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Everything posted by raspritz

  1. That is not the way that government procurement works at all.
  2. That label, bearing the name Anton Schroetter, was very common in Mittenwald shop instruments produced in the early 1950s. It is generally believed there was no such person, but who knows? My original student cello was an 'Anton Schroetter', which my mom purchased used circa 1958 for $500 (a lot of money at the time). These are carved instruments, and if set up well they can be entirely serviceable. I still have it and use it as a practice cello in my second home.
  3. I bought a fire safe for documents years ago. These safes are rated by the amount of time they protect paper in a typical fire. Realistically, about 30 minutes of protection in the middle of a fire is about the best you get before the safe heats up enough to char whatever is inside. That is actually a fair bit of time, as fires go. The safe in that video did remarkably well, as the outcome shows, and I imagine having the instruments inside good cases on shelves inside the safe helped a lot.
  4. I agree with PhilipKT there is only one "type" of vibrato, varying in amplitude and frequency. It is anatomically impossible for any vibrato to "originate near the finger tip", as humans have no intrinsic muscles of the fingers.
  5. Outcome: Seven years have not yielded any additional information about this violinmaker. However, this week I retrieved the violin from my mom, as my adult daughter now wants to learn to play violin. I know all of the luthiers in Denver, so I will get it set up and have the bow rehaired for her. At the very least, she gets a nice student-level 1930 Mittenwald violin for free. After that, she's on her own. Rich
  6. This time, the price is egregious enough (far surpassing the known record for any stringed instrument) that it instigated a discussion over on the Internet Cello Society site. Enjoy! Ebay amuser
  7. Nevertheless, the overarching impression is one of real disappointment, given that this has been one of the most anticipated instrument sales in many decades. I find nothing tempting.
  8. You are all making a very basic mistake: The monetary value of something is not the asking price, it is the selling price. An asking price four or five times the going rate is very often merely a form of self-promotion.
  9. Anybody who says that high-end collectibles are immune from the forces of the economy is either trying to sell somebody a bridge or is living in a dreamworld. High-end collectibles are somewhat recession-resistant, especially if they are irreplaceable rarities such as Stradivarii. Other than at that very rarified end of the market, times are tough all over. The inventory of high-end properties, high-end automobiles, and other high-end toys on the market has skyrocketed as those who invested with the Lehmans and the Madoffs of the world scramble to raise cash and those who might otherwise buy are tightening their belts or trolling for deals. Transactions are way down, in all venues, and dealers of 'exclusive' merchandise are offering 'Sales' for the first time in memory. Just yesterday, I learned that a former high-end realtor in Breckenridge is now working as a bell-hop. So it goes.
  10. What more need be said? http://cgi.ebay.com/A-CELLO-BOW-BY-FRANCOI...id=p3286.c0.m14
  11. Ah, well, I only own six bows to keep in that beautiful bowbox, but I did not say they were inexpensive bows.....
  12. About a year ago I purchased a very fine contemporary bowbox. I was able to obtain it for an extremely low price on closeout. I was told a number of them had been handmade by a cabinetmaker in the UK, but they were not a successful item, and this was the last one. It is a darker wood, perhaps cherry, satin lined, and holds 12 bows (I only own six). I also once commissioned a craftsman to build very beautiful music stand, also at a quite reasonable price. The plate is made from a large piece of burl, walnut, I think.
  13. Not to be argumentative, but 1/10,000 = 0.01%
  14. I think this thread is on the wrong track. No, cellos are not standardized, even within one maker's "line". Scott Cao's are Chinese cellos, pure and simple. There are lots and lots and lots of Chinese cellos out there. You should NEVER buy a cello that your daughter can't play for a reasonable trial period and fall in love with. So, to answer your specific question, yes, you would be taking "a foolish risk by buying sight unseen".
  15. I would not ignore the environmental impact of violin playing...
  16. It appears that most of the current offerings started out life as lesser instruments and (in some cases) have gone downhill from there.
  17. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I think not. I just re-read the original poster's 10 (!) posts in this thread, as well as the others, and mostly I perceive a whole lot of venting. I well understand that different luthiers work on (or not) different levels of instruments, for a varietyof reasons. That said, for several of my luthier friends school instruments are their bread and butter. I applaud the original poster for being willing to take in student instruments, either via the school or via the students, when other luthiers might be a bit too high-falutin'. My hat is off to you. I well understand that many (most?) low-end instruments are crap, with little relation to a 'real' stringed instrument other than appearance. That said, school instruments get beat up, and it is simply not realistic to think or even hope that schools will be able to provide better instruments, regardless of what they may have to spend on computer systems. We live in a real world, and in that real world school music programs are rapidly becoming extinct in the USA. Kudos to a school system that is doing what it can to stave that off. I agree that we might all do what we can to help them do a better job, but I don't really perceive much of that attitude in this thread. Mostly, I perceive venting. I well understand that burocratic institutions have difficulty paying bills when the work and billing is not processed in the 'correct' way, and I well understand the original poster's frustration over late or absent payments. I am a University administrator, and on my desk to deal with this very afternoon is the problem of facilitating a payment that has been delayed unconscionably. That said, it is partially the poster's fault for being perhaps a bit too flexible in accepting work that isn't handled according to the routine for the school system, which may well have its rules and procedures imposed from above. Folks, this is really a very important thread, worth more than passing thought. Classical music has been in decline in this country for a long time. Many studies, around the world (undertaken specificially because of that decline), have shown that the people who patronize classical music as adults are almost exclusively those who played classical instruments as children. While that was common in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s, it certainly is not common today. As the result, it has been very clear to classical musicians in the USA for a long time that our audiences are graying and dwindling. Unless we want to be playing to empty houses, or alone, unless we want our high-end instruments to become progressively less valuable as demand declines, and unless you luthiers want to have progressively less and less work, we need to do whatever we can to build towards the future. That future is our kids, and we should be doing everything we can to support and facilitate school music programs. That is why our orchestra sponsors (pays for!) our school system's Strings Program and offers free concert admission to anybody under 22. So, while perhaps it might feel good to vent, I submit that isn't really very constructive, and instead it might be worth thinking about how one might help. Rich
  18. You surely are way overboard about this. Either you are in business as a luthier or you are not. Regardless, it is not your position to berate the customer (the School District). I am President of our local community orchestra. We fund the Strings Program in our school district every year via donation. We do that because, otherwise, there would be no Strings Program. Most school districts across the USA have dropped most or all instrumental teaching and orchestra activities to save money. You should be delighted and amazed that yours has not, and you should be supporting what they are trying to do, not complaining about it. These are loaner instruments to beginners, kids who will beat them up. What do you think, that the School District should buy Strads to loan the kids? Your school district is fueling the future of classical music and the future of your occupation. Perhaps you might be less of a prima donna and invest a bit more in their future. My $.02 Rich
  19. For what it is worth, there is no copy of "LIUTERIA ITALIANO INEDITA" by Umberto Azzolina (or any misspelled permutations of that title or author) for sale on Advanced Book Exchange, the largest interchange for used books in the world. That does not mean there is no such book, but typically even very rare books have at least one copy for sale on ABE at any given time, especially "important" books. Rich
  20. You are an expert on powder stashes here in the Rockies? I am too. Would you care to share (or perhaps trade) some of that closely-kept knowledge? I am always willing to learn more about powder stashes. Rich
  21. Actually, Ebay has become a key used book marketplace precisely because so much more is offered, every day, than in all the used bookstores you'd come across in a lifetime of hunting. It's like trying to drink from a firehose. And the ebay sellers often know even less than the storefront booksellers. Just yesterday, I paid significant money for something I'd never seen before and didn't know, on the principle that if I find something in my area of specialization that I've never even heard of before, that alone means it is pretty interesting if it is not some kind of forgery. And storefront bookseller complaints notwithstanding, I have never found any lack of used bookstores in any of the many cities that I visit around the world.
  22. What is the evidence to support your statement, "Local shops in general are vanishing because of the price-cutting the virtual shops on the in(tern)et can offer by reason of not having a storefront to support." In my large city, the number of stringed instrument/luthier shops has increased in recent years, not decreased. Even if it had decreased, what is the evidence this is the result of competition by internet sales, rather than due to decreased support of the arts in general and public school music programs in particular? That is not to say that your thesis couldn't be true, but it seems more likely to occur in realms in which folks feel safe buying online. For example, in the rare book world, for which ebay has become a key (and fairly safe) buying and selling venue, the number of shops has indeed declined considerably, precisely for the reason you laid out.
  23. Why separate from your homeowner's insurance? A homeowner's policy rider is by far the easiest and cheapest way to go, unless you play professionally. I do have valuable instruments, and that is how I insure them.
  24. Friends, I still don't see the point of the question Yuen posed. Ebay is neither a problem nor a solution, and it is both a problem and a solution. Like everything in life, it has its pros and cons, and those may appear different to different people, depending on one's point of view. Ebay is caveat emptor embodied, a marketplace that is close to unregulated, and those who know what they are doing usually do much better than those who do not. Ebay is a magnifying glass, displaying both the good and the bad with almost equal tolerance. In a realm in which fakes and frauds are rare, they remain uncommon on ebay. In a realm in which fakes and frauds are common, they are extremely common on ebay. Consider that fakes and frauds are much more highly tolerated in the stringed instrument world than in most art, antique, and collectible worlds. The Stradivari label is so common that we ignore them, and in fact we tend to ignore labels in general because so many are false. Stamps on bows are almost as often fake. Fakes abound even in the loftiest of stringed instrument auctions and sales, and we have had quite bizarre discussions here in which auction purveyors try to defend vague descriptions and shades of truth. And thus, as a stringed instrument venue, ebay is the ready home of fakes and frauds. But in other collectible realms in which fakery and uncertain descriptions are uncommon and treated harshly, ebay has become an important selling and buying venue, a special place where the retail buyer can purchase at dealer prices, usually gets what they pay for, and where remarkable finds can and are made quite often.
  25. I don't understand the point behind Yuen's original question. I recognized a very good, but basket case cello on ebay. Known maker, not Italian, 1925. I bought it for $2500. It cost $300 to have shipped to me. My luthier charged me about $4500 for major restoration. I put a Bois d'Harmonie tailpiece on it that I bought on ebay for $200. Pirastro gave me a free set of Evah Pirazzi strings, which sound great on it. So, I have about $7500 in it. It's been appraised at $19,000. I played a concert on it tonight, and it's a wonderful cello. I'd buy another like it on ebay in a minute. What is your point, Yuen? Rich
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