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  1. What Kind of Back Wood?

    The grain in the wood is too open, I don't think it is maple.
  2. Viola scale length vs. short pinky

    I follow Renê Morel's ideas about viola making, so I use a fixed 15 cms. neck and 375 mm string length to all violas I make, regardless of their size, from 15.5 to 17 inches.
  3. Viola scale length vs. short pinky

    The idea of moving the bridge up, regardless the traditional postion betwen the lower nicks is not mine and is old. Walter Trampler viola (an Amati, if I'm not wrong) was big and the bridge was moved up to shorten the string length and make the instrument easier to play, as well as making the sound more focused, I think. Sacconi wrote a special chapter on his "I Segreti di Stradivari" about the "Piazzamento e Taglio Delle ff di Risonanza". On page 91, he comments the sound problems caused by the wrong positioning of the sound holes, that is, holes that are too much apart, too close or too low in the soundbox. And he coments that moving the bridge up causes no problems, I'll quote Sacconi, and since you speak Italian I'll not translate, but I can translate it later, if you want: "L'spostamento del ponticello verso l'alto, con gisuto distanziamento delle ff, non ha invece una sostanziale influenza sul suono, in quanto, dato l'andamento dell'inclinazione delle ff, non ne deriva una incidente variazione della distanza tra esse e i piedini del ponticello. Questo è assai importante , perché consente di spostare il ponticello verso l'alto in quegli strumenti antichi di grande misura (vedi bassetti e viole tenore), che presentano una maggior lunghezza del diapason. Tale operazione, anche se di effetto estetico non troppo bello, è senz'altro da preferirsi alla deprecabile pratica di accorciare la parte superiore della casa armonica, che oltre ad alterare lo strumento è ancor più aintiestetica." ("I Segreti di Stradivari, pagina 91, terzo paragrafo, seconda edizione, Libraria del Convegno, Cremona).
  4. Book Recommendations

    For making Courtnall & Johnson '"THE ART OF VIOLIN MAKING". Biddulph's two volumes about Guarneri de Gesù is a must have. I made some tutorials about scroll carving and corner shaping that you can find in the internet. Sei italiano per caso?
  5. Casein glue and ground

    Kremer sells this, that can be used in a diluted form as a ground, casein with borax.
  6. Egon Schiele

    Nice post Jacob! I love Egon Schiele, Klimt's pupil. He died during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. His wife Edith, who was six months had died just three days before. He was just 28 years old. Taschen has recently published an extra large book about Schiele that I am going to buy.
  7. Viola scale length vs. short pinky

    What is your neck length? 150 mm? If it is longer you can reduce it to 150 mm. You can also move your bridge up, perhaps for 5 mm or more. Sacconi mentions that. Walter Trampler's viola had its bridge very up the normal f hole nick line.
  8. Ha! That was funny Evan! Viola scroll.
  9. Ha! So it is far from a rational thing for almost everybody here too! Good points by David Burgess. I got a lot of wood at Rivolta, Italy, about 3 decades ago, but most of it for.... violins and celli.... Also, as David pointed out, our ideas about what is good wood may change with time.
  10. How much wood we need? Having a wood stock is expensive. It seems that most makers don't see it as an objective thing, in general we buy more wood than we wil eventually use So, is there a rational way to manage how much wood we need in stock, considering some things as desired seasoning time, the number of instruments we make a year, etc?. Would it be cheaper getting some seasoned wood based on demand instead of keeping a wood stock (ok, it is not that simple, I know that). Any suggestions? I currently have viola wood for about 12 years, since I make just 6 or 7 violas a year.
  11. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    Nathan, this is the first time I hear about Vuillaumes with American maple, thanks for this info!
  12. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    At least for musicians, I think that the use of American represents no problem I know at least 6 viola principals, some viola soloists and two players of the Gewandhaus Leipzig that are playing violas made with American maple.
  13. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    American maple is not a new thing, even with Italian makers. Eric Blot points out in one his book that Giuseppe Rocca was using American maple back in... 1850 The Rocca violin used by Paolo Borciani, of the celebrated Quartetto Italiano was made with American maple and is pictured in Blot's book. Francesco Bissolotti in Cremona uses a lot of American maple on his violas too.
  14. I think that the watered horsehair will slide on the strings without producing a sound, there will be friction since the water will work as a lubricant over the horsehair. Heiftz played an aluminium violin with a fiberglass bow in concerts for soldiers during the WWII.
  15. Janito's bench

    I've been using 33 at the neck blok and 38 mm at the bottom block.