Michael Darnton

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About Michael Darnton

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

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  1. I will just stick with my opinion that it is not anything to do with Markneukirchen.
  2. Cremona is not the only place that made violins that are now worth more than a cheap German factory fiddle :-) It's not Italian.
  3. I am guessing that the OP has been contacted off list and is done here.
  4. I think you need a GOOD professional opinion, and I don't mean by just any local fiddle butcher or internet duffer. Where are you located?
  5. These guys are all acolytes of a guy who by their own account blamed the instruments when he broke them with a too-tight post. They don't know "humility".
  6. I wouldn't dare challenge the certainty of such an esteemed collective of experts!
  7. In this whole thread, I see only one passing mention that post tension might have some relation to the player experience, along with two comments implying that all players will be happy with the same "correct" tension!
  8. I just want to point out something that people may not be aware of: I was taught (Sacconi-derived, probably) that the angle on the bottom of the neck should be 87 degrees, if I'm remembering my templates correctly. Whatever this angle is, when I was making some automated neck-setting machinery for the WH Lee shop in around 1990 I discovered that this angle provided that when the neck was placed on the end of a new instrument, resting on the uncut edge at the front, and on the rib near the button (the position when tracing to begin cutting the mortise) the neck was at the appropriate final angle to the body, with a 2.5mm edge overhang. I thought this was interesting because it trains your eye what to look for in neck angle, right from the start of the process. Then all that's involved is keeping this angle through the process to the end. (That's for an average, normal neck set, obviously--therapeutic sets not included). The result of this is that when the neck is finally in, it's 2.5mm deeper in the back, which works nicely with the idea that since most of the force tipping the neck forward, working to break the glue joint (no one is doubting this at this point in the discussion, right?) will be at the back of the mortise, near the button, where the glue joint is most important, deeper back there is better. Obviously, if you believe deeper is better, then it's better to put it where needed, at the back. If you do it at the front, where not needed and the pressure is in the other direction, against the block, where you would unnecessarily weaken the block by cutting more deeply into it. So logically, deeper at the back where needed, shallower in the front to maintain the integrity of the block, angle determined by the initial visual setting of the neck on the raw body. I was also taught to make the neck 136.5mm long. This results in the neck stopping exactly at the inside of the purfling line, and if you subtract 2.5mm for the overhang, it put's it right at Davide's 4mm deep into the block/ribs at the front. It's really quite elegant, and when I checked, the Sacconi? cello neck specs rendered exactly the same result--the amount of the plate overhang deeper in the back than the front--so I think it was definitely intentional. There were a several other things I learned in restoration that were supposedly direct from the Sacconi influence in the Wurlitzer shop via one of the founders of Bein & Fushi who had worked there, and as I began to figure them out, they made the same kind of elegant sense.
  9. I just take a normal endpin, stick the point in the hole, hook the retainer on the end onto the back of the sleeve, and hammer backwards. I have never needed more than that. An internal pipe wrench will expand the sleeve, tightening it (the sleeve has a legthwise slot in it, like a collet.)
  10. I'm with KK on it being a Cannone copy, maybe. Back view, please.
  11. Violin shops have been tossing around these ideas for centuries, attempting to keep up with the demands of players. Just because you haven't been there, it doesn't mean this discussion hasn't happened, over and over. You, however, convinced of the correctness of your ideas, with apparently no experience (I'm guessing you don't work in a shop and probably haven't worked on instruments in a demanding setting, if at all---have you ever set any violin neck according to the usual professional standards, not in your basement?), choose to enter in and try to revamp concepts you clearly don't understand. And you wonder why you are getting a lack of interest? I'd suggest you inform yourself about the history of neck setting and get a real understanding of the parameters, so that when you talk about the subject you make sense. As it stands, you really do not know what you don't know. I can't stress that last sentence enough.
  12. I believe that what you are saying is really too simple to be useful, in that it does not nearly cover all of the variables involved.
  13. Directed at Sospiri, not you. I should have been clearer.
  14. I don't actually wing it. I have a gauge* which allows me to accurately predict what the string angle over the bridge will be while I am in the process of setting the neck, and adjust on the fly to achieve whatever string angle I have decided I need, considering the bridge height, appui, and saddle height I think best for the situation. But all of this is fundamentally based on achieving a specific string angle over the bridge (which may or may not be 158 degrees, depending usually on the arching height and arching shape of the specific violin under consideration.) So, in a sense, I have only one critical measurement, the string angle, with bridge height variable within a much smaller range than your suggestion--say from a pitch of 26.5 to 27.2mm, at the extremes. * http://www.darntonviolins.com/images2/neck-angle.jpg A couple of things may not be clear in the photo: there's a scribe line on the plastic which indicates where the string will be, and if you look at where this ends at the bridge, the angle is between that line and the edge of the template down to the saddle. This angle is marked in degrees on the paper tag to the left (and you can't read that at all in the photo). 157 to 159 is a sufficient range to cover all possibilities, and yes, one degree does matter. Bridge height also has a separate effect. My parameters are necessarily narrow because what I'm looking for regarding tone and behavior is relatively narrow in scope, resulting in what you might call a "shop sound" based on our customer profile. We're able to hit this target quite reliably, if a violin hasn't been previously f#$%^& over by some fiddle butcher (read that as "over-regraduated"). Likewise for cellos, though the specific rules are of course different.