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About bungling_amateur

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    Strange old stuff

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  1. For other non-violin instruments I have rented, the contract states that you as the renter are forbidden from doing any repairs yourself. Any damage is to be reported immediately to the owner (who may be able to get the repair done professionally under insurace) In any case I imagine the owner would take a dim view of an unreported crack caused by dropping the viola, followed by an unauthorised amateur repair attempt.
  2. Thanks Jacob. The 4 pegs are not identical but they all look old and are very nice. Hence my hesitation reluctance to do anything irreversible. And also why I asked here. (I often read here but rarely have anything to say) Your suggestion of properly fitting the pegs is a tempting idea, though they do work in their current worn state. Trouble is, the owner of the fiddle can't really use friction pegs because of hand problems. That's why we thought geared pegs might be something to try. Do you think it is worth trying fine tuners on the tailpiece instead? I was thinking there was too much stretch in plain gut strings for them to work well.
  3. We have an old violin in the family (guessing 18th century). No label, quite worn and beaten up, probably no monetary value but huge sentimental value, and different members of the family are musicians and instrument-makers. An amateur violin-making relative has done some minimal repairs, glueing open joints, etc, and got it working again. I set it up with all plain Aquila gut strings. We are very pleased with the sound, and it is in lovely "original" untouched condition. The main disincentive to playing it at the moment is difficulty tuning it. The old pegs do fit in their holes, and I can tune it fine, but the original owner is struggling due to weak fingers (basically they can't tune it at all and have to get someone else to, which is a big disincentive for them to take it out and use it). It doesn't have fine tuners on it. I thought, why not try the Wittner geared pegs? So I ordered one, and then discovered that the pegs are much steeper taper than any I have seen before. This is the "medium 4/4" Wittner violin peg alongside one of the originals. What would you suggest I do next? If I get the "slim" Wittner peg, the thin end should fit the small hole, and I can bush the big hole? Should I order a Cello peg, or will the head etc. just be far too big (and this taper seems to be more like 1/20 to me?) Are there other brands of geared violin pegs that have different tapers? Any other suggestions? Apart from put it back away and forget about it again for another generation or two? I'm nervous to start thinking about having the pegbox bushed and re-drilled with a normal modern taper, but at the end of the day is that the best plan?
  4. Shouldn't this come under the wider heading of "organology"? Some university offer masters courses in organology, e.g. Edinburgh. Isn't there value in studying violins alongside harpsichords, lutes, guitars?
  5. Well... inside the case, perhaps, but pressing against the instrument does seem excessive.
  6. Shame the most tempting chapter, the 'history', is still pending. But I enjoyed the repair page! I use an old wooden case like these on the rare occasions the fiddle leaves the house.
  7. I mostly listen to archive recordings, so a wind-up gramophone for commercial discs, or online digital (a second vote for TanD!).the argument about vinyl vs. digital intrigues me... people say they can hear the difference, is it just placebo?And yes, no recording compares to live.
  8. I stand to play fiddle, but sit to play harp. I always get irritated that venues often provide rather skimpy metal and plastic chairs which, while strong and comfortable, look very unbalanced. At home I use a heavy dark oak dining style chair. i also have one of those bow-backed chairs, but the seat is split in two. It's fine until you wriggle, then it either creaks unbearably, or bites your bum. Sorry the system won't let me vote.
  9. Speaking of mutton and liver, there is widespread international demand for these products, and to produce them requires the killing of sheep. The only sensible reaction is to ban them. All products containing mutton and liver should be proscribed, and any antique article containing wool becomes illegal to sell or transport across national boundaries. Are the felts on your old piano made of wool? Well either rip them off and replace them with synthetic, or get raided by the government heavies. Perhaps those lawless armed poachers who illegally kill the last few remaining wild sheep to harvest their liver, to process into illegal paté for the black market delis, ought to be shot on sight? Save the sheep! Anyone who objects is a sheep-murderer!
  10. " Oops, now I feel silly for starting with a photo thread! At least my virtual arse seems pristine for the moment though!
  11. It also depends how you define "players" - I would think there was a continuum from semi-professional to people who have an old fiddle in the attic that they once took some lessons on, but never get round to doing anything with it.
  12. I attended a demonstration / tuition event with Andrew Bellis in Oxford many years ago, on a whim, as I thought perhaps this was something I could learn to do. Having seen him at work and understanding the process I have a lot of respect for bow making and hairing and there is no way I would try to do it myself especially self-taught! And I am a pretty hardcore self-taught kind of person!
  13. I have a friend who sells all her instruments under a business name like that. I once tried to help her by promoting her work "made in Trumpton by Mary Doates" and she was very firm - she wanted her business name and not her own name because potential customers would be "more impressed". And there was me thinking there might be a market for one-off instruments made by a named individual craftswoman...
  14. Thanks for the thoughts so far. The neck is loose and wobbly, but nothing else seemed loose, if that helps with the type of neck (I'm not familiar with the different neck constructions, I have never had a violin apart). Here's the corners: And here's the scroll:
  15. I should say, it has no label inside and no stamp outside as far as I could see. I did take some photos looking inside but they don't show much.