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Joel Pautz

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  1. Mark Ralston wrote a very helpful article about "Fancy Violins". I couldn't find a usable link to a pdf version, the best I could find at the moment was his photo album on 'Fiddle hangout' that is comprised of thumbnails of the article, page by page. Link to photo album 'Fancy Violin' article
  2. It's probably not the best analogy, but I've compared baroque bows to purchasing shoes before (are you looking for dress shoes, running shoes, standing on your feet all day shoes, etc.), And it's my understanding that professional musicians at the time may have thought of their bows similarly and owned a few different varieties, allowing them to chose the appropriate bow suited best for playing the piece at hand. I suggest starting by deciding whether you are interested in a 'clip-in' fixed frog, or a screw frog bow. A lot of 'transitional' screw frog bows are made of pernambuco, so you wouldn't have to try to adapt your blood wood to the model unless you really want to. For example, a lot of 'premodern' clip-in bows are made of snake wood, and the stick is fluted almost the entire length so as to reduce the weight - if you choose to make a similar bow out of blood wood (which I haven't personally tried yet) once you have the stick octagonalized, you are going to have to decide if you should do the same, or if the blood wood should be worked differently. It can get pretty complex pretty quickly - different schools (French, German, & Italian) making their own versions of bow models suited for various playing styles, using a variety of species of wood that must be crafted according to that species's traits, all lumped together into a period spanning over 200 years of innovation. Just to reinterate that there is no single, true, baroque cello bow. But you can pick one model to start with and MIMO is as good a place to look around as any to see if you come across something that catches your eye. In case there are any scholars checking out this thread, have any of you come across / read about musical annotations in compositions regarding bow choice in this period? I can't recall any examples of the top of my head, but it seems odd that during a period when so many composers are credited with developing their own version of the bow, and the various treatises on Italian vs French bow holds and playing styles, that composers would ignore such large variable between movements for example. Sorry for the long length and meandering thoughts, it's past my bedtime.
  3. https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330010-discontinued-strad-posters-1712-davidov-1620-ba-viola-1580-gs-viola/
  4. Manfio, or anyone else, care to comment on the accuracy of Stewart Pollen's translation of Cozio's Carteggio in this instance? The relevant passage (regarding regraduation of Strad's by the Mantegazzas) should be around page 420.
  5. My clients are mostly the local school programs, with some regular professional fiddlers and some less regular classical musicians. Some of the fiddlers have to get rehairs at least every 6 months because by then their bow is either missing most of its hair, or it is excessively stretched. Seriously though, I was under the impression that my 'think about getting a rehair every 6 to 12 months depending on your playing habits' suggestion was a well accepted standard among musicians and shops; I haven't gotten any push back by clients over it (but then again, I don't push it on to them either, I just share what I've learned when asked). Is this an outdated / non-typical answer?
  6. On page 119 of Stradivari, Stewart Pollens writes: We tend to think of the work of Stradivari as the pinnacle of violin making, yet Count Cozio di Salabue sent new instruments that he had bought from Paolo, the merchant son of Antonio Stradivari, directly to the Mantegazza brothers in Milan to have them "thinned to perfection" and re-necked to suit the prevailing tonal aesthetic. His source is listed as Cozio di Salabue's Carteggio, pg. 420. So I guess it might be asked if it was really Stradivari's graduations which were imposed upon Del Gesu's work, or was it rather Count Cozio's?
  7. I'm only just now returning to this thread and noticed that a particular point in this quoted post was not challenged by anyone, and I'm pretty sure that is against the maestronet bylaws somewhere . . . anyway, again, sorry I'm late and the topic is already dead, but here I go - I'd recommend against scraping the hair, even lightly, even with a wood or plastic edge, because I imagine it will wear down the microscopic plates that the rosin adheres to on the strands of hair. If Shellac is peeled / flaked / whatever, I also suppose that it might pull some of these plates off in the process, again, leaving section of cuticle worn smooth. As long as the scraper isn't making contact with the stick I don't think it likely that a competent person would damage their bow this way though, so feel free to try it if you like. It seems like a part of the maestronet community is pretty familiar with washing bow hair, and I hope some of you can take a stab at answering some questions I have because apparently I've been missing out: - Do you regard washing bow hair as regular maintenance, or is it simply a tool reserved for unscheduled accidents? - I recommend to my customers that they consider getting a bow rehair every 6 months to a year, depending on their playing habits. If I were able to wash hair competently, to what extent should I be able to increase the longevity of their bow hair? Do you find that more washing = greater longevity? - What limits would you recommend regarding the frequency of washing bow hair? Only once per rehair? No limits, and as often as the client is willing? - How dramatic of an improvement do you find is gained by washing hair? (like new, very good, good, poor, very bad). Good to like new? Good to very good? Poor to poor (because at that point the hair is not likely to be able to be redeemed)? - Do you alter your materials or process based upon the type of rosin used? - Is washing bow hair a skill that must be practiced to become adept, or did you find it to be fairly simple to learn? Does your current process differ much from the way you were first taught? - What would you estimate to be the going rate / price for this service? Thanks, Joel
  8. As you can probably tell, cleaning bow hair and getting good results isn't so simple and probably is even more difficult if it isn't a skill you've practiced before. When I asked my bowmaking mentor about 'cleaning' / 'washing' bow hair, he said don't bother - after all, bow hair only has a limited lifespan before it is worn down by the instrument's strings. Instead of trying to prolong the life of the rehair with mixed results, just get a fresh rehair. However, this is just what I was told - my only attempt to 'wash' hair with alcohol didn't damage the finish thank goodness, but it did cause the rosin to fuse the hairs together. I'll never do it again, but perhaps others can guarantee better results.
  9. I've joined only a few cello tops and backs, first just by doing a simple rub joint (no clamps used), and then trying out a clamping method that I believe was shared by David Burgess (if my memory serves me well?): Basically, by staying outside of your marked out outline you can cut oversized 'button' extensions on both sides of the center joint, which can be clamped with smaller sized clamps. To clamp the center of the plates, glue short but wide tower cleats on either side of the seam - tall enough that the clamp can grab on to it, but short enough to discourage the joint from pivoting and opening up the non clamped side. I made mine pretty wide to maximize the glue surface area holding the cleat because I was paranoid the clamp might rip it off and cause a large chip out. Its been awhile, but I think I only glued these tower cleats to the inside of the plate because I was concerned about 'glue ghosts' showing up when I varnished - but I'm certain I did multiple checks to ensure the plates didn't pivot towards the clamp when pressure was applied. For joining cello plates I feel it's necessary that I size the joint / pre coat with hide glue for some reason (never do this on my violins and violas). I make my last couple passes with my plane after the surface has dried, just in case the moisture has distorted the surface and compromised the joint. Anyone else do this? Finally, if you are going to follow Mr. Darton's method for any center joint, I'm sure he'll tell you to do your best to ensure that the plate half you have clamped in the vise is true, and not distorted in some way - or, if it is irreparably warped, clamp it once and fit and glue the joint without moving it ever again. One of my first center joints in school would flex every time I clamped the plate in the vise, causing the joint to distort every time the plate half was released and returned to its relaxed position - it really messed with my head as a novice . Oh, and I second reading Mr. Slobodkin's posts (on all matters really, but especially concerning cellos) - I don't think he is kidding when he says hundreds made.
  10. Had a cello in at work today that has obviously had an extensive repair history (the cello is new to me). While fitting a new soundpost for it I noticed these butterfly joints along the back center seam. They fit so well that at first I wasn't sure if they were some type of 'faux' joint, and possibly only colored in. After a closer look I do think that they are ebony inserts, spaced about 10 to 13 cm apart (going from memory after a long day . . .), with linen supporting the seam in between the inserts, as illustrated in the attached photos. The cello is already out of the shop and safely back home, and there aren't any further pics to aid in identifying the source of this building method. I'll just say that the instrument looks to have been built without an internal mold, and that the rib mitres are flush with the termination of the corners. Honestly, I didn't have a lot of time to look it over. The scroll is definitely peculiar, more suited to a gamba than a cello in style to my eye: very long pegbox profile which could easily accommodate a couple of more pegs, width narrowing greatly towards the 'D' peg in both dimensions (side profile and pegbox width), and has a bar inserted above the 'A' peg to bridge the 'G' and 'D' strings over the lower pegs. I believe it is grafted onto the current neck, but that neck has also been extended at the heel , similar to the way a baroque neck would be. Thanks, Joel
  11. At my last job I had responsibilities beyond my workbench and I took advantage of the opportunity to make the shop as environmentally friendly as I could. I never placed orders, but accepted many shipments - most of the plastic film can be disposed of at a local grocery (seriously, it's a lot more than most people are aware of!) https://www.greensourcedfw.org/articles/variety-plastic-bags-accepted-grocery-store-recycling-bins Styrofoam peanuts and other packing material I dropped off at a local UPS to be reused, and they were always grateful and never acted like I was a nuisance. Cardboard was broken down, but an acquaintance of mine (reached through social media) ended up grabbing a bunch of the plastic pallets for a gardening project. It took a little extra effort, but the only time I really questioned why I was doing it was when I dropped a box of the packing peanuts in the parking lot outside of UPS and had to chase them down as they were taken away by a breeze!
  12. A lot of examples and expertise concerning historical saddles in this thread:
  13. To respond to the OP, tapering rib height at the upper block is a common historical practice that is considered the norm today. I'd consider the lack of tapering rib height a more consequential trait than its presence. Just to add to the general confusion considering their motives for adopting the practice, I think it's worth not forgetting that they were also making viols, which have an even more pronounced upper bout taper / break. https://shop.ashmolean.org/2-bass-viol-by-gasparo-da-salo.html https://shop.ashmolean.org/7-bass-viol-by-a-h-amati.html http://collections.nmmusd.org/Cellos/Stradivari/10845StradCelloViol.html https://collectionsdumusee.philharmoniedeparis.fr/doc/MUSEE/0162221 (Storioni Viola D'amore is supposedly a fairly accurate copy of an original Strad - although the original may have had only 6 strings). P.S. can't wait until the Ashmolean uploads images of its collections online . . .
  14. This covers most of what I know about Bergonzi's models. It seems like he adopted Strad's 353ish mm body length, but used a longer neck so as to keep the Strad long form stop length? The turns drop down dramatically causing the scroll eyes to seemingly extend further out. Viewed from the back the 2nd turn off the scroll should be only slightly visible / peeking out just beyond the width of the back of the pegbox. His pegbox outlines very between being a bit bulkier below the A peg, or at other time slimmer / sleeker. His upper and bottom block pins don't get bisected by the purfling like Strad's - they are further inside and off the center line. I highly recommend adding this book to your library - it's an excellent resource and well worth the extremely reasonable price: https://tarisio.com/bookshop/cremona-1730-1750-nellolimpo-della-liuteria/ If I was single out unrefined aspects of Carlo Bergonzi's work, I'd go with his purfling, not his scrolls.
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