The Violin Beautiful

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  1. The Violin Beautiful

    About violin bow rehair

    I can’t get the video to open on my phone, but these are my thoughts based on your questions: 1) You can buy or make a gauge. There are several designs. The gauge will show you how much hair to put in the average violin, viola, cello, or bass bow, but one has to adjust the amount based on the head mortise size. It’s crucial to avoid overcrowding the tip mortise with hair. 2) There shouldn’t be any gaps in the hair—the “ribbon” of hair should be even and flat. 3) The hair should be evenly spread out. Many bow rehairers put more tension on one side of the hair, but this is done by adjusting the angle of the hair, not putting more on one side.
  2. The Violin Beautiful

    thinking of bidding on cracked Tubbs bow in Bromptons

    It looks fairly risky to me. The ferrule has been repaired crudely and the presence of multiple cracks is a bit concerning if they are similarly repaired. If it’s the real deal, it could probably be restored to playability and might be a lot of fun to use; however, you might want to think about whether you want to invest in the restoration and how much you’re comfortable spending before making a final decision. Expect some surprises if the work doesn’t look clean!
  3. The Violin Beautiful

    A look inside an unusual American antique violin

    I wonder whether the central bar was added to give the top more mass. The normal one seems to be a replacement, so I assume the other one was made at the same time. It also looks like there’s a piece of hardwood running up the middle of the neck, perhaps to prevent warping. Definitely an intriguing experimental instrument.
  4. The Violin Beautiful

    Misleading News Article?

    It’s fascinating to see how conventions change over time. I remember hearing from a historian at Colonial Williamsburg that women were forbidden from playing the cello, violin, viola, or flute at that time. The belief was that these instruments required women to adopt inappropriate postures such as extending the elbows and spreading the knees. The harpsichord and singing were preferred because they allowed women to keep their limbs tucked in, which was considered to be the ideal of taste.
  5. The Violin Beautiful

    Pre-stretching tailgut

    I’ve been using Kevlar cord for new setups lately. We had a number of cello guts fail at the nylon threads. There were also some violin customers who came in complaining about the violin slipping out of tune during playing; it turned out the tailguts were beginning to fail on those, too. The Sacconi guts are still hard to beat for ease of installation and cost, but I’m moving away from them on nicer violins, on which I can spend a few extra minutes tweaking things.
  6. The Violin Beautiful

    #that-feeling when...

    Your touchup gets too dark
  7. The Violin Beautiful

    #that-feeling when...

    You’re just learning to rehair bows and you finish one that looks great, only to discover the ferrule still sitting on your bench...
  8. The Violin Beautiful

    viola A string weak

    I use a Larsen A with Obligatos or Evahs. That being said, you might want to check the soundpost position to be sure it’s still where it ought to be. If it’s out of a place, the sound will remain uneven with a string change.
  9. The Violin Beautiful

    Strange Symbol After Signature

    The workmanship was very clean and precise and the varnish was applied well. It had elements that looked Italian with an unmistakably American interpretation. Wood selection was excellent and the back was joined perfectly. It had an appealing sound—very rich and velvety, and a bit darker than most of its vintage. Had it been for sale, I’d gladly have bought it!
  10. The Violin Beautiful

    Strange Symbol After Signature

    According to Henley he studied violin making in Italy. Originally from England, he came to America after studying making. Also an accomplished player in symphonies and worked on cruise ships for a while before settling in Detroit. I just had one of his violins on my bench and was quite impressed by it.
  11. The Violin Beautiful

    Shining the fingerboard

    I use Fiebing’s to stain, followed by a light French polish, on fingerboards that need to be blacker. The shellac seals the dye in so it doesn’t come off later. The sheen can be controlled with steel wool after that if desired. I’ve also used India ink successfully. I’ve been told it was what was most commonly used for that purpose in days of yore.
  12. The Violin Beautiful

    Bridge position: What's most important?

    I was taught that 328-330 was the ideal for the string length from nut to bridge. Along with this measurement, I learned to keep neck length at 130 and stop length at 195. The reason for standardizing these measurements is that it facilitates playing for all players—it would make it difficult if players had to adjust to different finger spacings with each violin they picked up. Adjusting any of these measurements will have a noticeable effect for any accomplished player. This is not to say that luthiers should avoid deviating from the standard at all cost; in some cases it’s necessary to make adjustments. But the standards are there as a guideline to follow. The ff notches are generally aligned with the center of the bridge foot, although I’ve heard some people argue it should be 1/3 of the way instead. Keep in mind that ffs are not always in the right position, so it may be necessary to adjust accordingly, and making sure there is proper bow clearance in the c bouts is crucial to playability.
  13. The Violin Beautiful

    Adjustable Bass bridge.

    I agree with Joey Jaeger. A bass bridge should be oriented like any other bridge; the adjusters are just there to modify height. Most of the factory setups include a bridge that has its adjusters either poorly placed or improperly drilled, causing the wheel adjusters to float, so that the top of the bridge is pulled toward the fingerboard or tailpiece. If you have permission to take the setup down, I’d check for improper fit as an extra incentive to cut a new bridge. Adding adjusters is extra work, but just about everyone requests them because they allow one to change the height to accommodate playing different genres of music and changes in climate. I haven’t done tests with a bass to see whether it sounds better with or without the adjusters, but I do notice that the blanks used on the factory ones tend to be awful. Simply upgrading to a decent blank makes a huge positive impact on sound. Cutting it well will only help!
  14. The Violin Beautiful

    The Blazing and Amazing...Mark O' Connor

  15. The Violin Beautiful

    The Blazing and Amazing...Mark O' Connor