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About Ken_N

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  • Location
    Goodrich, Michigan
  • Interests
    Violin making. Art (just got some oil paints, been doing water color). Driving the back roads. Music, especially orchestral and Christian rock.

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  1. Ken_N

    cheaper strings

    Thanks guys. I think the Preludes will do. If the strings are holding it back when it is finished, putting money in it then will be a no brainer. But the choices might be harder.
  2. I have a gift card with $50 at International Violin that I have to use up. I thought I'd get strings for the cello that is sitting in the back room waiting to set the neck, and start finishing up. $50 won't really do it, will it? I'm not of fan of the metallic sounding cellos. Many I've heard (not in person) sound very metallic and harsh. Then you will hear one that just sound rich, and warm; yet still brighter on the highs. I know many people put strings on to shape their tone. I need a set of strings to see if it HAS tone! I don't think it will be a dog or anything, but I have no clue what it will want to sound like. What are some lower price string set options? Most of the lower price ones on their list, I've never heard of. Helicore's are in the low mid range. On my 5 string violin/viola they have a humming sort of sound. Different from guts, and synthetics.
  3. The arch top is coming along.
  4. I have color on the Montagnana violin. I was trying for red over gold. It doesn't look terrible. Shellac and resin, with clear varnish over that, for the golden base. Then red. Real red, Kremer Ruby DPP TR. with some green oil paint in it. Then after working some red off; it wasn't applied everywhere, a coat of varnish with green oil paint in it. The second varnish was red, the third more like green brown. It started shrinking down after a week of being in the sun, and in the trash can. It seems hard now, but I'll let it set a while before finishing it up. A baroque set up. I works with the very high arch.
  5. I used a very low tech, "Making String Instruments" by George Buchanan, and later the Johnson Courtnall book. But I do them my own way regardless.
  6. Well, the other day I found a piece to replace the experimental belly; a 1/2" thick piece of Sitka. I sliced it into 3 pieces, and planed them to 2mm or so. I bent the two halves to the 7-8 mm arch, and then bent them 8 mm more as best I could. Then I joined them fitting them on the carved form. It isn't perfect. I decided to glue them with bands like they put on backs of guitars. I could glue those on the same time I glued the bracing. I added the little brace under the sound post last night, it seemed a bit to floppy there. The 3rd piece was used for doubling the edge. It is stiffer than the Montagnana flexing by twisting, but when pushing down on the bridge area when it is clamped to the ribs it is more flexible. I check the tap tones, and it sounds like a violin. 166 low, and a bunch from 324 345 375 398 418 427 554 643. The ring mode is somewhere in there. It should at least make noise. It is 67 grams. The long arching on the top looks like a 16mm arch or so. The cross arching is like an 8mm arch with no recurve. The cherry back looks like a 23mm arch or so. It needs a lot of work still, but the outside was roughed to see if it looked ok. These are the ribs: The Montagnana needs the neck finished and set, so I can start on the finish. I have another experimental instrument. An all acoustic Les Paul. Basically a 13" arch top. The upper pickup is the sound hole. I won't add the lower one, or the switch and dials. It will be thicker, 2 1/2" ribs, but it does needs some internal volume. It may need more tone hole volume, but I don't know yet. The belly is further along than the back. Yes, it is Home Depot cedar decking. But the center is perfectly quartered.
  7. Ken_N

    R.I.P. VMAAI

    The Michigan Violin Makers Association MVA is still around. It DOES have a large concentration of violin makers in the Ann Arbor area. David Burgess. is there, and has presented. Joe Curtin, Micheal Darnton isn't too far and both have presented, and a whole host of others that I can't remember the names of. I saw Jeffery Holmes on one of the Zoom meetings, and a couple other guys from here on maestronet. I can't remember the name of the guy from Georgia, and Jackson Mayberry on a zoom meeting on varnish, I think. Zoom can bring in people. As much as the Zoom meetings are easier on presenters, I really miss the in person meetings. Let's get on with life! But I guess they don't want us to. Hey. The last in person meeting was at the Ferrari dealership in West Bloomfield, where one of the members is a mechanic! Not a bad atmosphere. And a presentation from a VSA judge on what he looks for in an instrument. I can't remember his name either. I showed him my 5 string Maggini viola, and he didn't hate it. It doesn't have a convention, or a competition. Just a group of people who like to get together with others who like to talk about violin stuff. Solitary makers, people from big shops like Shar's, or the one in Grand Rapids who have put on a few presentations, (yeah, I can't remember any of their names either) and makers like Joe, who has a bunch of assistants, and looks for ways of innovation. I have one of their library books out now, I need to return it!
  8. I watched a video just the other day about another student through your hands. It wasn't the build video that I was expecting, but it was well done. My first foray into guitar making came after seeing photos of his Amati archtop. I made mine a Guadagnini. I was surprised, but not too much, that you were his first teacher; since his archtops show a great influence of violin or cello making. In fact, I guessed your name immediately. https://youtu.be/Q_R_pcNVugQ
  9. Ken_N

    Cello End Pin

    Thanks Michael. It will be fun to finish this one up.
  10. Ken_N

    Cello End Pin

    I'm about ready to set the neck, and glue my first cello up. Just sitting there it looks cool, and needs to be finished. The question is, I don't have a cello end pin, and don't want to make one. Pegs, tailpiece and fingerboard can all be made, if you are crazy like me. I see on International violin they go from $16 pear wood, $28 ebony, and then $60-100 for CF and composition. ebony/steel, composite/CF? Do you really need more than ebony/steel?
  11. I found a series of someone who plays and gives a little history on old Masters instruments that are in collections. They are not long, but are pretty well done. I like this Guadagnini the best so far. A very rich sound, especially the low end. Not a fan of violins without a low end. I like cellos with a rich sound too. The metallic string sound? Not so much. Maybe for an electric cello. https://youtu.be/_5pZ8eXfIYs
  12. I just used a fret saw. For the cross slot, I used a knife with a thin metal rule. I stole the ebony part off a cheap tailpiece once, they a more trouble than the slot. Now I just drill holes, and call it good! I do like matching fittings too.
  13. I just thought of a line from Nothing's Free by Alice Cooper. "We're going downtown. Way downtown." That's the other team. I did a bass bar on a violin a few weeks ago, and It was the easiest one ever. I found a big washer with a small hole and marked each side from end to end. Trimmed to the line, and fitting was easy. Glue and 3 wood spring clamps. Hand marking the purfling slots was easy, but digging the wood out is always an ordeal for me. even on the spruce on this one didn't want to come out! The bass bar was easier.
  14. The bridge on my archtop was doing the bridge dance Jacob mentions. Being practical, I just put deep grooves in the saddle 4+5 mm or so to the treble side, and the problem is gone. Easy. Apparently the pin hole is off.
  15. I haven't read even half of this. I read some, and my eyes glaze over, so I go somewhere else. A long arch is a long arch. I get mine just from the model, and arching height. I just brought the Montagnana model upstairs to look at while I was eating lunch. It's ready to glue onto the ribs, and then finish up the edge work and purfling. I noticed the long arch, and thought about this post. Is it still going? Yes? Wow. I just looked, and I can find STLs on the arching of this almost 20" arch. 3 out of 4 quadrants have them on the diagonals. One has a dip near the sound hole. Oh well. They are just a result of the arching. I'd rather have better arching, than have perfect STLs. I've never looked for STLs. You could make an instrument with a cubist approach, and make a Picasso violin with flat sections all over; but it wouldn't really look like a violin. Anyway. Here is a long arch. That's what it looks like. I've made 2 others of this model. It works fine. It rises fast, is basically flattish between the corners. I don't use any arch templates. It is what it is.
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