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The Violin Beautiful

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  1. That method could be very useful. I think there are two important points there that differ from the idea of the burn-in stick, though: 1) You use the same varnish that’s on the instrument inasmuch as you can to maintain continuity chemically and structurally. 2) Once the caramelized varnish has been applied, it needs to be left alone for several days. The OP was looking for a way to go fast so he could avoid downtime with drying.
  2. The burn-in sticks are made for cosmetic repairs to varnish as a shortcut, but they aren’t structurally very good, and I don’t think they’d be very helpful long-term for bridge foot depressions.
  3. I bought some silica in powder form from a museum conservation company a few years ago and have been using that as a matting agent ever since.
  4. I think it would be possible to make this work, but it would take an extremely keen and experienced eye and hand to accomplish it. Very few people have both those traits! To get to a satisfying result the quickest, stripping it and restarting would probably be worth the effort. Are you using the same color of varnish for each layer? What did you use to seal the wood (if you’re willing to share)? I agree that it appears that a lot of varnish soaked into the grain.
  5. I find tuning the afterlength to be quite useful. I agree that one can’t tune all four strings to an exact pitch, which is why the G string is generally the one used—the others will end up where they will, usually fairly close but not exact. Doing this is no substitute for good setup, but it does something to enhance the overtone series when the setup is steady good. I’ve even found this to be useful on solid-body electric instruments where there’s no body of air to be excited internally. The OP suggested that tuning is only something that’s done for the sake of the open strings, but I don’t find that to be an accurate description; I’m looking for more of a range of colors throughout the whole instrument, and especially in the areas where the instrument does NOT resonate as easily. Yes, you could use a measurement table or an algebraic formula to determine a set afterlength, but I see no reason to do that when you can use one of the most accurate tools you possess to measure without having to even think about it much: the ear. The natural ability to hear the 1:6 ratio is impressive, and we can detect minute discrepancies. Ratios are always more perfect than finite measurements because the action of measuring is by nature imperfect, only an approximation and an attempt to reach exactitude. For this reason I prefer to use ratios to determine inportant of the aspects of setup and violin making.
  6. That makes me wonder 1) Were the Strads you worked on early examples 2) Were the arches distorted? For me, it’s not about the highest point of the longitudinal arch alone. Violins with a really bulbous shape (think commercial German Stainer copies) have a tendency to be harder to sell. A really fine instrument that has a high arch is going to be made in such a way that that arch is well thought-out and won’t be too strong or weak in key places. I think this is why there are some higher-arched instruments that are exceptional.
  7. If your top is that thin in the middle, I would make your next one thicker.
  8. If the wood from the kit was low in density and had little figure, I think it would make sense for the resulting instrument to be more on the nasal side if the OP made a violin with high arching and according to the thickness measurements for a Strad.
  9. A friend of mine made some simple hangers in his workshop by putting screws with eyes into a beam on his ceiling, then making loops out of some thick rubber- or plastic-coated wire that may have been intended for electrical work. It works well and doesn’t scratch varnish.
  10. And other than the soundpost crack, the condition is “ok!”
  11. Antonio Loveri was a label used by the Tonk Bothers firm for some German violins they imported. Not sure if this is related to that line or not. Edit: Here is another violin labeled Carlo Loveri: https://ingleshayday.com/notable-sales-instrument/a-violin-by-carlo-loveri/
  12. My comment wasn’t intended to imply that sound is an identifier for expertise. By exposure to the subject I meant the process of studying the instrument in the hands. My last post before this about cheap violins and sound was focused on my point that price (and attribution) aren’t directly related. Sorry for any confusion.
  13. The problem with that is that too many people mistakenly believe that price is dictated by tone, or that a violin worth a certain amount will necessarily have a completely different sound character from something at a different price. If you play a lot of the same model of cheap violin, assuming the workmanship and materials are reasonably good, they’ll generally be consistent, but there will typically be at least one that will sound better than the rest, maybe better than something at a significantly higher price (to your ear). But even if it sounds great, the outstanding example is still only worth as much as the others.
  14. To me it looks like the damage is right next to the winter grain lines, not directly on top of or through them.
  15. It’s hard to say definitively whether these are cracks or deep scratches. Since one comes right off the corner of a bridge foot, it makes me wonder whether the bridge might have gotten dragged on the top (like being set back up under tension after slipping or being put in at an angle next to a string lifter) and the corner scored the wood.
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