• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by uguntde

  1. I would go for the Guadagnini. But what strikes me most is how similar they are. We hear them of course all through a cheap microprophone which probably twists the tonal spectrum considerably. 

    There is another such video 

    where they mix in a cheap Mirecourt violin into a mix of interesting violins, and it is really not that bad.

    Interestignly, if you did this with violas the differences would be much greater. There are stylistic differences in violas (full tone vs nasal) that go way beyond a Bostonian vs a Alabama accent :).

  2. On 6/16/2018 at 5:53 PM, scribe said:

    Yes peg box and twice in a week.  My friend's breakages were in the same place.  I was a bit spooked to discover the second breakage 30mins before a concert!   All I had at the time was a used Karneol long scale G in my case - I put it on to replace the short scale G on the smaller viola I was using and it has been fine ever since. 

     I switched  to Zyex (my previous favourite) for the larger viola at the last string change but I will go back to Karneol at the next change.

    As well as the sound, I like the tension and feel of Karneols.  Indeed all the Warchal strings I have tried have felt good under the fingers.   I use them on my violins too.



    I have used the viola Amber for quite a while and never had a broken string.


  3. I also like Warchal Amber, prefer them over Warchal Brilliant, but they are similar. Warchal Karneol are very different, and I don't like them as much,  for my taste they lack brilliance.

    The new Larsen Virtuoso are worth trying, I heard them on a viola and liked them. Very bright strong sound. The C-G-D match the success of the A.


  4. A very nice violin. Does it sound nice?

    Very high pine linings, not willow. And a very interesting way of deep channeling into the corners. Is this typical for any maker?

    I guess the varnish is not original. It looks massively French polished.

    The Füssen instruments I have seen all had a higher arching. This arching looks later.

  5. 49 minutes ago, germain said:

    you are probably 100% correct haha

    Ebay doesn't mean it is not French. A few years a go I met a guy who bought a undoubtedly genuine G Bernardel in a Menesson case for €30 on a flee market.

    To say whether it is CM one needs to look at the linings (very high), how the f-holes are cut and the famous signature. The varnish for pere is usually brighter. The wood similar, but not exactly the same.

    I have seen Chinese of good workmanship, usually they don't get the edge as perfect as the French, and the scroll ends too early (how to I describe this better?).

    Usually they don't sound as good as CM, let alone Gand and  / or Bernardel.



  6. 4 hours ago, joshuabeyer said:


    Sorry but I think you are mistaken. While they are indeed cheaper, the bulbs at your link are very basic UV lights, they have none of the upgraded qualities which expedite wood tanning.

    I think I bought them there, mine are about 100W per tube. The parameters that count are power (in Watts) and the frequency (uva uvb uvc are frequency ranges). There are no slower photons, they all travel with speed of light. But you can have a higher flux density. I tanned wood with this already, got a nice yellow colour within maybe a week. The uvb dries varnish in a few hours.

    The more expensive ones are 1000W. Higher power will certainly tan wood faster. How strong a lamp do you use?

    But the result with a box with 2 x 100 or  150W was quite satisfactory.

    Sorry for having posted it trice. This was an accident.

  7. On 6/2/2018 at 11:03 AM, joshuabeyer said:

    These bulbs and ballasts have sped my tanning time from 4-6 weeks to 4-6 days.

    You can find those cheaper:

    They are used a lot. UVB is safe, UVC is much more efficient. Sunlight has a lot of UVC in its spectrum, but this light is eye damaging. The process was analysed in great detail:, Full paper is available here

    It should also make the wood lighter, as mentioned by others, as fungal treatment does. You need a lot of UV light to seriously damage the wood though.

  8. On 6/2/2018 at 11:03 AM, joshuabeyer said:

    These bulbs and ballasts have sped my tanning time from 4-6 weeks to 4-6 days.

    You can find those cheaper:

    They are used a lot. UVB is safe, UVC is much more efficient. Sunlight has a lot of UVC in its spectrum, but this light is eye damaging. The process was analysed in great detail:, Full paper is available here

    It should also make the wood lighter, as mentioned by others, as fungal treatment does. You need a lot of UV light to seriously damage the wood though.

  9. On 6/2/2018 at 11:03 AM, joshuabeyer said:

    These bulbs and ballasts have sped my tanning time from 4-6 weeks to 4-6 days.

    You can find those cheaper:

    They are used a lot. UVB is safe, UVC is much more efficient. Sunlight has a lot of UVC in its spectrum, but this light is eye damaging. The process was analysed in great detail:, Full paper is available here

    It should also make the wood lighter, as mentioned by others, as fungal treatment does. You need a lot of UV light to seriously damage the wood though.

  10. I would say, violas smaller than 16" are easier to play for most players, but usually lack power, especially on the C-string. If one can't play a 16" one should better stay with the violin. I find 16-16 3/8" the golden middle - you also need ot get the rib height right. I have however recently seen some new violas of 15.5" with a great sound. I have personally not seen a single smaller viola that had a desirable sound.


  11. Borax occurs as a mineral that does not dissolve in water. Chemically it is similar to silicate, as B and Si are neighbours in the periodic system. Silica gel is a porous form of silicates. Boron does however have its very own chemistry due its 3-bonded nature.

    The Borax that is sold as a liquid which I assume is a boric acid solution.

    Sand consists of borosilicates, and glass consists of borosilicates.

    Do you agree?

  12. On 5/29/2018 at 10:13 AM, David Burgess said:

    But is it deliquescent? (I think that might be the proper term for what HoGo and I were concerned about). Will a saturated solution absorb moisture from the air, if the relative humidity is above a certain level, like sodium chloride will?

    Borax is like ground sand or silica (the silicium equivalent), it is not hygroscopic. Boric acid however is massively hygroscopic, and hence an irritant to skin and eyes. And is is probably the altter that is used to treat wood.

    My other concern would be that wetting the wood after all the effort to reduce its humidity, and then covering the wet wood with varnish, cannot be a smart idea. The Borax would either have to be applied before drying the wood, or in an oil matrix (like pummice in a ground).

    I personally believe that boronic acid residues found on old violins come from floating the wood down rivers into Venice, where wood would have been traded in Stradivari's time.

  13. On 2/4/2017 at 3:59 PM, Michael_Molnar said:

    Please. We need to be a bit more precise about what we are saying. First of all, terms like iron chloride or iron sulfate are ambiguous and misleading. There is a world of difference between ferric chloride and ferrous chloride. The same holds for ferric sulfate and ferrous sulfate.  They produce different colors.

    Second. My interpretation of B&G and Echard point to cochineal in the 4th layer of B&G's model much like a glaze. You can see this in the wear patterns. Unworn areas lean toward magenta while worn areas are dark red, a very different hue. Cochineal, however, was not always used by Stradivari. As Brandmair suggested, their book should be titled Stradivari's Varnishes. I like cochineal a lot for its magenta hue that I often see in the top layer. I believe Hargrave leaned towards lac which is related to cochineal. They are anthraquinone cousins.My point of clarification is that Strad et al. had more than one source of red in their systems of varnish layers. To my eyes, the red (magenta) glaze sits over other red (orange-red) sources, perhaps ferric pigments or rosinates (or linoleates). The list is long.


    Which one do you use? Ferric or ferrous chloride? In chemical terms it is Fe3+ vs Fe2+, the former is yellow-red, the latter green. Fe3+ complexes are usually red. But under varnish cooking conditions it shouldn't matter, because heat and oxygen will convert Fe2+ into Fe3+.



  14. On 3/20/2017 at 12:43 AM, Don Noon said:

    Not a good idea to post any photos directly after Melvin's, but here's my first full-fiddle use of iron rosinate in linseed oil.  I added quite a bit of Gilsonite to brown down the red of the iron rosinate (intent was to get a brownish result).  So far, I'm very happy with this varnish, even if the antiquing needs some improvement, and it definitely doesn't look Cremonese under UV.


    Was this varnish made by cooking linseed oil and rosin or using the Michelman method? It looks nice. I think I prefer the smoother transitinos between no color and color in Carl's violin, but then I prefer the iron red.

    Does anyone use a good spirit varnish?


  15. 6 hours ago, Danube Fiddler said:

    I don´t understand, why this violin should sound better than all other great Strads. It also is a thing of taste. I have heard Perlman only one time live - with sonatas in a quite big hall ( with piano). Projection was poor.

    In spite of this Perlman in his best times was my favorite violinist together with Zukerman.

    It is of course a matter of taste. I heard Perlman once live in the Liederhalle in Stuttgart playing Brahms, and almost an hour worth of encores, and I listened to lots of his recordings. And I find his tone intriguing. I am not talking about projection, there is an edge to the tone of his violin, as if it was very rich in overtones. I hear this even now when he plays Schindler's list.


  16. On 5/18/2018 at 12:47 AM, Danube Fiddler said:



    20 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

    Yup... you got it... and several fine soloists use contemporary violins, and one notable soloist plays a Vuillaume.  While they owned others, both Heifetz and Menhuin preferred their Guarneri violins (Menhuin sold the Soil Strad on to Perlman, I believe).  While those two are no longer around to ask why they preferred the fiddles they did, many others are (including those players who use contemporary instruments). IN querying the questions of preference, they are the persons who's answers I'd suggest paying attention to.

    If there is one Strad that I really think outperforms everything else in sound characteristics, it is the soil, at least in Perlman's hands. Why Menuhin sold it nobody knows. Maybe he got bored and liked another.

  17. 47 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

    You don't have the book and made such a blanket statement as if you had the book. And now you cry sour grapes that the work was not peer-reviewed. Give me a break.  

    You may have missed that I asked earlier about the content of the book further up and someone posted links to 3 articles, two of them in scientific journals. I made a statement about these articles that were quoted earlier and about what was stated in this forum (not sure what else you meant).

    Sorry, but in science work that has not stood up to critical peer review counts nothing. This is how a huge scientific community has operated well for decades. There is lots of non-scientific material with some value, but rigorous review definitely helps to improve quality.

    I assume that Greiner has done some systematic work, but so far I can't see what he has discovered, and he may not want to tell us because he wants to sell violins and books. I assume he studied UV images simlpy to see whether he can achieve the same fluorescent effects that are seen in Stradivari's varnishes using his own concoction.


  18. 8 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

    Not true. Reread the book.

    I don't have the book, only the summary posted above. Greiner is very smart and has probably worked with scientists who know what they are doing. But nothing is published in scientiic journals (peer reviewed).

    Can you give a hint of what the book says regarding assigbment of UV spectra or interpretation of UV spectra?

  19. Just now, Melvin Goldsmith said:

    if you are an academic refusing to give a name your qualifications will be public?...please let us know...I doubt it for now... 


    Yes I am a scientist and I have no problem saying who I am, it seems that I left this out of my profile which I opened when I looked for some violin ID (my name is Ulrich Guenther).  I guess, I skipped this because the violin world is leasure time enjoyment for me, but I now added my out of date University web to my profile.

    I am obviously interesed in NMR, and helped build the UK NMR facility in Birmingham since 2004. I do NMR mainly in a biomedical context. Violin varnishes would be material science of which I know not so much but would be quite interested to try.

    My interest in violins is a hobby, inspired by a remakable lady (whose name was Else Göhrum) about who few people now know, but who was a Flesch pupil and got me interested in violin playing, when I was a Chemistry PhD student in Tübingen. She also designed many new instruments when she was fobidden to play during the Nazi regime in Germany. With this she influenced my taste in tone and music massively, although I have developed since. One aspect of this is that she played a Strad for many years (unfortunately I don't know which one) which she never liked, but said it was much better after it was repared by Hamma.

    I am lucky to have a number of nice old and new instruments, I select very carefully what I buy. Reparied bows are included when the repair is exquisitly nice. I also play the violin, and now more viola than violin. I have seen many instruments as I travel to London for auctions and have friends who collect.

    When I have time I take a lesson from a CBSO violist and I play in an amatuer orchestra in Worcestershire where someone recently told me she knew Jacob Saunders (who I have never met in person) from school. And I met Martin socially before he became the UK's most inspiring violin dealer who can play and judge.

    When I walked into a violin shop in Italy many years ago I saw facsimiles of (old) varnish recipes which get me going to try my own. I have made many and some are very nice, which I pass on to a local violin maker.

    I travel a lot profesionally and usually visit the violin makers whereever I am. I am always polite, although I like some more than others.

    Now you have 20% of my life history, I guess I am an old man with and old man's hobby which a friend once called wooden toys, Holzspielzeug.


  20. What did you like about Linarol's design? It is not what other people would copy. I guess the Storioni is also one you made.

    I like violins and violas that are not Strad and Guarneri copies. I am not sure I would have tried Linarol. These f-holes are definitely on the ugly side. 

  21. 4 hours ago, deans said:

    Martin is a Strnad fan, maybe he'll chime in. To me it looks like a generic "Bohemian" instrument. The scroll looks interesting though. 

    One of the best sounding violins I have ever heard was a Strnad, played by a LSO violinist - at least this is what he thought it was. Strnad's scroll is very narrow from button to button compared to Kloz family, edges seem to be more rasied. The varnish completely different to what is shown above.

  22. On 4/30/2018 at 4:33 PM, Michael_Molnar said:


    Brandmair is the scientist and her findings are too numerous for me to cover here. Like many others, I regret that she put these findings in such an expensive tome. I wish she published a version minus the expensive color photos. Nevertheless, the photos are very informative. I feel sorry for those who cannot afford her work.

    As for those reviews, they are not impartial but do make some astute observations. The only disagreement I have with B&G is that they ignored the artistic practices of the Renaissance. However, her data and his experiential interpretation are invaluable. Nevertheless, I have my own interpretation as other makers do too.

    They talk about IR and GCMS, but not about UV. Forgive me, but to say 'shellac turns our pink' is like saying 'the violin seems to be made of wood'. UV spectra are really hard to interpret and it only makes sense if one knows what to look for.

    IR (includes FTIR) gives you infromation about vibrations and rotations in molecules. This is what the police uses when they find a reasonably pure white powder. For mixtures it is rubbish.

    UV and fluorescence tells us about the electronic structure: double bonds, conjugated double bonds, metals. Polymerisation of oil varnish reduces conjugated double bonds by Diels-Alder cross-linking. SO will potentially change something but hard to assign what causes the change. Age will, as the polymer structure changes.

    GCMS is great for small compounds, unpolymerised, linseed oil, abietic acid (rosin), maybe even shellac (thats a mixture of many things).

    The only systematic method that would lead further is solid state NMR, comparing new and old varnish samples. Only recently it has been possible to work with tiny samples. But even those are hard to come by. If you have a Strad and are willing to scratch of a few mg, please let me know. I am an analytical chemist and would be happy to engage in a project.