know a good supplier for violin tailpieces? Primarily I'm concerned with two common problems on cheap factory tailpieces - the spread between the tailgut holes, which is often not wide enough; and the spread between the string holes, which is also often not wide enough - as these things can make a big difference for tone, I've found. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  3. The profile of the scroll may be a bit out of the ordinary, but it's still rather poorly executed.
  4. $350? Jesus. Just a few years ago these things sold for ~$70. German workshop ca. 1890-1930.
  5. quote: Originally posted by: jbythesea Wmeng, you say that you can not make any conclusions and I admire your honesty. I am puzzled how it is that you answer yes. If you read the original question of #5, you'll see that I was referring to the fact that I prefer not to make conclusions about violins from MY OWN PLAYING - I much prefer to hear a good player whose playing I am familiar with, to make any meaningful comparison.
  6. So: 1) 2 good Strads, 2 mediocre ones; 1 good del Gesu, 1 mediocre one, and 1 in pieces; 1 Bergonzi, and 2 Guadagnini. 2)Lots - no idea at this point, but it's a big number. I look at and play everything I can get my hands on. 3)3 Strads, 2 del Gesu, 1 Bergonzi, 2 Guadagnini. 4)Properly exploit, as a prominent professional musician might? Not quite. But, having worked with musicians on sound adjustment in the past, I can nevertheless get a pretty good idea of what a violin will and won't do with my own playing. 5)Yes, but more so as a listener than as a player. This could easily be due to my own playing, so I don't draw any conclusions from this. 6)Many - not sure of an exact number. 7)I can think of at least seven for sure, likely more. 8)Yes. Perhaps I haven't made myself perfectly clear in previous postings - I'm not advocating old instruments above everything else; what I am saying is that I personally can hear a difference between top shelf Strads, Guarneris, etc., and top contemporary violins, and I'm certainly not the only one to experience this. But were I a professional musician, forced to choose between a theoretical mediocre Strad and a top contemporary violin, I'd very likely choose the latter. As with so many things, it all comes down to how much you can afford to spend...
  7. quote: Originally posted by: jbythesea If there is one thing that I believe in - it's that talk is cheap. For those people who say that there is no doubt in there mind one way or another - put your money where your mouth is. I propose the following challenges depending on your point of view...A blind test where you listen to 10 well set up and top notch instruments played by the same player, same song/scales etc. One of them is a Cremonese instrument. That player can have no experience with any of them. That player will be blindfolded so there is no influence to how it is played. Sounds like a pretty useless test. If a player were to spend millions of dollars on a violin, it would likely be in his/her best interest to get the most out of it - NOT just play it like everything else. The whole point of spending those extra dollars, for a player, is to get to that last 1-5% that a modern instrument can't offer. If you don't bother to learn to take advantage of that little extra bit that a great fiddle can offer, than you would be better served by a much cheaper modern instrument.
  8. I've been rather entertained by discussions of this sort over the years. Sure, there have been tests where audiences have proven themselves unable to tell the difference between a modern fiddle and a Strad or Guarneri. There are modern violin makers who do complex spectrographical analyses, use alternative materials and constructional methods to duplicate response as much as possible. And then there are the quacks like Nagyvary who douse perfectly good instruments in various putrid concoctions based on questionable alchemic ideas. I, personally, choose to ignore all of these people because they are wrong. Feel free to disagree with me here - but the idea that there is no difference in the sound of a modern violin and that of a fine old Cremonese, simply because one is unable to discern said difference, is a serious logical error. To me, the funniest thing about this is that some of the people making this error are or have been professional businessmen, scientists, physicians and the like - who otherwise would be unlikely to fall victim to this sort of fallacious thinking in a professional setting. Over the years, I have played all sorts of violins and violas from great to bad, and everywhere in between. I have made violins, sold violins, and worked for violin dealers and an auction house. I have studied with some of the top American orchestral musicians and soloists. And while I certainly won't claim to be a great musician, I know violins AND I can tell you with absolute certainty right now that I (and quite a few other makers, players, and dealers) can hear the difference between a good old Cremonese and a top new fiddle. If others are unable to do this, I am sorry - but the difference is not huge. Is it worth a few million? Perhaps, but once again, that depends EXCLUSIVELY on your personal frame of reference.
  9. Given a reasonable string length and neck size/shape, I'd have to agree.
  10. Dmitri Dischenko (Ukranian) eventually moved to the USA. His instruments are generally good. Can't think of any other good Russian makers though, living OR dead.
  11. I played it - it was one of the better violas there. Very responsive and clear, and slightly dark if my memory serves me correctly. I found it to be a surprisingly manageable instrument, despite the size.
  12. The first is an unremarkable German; the second is somewhat interesting and might even be English, but once again, it's not a Forster or even close.
  13. I see what you're saying; though I guess the cross archings could be a problem, the long arch is what strikes me as being potentially less successful - it's too full to the end of the top for a Strad pattern. Also, looking again, it seems like the cross arching at the top of the upper bout may be a bit too full to the edge, but this could be the low image quality throwing my eye off.
  14. Lyndon: Don't delude yourself - it's German, probably Dresden, late 19th century. Bean: Why, pray tell, are you studying labels? That's probably the easiest way to throw yourself WAY off track in identification...
  15. Manfio - I look forward to hearing your viola. I heard Wallas in a master class at Lynn a little over a year ago, he's a very good player. Congratulations!
  16. Thanks to all who responded. I've decided to list the book on eBay here.
  17. David Wiebe makes some very impressive celli, as does William Whedbee.
  18. I have an original first edition (1945) copy of How Many Strads, by Doring, numbered #900 of #1400. Anyone know how much it's worth, and where I would do best to sell it? Thanks for your help.
  19. wmeng

    viola ID help?

    Without seeing it, it's hard to be sure but my best guess would be 1850-1880 German, possibly Nurnberg or somewhere around that area.
  20. I forgot the Bros. Amati viola - there's a Strad poster of a 1620 example.
  21. Yes, there is also an uncut contralto-size Maggini, I believe.
  22. Who cares? Wait a year or two for the hype to die down, and buy one at auction for $2-3k. It happened with most of the modern Cremonese makers, and it almost assuredly will happen with the Chinese makers too due to the high volume production. Remember, the VSA judges change every year, and based on scoring data, they definitely aren't always looking for the same things. From a maker's point of view, I have seen very few Chinese instruments that I think can truly compare with the better American makers. Shan Jiang's violins, for example, are good. The last Zhu I saw, though, wasn't particularly interesting. The majority of Chinese makers seem to have little interest in research and the really fine, artistic aspects of making - they simply want to undercut prices and gain market share.
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