guta

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Everything posted by guta

  1. From what I understand, Morassi is very much in demand in Japan and the rest of Asia. There don't seem to be very many of them available in the U.S. Your point on the currency exchange is well taken. Take a look at some of the prices on German bows...
  2. Putting aside dealer involvement and looking at the Morassi on it's own merits, I would say it has a lot going for it. It is attractive to look at and made of first class materials. It is in essentially perfect condition and does not need restoration. Add to that the fact that violins by Morassi are reputed to be excellent playing instruments and are used by a host of professionals, and it all adds up to a very nice buy. Violins by Bellini ans Zygmuntovich sell for very high prices, and it could be argued that Morassi is easily their equal. Larry.
  3. There is an older recording by Louis Kaufman which is excellent.
  4. To my knowledge neither Robert Cauer nor Tom Metzler are currently making violins. Please correct me if I am wrong.
  5. I haven't tried Pirastro string oil, but my guess is that oil is oil, and any good quality light oil will do it. Phillip Kass recommended olive oil to me, and that's what I use, with good results- also on wound Eudoxa's. Larry.
  6. Glen - Good to hear from you. I still can't quite figure out why new U.S. violins by the big names are used more than some of the excellent older makers, (with the exception of Becker Sr.) Speaking of which, I have seen and tried out quite a number of Becker Sr. violins over the past few years.They are mostly excellent sounding, beautifully made, with spectacular wood. But I still would have to say that they didn't seem overall better than a host of other violins from the same period. I think the real kicker is their beauty in appearance. Re "looking toward the East" - you are speaking of China, am I right? I don't want to start another whole thing on Chinese violins, but I really feel that as we get to know the makers by name, and learn about their lives, training, working methods etc. they will no longer be simply lumped together in one catch-all category. Please, all you excellent makers over in China, let us get to know you better! Tell us a story, send a picture of your workshop, the street you live on, tell us your hobbies, and whether you like to cook, and if so what. I for one am all ears.
  7. Hi Manfio - The process of recognition is sometimes tediously slow, and tied up with outside factors. As you have mentioned, your instruments are liked by top professionals, so why don't we hear your name more? It's quite simply Buenes Aires, IMHO. Move to Cremona, Bologna, Milan, and boom. Everybody will have you on their list (I mean even more than now.) Strange but true...
  8. I personally believe that most of the fine makers which have been mentioned here will become a part of the mainstream more and more over the next few years, and decades. It is simple economics. The old Cremona violins as well as classic French, i.e. Lupot, Vuillaume, continue to become more in-accessible to the average player, due to the price run-ups which are ongoing. At the time that I owned my De Chaponay Strad, I was one among innumerable players, teachers etc. who had some extra cash , and wanted to use it so as to fulfill a dream. Today, no way is that possible, except for the very select few. All the great old fiddles are gradually going to foundations, museums, banks etc. And this is only the beginning. Players in the know have been using great American violins for quite some time. (By the way, nobody has mentioned Reindahl, who seems to be suddenly on the way to top status). I believe that one reason the great U.S. makers are being recognised more now is economic necessity. Who has $500K to spend on an instrument anymore? The time is right for modern makers of all nationalities, and everybody has their names on the tip of their tongue. It used to be that the great old Italians were owned not only by concert players, but also by orchestra musicians, the doctor in Brooklyn, the freshman at Curtis, Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, the insurance man in Boca Raton, and the string teacher in the mid-West. That time is past. We are going through a re-classification of makers and instruments, and making the happy discovery that there are enough great sounding, great looking instruments for anybody who really wants one. They have always been available and always will be. Our minds are beginning to open.
  9. Larakitten - Don't forget to oil the strings, they will become as stable as any other . Best, Larry.
  10. Other nationalities get almost totally ingored as well - When was the last time anyone raved about their Swiss, Danish, Swedish, Spanish or Portugese violin? The list goes on and on. O.K. Back to the topic, I wasn't trying to hijack. Many people maintain that Becker Sr. was the greatest "American" maker. And yet - Is there any well- known soloist who actually performs on one? Any soloist using a Sacconi?
  11. apartmentluthier - Thank you very much for the great link. The article clears up a lot of questions.
  12. I have a violin by Alfred Lanini, made in 1920, with original label and branded inside and under the button on the bottom of the ribs. It is a beautiful instrument, a very flat modified Strad copy. The varnish is chestnut brown and lustrous, the tone smooth and resonant. A real concert instrument, showing the influences of Romeo Antoniazzi and Celeste Farotti, both of whom were his teachers in Milan. There was recently a similar one of the same period sold on Tarisio. Strangely, there have been a number of Laninis from later periods also turning up on Tarisio and dealers websites which have a much cruder aspect to them, almost as if they were made by somebody else. The examples I am thinking of show less refinement and skill. They have labels but none have the brand inside and under the end button. Is anybody knowlegeable about Lanini, and could you shed some light on the discrepancy in the quality of the later as opposed to the earlier instruments? Is it possible that he allowed violins by his son or his students to be labeled with his name and sold as his work? Any light on this would be appreciated. Larry.
  13. Getting the fingerboard planed might be a solution, provided that there is enough thickness to spare. Larry.
  14. Glenn - I had forgotten that Menuhin was a long term yoga practioner. He also made some wonderful recordings with Ravi Shankar, and played an important part in showing the benefits of yoga practise to westerners. Larry.
  15. Menuhin always suffered from nerves. I heard him perform live many times, including a memorable performance of the Elgar concerto around the late 60's. He had a tremor which was quite visible in his bowing, and I often noticed that as he prepared to place his bow on the string his right hand would tremble with almost a vibrato-like movement. In spite of this, his Elgar performance was sublime, and he played heroically and flawlessly. Much later he played a recital in Los Angeles (around '86), and again it was sublimely beautiful, although he was visibly waging a battle with himself. Somewhere along the way Menuhin's nerves were shattered, and he could never fully recover. I have to say however that out of about 7 or 8 live performances of his which I attended, he always rose to the occasion and played exquisitely. Best, Larry.
  16. I have often dealt with this problem by putting a large drop of white glue into the holes and swishing it around with a toothpick so that it thoroughly covers the inside of the holes. Let it dry a bit, maybe 20 minutes, and repeat. Then insert the brackets. Leave it alone for 24 hours. The result is a firm grip (you have built up the wood surface inside the holes), but it is still possible to adjust the hardware. This can be repeated down the road should it become necessary. Larry.
  17. guta

    Stradivari secret?

    Given the number of instruments that came out of the Stradivari shop, it seems likely that Omobono and Francesco were given the preliminary rough work to do by their father, who then did the plate thinning, fine carving and varnishing. I agree that Strad Sr. was most likely gruff and impatient, intent only on following his own vision. How demoralizing for the two sons. Possibly they simply settled into their roles as work-horses, trying to keep up with the demands, and making a living. Having read all of your posts, it seems more than likely that Strad's personality and constant demands took their toll, and the sons lost any real interest in violin making as an art. To learn from their father would have taken intense devotion, which they simply did not have towards him. It's beginning to come together. Manfio - It's been a while - good to hear from you. I have indeed had many students over the years, and enjoy watching them develop. I have learned so much from each one of them.
  18. guta

    Stradivari secret?

    Manfio - Yes, his sons did deviate when working on their own. So - if there was a particular secret that they knew made all the difference, why would they abandon it's use? And another thing - Why do people refer to Strad's secret, but never ever to Del Gesu's secret? Wouldn't DG have had a slightly different secret which made his violins as good as Strad's but with different charachteristics?
  19. Question - If Stradivari did indeed have a secret which he used in his violinmaking, then why didn't his sons Francesco and Omobono know about it and use it? Just thought I'd throw it out there. My opinion - The real secret is that there was no secret. Just great instinct, intuition and painstaking labor.
  20. Thinking about this kind of stuff too much can really interfere with your playing. Here's proof: A centipede was happy quite, Until a toad in fun Said "Pray, which leg moves after which?" It worked his mind to such a pitch, He lay exhausted in a ditch, Considering how to run. Cheers. L.H.
  21. guta

    Chin Rest

    quote: Originally posted by: henrypeacham As regards chinrests...one I would like to mention are the ones from Pierre Vidoudez. They are branded PV and also numbered on the side. It came installed on my Bocquay and I absolutely love it. Since he passed away in 1979 they are no longer produced. Wish I could find another! Have you tried Beare's in London? They will send you an illustrated catalogue of their chinrests, and their "John Dun" model is the same as the one you showed. These are the highest quality chinrests being made today, and the beauty and density of their woods is unbeatable. Prices are high, over $100 per, but you're getting the finest. tel. 011 44 20 7307-9666 BTW, I have no personal interest in passing along this info. other than that I strongly believe in information sharing, and appreciate it when someone does that for me. Larry.
  22. Seems to me that Stern and Szeryng both placed the hair flat on the string. Then , of course, if you're using Peccattes and Tourtes you can do a lot of things...
  23. Hi Glenn - I'm totally in agreement with you on this. You have stumbled on a collecting field which has not been exploited and where there are beautiful and interesting historical items readily available. Even my old Lifton gives me a charge when I examine the quality and detail of it's construction. And let's not get started on Hill cases, the holy grail as far as I'm concerned. The only slight error you made was putting this up on the net. Let's hope nobody is paying attention! All Best, Larry.
  24. guta

    Chin Rest

    O.K., Here's my experience. I have tried many chinrests and shoulder rests over the years, and always come back to the flat model, mounted to the side of the tailpiece. The two best examples IMO are the Kaufman, which has a large, lightly scooped plate, and the Kreisler, which is similar but has a slightly smaller plate. Both can be found in low, med. and high models. I have never found any comfort in those models which have bumps, ridges, hills or valleys, since they always dig into one's neck or jaw, and can cause discomfort and welts. As to shoulder rests, that is of course a personal preference. I happen not to like them, since they break the physical contact with the violin, making playing more like typing on the computer in the way it feels. There is also a slight danger in getting too comfortable. When it gets to the point where you hardly have to do anything to hold the instrument, and all you have to do is put your fingers in the right places and pull the bow, all intensity and involvement will leave your playing. I know that there are great players using mile-high scaffolding under their fiddles, but such talents will play well under almost any circumstance. For me, trying to play with this type of "equipment overload" is like trying to make love wearing a space suit. Larry.
  25. There is no hard and fast rule on where to hold the bow. Generally, for a player with a long arm, the traditional hold at the frog is good. For players with shorter arms, there is no rule against holding the bow higher up, with the thumb somewhere around the middle of the thumb leather, or even on the lapping where it meets the leather. This type of grip was used successfully by Milstein and Elman, both of whom had arms slightly shorter than most. JMO.