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Jack Devereux

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  1. Hey, this is meant in as loving a way possible, but as someone who grew up in the deepest, darkest Appalachian mountains and is now working at a very good shop doing serious work, I’d love it if we could move beyond those stereotypes. I get as annoyed by a sloppy homemade fiddle as anybody, but those are not exclusive to any particular region, and the Deliverance references aren’t accurate or helpful.
  2. The —just because Tommy (Jarrell) did it doesn’t mean we have to— point is a really important one. For those non-old time folks, Tommy is one of the most beloved and oft imitated of the southern American fiddle players. He also played a truly awful instrument. Just because someone who’s playing you love managed to sound like themselves in spite of the limitations imposed by their instrument doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to those same limitations. I have studied Tommy’s playing and bowing very closely, and can manage a serviceable interpretation of his music. I also play Bach on the same instrument, and see no reason to change anything about the setup.
  3. I played bluegrass, old time and Irish music for a living for years, and now work in a shop that does work for predominantly straight ahead classical players. I see absolutely no reason to do a different setup for different musics styles. I tried an experiment once where a friend who is a very serious old time player (wouldn’t do this to a customer) asked for a flat bridge. I laid out the bridge head with the regular curve under the strings, but swept the edges up so it appeared flatter. He loved it, said it was the best bridge shape he’d ever had. I suspect the “fiddle setup” the local butcher offers is often code for “I don’t have the woodworking chops to nail a good, consistent setup.” Sorry for the rant, just as someone who takes both traditional music and really good violin setup really seriously, this is a major pet peeve.
  4. That makes sense, thanks. I guess a lot of folks cosider the fact that it can be removed with xylene a positive feature of deft. You said in one of the posts above the fill you’re using can be chipped out with a knife, do you find if/when you need to remove it that works out ok?
  5. Jeffery, what led you to stop using Deft, if you don’t mind my asking?
  6. Jack Devereux


    For what it’s worth, I had a fiddle with a set of the peg heads on it and I eventually wore one out. I was gigging for a living at the time and playing a lot of old time and music that required non-standard tunings, but weirdly it was the A peg that died, which was probably the one getting wrenched on the least. It just felt like a tooth had broken off a gear inside or something, you’d turn it and feel a big clunk and it would slip. They were on the fiddle when I got it, I see no advantage to them over wooden pegs that are put in properly.
  7. Ben, very cool! Thats a lovely looking fiddle. Thanks for the photos and information, would love to see more when you get it back. When you say it’s a shame he didn’t maintain the same style after immigrating, what did he transition to? Henley says they tend to be quite big? Would love to hear anything more you think on his making, or if you know anybody to consult, my interest has been piqued. Tim, I hadn’t seen that book, it looks quite good, I’ll have to put it on the list.
  8. Leafing through a copy of Henley, I discovered I share a name with an English violin maker who later immigrated to Australia- John Devereux (although only my mother calls me John and only when I’m about to get an earful). Most people spell the surname with an A (Devereaux), so I was particularly interested that he has the same version, sans A. Googling hasn't turned up much, was wondering if anybody had any information on him or has seen any of his instruments. Henley seems to think highly of him, but, you know, Henley... Thanks, Jack
  9. Shameless plug for my boss (John Montgomery, who along with Michael Zirkle did these photos/measurements)- you can buy the whole set of photos in a binder notebook. Really handy for spreading out on the bench when working on stuff, 1:1 photos of F holes and scroll for making templates, and they’re printed with an eye to matching the varnish color to the original instrument, so you don’t have to worry about your computer monitor throwing the color off. I know he has a bunch of the Betts ones at the shop, and has similar folios on all the other instruments in the LOC. If you’re interested the shop phone number is easy to find, just give a call, they’re a great resource. (if this breaks any advertising rules I apologize and will happily remove it)
  10. I laughed loudly in public at this. It’s funny cuz it’s true..
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