Doug Cotterill

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About Doug Cotterill

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    Senior Member

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  • Website URL
    northshorestrings.com.au

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Sydney, Australia

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  1. Minature camera for looking inside a violin?

    Sounds like an Australian accent to me.
  2. Purchasing Violin oil varnish in Australia

    I don't know of any distributors in Australia. I use the Old Wood varnish system, and buy it directly from them in Spain or from other sellers of Old Wood products overseas.
  3. Peg Shaper Paper Taper Shims

    I was thinking about printing on plain paper, and gluing it on the the back of the sandpaper, but it just seems like so much extra work. Also, should I ask which grit of sandpaper is best, or will that just start an argument? What would Stradivari do?
  4. Peg Shaper Paper Taper Shims

    Now you've done it. It's like the sign that says "Do not press this button". I'm finding it hard to stop myself.... I have the urge... I need to know... what's the worst that could happen? Would it really happen? Just one time, surely it would be ok?
  5. How to correctly add colour to clear spirit varnish?

    Has anyone tried the new Old Wood alcohol colours? I use the Old Wood oil varnish system, and really like it. I haven't tried the alcohol colours for retouching yet. They probably wouldn't have the particulate problem, but if anyone has tried them, I'd like to know.
  6. Quality standards for student instruments.

    Yes it helps a lot, thank you. It takes just over a year to get my money back for the violins and cellos that I rent to beginner students, as I set them up with good strings and supply a Kun shoulder rest. They are good instruments for beginners and teachers really like them. I'd like to keep renting these cheaper instruments because they are fine for beginners, the teachers like them, and the rental costs for them are very affordable compared to the competition. They are not good enough for better players so I want to add a higher level of instrument, which will need a higher rental price. If I look at recovering my money in 3 years, then that should keep things very affordable for renters, but it's a long time to have money tied up in capital. 2 years would be the better, and maybe people can buy their own shoulder rests. The pay one year up front and get a discount sounds like something to think about. However some people rent because they are not sure if they will stick with learning long term. It should work out to be a good deal for people who rent for other reasons. I'm new to renting out violins. In 20 years of teaching, I've hardly seen any student damage an instrument to a level of it being written off. Hardly anything goes wrong with most of the instruments my students have played, and maintenance cost for those instruments were very low. Having said that, I have a brand new 1/4 size violin that has been rented out for one week now, and has a soundpost crack in the back. There'll be swings and round-abouts with these things.
  7. Quality standards for student instruments.

    How long does it take for the shop to get their money back renting out instruments in this price range? I understand that they'd be buying in at wholesale price, but still it must take a while to get their money back? I'm still trying to get this balance right between capital outlay and money returned for my own rentals, while keeping rental costs affordable.
  8. Strad's secret, our secret, secrets generally...

    Rambo(w)!
  9. Strad's secret, our secret, secrets generally...

    Yes, but the fine secret varnish makes up for those.
  10. Strad's secret, our secret, secrets generally...

    Hey, I won't have anything bad said about Walter Mayson! His book has provided me with hours of entertainment, in the past. Way back when I was an apprentice, my teacher and I often had a great laugh at lunch times when we'd take turns reading passages from his book. I'm opening a stringed instrument shop this month, and would deeply love to have a Mayson violin on display, since I feel we go way back. I'll add "walter mayson" to my eBay search word list, because that's such a great place to find violins of his calibre. Despite his authoritative book, he still had his secrets: “I say this at once so there may be no mistake – so none can say I use this or that: my own varnish and colouring are my own soley, and I reserve the secret for the benefit of my family, should it prove of value after my career ended.”
  11. Strad's secret, our secret, secrets generally...

    Walter Mayson?
  12. Bow which feels like it always needs rosin

    If it always felt that way, then maybe it's the bow? If it used to play fine, then developed the feeling described, then I'd be thinking hair quality or rosin or camber. You know it has good hair, and the rosin seems to work on the other bow. I don't know what other variables there could be. Does the camber on the bow seem fine?
  13. Urban Luthier's Bench

    When I use Engelmann spruce, my tops are a bit lighter, in the low 60 grams without bar, even though mine are usually a bit thicker than what you've told me yours is. Maybe the spruce I was using is less dense. I think stiffness is more important than weight. I like my tops to closely match the back. I don't think you should go thinner than what you've got now. With Engelmann, I like to glue a thin spruce veneer where the sound post goes to protect the belly from soundpost damage. I use a higher density spruce, but it probably doesn't matter much since the glue makes the area stiffer or harder. This seemed to have a positive tonal effect on violins on which I retrofitted this patch. I glue it in very thin, then carve it when the glue is dry to only be about .2mm thicker than the belly without the patch.
  14. Urban Luthier's Bench

    I wouldn't worry about the weight. Your arching looks good, the stiffness is fine. You'll lose a few more grams yet off the button and edging. I've made a lot violins with backs between 110 and 115 grams, with a final total violin weight of around 380-385 grams with no chinrest which people said felt light. There's nothing stopping you getting a great tone with that back. It just depends what you do with the rest of the violin.
  15. Perfect wood?

    I can, I've been teaching it for years. I can't see how this would be any use in making an instrument with a great sound, or knowing what a great sound is. If we want to go down the path of believing that the old Cremonese instruments are the best ever made, then Stradivari, Guarneri et al achieved that level without knowing how to play the Bruch concerto, or those of Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Beethoven, Paganini or most of the repertoire their instruments are used for. I have no problem accepting that a person who can't play much at all can make instruments with a first class tone, or know what it is.