The Violin Beautiful

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  1. Violin makers, repairers, and dealers since 1699?
  2. I agree that most of the advantage of matching wood is aesthetic. One other thought is that matching wood pieces are more likely to behave similarly for the luthier, making outcomes more predictable. One advantage to using neck wood that has less figure is that it’s easier to carve than hard, heavily figured wood. Some argue that deep flames distract from the presentation of the scroll, others find plain wood boring. As to the effect on sound, I can’t definitively answer whether wood choice/figure improves things or not, but I have found that reducing heavy and thick necks seems to add a bit to the sound quality.
  3. Good to know about the Gold Label—I’d always heard it called a plain steel E. I also find it interesting that the site suggests that the Evah E is different from the Gold Label. I was once told by a colleague that a Pirastro rep had said that all steel E strings were the same, just covered with a color thread that would match the rest of the set. They said there was just one steel E, one gold-steel E, one carbon steel E, just in different clothing. I wonder....
  4. Agreed. I’ve had a few cases where customers thought their violins were uneven, and just switching to the Goldbrokat ironed out all four strings, not just the E.
  5. I use the Goldbrokat medium E on most violins, but I keep the heavy gauge in stock for aggressive players. It’s the cheapest string but it really sounds great. I also use the Gold Label E for some violins. When I started at a current employer’s shop, one of my first requests was to get a good assortment of E strings, since they only carried the Gold Label. Since then we’ve almost exclusively sold Goldbrokat and Gold Label. The customers haven’t shown any desire to try anything else like Oliv, Westminster, or Hill, all of which are still sitting in the drawer! As far as tin plating, I haven’t really bothered with it. I have one customer that always uses the Warchal Amber non-whistling E with the spiral, but I don’t recommend strings like this, as I find them to be gimmicky and unnecessary expensive.
  6. I tend to use 4.5 as my standard for student bridges, and 4.46-48 for mid-level bridges. If I’m cutting a bridge for an expensive instrument, I go down to 4.3 if the blank is really good and I’m confident that the player will take proper care of it.
  7. Once you see the words “hello, dear friends,” that’s your cue to say goodbye. The price makes it clear they aren’t trying to fool anyone who can identify a Bisiach, but they are most likely targeting parents of intermediate players who want to upgrade but think shops are charging too much. They were at least careful enough to call it a “violin labeled Bisiach” in the description, which only makes a difference if you’re familiar with the auction phraseology.
  8. For me, bridge width is determined by a combination of bassbar position and ff spacing. I know a lot of people just cut 90mm bridges for everything. I can’t really speak to a trend change, but I have seen some cellos recently that have ff spacing over 105 mm. In cases like that, a 90mm bridge just didn’t work (I experimented). I have also noticed Montagnana models have been selling a lot more lately because many teachers are convinced the extra volume will make them better/louder/more powerful.
  9. I’m a little confused by the statement that the wood is 60 years old if the violin was made in the 30s, but it looks like a decent buy at $1000, so long as it has no structural issues besides the ff cracks, which (I agree) don’t matter here. If you’re getting it from a shop, they should guarantee it, so that ought to keep you safe from harm, assuming the shop is one you can trust.
  10. Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but I’d like to clarify something. I was told a long time ago that the “heart” pegs were really designed for the Hart shop in England, and that the correct name was Hart pegs, but the manufacturers didn’t know the history and assumed it was supposed to be “heart, not Hart.” Hill pegs have their own shape which differs somewhat. Can anybody confirm this?
  11. Very sad news, Addie was such a great model for all Maestronetters to follow. I always enjoyed his insights and generosity to the world of the violin. Although he is not here to continue posting, he leaves behind a legacy for us all to appreciate. My sincere condolences to his family.
  12. I made a set screw for one of my knife handles out of a brass E fine tuner for fun. I put the screw at the top of the knife, not on the side. It worked well enough. I made all my other handles friction fitting, and I’ve continued to use them that way without any issue. They fit fairly tightly at first but got a little loose after years of use, so now I just put a bit of painters’ tape right where the knife fits at the top. That holds nicely and it’s easy to take off for grinding and honing and replace any time.
  13. I think it’s important to keep in mind that there’s difference between the overtone series and constructing a scale. The overtone series is something that is perceptible in nature and follows mathematical proportions; one can observe this phenomenon with all kinds of instruments because it’s inherent. Building a scale and temperament are a different matter. Just by using a single string and a ruler, one can make a simple monochord and mark the note positions using proportions. This will eventually lead to the issue of the Pythagorean comma, something piano tuners have to address by sacrificing the integrity of some intervals to keep the most important ones true. Projection is another matter again. I suspect that overtones do have an impact on fullness of tone, but there are other factors in play, like bow speed, pressure, and vibrato.
  14. In my experience, it completely changes the way the instrument sounds and adds a lot of tone richness.
  15. An overtone is a note above the fundamental but in its harmonic series, and it is usually heard along with the fundamental (other than cases like harmonics, where the fundamental is damped in order for the overtone to be heard alone), so it’s more like a secondary tone to the fundamental. Another example besides that of a vibrating string is the art of throat singing. The singer makes a fundamental sound from the throat or back of the mouth, and by modulating the shape of the middle and front of the mouth, a diverse palate of overtones can be emphasized. Really good Tuvan singers can excite multiple overtones at once.