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About IVSymphony

  • Birthday 03/13/1948

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  1. I happen to have two Fuchs 16" violas, purchased about 40 years apart: one a W.K. Fuchs master art c. 1948-54 and the other a Wenzel Fuchs 1954. Both are Erlangen instruments. I was told W.K. stood for Wenzel Karl. I don't know if the are by the same maker or not. The W.K. has a violin-type scroll and the Wenzel has a cello-type scroll. Both instruments are actually quite well-made, and both have a beautiful sound.
  2. I believe the first photo displayed shows the Axelrod Stradivari decorated quartet located in the Smithsonian and NOT the decorated Cuarteto Real of Spain. They are: 1. the “Ole Bull violin” (1687), 2. the “Greffuhle violin” (1709), (the one with the black griffins on it near the "C" bouts) 3. the “Antonio Stradivari viola” (1695) and 4. the “Maryleborn violincello” (1688)
  3. If you like hearing a really good Celtic fiddler, United States Scottish fiddling champion Jamie Laval is giving a recital this Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Kensington area of San Diego (in a private home). Tickets are $24 and available at Kensington Video. More information on the concert is available at: http://www.kensingtonconcertseries.com/Schedule.html P.S., I have no association with this concert except for the fact that I like Scottish fiddle music and that I plan on going to enjoy it.
  4. Reading the web site, it does not describe what I remember (my memory just is not as good as it once was.), but there was enough of what I did remember to I believe that you ARE correct, and that IS the device. Thank you.
  5. This was mentioned in a topic about a year ago, and after about an hour of searches through the archives, I gave up trying to find the original post. Here goes: There is a device marketed which is a type of violin bridge that contains a transducer (speaker driver) that when hooked up to a stereo system turns the violin's body into a speaker, supposedly the vibration of the violin's body "loosens up" the violin (in a good way) allowing it to vibrate more freely, thus giving a better, richer, more mature sound when played in the normal way (with its regular bridge). One hooks up the violin with this transducer bridge and goes off to work while the stereo plays CDs of the complete Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas of Bach all day. After a month or so, the violin sounds as if it had years of "breaking in" under its belt, rather than just a month's worth. In the early 1970s I know that this was being done with new classical guitars (my roommate at the time was an audio engineer familiar with the concept, and it was he who introduced the concept to me. He then used wall transducers to turn the entire wall of our apartment into a speaker!!!). If I remember the original post, it was a bridge with adjustable feet (and legs) that could be put on the instrument in front of (or immediately behind) the regular bridge, then "lifted" with adjustment screws until the strings rested upon the transducer bridge and the regular bridge could be removed without having to unstring the violin. The regular bridge would be replaced the reverse way, again so as not having to unstring the violin. There was also then mention of a famous violinist who supposedly touted this device and used it with his own instrument(s). Does anyone remember the commercial name of this product? I have several violins just sitting around unplayed, and I would like to give it a try with them.
  6. I think that in the case of my JTL Deconeti copy, it was literally that...a copy, right down to the cracks in the original. They gave it the appearance of age on (what was then) a new instrument.
  7. This is a total guess (but I hope a plausible one). I have a wonderful JTL copy of a Michel Deconeti which mimics a few cracks with (I think) a very thin line of black ink(?). It didn't bleed into the surrounding wood, so perhaps it wasn't ink but a thicker material. (I am guessing here, but) I think they used a fine pin or blade to very LIGHTLY incise the fake crack on the very surface and then followed that by filling the incised "crack" with whatever dark agent was used to imitate the "crack". This is just my impression of what I think the procedure LOOKS LIKE upon really close examination of the surface. The cracks look very real, and only by looking carefully can you see that they are really "fake."
  8. I didn't mean using sandpaper for the entire shaping job, just for some of the finishing touches. In the past I had been told that sandpaper was never to be used, and the crushed and torn fibers of sanded wood vs. the clean cut fibers of planed and scraped was the reason given then. I have finished gun stocks with increasingly fine sandpapers ending with rouge paper and 0000 steel wool, and then "boned" the surface (taking a chicken bone or a ceramic rod and rubbing repeatedly over the wood surface to smooth it to an almost mirror-like finish). Now, that was for gun stocks, not for violins! I assumed that for violins, "boning" would compress the wood fibers and perhaps interfere with the proper vibration of the surface. But, to me, sanding as a final stage seemed a better way to get a very smooth finish (especially if using rouge and 0000 steel wool).
  9. I know that violins are shaped by planing the wood surface. What are the reasons that sanding is not done?
  10. For 43 years I have played on a W. K. Fuchs viola built somewhere c 1948-1952. It bore a hang tag on it when I bought it new (after it sat on the shelf at the music store for a dozen or more years) that read either "Master Art" or "Master Craft" (I forget which, and I lost that hang tag decades ago). The white label reads: -Handarbeit- W. K. Fuchs, Geigenbaumeister Eltersdorf-Erlangen Made in Germany I was told when I bough the instrument that W. K. stood for Wenzl Karl. Yesterday I received a 1954 viola made by Wenzel Fuchs. The yellow label has a double-line squiggley border and reads: (On the left side of the label) Wenzl Violinmaker No. 46 (the number "46" is written in a brown ink) Master Art (In the center of the label) a circular picture of a Renaissance lute player in a short tunic and a short puffy cape (hood?) billowing behind his shoulders Under the pictureis printed: Made in Germany (On the right sideof the label) Fuchs in Eltersdorf Yr: 1954 (The number "1954" is written in a brown ink) Copy Ant. Stadivarius ("Ant. Stadivarius" is written in cursive in brown ink) In three of the corners of the label there are also markings in black ink: (Upper left) / (Lower left) S (Upper tight) C (or it could be "L", or it could be "e" with the crossbar very close to the upper curve, actually, it looks most like a boomerang.) The W. K. Fuchs has a violin-type peg-box; the Wenzl Fuchs has a cello-type peg-box (with the extra-wide cheeks that make a box that goes out past the width of the neck, and has a little extra "flower petal" at the back of the scroll where it meets the neck) The curls of both of the scrolls are identical: well-incised and with two complete turns before the scroll opens up to separate from the peg-box. Balance and symmetry are identical. The scroll portion appears to have been carved by the same hand (or by a very skilled carver using the exact same pattern for the curl). The W. K. Fuchs ribs are deeper by the thickness of the top. (With the backs lined up, the inside (underside, inside) edge of the top of the W. K. just barely clears over the top (upper, outside) edge of the top of the Wenzl Fuchs. The coloring and finishes are different. W. K. Fuchs is a reddish spirit varnish. The back shows a golden ground under the red. The Wenzl Fuchs has a more brownish-red oil varnish over a golden or yellowish-brown ground, and appears to have a more "antiqued" look. The WenzelFuchs has an ebony half-ring on the outside of the button. The W. K. has a plain button. Both instruments are extremely well-made, play well, and have excellent (though different) sounds. The W. K. has a melancholy sound that is typical viola, yet is bright enough to be able to cut through the orchestra when needed. The Wenzl Fuchs is both melancholy, yet very resonant, with lots of carrying power, much more of a soloist sound. (The W.K. has, to my ears, more of an orchestral viola sound.) Could these be made by the same maker? Father and son? Does anyone have any information on Fuchs (W. K., and/or Wenzl)?
  11. While they MAY be lip-synching (or would it be bow and finger synching??) for this video, their web site states: They perform on Violectra electric instruments and bring their own senheiser wireless systems to allow them to move around freely, they use Line6 Pod XT effects and a mackie mixer from which they send a feed to the main PA system. So you may not see wires.
  12. For your 5-string, would you be willing to share your dimensions? For example, how wide was the overall width of the peg box exterior? the internal opening width of your peg box at the nut? width of the nut? width of the fingerboard and neck at the nut, and the fingerboard end (between the bouts)? Spacing between strings at the nut? between the strings at the bridge>? what about the curvature of the fingerboard and the bridge to accommodate that extra 5th string and not limit the freedom of a wide bow (elbow) angle? I'm looking to get a 15.5"-16" 5-string viola, but those I've talked to either just want to drill 5 holes in a 4-string instrument and space the strings closer together (very wrong in my opinion), OR they say that building a wider peg box, neck, and fingerboard, as well as figuring out the proper arch or the fingerboard and bridge to accommodate 5 strings is just too much work! I have two makers that I respect who will build me one (within my price range) if I(!!!) come up with the proper measurements, but they are too busy making and selling instruments off their standard patterns to take time out to experiment with a new design. Or, contact me privately to let me know what you might charge to make a 5-string viola (16" preferred for the fuller sound).
  13. I used to think that a broken bow was just destined for the trash pile; however, a number of years ago a student borrowed the symphony's very old Otto Durrschmidt cello bow, jammed it in her cloth bag case, THEN shoved her cello in the bag. The bow stick snapped at the frog area into three sections, plus a little sliver. I though it was hopeless, but I took it to the late Raymond Wise of San Diego. I thought about cutting it off at the end of the eye-screw channel, re-drilling and re-channeling it to turn it into a 3/4 bow, but Raymond said he would try to fix it for just about $250. Unfortunately, the budget just didn't have $250 at the time, so I just gave it to him. HE FIXED It! (perhaps using an epoxy glue). One of the orchestra members paid him for the repair and took the bow home. All three pieces, plus the sliver, were glued so well, that you cannot even see that there was ever a break (unless you look at it when the light is shining on it just in a certain way). The bow is as strong as it ever was. So I know broken bows can be fixed. I just don't know if THIS bow (below) can be fixed. I received this bow from China last week. Actually a beautiful looking bow; however, upon tightening it and starting to apply the rosin, it immdiately snapped at the tip, making me think there had been a crack or some flaw in the wood. If they don't want me to ship it back to China, might there be a way to fix this so it still might be somewhat useful as a bow? I don't know if it can be drilled, pinned and glued; drilled, pegged and glued; glued; crazy glued; gorilla glued; resin-epoxy glued; or just forget about it and salvage the gorgeous frog. After checking out the photo, let me know what you think.
  14. Here is the link that tells the story: http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/6096.html It was recognized in a Bonhams auction. Guess we should really check out those eBay auctions carefully. Maybe some of those hundreds of Strads offered daily are real! :-)
  15. quote: Originally posted by: kessi did you see the pictures of my 5 stringer in this earlier thread? The Stainer Model I originally posted this question to the Stainer thread above, but because that thread is so old, I was afraid you might not see it, so here goes: In your 5-string Stainer model, is the neck wider than a standard 4-string model to accommodate the 5th string? Are the strings spaced the same distance (string to string) as the individual strings of a 4-string model (i.e., taking 20% more room across than just packing 5 strings in the space of 4)? Is the peg box wider to accommodate 5 strings coming out so they do not bind against the side of the peg box for the C2 and E4 strings, and also so that the C2 and E4 strings do not have to make a sharp horizonal bend at the nut, but enter the nut fairly straight-on and continue straight-on to the bridge? I ask this because many of the 5-string violins and violas being offered on eBay in a recent whirlwind of production are just 4-stringers with a fifth hole drilled in the peg box. The strings are all so close together, it is very hard to finger a single string without mashing down its neighbor as well.
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