Penelope the Duck

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About Penelope the Duck

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  1. You know I almost posted this question myself a few days ago, but thought perhaps I was being silly. I have been wondering the same thing myself. I went to the annual Violin Makers Day in London a few weeks back, and spoke to many fine luthiers there. One chap from up North I spoke to and I asked him to play one of his instruments for me and he informed me in no uncertain terms that he doesn't play. Being quite naive about these things, and with the thought that creating a violin is a very different thing to a piece of furniture - it's almost like making a living thing, and I would have thought that for someone making one they would really want to play it themselves, so they can hear how the sound is developing and other such things. I said this in a conversational way, not an accusing way at all, and I got heap of what was almost abuse from him in response. He started bellowing at me like I was a child that "not every pilot who flies a plane builds his own aircraft, that's just a stupid thing to say". And this rant went on for several minutes before I was able to bravely run away from the madman. I'm really not sure I see his thread of thought here.. I was hardly suggesting such a stupid thing as every airline pilot build an aircraft, nor was I even suggesting that every violin player should be a luthier. I was completely shocked at this crazed outburst from a luthier trying to sell his wares. But I would have thought that making a violin is a thing of love, and that a maker would want to play it to hear his/her baby coming to life. Perhaps I struck a nerve with him? Needless to say - I didn't buy a violin from him!
  2. Wow - thanks for all the great comments. To answer vathek's question - I don't know too much about the instrument - I have only just bought it. The label says : Joannes Jais me fecit Bulsani in Tyroli 17 But I am told this is fake. The shop where I bought it said it was German, about 1850. jacobsaunders and deans (on this forum) both agreed with that estimate too, saying it looks like a Vogtländische violin, mid 19th C. The shop where I bought it had no further details. My teacher looks at it like it's one of his beloved children and also agrees that this is probably all correct. I have some more photos of it here (low res, but showing different bits of it) http://s296.photobucket.com/user/Penelope_the_Duck/slideshow/ I know next to nothing about violins and the wood used in them, but this does look to me like very unusual grains - there is a waviness to the lines which I've never seen before (in candlesticks, cheese boards and turned fruit bowls..). If I hold it up from one direction it looks quite dull, but from the other side it's quite stunning (well - I think so, but then it's my baby.. )
  3. Here's another one - it's as close as I could get with my baby camera.. The light reflections make it tricky, so sorry about the glare, but some of it seems quite clear. Hopefully enough for you to see it though? Many thanks again.
  4. Michael (and anyone else ) - here are some high res pictures to see it better. Hopefully the grain is a bit clearer in these. Many many thanks for looking
  5. Hi, I was wondering if anyone can tell me what this wood actually is? I have been told that it's maple, Flame maple, and Tiger maple - so I'm guessing it is at least "maple".. Are flame maple and tiger maple the same thing, in which case all three are correct? Or is there a difference? If there's a difference, which one does this look like and why? When I google flame maple and tiger maple, they both look the same to me. I'm not sure what differences I'm looking for. Many thanks
  6. This is a brilliant thread! So many people have added loads of interesting stuff - makes for excellent bedtime reading. I have to say - having looked at the photos, and to the YouTube video of the bloke playing it - I would have also happily paid $350 for it. I rather like the dark colour, and while it lacks the dark sound that I prefer, it seems to play quite well with a decent enough sound. That's a pretty small amount of money for a rather cool looking violin. I rather hope your 1 year old child doesn't completely destroy the instrument - that'd be quite a shame, as I've never seen one quite like this before.
  7. It's a sad sad thing but human civilisation has ever been thus. The powerful few rule the powerless mulititudes who are expected to dance to their tune. Many people lose far more than "monetary gain" by speaking up and standing for what they believe - many have lose their lives for this, when all we want is justice and freedom. I applaud her for shouting this injustice for the world to hear, but I fear it will fall upon deaf ears. At best it will be ignored by those who have the power to make a difference, and at worst she will be punished for her bravery. Us peasants never win against the powers that crush us underfoot with little more than a sideways glance.
  8. I'd happily hand over my soul to the devil himself if I could play like that little girl.. Amazing to listen to, and so depressing to know I'll never be a tenth as good.
  9. I like the bottom one - it somehow looks cheekier. Although I can see that injecting cheekiness into an instrument may not be the number one concern..
  10. Thanks a lot deans - that makes me feel much better! I was starting to wonder if I'd made a terrible mistake, even though I do love the instrument, and even my teacher declared it to be an "exceptional" instrument when I showed it to him - but then I've only just known him a month. I should stop trawling through pages on the internet about violins now and get it out of it's box and learn to play it shouldn't I..? Many thanks for your advice.
  11. Hi, I also have a Gliga (the Genial) from Elida trading, and it's a good solid violin for a beginner. I have had 2 teachers who have basically forbidden me to change it, saying it has a nice sound and plays well and I should get several more years from it before I need to upgrade. Having said that, I have just fallen in love with one I found in a violin shop and upgraded, but that's another story. After playing it for a couple of years now, it really seems to have a nice resonance to it, and you can feel it vibrating a lot even through the shoulder rest as it's played. I'm sure a good player would get a really nice sound from it. I have been trying out some quite expensive violins (£5,000 price range) and honestly - when I play them, I can't hear much difference. Although I have only been playing for 2 years, so - you know - I'm sure a good player would get a much different sound from them. But what I mean to say is - it's quite a nice instrument to learn on. It's a horrible orange colour, but otherwise is quite attractive. Looks nicely made. Would I buy another one? Sure - if I was beginning again I would get this same violin again. It's a nice one to learn on, and quite cheap until you know whether you want to carry on playing or not. Hope it brings you a few years of happiness, as mine has. Good luck.
  12. Hi Mat, So - is a grafted head good or bad? Does this mean the instrument has been damaged perhaps, and needed a new head? I have only just bought this violin, and if it's an assembly line one, I think I have massively overpaid.. It just looked and sounded so nice. Thanks guys for you answers. Robyn
  13. Oh this is a great article - thanks Jacob - a good bedtime read.
  14. Ahh - sorry - google did not find any of the articles on this forum, which I am now reading and most of which you seem to have added to Jacob.. There are 10 lifetime's worth of study about this no?
  15. Thank you both so much Jacob and deans for your answers. I have never heard of this. Is Vogtländische some sort of violin making school? Or were they mass produced (like they are now doing in China) at that time in that area? I have been googling for hours now on this, but I don't speak/read german, and the results translated look like it's some form of apprentice school? Are they generally good instruments? Or cheaply made "assembly line" ones? Many thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.