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. What problem are you trying to correct and why do you think that the tailpiece is the cause?
  2. Never before thought of the idea of bringing a bottle of Everclear to a violin maker as a housewarming present! It might be more appreciated than wine in some states! Thirty-five years ago, when I was in charge of B&F supplies, I booked up on denaturing. It turns out that there are a bunch of formulas that are legal, but they have different distributions. I found one that was something like 3% peppermint oil that people in the shop thought they could tolerate, but I never was able to track down a distributor.
  3. Go to a marina or fishing shop and look for stove fuel. It can't be sold as solvent in CA, but boaters gotta eat. Be sure to read the label.....don't want gasoline for the Coleman.
  4. That rule about mixed sets probably came from me. It was the standing order at the Bein and Fushi shop when I was there, and I will pretty much stand by the statement, but with the reservation that sometimes you have do dig very deep with a good amount of skill to solve such problems, which may not always be appropriate from a time or cost standpoint. Nevertheless, as an idea,it's a good one, to go after the fundamental problems of a situation so that you aren't always playing an inefficient game of catch-up around something that just should be fixed. It's part of a philosophy that I share with some other people in shops that an instrument can't really function at its best until it's working as a healthy unit, not as some lame object with a bunch of band-aids and props. Go over to the violinist.com forum and you'll see a constant flow of people trying to solve simple adjustment problems with strings because they're too lazy or cheap to just get their violins adjusted, and you can just imagine such situations going constantly downhill through the years--I see quite a bit of this with new clients.
  5. Ignoring your perjorative final phrase of unsupported opinion (which I clipped off), I would NOT respect any expert who just rode on the coattails of a previous cert. Their job is very specifically to do the research and form their own opinion, independently, not to ride along with the crowd. If you want a rubberstamp, lots of little guys with no expertise will be delighted to take your money.
  6. This just showed up on my photos feed. Exactly a year ago I was visiting a friend who had my first bench, 1980-84, stored in his garage:
  7. I could demonstrate a couple of more organic ways to determine inflection point, but that's not my point. My point is that unless we talk to the people who made the design, when multiple explanations are possible, it takes more than possibility to prove association with the original design. I'm inclined to think that a proper solution will be all encompassing; that is, it will explain and connect lot of related features, not just one obscure one. Don--I always have time to geek out on obscure violin things!
  8. Mr Z chastised us for not absorbing his site, so I went and did so. Here's my report: First off, there may be material I have missed. Some sections have flash media presentations. Of course, that's now a depreciated (outdated, no longer viable) media form and my browser is unable to see them, so I may have missed something important. If so, it's up to him to replace the videos with something current. I'll be talking only about the other information presented on the site. In the articles on his site there are bits of white violins shown as in-process examples. Since he doesn't seem to be into answering any questions, a huge error for someone who's trying to establish a dialog, I'll just say that it looks like he's at least working with someone who appears to be reasonably competent, from the tiny bits shown. Could it possibly be this person? http://www.atelierlabussiere.com/luthier.htm Anyway, he's got several videos on youtube about using the Zuger process, so there's that. I went through most of the stuff on the site. It's got iso layouts from people like Sacconi, but it's thin on reasonable explanation as to how those prove anything (y'all have heard me complain about how Sacconi's isos manage to avoid telling nearly everything that's of interest to know, since they give isolated and distant points without any idea of what's between them). So where I read Sacconi's charts as frustratingly indeterminate apparently to Z. it proves his geometry. In fact, he has some illustrations that appear to argue some things that are totally impossible, but since he doesn't explain them, I could be misreading them. I'm pretty sure we won't be getting any answers about that, the way things are going. He's got a lot on generating and using templates to establish what his arch will be. It's reasonably thorough and easy to follow. That's probably the strongest part of the site. It appears that the extent of the site is to explain the design of a totally unproven product, without showing the product. So we know how to make it, but no idea what's supposed to happen when we do. There are no claims and no discussion of intention. There's no discussion at all about results, in fact, there aren't even any claims about results. So with what's given there, it seems to be an exercise in theoretical geometry, with a whole lot of nothing about the things we'd really want to know. It implies a connection to the past, through second generation data (iso charts, not the real violins). As far as is available on the site, virtually none of the parameters that I consider important for manipulating violin sound are mentioned, and the theory seems divorced from the normal ways of evaluatning instruments. Two spectral graphs are given, but they seem mostly about convincing people that violins have spectral outputs. . . they don't seem to relate to anything relevant. As near as I can find, there is absolutely zero on the site regarding anything about sound or his intent regarding sound, so inasmuch as it's possible to entirely miss the point about the violin, I think he has managed to do that to perfection. I have a feeling that Mr Z thinks that the greatness of his scheme is self-evident, which it certainly not, and since it appears to want to do absolutely nothing to enlighten us and seems immune to polite discussion it would be nice, but impossible for this crowd to do, to not feed the troll.
  9. I have made instruments between 13.5 mm and 19 mm high. The low one was a failure, and in general I get worse results the lower I have gone below 16mm, sliding. On the other hand, one of the most successful violins I made was 19mm. For the violin I am currently making at home, I used 17mm, because it seems, for me, to be in a safe zone. Since Poggi was mentioned as making low, thin tops, I'll counter with Sergio Peresson. I've seen many of his very flat del Gesu models. I don't know the height, but I imagine it's around 14mm. These had a reputation among competitors as being "too thin--they're going to collapse". Sure, any day now: the ones I've seen have had tops that were 3.5 mm in most of the central area out into the bouts, thinning from there out to around 2.8 at the edges. They were good enough for much of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the time. I think the thin rumor started about them because an arch area with no curvature can feel very flexy even if it's thick. A 14mm arch is usually going to be constructed with more flatter areas than one that's higher. In the past, pre Hacklinger, dealers tended to judge thickness by pressing on the top in places and noting the flexing, which is not accurate at all.
  10. To us it's still a theory, because you haven't proven anything yet to us.If you expect acceptance, you have to show the process, not just the summary statement.
  11. I'm not familiar with the dealers there, but it might be helpful to know why you want to know. In the US I would recommend entirely different people if you were tire-kicking expensive instruments (which? violin, viola, cello?), no intent to buy actually buying expensive instruments, money in hand looking for new makers needing a repair or adjustment looking for a mid-range instrument looking for a fun time, good conversation. For these, my recommendations would be completely different here, depending on which you wanted.
  12. Reguz, I think that the basic problem you're going to run into here is that people already know from their own work that there are many things that affect how a violin works. When you suggest that it all just comes down to a couple of lines that don't go through areas that people already understand are important for specific reasons, it immediately suggests that you have oversimplified the problem in a way that bypasses all the other information we have, from our own experience. This is like claiming that you have a soap that not only cleans, it improves your attention at work, makes your love life better, your car get better gas mileage, and fixes your relationship with your cat. When someone claims too much for something, people are inclined to reject it. And it APPEARS that you are too in love with your own idea to understand that it isn't the whole world of violin making. In short, you need to narrow your claims down to what you specifically believe you can prove AND LESSEN YOUR INSULTS TO INDIVIDUALS before people will take you seriously, especially when you are directing your comments to an experienced audience of adults. In a word, sir, respect.
  13. All I know about this topic: in my experience, volume comes from bridge movement. Everything you can do to help or let the bridge move increases volume. The farther away you get from the bridge, the less anything has to do with volume. There are many ways, just not one or two, to get the bridge to move. They have different effects and side effects, and it's rarely a zero-sum game. *Maybe* increasing bridge height increases volume, but I never liked the other things that happen, so like Davide, I try to stay away from non-normal bridge heights. Regarding the string angle over the bridge, for me that affects the quality of the sound and the response more than the volume; I have never noticed an important correlation between string angle and volume sufficient that it would make me sacrifice tone and response to get some extra volume. Does this deal with part of the original question? I don't remember.....
  14. Following up on this one, after getting a lot of restoration out of the way I made a violin. Now it's time for varnishing and I present the World's Smallest Shop with the World's Largest Lightbox!