Mark_W

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Everything posted by Mark_W

  1. Most Tarisio auctions seem to end up within shouting distance of their estimates. I was looking at the Skinner auction results on eBay, and found some items that finished well above the pre-auction estimates. It looked to me like overenthusiasm from floor bidders. Tarisio wouldn't even have touched a couple of these--an old German carcass with no scroll, for example, going for several thousand. Inexplicable.
  2. quote: Mark, you may not be aware that your profile isn't public. Many of them aren't--I think it needs an intentional intervention in the software to be so. Intervention complete! I would prefer to leave education and profession in the background. I can say candidly that I'm not in the violin business...
  3. I don't know what would be served by full disclosure in my case. As for the 'who' my real first and last name and my state are in my profile. The 'what' has been expressed in some pretty humble queries over time. So I feel free to give opinions in that limited context. Even if they are devalued by 50%.
  4. I was taught the same thing, Andres. I wouldn't do this to a violin belonging to anyone else. Some experienced luthiers may be reluctant to comment on specifics. This could be because everyone has at least one conceit about a quick-and-dirty test that sorts out good violins from the lumber. I'm not a fan of the thumb-press. It may show a flexible top, but there are thick-topped violins that sound remarkably good. Another old test is to tap around the perimeter with a fingertip or knuckle, in the manner of checking for an open seam. Supposedly if you get a dead-sounding 'thump' you've got yourself a rock. Maybe my ears just aren't that good, but I've never learned anything from this test, either.
  5. Thanks a lot, Jeffrey. First-class work, and extremely informative. I wonder--did the purfling break cleanly in the accident, or did you have to sever it in order to re-spring the body and complete the repair? *** Oops, I guess that question's been answered--you said the violin was presented in the condition shown. A moment of extreme chagrin for the owner, no doubt.
  6. I have not had one pass through my hands, but the Wenzel Fuchs violins have appeared on eBay from time to time. I must assume there's nothing much wrong with them. Plainly they were intended for export to the North American market. They would certainly be better than Lark or other Asian fiddles of that period.
  7. Jacob, I'm glad you brought that up. You started, if I remember, by finishing off factory violins. In the course of this you must have learned quite a bit about what made them sound good. The Meisel fiddles are 'standard' Strad outlines, but I'm quite certain they do not reflect the fidelity Michael has in mind. When you began making your own instruments you had a much greater degree of control over outlines, graduation and archings. You probably made a much better violin--but was it because it was truer to classical dimensions? I wonder.
  8. If you're talking about a 'Made in Germany' instrument with a mid-to-late 20th century date, then this is a factory violin of which quite a few were imported for student use. Nothing wrong with having it set up for that purpose.
  9. The Aubert a Mirecourt blanks, which are a step below the Deluxe, are actually pretty nice. I'm looking at two of them right now. The Deluxe that is on my old Bohemian violin doesn't look much better. It happens that I also have one of Aubert's basic, "Aubert--Made In France" blanks in front of me as well. The rays or flecks are less elongated and distinct, and I know from experience that the wood is softer. The dimensions are identical, so I assume they're cut on the same equipment. Quality? I'd agree with MD that the important thing is what you do with what you've got. I wasted a lot of cheap 'Dresden' bridges, but often ended up with something that sounded decent. In general, the well-flecked bridges with the straightest grain will stand up the best and carve the best.
  10. Among the violin patterns in that eBay store is a set for an Adirondack chair--no joke.
  11. I had a look at the #102 on MD's site. That's the one, all right. There are many cheap variants out there. Any similarly sized block plane will do. I would encourage you to learn the very simple sharpening and setup techniques necessary to handle a plane, because (IMO at least) it's actually less difficult to use than a chisel.
  12. I accept falstaff's remarks as a very reasonable conclusion to the subject, and, for passing interest, note that Tarisio's Lot 501 is listed as Ruggieri School: http://www.tarisio.com/web/auc...L=&TPS=1&c_filter_on=1
  13. Michael, we seem to be in word-shaving territory here, and it illustrates why I don't care much to go beyond 'comments' and on through to recommendations and accompanying links about vendors. Your sensitivity to the word 'stature' is a case in point. That was a compliment, as it was also to falstaff. Perhaps 'standing' would have been a better word. I was not asking you to reveal any business connection to a seller, because no one here would suspect it of you. It does, however, give a green light to those Tom, Dick and Harrys to get in plugs, connections unacknowledged. For my part, I'll also say I'm not involved with the seller I linked. I haven't bought a violin from him, but I've asked a few questions about his offerings and have been satisfied with the answers. I won't make the automatic assumption he's not complying with the country-of-origin labeling laws. It's a good question for the interested buyer to ask, though--as it would be with 'Carlo Micelli' and other examples we surely recall.
  14. All of which objectifies my discomfort with using the discussion forum for purposes of recommendation. It invites comparisons that may be motivated by undisclosed connections with the parties named. In the present case, you are suggesting a thing that a less-than-honest dealer might do. That's very well, but my intention here is to point out the difference between a violin seller who actually knows violins and offers a full return policy, and the kind that generated this thread.
  15. Jesse is well enough known here to merit special praise, but I'm not entirely comfortable using the forum for commercial recommendations. Given the stature of those who've made it a precedent, I'll venture one suggestion: http://stores.ebay.com/Violins-On-Line This is an online dealer who offers new and used stringed instruments. He's an established eBay seller with a 100% return policy. You might find something over there. He's had things in the $20,000 range, but also some decent-looking new violins for more modest prices. Mark
  16. Welcome to Maestronet. Terms like fine, old and rare are, shall we say, open to interpretation. To be fair, though, this eBayer is starting his or her offerings with very low bids and the items are as-is/no return. Identification would appear to be unnecessary. What you see is what you get. Have your luthier do a basic setup--which as the bridge indicates, the instrument needs--and see what it sounds like.
  17. This is good advice. The main thing is that asking questions lets the shop know you aren't just dropping off a bow. That aside, in my experience the quality of horsehair varies, but not as much as the quality of the work.
  18. What are the typical measurements? I know that a few good makers from the 19th century favored the outline, if not necessarily the arch. What do modern makers think of it?
  19. "I'm shocked by the low quality of many rehairs at even some well heeled shops... it seems as if they just slap whatever hair is lying around, and almost always, way too much of it. " My suspicion is that there are levels of service at these shops, according to the customer. Kind of like exclusive restaurants. If you are nobody and come in with a $500 bow, you will get a quickie rehair. If you are concertmaster of the city orchestra with a $5,000 stick and can recommend the shop to your colleagues, you may get a more careful job.
  20. "Norman [Pickering] debunked the notion that bowhair wears out..." When two surfaces abrade, the softer one will wear out eventually. One could refine the meaning of 'wear' I suppose, to exclude the caveats offered above about stretching, drying, elasticity, etc., but for: "...He knows of professional players who have used the same hair for 20 years..." Anecdotal at best. Many players use more than one bow. If a 'second' bow isn't tightened up too often, it can last a very long time.
  21. I believe I know whom you are talking about.
  22. This definitely feeds my paranoia on the subject of certificates. Another oddball situation I encountered on a dealer's website: A violin was being offered with a Beare certificate for a fairly well-known 18th century maker. Whether original or copy was not specified. But-- the dealer's own opinion was that the violin was by someone else, also 18th cent. but rather obscure. All of which made me wonder whether part of that violin's price was/is the cert. itself. It gets the dealer completely off the hook for the fiddle's authenticity, yet retains the prestige of a, well, prestigious certificate.
  23. Once or twice I've worked on violins with bridges that bore the stamps of exalted shops--always a bit exciting to see something a bit above the student outfits. I didn't apply the straightedge test, but it looked to me like they'd read the books and kept the backs flat.
  24. Unfortunately my slow connection speed did not permit me to view this video stream. However, the points you named (nothing special about the wood, aging not as long as suspected) do make sense. These Cremonese were practical craftsman, adapting their techniques to material availability and the budgets of their patrons. They ascended to high art by intense association and concentration, and would not have benefited from technical measurements. We use those measurements today to avoid falling into the worst kinds of constructional errors. That is our way, and I believe there are more good, if not great, instruments available today than ever before.