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Everything posted by IVSymphony

  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.
  16. quote: Originally posted by: priya Not my workspace, but one of my favorites. http://img.villagephotos.com/p...-1/932239/workshop.jpg AHA!!! That's Johann Reiter's shop in Mittenwald. I've been there and have one of his instruments. He made Oktave Geiges, instruments one octave lower than the violin with a very thick body based on a cello, rather than a violin or viola model, but still played under the chin. I have the very last one he made (#103/103). Actually Erich Sandner finished the instrument started years before by Reiter. Sandner was Reiter's apprentice and then took over his shop when Reiter died. I got my Oktave Geige in 1969. I absolutely LOVE the sound it makes. I have it strung as an Oktave Geige with OktaveGeige strings made by Otto Infield. Some people re-string them as violas because of the RICH sound quality the big box produces. Some others use fractional cello strings for a cello you can play under your chin. I like the original Oktave Geige designation. If you EVER get a chance to play one, PLEASE DO, as they produce a FANTASTIC sound!!!
  17. 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 againsty 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 stright-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.
  18. I have a friend who works at a swap meet. For helping to load and unload the trucks he is often given his pick of the cargo (for the vendors he loads and unloads) as payment. He often also gets the stuff the vendors don't want to haul back home after the swap meet is over. If it is something musical, he often brings it to me. He brought me a sad violin. It HAD BEEN a gorgeous(!) 4/4 G.A. Pfretzschner is mint condition. Unfortunately the vendor had it in the back of his pickup truck and when he threw in (yes, THREW in) some heavy boxes of other stuff, they landed right on top of old G.A. smashing the top. The rest of the violin is fine, but the top is destroyed, broken in multiple places and with chunks of wood missing. I showed it to three luthiers who all said it would cost more to repair than the resulting violin would be worth. I am now semi-retired and have some time on my hands. My repair experience is limited to re-setting a fallen sound post, adjusting an occasional sound post, adjusting placement of a bridge, filing down a new bridge or two from a blank, and using an bit of hide glue and clamping down a loose C-bout corner seam. I am certainly not capable of trying to repair the old top (including carving out the missing pieces!). However, I am contemplating ordering a white top, adjusting its graduation as closely as I can to the original, varnishing it and attaching to the remaining violin. Again, I have never done this; in fact, I don't even know where to order a white semi-finished top. (I am assuming I can get one from China fairly inexpensively, or at least more cheaply than Europe.) I realize that I would probably have to ensure that the top is the correct size. I imagine I could trace the original top and/or back, and take several digital photos with a tape measure across the instrument at strategic spots for reference dimensions. I still need to schedule time for a project like this, but does it sound possible? Where (and how) would I find a suitable "white" top?
  19. I originally posted this topic in peg box, but I guess I should have posted it here as it is eBay related. This is just a warning that the 5-string violas made in China being offered by two different retailers on eBay are just 4-string violas that have had a fifth peg hole drilled. That means that the standard size peg box, nut, neck, fingerboard, and bridge are too narrow to accommodate 5 strings without the strings binding between the peg box and nut, and without the player's finger jamming down on two strings at once instead of just one string. Also the arch of the fingerboard and bridge are not sufficient to play a single string comfortably without hitting the adjacent string (or without scraping the bow hairs opn the C bouts on the outer strings. It takes a bit of engineering skill tyo produce a 5-stringer. A TRUE 5-string has a wider peg box and nut so the strings don't bind in the peg box and don't have to bend a wide angle for the C 3 and E5 strings when they enter the nut. A true 5-string viola has a wide enough neck, fingerboard, bridge to allow the strings to be wide enough apart so they are (string to string) the same distance apart as on a 4-string viola--NOT just 5 strings packed into the space of 4. A true 5-string viola has a greater curve in the fingerboard and bridge to allow the bow to play a single string without accidentally hitting its neighbor. The two I bought (one for $9 + S&H and one for $320) have none of these requirements fulfilled. Both instruments were fairly good looking for the price (and the $9 one is exceptionally good sounding!), so I'm going to convert both back to 4-stringers so they can be played.
  20. Heavy bows are great! I tend to use my viola bows when I play my violin, as I like to get a "fatter" sound that the lighter bows can't pull out of the strings. I just don't plan on using it if there is a lot of fast spiccato in a piece.
  21. I just purchased two Chinese 5-string violas on eBay (from different vendors). Being a lazy violist (make that "economical of energy expenditure"), I was looking for a viola with an additional E5 string on top. I didn't want a 5-string violin, because the addition of a C3 string on a 14" violin doesn't have the fullness of sound that a 16" viola body can give it. I wanted a VIOLA with a top end. I know that the addition of a fifth string requires and increase in the width of the neck of approximately 20% (16.7% minimum) so that the strings will be the same distance apart (string to string) as on a regular 4-string viola. The peg box, nut, and bridge must also be wider to accommodate five strings (the peg box, so that the outer strings - C3 and E5 - don't bind against the wall of the peg box). It also requires a greater arch in the bridge and fingerboard so that there is enough clearance from one string to another (so you don't accidentally play two strings simultaneously, AND so the bow hair doesn't "bottom out" on the edges of the C-bouts). Unfortunately both violas I purchased were regular 4-string violas that had been drilled for a 5th string. That meant that with five strings, the strings were too close together, and the bridge and fingerboard didn't have enough curvature to allow proper clearance for each string (i.e., playing a D4 string without scraping the G3 or A4 strings on either side). One I bought for a mere $9 (plus S&H). It had a back of some wood other than maple (ash, poplar?). The other was $320, and made of beautifully flamed maple. Oddly enough the cheap $9 viola has a MUCH, MUCH better viola sound. I will probably put on new nuts, tailpieces, and bridges, and re-string them both as proper 4-string violas. I should have known..........
  22. I think that the "Ano Stradiuari 1737" is NOT "Anno Stradiuari 1737" but "An[toni]o Stradiuari 1737"
  23. Last year, I purchased two "Juzeks" on eBay. They were certainly for much less than $500!! One was only $80, although it needed a crack repair. Strange thing though, I've seen genuine Juzek labels, and, if I remember correctly, they were on a yellowish paper. These were black and white (or should I say black and gray) labels that looked curiously like Mr. Juzek ran out of his regular labels and had to run to the copier store with one original (as a master) to make more copies. Oops! That's right, they didn't have Xerox copier stores in the early 1950s, did they? The seller I purchased from has MANY!!!!!! "Juzeks" for sale. I wonder if they all have the same xeroxed label? Curious!!! ;-) For the price I paid for them; however, they are not bad student quality starter instruments. One always needs to be careful when buying things sight unseen (or sound unheard).
  24. My concern would be that spruce is a soft wood, and vibrates slowly; hence, it gives more resonance to the bass register of the violin (as opposed to the hard maple back and sides, the back of which gives more resonance to the treble register of the instrument). By using Krazy Glue, you are not just sealing the top, you are hardening it, i.e., making it stiffer. This may make the top less resonant in the low frequencies and more resonant in the higher frequencies. It may entirely change the quality of sound on that instrument (and, I think, not for the good).
  25. The exact version? I don't know about that one (though I think it is the same version as in "Shindler's List", and on the "Tango Project" CD). There is an excellent String Quartet version arranged by Matthew Naughtin, the librarian of the San Francisco Ballet. http://www.mattnaughtin.com/strings.html The web site above lists his string quartet arrangements and gives prices. There are also string bass parts available for many of the arrangements ("Por Una Cabeza" included) for use in string orchestra. If you've never heard his arrangements, you might want to try one out (for only $5). I really like his work and have most of his arrangements.
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