The Violin Beautiful

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    Alexandria, Virginia

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  1. How do you know that the label was never tampered with? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but there’s plenty of reason to suspect something else happened.
  2. Sometimes labels are dog-eared when they’re soaked out to do repairs or regraduations. There are certain types of paper that are more fragile than others, but the majority stay in good structural shape unless they’ve been tampered with or subjected to harsh atmospheric conditions.
  3. Maybe it’s just the camera angle, but it looks like it should fit in the picture. To me it seems like the thumb grip is either out of place or the hair is just too long, so the frog has to be very far back in the track to achieve playing tension.
  4. I think it’s important to look closely at the advertisement illustration. The rubber piece fits over the thumb projection, so the thumb would end up in the “notch,” not directly on the leather. Teaching devices like that have been around for a while. Nowadays, things like the Pinky Nest and Bow Buddies are popular with young Suzuki children.
  5. Yes, Dürrschmidt is a commercial name used on some typical old German instruments and bows. Was it $50000 in USD? The condition of the varnish does not look good, and there is a big saddle crack visible, so it just doesn’t make any sense.
  6. I can see how if the work was done properly, a laminated instrument might be of interest for experimental analysis. As it’s already been pointed out, the instruments that exist on the current market are very poor quality and they don’t tend to hold up very well. The layers de-laminate and the necks break out. I’ve seen brand new cellos with necks broken out even before they’re ever set up. Sometimes the upper layers will chip away, making repairs a nightmare. The hybrid bows I’ve seen that had carbon fiber cores with wood veneer were student level bows, but I have seen more expensive
  7. Some instrument suppliers offer low-end instruments that are made with laminated wood. The bottom level comes with a laminated back and top, then there’s a “hybrid” where the back and ribs are laminated but the top is carved, then there are “fully carved” instruments. The hybrids are often marketed to shops that do business with school districts. By avoiding the cost of carved backs, the price point can be low enough for schools to agree to buy them for their orchestras. There are “hybrid” bows as well. Those tend to be carbon fiber covered with a wood veneer to give the appearance o
  8. If it’s already been revarnished, it wouldn’t be bad to redo the varnish. If it gets a better treatment this time around, it could even become more valuable. However, you do take on a certain amount of risk. If it doesn’t turn out better than it is now, it will be devalued more. In cases like this, it’s best if you aren’t expecting to make anything on it. Revarnished instruments usually sell for less than pristine ones, even if the varnish is good.
  9. Having a neck length that’s off can be very frustrating if the string length ends up changed as well. A poorly shaped or dimensioned neck is one of those things that makes players put violins down, either consciously or unconsciously. So often the necks on those old French violins are set at a high projection with a very low overstand, so there are several reasons to do a neck reset if the neck is short and the violin is decent.
  10. Not necessarily. I routinely work on cellos with cracks just like this that were made with blocks. I have two on my bench right now and recently finished another. It happens a lot to cellos in my area when they are not kept at the proper humidity during the winter. As the humidity drops, the wood contracts and cracks around the saddle or at the ribs.
  11. Well, the plus is important there, but I appreciate the joke. B+S = Beare and Son.
  12. I had a Paolo Fiorini on my workbench last December. It definitely had the look of a Roth violin. If I recall correctly, it had a small B+S printed on the lower left corner of the label.
  13. I haven’t come across a Blues-specific book (not saying they don’t exist), but I think Matt Glaser and Stephane Grappelli’s book, Jazz Violin, might have some useful information. It goes into some detail about style and provides a few selections one can play to get a sense of the approaches various players might take toward a piece. Christian Howes has a few YouTube videos on Blues style that might be useful. As something to use as a listening reference, I recommend “Violin, Sing the Blues for Me.” I consider that the most authentic Blues violin collection available. I understand t
  14. I haven’t observed it, either. Cracks in the wood are usually caused by dryness, excessive pressure, or impact. Some varnishes might weaken the wood to the point where it can’t handle string tension, but those are exceptional cases. If you see a lot of violins with spirit varnish cracking, there’s a high likelihood that it’s not the varnish that’s the culprit. Finding out the relative humidity of the environment in which they’re kept and whether the wood is green will tell you more.
  15. I once used a DMT diamond stone to reface one of my Belgian stones. It did the job but ruined my diamond stone. Lesson learned, now I use a succession of grits of sandpaper on marble. It’s a profanity-saver.