Mark_W

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Everything posted by Mark_W

  1. Mark_W

    Strad Poll

    The question is really the same as asking what his 'secret' was. If you believe it was something in the materials he used, and you believe those are no longer available, you'd have to say he would be successful in the manner of a Carl Becker. Otherwise you'd have to say sure, he'd be a success like Michelango or Bernini. They had no secrets other than astounding artistry.
  2. Quote: What's SA? String Asylum, Nero's Lounge department.
  3. Sounds like you fellows are itching for a new Soapbox. We do mix it up a little on SA, and it has remained quite polite.
  4. Quote: The secret to maintaining four stars, I can tell you from experience, is to avoid criticizing the U.S. government in the no-longer-existing Soapbox. Really? I thought the old Soapbox was about taking potshots at the Moderator The funny thing about varnish secrets is that the artistry and method of application are so important. I'll stick my neck out here and bet that one could publish every little fillip of one's technique and still not attract a successful imitator.
  5. Mark_W

    Button Question

    Well, I know you can't share every secret. Maybe just a hint?
  6. Mark_W

    Button Question

    I'm seeing only the heel of the neck in the attached scan. Can you tell it's something interesting just from this?
  7. One of the silliest technical errors in TRV was to show the assembled violin hooked up to test equipment to verify its authenticity. This would imply that there exists a unique acoustic signature of a particular maker. If there were, we could save ourselves a mountain of trouble with attribution--which is presented in the film as a central motivation for the plot in the last segment when the violin is switched. Whether Beare was consulted on this point is debatable. I suspect not.
  8. John/ISOC, I wonder who these 'experts' are. It's fairly well known that some early-period (master) instruments were constructed without corner blocks. It could also be a sign of inexpensive modern manufacture, but that's a different subject altogether.
  9. Off-topic for an all-music forum, as m'Net now is. But yes, Labour politics in the UK have shed their traditional Socialist garb. As for the current weak-dollar policy, the ECB must walk a tightrope to avoid dollar-dumping worldwide, which will lift no boats. Only the ignorant are crowing about it.
  10. Craig, I've used Lava in much the same manner you do. It's definitely on my 'must have' list. Unfortunately, it's getting harder to find on supermarket shelves. I now buy it in a country hardware store, along with Borax (another product with multiple uses.) What is it about the most useful and simple products, that they keep vanishing from store shelves?
  11. Seems like a great acid test: A del Gesu complete in its parts except for a modern top. Does it sound like del Gesu? Would it be accepted as such by today's best players who claim to prefer del Gesu's violins?
  12. "In general you won't find many pix of restoration jobs, though. The people they're done for don't appreciate their stained laundry being displayed, and when I was working around restoration I was actively discouraged from taking pictures of work in progress for that reason." I'm a little surprised at this. When doing restoration on extremely expensive antiques, doesn't the insurance company require documentation?
  13. An instrument of the bowed string family with bad geometry may be evident at a glance, perhaps. Plenty have been made on classic 'good' patterns as well, with mediocre results. Arguments for greater power in wider and deeper violas and cellos lack documentation, at least that I am aware of. Sir James Beament's book reports that conductors tend to curb the enthusiasm of cellists, rather than the reverse. The playability and quality of tone IMHO, are not to be discerned in a photograph.
  14. I don't know about a certificate, but for something in this presumed price class, I'd expect a writing by a quotable appraiser as to age and probable country of origin. Equally unsurprising, however, is to find a misstatement that can be broken by one quick fact check: "...Gaspar da Salo, credited with making the oldest violin dated 1521, used fruitwood along with poplar and spruce..." G. Bertolotti was born around 1540.
  15. Amazing, after all the effusion, that they didn't know how to scan in a supersizable photograph. I guess they prefer a thousand words to a serious picture. What I can see of it looks nice, but I wouldn't bid on one of these 'private' auctions on a dare. The shill bidding on antiques and collectables is bad enough as it is.
  16. Mark_W

    Violin ID.

    ct, to answer the question about why I'd like to see the graft, is that I have seen things like this that appear to have been done at the factory, rather than scribed in later. I took it as a sign of slightly better work. I can assure you that my discrimination is not keen enough to use this evidence as an identification feature. There were in fact some instruments made in the modern era (In Graslitz, for instance) with slightly short necks, and it occurred to me that someone may have grafted this scroll onto a new neck.
  17. Mark_W

    Violin ID.

    I guess I'm with Andrew as far as can be seen by apparent age, quality of finish and model used. That still leaves a lot of room for guessing, though. How about a picture of the graft?
  18. Congratulations! I've never attempted a complete instrument myself. One thing I would say is that there is plenty of time to consider and correct the sound. If you've adopted a standard graduation pattern and the top is already at about 3 mm, then you should probably finish up and play it in a little before making a decision to remove more interior wood--particularly as this is your first effort. Again, congratulations. BTW, what book are you using? And what model did you adopt as a starting point?
  19. Mark_W

    Peg positioning?

    "I know several players, one a Chicago Symphony violinist, who maintain that once you loosen a string to mess with it, it never sounds the same, and you might as well throw it away. I don't have an opinion on this, myself." I experienced that with nylon guitar strings. I suppose the real test would be to purhase a new set, give them the usual break-in, loosen them and retighten. Hand the player the instrument and see if he can detect a degradation without a proximate basis for comparison. My guess is not.
  20. Exactly my point, MANFIO. We would normally have heard the G string complaint first. I've encountered complaints of bad notes (on violins--I have no experience with cellos) that the owners termed wolf notes, which were nothing of the kind. The resonant frequency of the wolf originates in the body of the instrument at the fundamental of the note. This resonance is very sharp. I have serious doubts about an alleged wolf that is not noticed at a similar pitch on a lower string.
  21. I don't know of a systematized diagnostic for wolf notes, but you should first make sure you have one. Can you duplicate that effect on another string at the same pitch?
  22. If only it were as amusing as putting a Bentley winged 'B' on the hood of a Geo Metro. My mother bought a used Perry Ellis handbag at a flea market. She didn't really like it, but she had a very plain brown leather bag at home. She dressed it up by putting the Perry Ellis medallion on the front. My brand-conscious sister-in-law immediately admired it.
  23. "If the owner wants a label, I let him pick a facsimile from Bachmann, which I then photocopy, "treat" and insert..." I suppose this is something one must do to service the market, but it only seems to perpetuate a tradition that everyone seems to decry. Knowledgeable persons are of course aware that the practice's intent is not to defraud. We recognize, however, that violins remain in the market for decades or centuries. Why put some future owner to the disappointing nuisance of an appraisal based on such a 'treated' label? BTW, I used to do something that was really the opposite: Removing Strad labels from early 20th century trade violins. Some of these fiddles were nice work, and it was interesting to hear speculation about their origin in the absence of the labels.
  24. Wilkanowski must have made quite a few violins, because they do show up in shops in the NYC area--Long Island, Southern Connecticut, and Northern NJ (where I'm from.) I've seen a few on eBay as well. The varnish is deep and clear, somewhat of a trademark. The one I picked up seemed a bit heavy and insensitive, but that could have been the setup. The wood was pretty, and the signature purfling was very well done.
  25. I know you're being funny, fiddlecollector, but there are things in every violin auction--even from the respected houses--that amout to fanciful titling, if not actual false attribution. I love it when I see 'School of_____' when the named maker was just a Mirecourt or Markneukirchen trade name to begin with. Maybe not quite as bad as 'School Of Palatino' but close.