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Michael Darnton

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Everything posted by Michael Darnton

  1. @OortMake sure that the F - F# wolf is tamed to your satisfaction before you commit.
  2. I hope the rest of the violin isn't as poorly executed as the cross. . . .which probably means it's an addition by some misguided owner.
  3. We've had several violins. I like them....they're well made with a nice (dark red) varnish and more personal than similar makers, in a good way, with good inspiration. I have not sold a cello but auction prices, especially older, don't really mean much since they are often wholesale and auction instruments can often need quite a bit of work to get them up to modern standards. Without seeing the instrument, the price seems fine if is is what it's supposed to be and in good shape. Most of the bows I have seen with his brand have actually been made by other French makers and branded with his shop stamp, which is fine, but I don't think of him as a real bow maker.
  4. They paid me 3 cents a violin in 1900. If they want me to use measuring tools that'll cost them an extra 1/2 cent per.
  5. Basically if it will spin it doesn't fit. There are subtle additional points but that is the essence. A full fit locks down in place, confirmed by the pressure prints on the ends.
  6. @uguntde Because the c bout is moving narrower in this area both inside surfaces are tilted slightly towards the north, moreso as you move the post. And as you pull the post outward, the post ends have to steepen. And as you pull it tighter, they steepen more because the center of the arch can expand outwards but the ribs cannot. If I tell you how to know when it fits, it will set off the critics. :-) But there is no way to know except at full string tension, and also by the pressure prints on the ends of the post when it's out. Visible fit is no fit at all, and even a difference in the pressure across the touching surfaces can sometimes be audible under certain situations
  7. I have been doing this for literally years, without complaint, for very good players on really great violins. Just last week I did it for someone who's been dealing with the problem for years, and her response was simply "why hasn't anyone done this before?" One thing that's absolutely necessary is to make sure the post fits after, which it absolutely will not when moved to this new position. Many people won't notice this, but as you say, good players will and I'm very quick to make new posts when I need to. I'll throw something else in, on this topic: Here I often hear people say that if you move the post closer the E string gets brighter. What is going on is that when you move the post so that it doesn't fit the E string gets brighter and the overall quality of the instrument thins out. If you cut posts that do fit this doesn't happen and outcomes are quite different, but it's harder to cut a post that fits at a higher pressure because the added pressure changes the shape of the violin and you have to compensate in the cutting. From talking with players I've often heard that their results in adjustment in the past have been, uh, random, and this is a big problem in the industry in general, which leads me to think that good adjusters who have a full sense of cause and effect are pretty scarce. Lots of advertised "tonal experts" but very very few actual tonal experts. I have heard multiple complaints about people with pretty good reputations among makers, which makes me think that the two worlds have very different opinions on the subject.
  8. "More" is always better in some people's world. :-}
  9. It actually does show on those other strings but to a progressively smaller extent. For instance it's not uncommon for players to notice that their first position A string is slightly muffled compared with the E string. That doesn't have to be, and it's the wolf, which though it is really bad on one note, does spread its effect over a range of three or four everywhere it appears. You don't notice this up high on the G because the howl of the worst note has distracted your attention from the surrounding notes. Again, I say this all the time but it apparently never gets heard: pull the post north and tighter and you can make most wolves nearly completely disappear. If. The. Post. Fits. the result will not be undesirable. So refit as necessary.
  10. I have a friend who was into that stuff for a while. He reported that sometimes the board tuning appears to work, sometimes not. The results were not consistent and not dramatic. About 50/50. In short: random.
  11. A loose post makes wolves worse. Sometimes pulling the post tighter and north is all it takes. Easiest to try this ahead of all the other things already mentioned.
  12. Five guitars, the harp, at least one mandolin. Some wierd small VSOs.
  13. Not totally certain but I think that it's already established that wood from a lot of makers matches wood from many other makers, all over Italy, none of whom worked together. That would be the obvious result of everyone buying wood from the same source. @Ratcliffiddles
  14. His video is a wonderful expression of what I teach, which is fast, decisive and spontaneous work. Decades ago Bob Bein impressed me with his comment that anyone could nibble through the work if given infinite time but that wasn't a functional professional attitude and didn't really take skill. That idea has done well for me and for the skill development of my students and has made me welcome in any job I've had. It's an idea from an earlier time when shops were busy and violin makers were considered workmen, paid accordingly for getting things done. Very few made the cut at Bein and Fushi.
  15. We use that for any cello through the shop but we don't deal in spanking fresh instruments. My experience with new instruments is uneven as regards predicting drop. My own violins don't drop at all now. Before I attacked that problem they would drop 2 mm. So I think that's a personal thing.
  16. I don't know if I would recommend this to a beginner, but one of the first guitar jobs I did 40+ years ago involved replacing an entire side of a Gibson guitar that had an amp fall on it. What I did was rout out the rib, leaving the blocks, linings, and bindings glued in place, made a new rib to fit, then clamped it back into the hole against the blocks and linings. When finished it was completely invisible from any angle, inside and out. Because guitar sides are flush, the routing and clamping were both easy. Before removing the rib I made precise measurements of the height every couple of inches so that the new rib was a perfect replacement and didn't distort anything. It was pretty amazing, actually, and the customer was relieved and delighted. A cello would be a bit harder. The advantage of such a repair done on a new instrument is that if done well no one ever needs to know and the value is maintained.
  17. Is there an iron mine nearby? This looks like the wood was on a summer diet of water with some type of staining component in it.
  18. Want to brag up this video from one of my students. He has a whole bunch more, too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtD8GL9iFW8
  19. If I had to do this particular job I would choose to throw out the rib and make a new one. Someone clever could make it appear that nothing ever happened and it would be a lot less work!
  20. Insert is a worse word for overstand. :-) But the one I thought of at the moment. A cheap Chinese cello may not be optimized enough to have wolves no matter what. High overstand will compensate.
  21. True. I have seen a few cellos with 89mm pitch. None of them have really worked well until the neck was reset. We are currently using 83 mm max, but with a 23 mm insert to compensate for that. We started doing that because Aubert Belgian bridges had grown to where they didn't fit 81 mm, but also saw an immediate improvement in sound and also playability with the 83/23 strategy.
  22. My model, which has always worked for me, is that higher bridges and sharper string angles contribute to instabilities and imbalances, of which wolves are one example. In that context, heavier strings would also be stabilizers.
  23. I have never heard the idea that a lower bridge makes more wolf.
  24. I'm going to guess that their £6m-£9m estimate is good, IF it even breaks reserve, which I'm not certain it will. I say that because this is basically a trinket-class item, not a working tool, and even "collectors" with a lot of money still buy based on function, not flash.
  25. If your objective is just to cut the glare without affecting the texture or anything else, a very dilute spirit varnish sprayed at high pressure from too far of a distance will lay a fine haze that breaks up the glare without changing anything else. This works better than any strategy that only hits the high spots and leaves the low spots (underedges, deep spots in scroll, etc.) still shiny and is quite natural looking. The effect is variable from hardly visible to looking like frosted glass, and a good hand rubbing on the lighter effects gives a naturally variegated appearance that looks convincingly authentic.
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