Michael Darnton

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About Michael Darnton

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    I cut for a living.

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    Check out my photos: http://flickr.com/photos/mdarnton

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  1. Yes it is. Good from the start rather than wrong from the start. My summer students over the years haven't had a problem with that.... people need to know what to do so that they can at least *try* to do it. That's what teaching does. If you don't do that for them, showing them what they need to do and providing steps to get them there, they are just wasting their first violin.
  2. 1/ Understand that Strad corners are drawn from sections of circles, right out to the end. 2/ Look at the Messiah and others, as David Burgess suggested, and try to break down what you see there. Look especially at the angle of the flat end relative to the curve coming from the c-bout, the length of that flat section at the end (usually 7-7.5mm, often larger on the bottom corner than the top). And the amount of hook on the c-bout side of that curve (how much does it close after the curve top or bottom?) Knowing that the angle at the end of the corner is usually about 30 degrees to the cen
  3. There are quite a few examples that I can think of where sloppy verbal descriptions have caused makers to do something that isn't seen in the original instruments. It's only relatively recently that many photos of original instruments are easily available so that people can see things that previously only read about. I think if someone had only read that the purfling in the corners "diverges" from the center of the corner, the logical conclusion might be that they diverge from each other, leading to this.
  4. When I see Hill bows that look like Hill bows, that's a good thing. I don't get positive vibes from seeing a Strad with shiny edges characteristically Hill-coated in bulletproof shellac or the characteristic shiny bulletproof patches of retouch that will be there alone forever standing proud until someone scrapes them off. What others feel I can't predict.
  5. This isn't one-stop shopping, IMO. I always try to bring out over the whole neck the underlying color of the wood under the varnish, while building the bare wood age effect (without dirtiness or abuse) in addition to that so that I don't have the situation of a neck that looks like it came from another instrument. As a general rule, restorers should avoid developing a uniform personal style, color, approach to their work and applying it to everything that makes it easy to say who did it. The best job looks like nothing has been done. That's my opinion, anyway, and it's why each neck is a
  6. We are using the synthetic/aluminum A.
  7. I haven't cared for visions; as you say, they resemble steel more than I want to hear. Too tight for me, not expansive enough. Regarding lifespan, Rondos don't go bad in the same way as other strings--they slowly degrade, but still sound consistent with nothing odd going on in any one place. It's like the whole set goes bad the same way, all together. When I ask players if they want their strings changed they often say no, but if I insist, after the change they make some comment like "OK, that's different! I guess I should have changed a while ago." But they weren't obviously bad before.
  8. I have seen them on violins and liked them but have not seen Rondos on the same violins for direct comparison.
  9. A big shop, we see a lot of strings on different violins and get to hear what the customers think about the change. As I said, hardly anyone goes back. Have you tried Rondos?
  10. They don't sound like Visions! By the way, they last a ridiculously long time.
  11. Brannon Cho uses them, and his recent recordings (youtube is a good source, I think) are reasonably what you can expect--brighter without harshness, a little more texture, some loss of dark depth. When we tried them we found the set very well balanced (no need for a mixed set) but not as radically different as the violin sets.
  12. Best string ever. It's the only string our shop sells. I think they add 25% of expensive sound to anything you put them on, and as far as I know, virtually no customer who's tried them has gone back to what they were using before.. The E string is a bit light and sometimes harsh, so we might use a Gold Brokat .26 or the Dominant tin-plated carbon steel, depending. In NYC Rare Violins of NY has them. Some people say they are just Dominants, but they definitely are not!
  13. I strop very carefully, once or twice only. It gives an advantage, but not one that I usually need except that I like to have it for fitting bridge feet or soundposts. Otherwise I usually don't.
  14. Also, if the knot is just one thickness of gut around it's more vulnerable to breaking, the same as with passing a string over itself on the last turn of the peg, so the type of knot used takes off a lot of the stress. . . . supposedly. . . so they say.