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Everything posted by Mark_W

  1. Thanks, fiddlecollector; you've definitely added to my stock of knowledge on this subject. It also adds to my conviction that the value of these instruments to the modern player does not depend on the original maker as much as some might suppose.
  2. MANFIO said: "Rib heigth may have a great importance in sound." Great, indeed.
  3. The film, 'The Red Violin' implied that there is a unique, measurable sonic characteristic that identifies a particular violin or its maker. I haven't followed these matters for the last couple of years. As far as I know, good (meaning: what good players call good) violins have similar resonance and response curves, but there is nothing uniquely Stradivarian or Guarnerian, or even Yuenian about any of those measurements. Either we haven't refined them enough, or those characteristics change with use and adjustment. Perhaps it's no accident that the best violins of the past have been g
  4. Dreadful. But then, old instruments were not as highly regarded as they are now--with notable exceptions. This may also explain why some copies have bad proportions--they were copies of altered instruments.
  5. From the auction records I've looked at, genuine Magginis have a wide range of size, anywhere from 349 to 369mm. Most are on the larger side, but a few are right in the 'normal' 355-358 region. These are the ones, I suppose, that command the best prices. Rafael Todes's violin has excellent proportions and may be one of these. Somewhere in the paleo-Maestronet, Stefan Hersh said that a number of Magginis have been altered, changing their size. It isn't quite clear to me how this would be done.
  6. One sees instruments offered with a copy of a certificate--as, for example, Tarisio lot #474. Since it only applies to one violin in the world, why don't the fiddle and the paper stay together? It makes you wonder what hapless instrument the lost original is now [fraudulently] attached to...
  7. Great spiel; I enjoyed reading it. You do have to wonder why he couldn't find something closer to what AS was doing in the late Golden Period. Those maverick f-holes set close to the purfling are jarring to non-experts like myself who've never been within shouting distance of the genuine article. I wonder if this item has been previously offered to dealers? *** BTW--isn't this the same person who posted here in the past as, "In Search Of Cremona"?
  8. I think you're right there, fiddlecollector. It's a sensitive subject, because the priciple of reversibility is clouded by the application of new color to an instrument. Performers who can afford million-dollar instruments don't want to appear on stage with a rat violin, not even if it's the best of the best. I suppose this is true right down the line, too. The second-best sounding (to me) violin I ever tried was an 1807 crackmeister with a very chippy varnish. No part of it looked good--but what a player, with a warm, powerful, penetrating tone. Great for a studio or pit orchestra, I gues
  9. I noticed that, too. Genuine Magginis (several images on just don't have that boxy, awkward look. "1700 Italian" is the apparent basis for the auction estimate. "Ascribed to, and probably by" is another head-scratcher. To me, it means, "If you like it, buy it. Don't expect to resell it as the genuine article."
  10. I've wondered about this. When you see a major orchestra on stage, the instruments all look pretty good. Some of them must be 300 year-old master violins. Can you honestly say there's been no (or only minimal) retouching done by the restorers? I'm not speaking of The Hammer specifically. But what about the Soil, for instance? It's been one of the most heavily used master violins. By rights it should look like Hurricane Katrina hit it.
  11. My question is always: Ascribed--by whom? The consignor? 'Labeled' is plain enough. 'Attributed' requires supporting paperwork, even if that paper is not credited by the auction house appraiser. I also wonder about apparent inconsistencies between listings. For example, one will find an item simply listed as 'a violin'. No date, no country, no maker. By itself, this is admirable--the appraiser has carefully refused to assume something he doesn't know. Why then, does this item carry an auction estimate as high as or higher than a 'good violin' or one attributed to a known maker elsewhere
  12. Yes, quite a lot of cool-looking 18th century fiddles. I may make the NYC showing this time. A nice old Bohemian, a couple of Widhalms, several mystery violins that seem like we should know them...I wish I could get inside Mr. Gindin's head and poke around. I'm sure I'd learn a lot. :-)
  13. What I like about Juliet Barker is her lack of pretension about violin making. She acknowledges the variability factor in even the most carefully made instrument. Not too many professionals care to concede the fact unless pressed.
  14. We've seen instances of a maker's being lionized by suspect sources--usually one player who may be acting as that maker's (undisclosed) agent. On the other hand, I would guess that a new Stradivari could appear tomorrow and be an abject failure if he were not able to get exposure through major dealers. Some classical makers were known for so-so workmanship. No matter how good the sound, I would guess that a modern maker could never get away with that. Dealers would not give their work houseroom.
  15. I thought the Tarisio listings online would be available today...?
  16. I think you're talking about Rafael Todes's famous Maggini. He's now second violin in the Allegri quartet. That's a beautiful instrument. (I saved the pictures, too, but they're on my old computer.) I've seen copies that aren't too far from that one. Todes mentioned that the thing had been covered with black paint by gypsies, in order to conceal its value. It's great to have a violin with a history...
  17. Strange, because the 7/8 can't be heard? I've wondered about this, inasmuch as violas vary so much without causing a lot of controversy. One sees old full-size violins as small as 13 3/4"; a 7/8 might have a body 1/8" or so less than that. (Oddly enough, I think it was a Maggini that I recall did not command a very high auction price because it was too small--349 mm.)
  18. As far as I've read it's all the same family; different generations. 18th and even 19th century European spellers were terrible, as I'm sure you know. (For example, Beethoven's father spelled the name several different ways on documents.) With Klotz, it seems that the tendency to put in the 't' is associated with later makers. The aforementioned Jos. Kloz seems to be a popular target for fake labels, so maybe some of those are spelled with a 't'. One noted exception is an 18th c. Aegidius Kloz, who may or may not have belonged to the large Kloz family, one or two of whom shared that fir
  19. I don't know what that is. It doesn't look like old Kloz shop work. I haven't seen a J. Kloz photo lately, but it doesn't ring any bells there either. To me the top does not look like a 100 year-old replacement so much as a 100 year-old top on the 100 year-old violin with which it came. I've noodled on a few old Klo[t]z instruments. Very easy players, but not the screamer this seller is talking about.
  20. I'll check the reference on that, Oded. I know the secondary souce; I don't think the methodology of the test was cited there.
  21. You have to wonder why the Hills performed this particular operation. Flat-backed basses, for example, work in an entirely normal fashion. It's been demonstrated that sound radiation from instrument backs is minimal. For string family instruments played in the upright position it's hard to think of any advantage from an arched back. Any thoughts, Michael?
  22. Oded, your post does point up one thing about makers: No one's output is consistent. It's great if your customer can find something else of yours that satisfies him. I've heard at least one maker admit that recommendations don't necessarily lead to a sale, because you never know whether what is good about your latest violin (for that buyer's purposes) is the same thing that was good about the older one. (Hoping this point is not too convoluted.)
  23. The maker I mentioned has gotten phone calls about his old instruments, I know. I don't think the remark was about servicing what he sells, though I suppose it could have been. This all came up right after Nigel Kennedy appeared somewhere with a graffiti-covered violin and had everyone wondering if he'd defaced an Italian classic. Maybe what was meant was that if you own a Bugatti Royale and run it off a cliff, you don't don't owe an explanation to every antique car buff in the country.
  24. Quote from a modern maker who shall remain nameless, upon being asked if he knew where his instruments went: "I don't care if they use them to open heavy doors with." I guess it might be of some benefit to the maker if he could cite illustrious clients on his web page, but this smacks of boasting. Artisans have to pay attention to sales, but a completed sale is just that.