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About Jim_B

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  1. Michael Darnton will be back teaching violin making in the Italian tradition. Lynn Armour Hannings, acclaimed bow making instructor will join us this coming year for making in the French tradition, repair and restoration. For info, follow the link in the home post. J. Brown
  2. Jim_B

    7/8 violin plans

    Oh, I have the book and it has 13 removable tables with all the dimensions listed and a scaling grid which allows you to copy the model of a Stradivari model violin in any size. Never used it, got it at an estate sale but it looks useful for your purposes. J-
  3. Jim_B

    7/8 violin plans

    You might try this resource for Italian sources. It has measurements for all sizes including 7/8 in all dimensions: https://www.cremonatools.com/quaderno-n-13-il-violino-ed-i-suoi-formati-italian-text.html The translation in the site description is: " This book presents the results of research by the "Group of lute studies" on the dimensions of the so-called "reduced or study violins" with the definition, in objective terms, of the formats of the violins." JB
  4. You might have a look at this by Michael Darnton: http://www.darntonviolins.com/violinmagazine/book/setup.pdf
  5. You ask how to tell a real one. There are lots of clues which reveal it's origin and date immediately. A quick glance for a real grafted neck (not one with lines scribed to look like a graft). Because instruments of the Cremonese Golden Period had shorter necks, neck grafts were done on most of the great old instruments of the golden period in the mid 1800's. So if the neck from nut to front edge of top measures around 130mm and there is no neck graft, it is modern. The violin pictured has no neck graft. Look for peghole bushings as well. Violins of golden period age will probably have had the holes bushed. Construction features include the back of the pegbox towards the lower end were not done as yours with the center flaring in both directions at the bottom. Cremonese violins, the fluting for the most part comes to a sharp end at that juncture. Not to say they all did but this is definitely German manufactured. Edgework is not typical of Cremonese violins as well. Tho I always look at the label dead last and determine if it jives with what the actual instrument has told me, this is an easy one. That is not a period label. The violin itself has already told me it is not Cremonese from the 1700's. Also look for evidence of previous labels. Often you can see the shape of the gluing of a previous label. Also, labels might be badly aligned and printed on modern paper. I think I remember an audacious article in Strad magazine years back on how to replicate a label! A study of papers, linens, parchments and inks of the period can be very telling. In short, labels are the last thing most of us look at to authenticate a violin. So these are just a few things in which we can eliminate a violin in seconds. Of course "made in Germany" at the bottom should inform even the most uninformed (even though we get our share of those in the shop from hopeful amateurs who have used Dr. Google to find a label online). Good luck and just keep studying. It helps if, by chance you have the opportunity to inspect the genuine article. For most, that will probably never happen. Nevertheless, there is much that can be learned from asking these questions. JB
  6. I believe George makes his own cutter for this task.
  7. I purchased a Sherline 4400 for the SCVMW bow makers workshop with George Rubino. Because the Sherline factory is relatively close by I was able to go inspect the machine. Mind you we are not building Sherman tanks here, we are looking at violin bow buttons, bushings, some tool making. I found the 17" bed more than adequate for our purposes. For a "hobbyist" tool, it was extremely "tight" and has worked fabulously. We bought a few accessories as well like the four jaw chuck to go with the provided 3 jaw, and x,y table. I seems extremely durable and has served us well so far. If you need more versatile tooling capabilities then go for the more industrial brands. But for our purposes it is a fine tool. JB
  8. So sorry to diss the "little guys." I didn't say they sounded bad just that they probably won't hold up in a quartet of professional players. That was my customers chief complaint after examining 15 1/2 inchers at the other shops. Call that prejudice if you wish but it's a reality of which that I am well aware having worked on many, many violas in my shop and built many myself. But can you name me a professional string quartet with a violist playing a 15 1/4" instrument? Could be, I guess, but not normal. Again, I answered the gentleman's question and gave him an example of a very successful small viola. Most important, it is sold and making music for a professional player. Does it have the voice of say, the 16 - 1/4 da Salo's or Brothers Amati I normally make - no - and that was my point. Again, I have a happy customer and a very nice sale. I wasn't expecting the instrument to sound as big as it did but, what the heck. I guess, maybe I am prejudiced after all, but I'm gonna stick with my "biggies". --J
  9. I had success back in 2008 making a 15-1/4" viola for a professional musician who had physical problems which needed attention. First of all, I advised her that, by its very nature, a small viola is not a professional viola and the expectations for the viola sound must be kept realistic. She had tried all the major Los Angeles shops with no success because of her unusual demands. First, the instrument must be small. Second, it needed to have a violin size neck. Third, and most difficult, it must sound like a viola. I explained that I could make a viola fitting her physical needs but that I couldn't guarantee that it would sound like anything other than what it was. I told her that all of the tricks in the book had been tried with little significant success in an instrument that small. Nevertheless I offered to make the instrument and keep it for sale if it didn't satisfy her needs. I'm glad to say that she has been playing it now for nine years and is very happy with how it turned out. Here are some photos: First, to maximize airspace I chose a da Salo Model for its broad width. Then I modified the upper bouts to extend the shoulders just a bit (with the players permission). Second, I used a rather large Scroll/pegbox on the violin size neck. I believe the mass helps the low end response. Third, I lowered and flattened the top arch a mm. (top was 17 and back was 18 1/2). I also flattened the arching on the back towards the bottom a little. I scaled the fingerboard and bar and f-holes to fit the proportion. I reviewed my transcripts of Rene's talk on viola and decided that he was referring to full size violas (over 16" perhaps or even down to 15 5/8" and up) so I set the string length at 358mm with a mensur of 141/217. The varnish was Magister and, as you can see I had some severe "burning-in" on the top, despite having taken the precaution to wet the wood first. The saturation is well over the top on this photo however and the customer actually liked the finished look. Just some thoughts on all the considerations and this one turned out very acceptable to at least one person, the buyer! Haven't made the instrument again...why would I? Good luck. JB
  10. The neck has been broken out taking the button with it and very badly repaired. Was the button grafted back in - yes or no? My guess is no. Even if the button was grafted the shoddiness of the repair speaks to the quality of the graft. JB
  11. Here is a photo taken during a 2004 trip to the Paesold factory. The through-linings are "let" into the existing block. They were trying this on their better instruments. They also had continuous linings on most of their cellos but they were not "let" into the blocks. JB
  12. My very first cello was an Andrea Guarneri, 1697. I got the model from the 1996 Strad Calendar which I believe were all instruments of the Guarneri family. March 1996 featured the cello. The most useful information, aside from the model, is that the presentation was courtesy of Sotheby's, London. Perhaps they have what you want. I am including a photo of my effort (pardon the mugshot!). The most noticeable feature is the long corners. That is not a mistake, as one well known violin shop owner tried to tell me. One look at the Strad poster and you immediately notice the long corners. In the two subsequent times I've made the model I have shortened the corners somewhat!
  13. I posted this video on Youtube today. It serves as a tribute to violin maker Mario Frosali, best friend of Sacconi and the person my violin making lineage comes through. I got the VHS from Mario's son Mario, Jr. shortly before he passed away. It won a 2nd place at the Canadian Film Festival and a 3rd at Cannes! Here is a bit of Frosali trivia I received from Joseph Gold, famous concert violinist: "Mr. Frosali had already been in America for a long time when he met Sacconi. They met in 1937 when the two were stand partners in an orchestra. Each admired the violin that the other was playing. Sacconi was employed by Emil Hermann at the time. He told Frosali that Mr. Hermann was going to attend the famous Stradivarius exhibition of 1937. Hermann needed another man in his shop to be both repair man and also to take care of the counter. Frosali was duly hired and styed with Hermann until he was hired by Wurlitzer to go to the west coast. This was in 1940. He lived in Los Angeles until his death in 1981. Sacconi and Frosali remained close friends until the death of Sacconi. In fact they exchanged interesting anniversary presents. For Sacconi's anniversary, Frosali sent his friend a solid silver sound post setter. For Frosali's 50th anniversary, Sacconi sent his friend a solid gold sound post setter engraved specially in honor of the event! Prior to his employ at Hermann's shop, Frosali was an occasional violin maker. He made his living as an important violin teacher in New York, and a professional violinist. He played in the Richmond Symphony and sat 2nd chair to Anton Witek. In addition, Frosali conducted orchestras in hotels. One was the Biltmore Hotel in New York. After he retired from Brown's Violin Shop (the successor to Wurlitzer), this as circa 1960, he maintained his own shop in the back of his house on Ridgeley Drive. There he remained active until the very end of his life, repairing and making instruments." Enjoy and thanks for the thread. J. Brown
  14. Jim_B

    Bridge foot

    As long as we're talking bridges, What is the effect of a bridge foot being very thin or thick? Does the length of the bridge foot contribute to the resulting sound and performance? Jim