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About Mark_W

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  1. I differ on the assessment of the Medio Fino violins, at least some of them. The externals were left cruder than some, but these fiddles were made in the same Mirecourt shops that were then making much higher quality products. That expertise shows up in the sound of the Medio Finos. Likewise with the J.A. Baader and inexpensive Neuner & Hornsteiner shop violins. The craftsmanship is decent and so is the sound. I have little experience with the later Chinese products, but I'll wager their principal advantage is that they are new and in need of no repair. Sad to say, putting a 120-year-old German fiddle into playing condition can set you back just enough to make it worthwhile to purchase a nice new Chinese violin. Matters are quite different when it comes to 200-year old Markneukirchen violins. Some of these are definitely worth the restoration cost.
  2. I have a very similar problem. GHunt/M'Net seems unwilling to help me; I put my message up about this weeks ago. I tried to insert the REMOVEME, not realizing this is an automatic feature. Result: I can't have the password sent to my email address, and I can't sign on at my workplace computer. I can sign on at home ONLY because the system remembers my password.
  3. Around 20 years old. This looks like very fine work.
  4. One-piece lower ribs are hardly unique to Mittenwald. The issue I have is that I don't see the triangular centering mark on the rib. Many makers made it quite prominent, for whatever reason. That scroll also makes me think you were closer than you knew when you thought, 'French'. Did you ever have the top off this violin? Mittenwald linings and their fit into the blocks do have a certain look to them.
  5. Cassi, You probably watched the recent 'J.B. Squier' violin change hands via a sniper bid from Australia. I had some thoughts about that. One of them is that American violins, particularly of the Boston School, are increasing in interest worldwide. Despite a history of strong reservations concerning this particular instrument (it had been 'shopped all over' the Northeast for several years) it is plausible that this fiddle could be retailed somewhere outside the U.S. as the real thing. Which, for all we know, it may be. The hammer price was US$3,050, as I recall. A fine example might be retailed by a reputable dealer for perhaps 2.5 times that, so the Australian bid is not that far out of line. The downside is that, if found to be something else, the fiddle has been internationally exposed as mislabeled. I'd prefer to keep my mistakes quieter than that. It seems that US dealers agree.
  6. >Mark, how do you know who those other bidders are? the ids that people use seem pretty opaque to me!< Mostly by watching the behavior of those bidders in other auctions. And sometimes, watching what they sell as well. To an extent I agree with priya's observation, but sniper bids can put you over what you really wanted to pay--for fear that someone else is about to do the exact same thing. The result is often a pig in a poke that changes hands for near-retail values. That's why you're liable to hear some of our experts here saying they don't buy on eBay. >how does putting in your maximum early help you get it for a lower price?< I don't think it does. It just generates an increasing series of proxy bids against other users, until they reach your maximum--whereas a sniper bid is a Hail Mary pass. It could secure the win, but it will be at the outside limit you're willing to pay.
  7. Part of it may be old habit. Before eBay had a 'watch this item' function, some members would post a nominal bid just to keep track of the item. Today, I don't see any point in tipping off my interest in an item--unless it's to scare off other bidders with my intimidating eBay reputation. ;-) Sometimes an early low bid can hold an auction down to realistic levels while the item finds its true market level. Throwing your maximum in very late may secure you the win, but it won't necessarily get you the best price. Also, for what it's worth, the low early bid invites participation, allowing you to monitor the texture of the auction--who's involved, and how knowledgable they are. I've watched shrewd dealers bid up to a reasonable level and drop out, letting suckers lift the price into the stratosphere.
  8. My impression is that this bridge is less, not more radical than what has come from you before, Tim. The two major differences are, first, that there is no freely-flexing waist area, and second, that there is a much larger void space that must be compensated by more thickness (if my assumption about the operating principle of the bridge is correct here.) For the first, the empirical bridge-tuners I know use what I would loosely call the ur-Joseph Curtin technique--make it pretty first, then trim the waist until the violin answers the bow, then finish up any minor tonal adjustments with the eyes or heart. This design would seem to need an altogether more sophisicated technique, involving thinning in several areas. Second, the large voids don't seem to leave much room for the final tonal adjustment--are we looking at a blank here, or a proposed finished bridge?
  9. I share your puzzlement. In fact it does look like good Markneukirchen work. The modeling is not exclusive; I have a c.1900 Prague violin of similar outline. As for the varnish, I guess the photos don't do it justice. This is a good seller, though. I don't doubt the quality. In fact, I wonder whether the eBay process does justice to a professional instrument like this. Assuming auction prices are 50% of retail, this violin is somewhat undervalued.
  10. I believe it was a scientist, Lothar Cremer, who said that there is more difference between players than between violins. Of course, good players have good reasons for their instrument preferences, perhaps even more so in bows than in violins. What they don't have is a set of numbers to specify them. Maybe science should pursue that--if it can.
  11. Taken by a sniper bid for $3,050 with seconds to spare.
  12. This brings up a significant point, which is that there are plenty of 'good' players who would care for neither the setup nor the bowing feel of a top class violin. I recall a past visitor to these boards, who met R. Ricci and got to play his violin. He was horrified--claimed it was set up incompetently and was very insensitive. In some strange way, I believe Ricci's violin was set up perfectly for someone who plays with his power and velocity.
  13. I've given this some thought from time to time while applying an amateur version of Jeffrey's 'good bones' theory. Plenty of older factory violins from the European shops have decent archings and standard graduations--okay, a little thicker than Stradivari's 2.5mm on the top, but not bad--yet there's nothing to change on them. I've had them apart looking for thick tops and fatigued bass bars and found nothing. The only thing I can think of is that the top and bottom plates were not compatible in some way. This might explain why some of the great makers left parts behind--they'd assemble a fiddle, find out out it wouldn't sound, and just make another top. Any thoughts? BTW, I should mention I tested some of these plates up to mode 5 and found nothing unusual there either.
  14. Until it was mentioned above that this violin has been kicking around the market for the last 15 years or so, I did not connect it with an old eBay scan I saved (unfortunately now on my crash-prone c.1997 machine's hard drive). I'm pretty sure this is the same scroll carving and chippy red varnish we're looking at now. At that time the market apparently did not think it was important Boston work. If I recall, it sold on eBay for some hundreds of dollars. Glenn is right; that's a Saxon style scroll carving. It could mean Squier experimented with different styles in the 1880s, of course. I don't know how one could really tell--if Jesse has owned and examined several, he might be as good an expert as you could find.
  15. Woodland, I wonder if that shop would be interested in the fact that Northampton maker J. Bohnak was mentioned recently on "another violin board"--to the effect that he left parts of violins behind on his death, which are now being assembled into finished violins.