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. Popular wisdom, which I think is well supported, is that Amati back grads are longitudinal "target" shapes where the blue would be running up nearly to the end blocks, and nowhere near the c-bout edges, Guarneri family generally more circular, and the Strad's are more like a band across the c-bout. I haven't seen much to contradict this. I think there need to be more charts from the other makers before anyone comes to a conclusion about Strads. Everything is relative. What I don't see above is the thinness in the c-bout edges that you see in other makers. That's what makes the Strad band.
  2. Fortunately it looks like they chose a violin that no one's going to miss.
  3. Now that I think of it, the obvious solution to this would be to wait until the player has made his choice, then tack 30% on to your price to assure that this is the most expensive example of that maker on the market, based on its tonal desirability that day to that customer. Would that make you happy, Roger? :-P
  4. OK, this is an opening to my favorite player quote, heard more than once. Paraphrase: "This violin is certainly at the top of the price range of this maker; I tried many of his violins, and this one sounded the best." And I guarantee you that EVERY person you meet with a violin will assure you of the same thing, and that of all the violins in that price range, theirs was the best. So of course it naturally follows that they ALL are the most valuable of their maker's work, and the best at that price. Every single one of them. Or, alternately, tone quality is subjective and doesn't bear too heavily in defining price. That works, too.
  5. It looks suspiciously like a revarnish to me, and A Breton is a bottom-feeder Chinese bow, a $25 bow which is now a used $25 bow. I smell an Ebay job here, and think Jacob's previous value is generous. The one thing we haven't got is a picture of the back, which seems like the oddest of omissions to me, given all the pix of the case. If it's got a post crack in the back, then 50 quid is too much.
  6. Check your scroll template against the poster. Start with the external measurements, then check the form outline against the poster, too. I have seen some incredibly poor template sets out there that bear no correspondence to the intended instrument.
  7. I use drawers, a Grizzly rolling oak tool chest base. Small clamps go in boxes in the drawers, larger get stacked neatly by themselves. Keeping them tidy doesn't seem to be a problem.
  8. You could check with Fred Oster, who knows a lot about American church basses, but the most likely candidate for similarity on his website is Saxon: https://vintage-instruments.com/shop/historical/american-bass-viols-church-basses-cellos/voigtland-school-cello-c-1750-saxony/
  9. This is an easy one. You need to buy and read the book "History of Performing Pitch; The Story of A". https://www.amazon.com/History-Performing-Pitch-Bruce-Haynes/dp/0810841851 The answer is that horns were tuned to the pitch of the local organ, and that there were two organ standards, one for brass, one for strings, and that those pitches varied all over the place from in the 300s to the 500s. Generally, strings and horns didn't play together. Valves don't determine tuning pitch; slides do.
  10. For what it's worth, for a while I worked with balance points. I was never willing to do the grads necessary to make the balance point at the bridge--it would require something relatively extreme and unconventional in the context of normal violin making. There were some other interesting points about balance, however, that I messed with and didn't get results that were different enough to integrate into my work. For instance, it's easy to make a top that balances at the inverse position of the pin in the back, and for a while I thought maybe that could be a magical thing. But no. In the end, I think there are things that matter, but not always in the simply obvious ways.
  11. "But the anti hypothesis that there is no 'liberty at the margins' fails against the evidence." I see quite the opposite. The evidence is fine and consistent, but you aren't seeing that because you are too tied to your own ideas, which *require* a fudge factor because they are simply wrong. You're doing the equivalent of working on a European car with American wrenches and declaring that the Europeans aren't very precise in their bolt dimensions.
  12. Yeah, it means that they were actually looking when they had a Strad in their hands. Maybe they didn't do it exactly right, did just a bit more than they should, as the French often do, but they got the idea.
  13. David, no one has to find a counter example when by adding odd fractions to every neck length, and fudging the other concepts you present in a similar way you are making every single example a case that doesn't fit your "consistent" plan. You need to find concepts that actually work, rather than constantly using "work in the margins" as a bad excuse to patch up bad theories
  14. To amplify Doug's third reason, there's a standard in the repair business of not making your work be the biggest problem the next repairman has to deal with. Sometimes repairs need to be redone, and repair varnish should always be easier to remove than the original. Oil varnish violates that rule.