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Andreas Preuss

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    ….at my bench
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    non sportive bicycling, cooking, piano playing

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  1. Hi Everyone, To make it short, for family reasons we decided to move away from Japan this month. Crazy family we are, we made the decision despite an ongoing pandemic and a war in Ukraine. I have already officially closed my business in April. But fortunately there is a young violin maker who will open his own business in the same workshop soon. In future I will work at home and I am looking forward to concentrate mostly on making new instruments. It might take a while until we are settled in our new home, so I won't be able to participate actively here for some month. (Not even answering on comments on this thread, with my apologies) (Heute ist nicht alle Tage, ich komm' wieder, keine Frage) - Andreas
  2. Not quite. I think Savart made the first observations on tap tones of Cremonese violins. Allegedly he had access to a few disassembled violins from the workshop of Vuillaume.
  3. Inquisitive minds try almost everything knowing that in the worst case the improvement gain is zero. Someone like Vigdorchik could promote himself only because nobody in the editorial staff of the Strad magazine would label his ideas as nonsense. Carleen Hutchins on the other hand is THE example for our belief that science is able to explain everything. It is this modern belief which created her so many followers. On the other hand the perception of ‘art’ has changed at the beginning of the 20th Century. ‘Beauty’ got redefined by theories about aesthetics, mostly in abstract and philosophical terms. (For example the ‘beauty’ of art works by Joseph Beuys lies in their abstract ideas.) I see there a Connection the violin world. The theory by Hutchins explains the ‘beauty’. And because the theory becomes more important than the skill to produce the artwork it distorts the reality about the ‘beauty’. We shouldn’t forget either that she had a kind of monopoly on acoustic theory. Other attempts were only misguided ideas to ‘improve’ her theory. Vigdorchik and his teacher Yavroi belonged to this group. (This seems to be the reason why many amateur makers are believers in her theory, and probably they are the majority.)
  4. I would rather put it like this A model which is unproven but works is by far better than a model which is proven but doesn’t focus on the essentials.
  5. I wouldn’t say that the bells of the cologne cathedral sound clanky. (And as far as I know they are one of the few ‘parts’ of the cathedral which hasn’t been replaced yet.)
  6. The problem here is that the end product doesn’t fail (1) if some debunked principles are used. The ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for violin sound is in certain terms very ambiguous. It seems that violin makers live in a world of who can ‘sell’ its own bias of ‘better sound’ best to their peers. And this has often vey ‘religious’ forms where ‘belief’ counts more than any ‘proof’. in such an environment it is clear that the search for ‘truth’ ends always in endless discussions between believers and disbelievers. ——————— (1) complete ‘failure’ would mean that the instrument would turn out to be mute. As we know this is never the case unless we make a solid brick.
  7. Apparently. There are examples where the construction almost collapsed. The cathedral in Amiens is one famous example. The constructors misestimated some static proportions. With scientific knowledge this can be predicted and therefore avoided. Some other ‘riddles’ also came from those constructions because they made things scientifically proven to be impossible. The famous cathedral in Chatres uses the squaring of the circle in some parts. While this is impossible in theoretic geometric terms, they had apparently approximative methods which were good enough.
  8. There are three manuscripts which could give hints wether or not makers in the golden age were using tap tones as a measure for quality control for the final tonal result: 1. I’ll manoscritto di Antonio Marchi 2. I segreti di Buttega by an unknown author. 3. Notes taken by Count Cozio di Salabue i don’t have really the time to scan through the texts once more, but to my memory none of those scriptures emphasizes the importance of tap tone pitch anywhere. And certainly none of those works deals with a larger scaled, complex tap tone theory of top and back. I find it rather interesting that Marchi starts his treatise actually with 3 chapters dealing with what could be considered as ‘acoustic science’. In there we find a description of how he thought the violin produces sound. Marchi explains it in a completely incomprehensible way. (Therefore I can’t even reconstruct from memory how he argued. It was something like ‘the string vibration excites the surrounding air, creating a resonance in the cavity which causes the bridge to vibrate.’) I would assume that he’d had written in the chapters about acoustics at least one sentence referring to tap tones of the finished plates if they were of such major importance. (I can’t remember that he did) When it comes to sound characteristics, March always argues from overall observations. High archings versus low archings, top plate thick in the center or not thick in the center, short versus long f holes etc etc. While it is clear that he favors the sound of Stainer above Stradivari and Guarneri, it doesn’t take anything away from how arguments related to sound were made in his days. We need to realize that our modern logic based on science didn’t exist. Modern makers try to predict from chosen parameters the final sound result. This is a purely scientific approach. Violin makers in the golden age tried to observe results by given (trigger) methods to arrive at an imagined sound result. This is actually the reverse of the scientific approach, but seems to be more successful. I call it the alchemical approach. Because it does not need to know why and how certain things are related to each other, it can better focus in practical terms on the final result. For a scientist the violin is complex because of the multi relatedness of scientific comprehensible parameters.
  9. I was actually talking about color going a few millimeters deep. (Mittenwald dealers washed their wood first with soap water and then put it on a sunny day on the lawn.)
  10. Well, responding to @TedN as well: Best artificial drying methods are those you can execute and control yourself. Regarding sound when choosing the neck wood, I’d say based on some experiments that the effect is zero. The most radical experiment I made was to use a pernambuco neck graft. The effect was literally zero. I myself would today definitely use kiln dried wood for the top plate. But again, I do it myself, and elaborated a process which seems to promising for some tonal advantages. For the back, I wouldn’t use kiln dried wood.
  11. If the drying in a kiln wasn’t done correctly, you should be able to see it at the color. If the outer layer is darker than the wood deeper inside, certainly something is wrong. Sometimes you have to look carefully because the difference is rather minimal.
  12. Probably most makers would go for the wood with the higher pitch, either by instinct or by some scientific parameters. i would also hammer on the end grain and I think this tells more about the quality than tipping on the side. I wouldn’t rely on acoustic testing alone. Visual criteria such as the color of the winter rings, tilt of the year rings within the log and runout are important as well. Last not least, I prefer to buy wood only as split logs to see how twisted the surface is. In ancient times shipbuilders used only wood with little or no twist for the masts of ships because they knew it is stronger than twisted wood. In general, the closer the wood (especially the top) gets to its final shape the more the wood properties become ‘visible’. So if the wood is still in the form of a wedge, the picture is very blurred. It’s the skill of a luthier to ‘guide’ the sculpturing process of the plate to its best possible performance. In this process arching height is a major aspect. I believe that arching can counterbalance to a certain degree somehow weaker wood.
  13. Despite its Guadagninish features definitely not authentic. G.B. Guadagnini became at the beginning of the 19th century an often copied maker. The (incomplete) list I was able to compile includes over 50 names of German, English, Hungarian, French, and Italian makers. Even some Factories started to label instruments with the name of G.B. Guadagnini which shows somehow the popularity of his name. It seems that Italian makers during the Great Depression often copied works of their predecessors which could be sold to American dealing companies. Unobserved by their peers in Europe they would pass them off for profit by making some ambiguous attributions to the instrument in question. So if a copy failed to have enough resemblance to G.B. Guadagnini it would be ‘downgraded’ to the name of a son or grandson, knowing that buyers wouldn’t be able to detect the fraud. Famous for this practice became the so called ‘English workshop’ in Hungary which produced on this scheme instruments for the American trade (possibly exclusively for one company) and apparently with the intention of fraudulent selling. Sometimes we find behind those instruments well known names like Celeste Farotti who made efforts to do authentic looking antiquing. Many other makers would simply make instruments loosely based on some typical features of G.B. Guadagnini with no special efforts of antiquing. I would see your instrument in the latter category and would think the wear was added at a later stage. This explains also the fake Josef Guadagnini label which was presumably added by the seller and not by the maker. Concerning the Wurlitzer company there was apparently a clear change between dealings of Rudolph Wurlitzer and his son Rembert. During the reign of Rudolph, business was governed by selling instruments no matter how. (1) (Maybe it was anyway only a sort of side business to the selling of Wurlitzer jukeboxes) One of the major salespersons in the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company was Jay Freeman who would sell anything to cover his gambling debts, so making solid authentifications for instruments was certainly not his major concern. It was only Rembert who seriously started serious dealing in high class instruments. He had trained his expertise in the then most famous dealing company in England, W.E. hill and Sons, and his knowledge propelled the business to the level of a world class violin business. I don’t have any record when the takeover was taking place, but in 1931 he was still a young man of 27 and had most likely not the lead in the company when his father was only 58. (Supposedly your catalogue bears the name of Rudolph Wurlitzer) So in summary the Wurlitzer catalogue label and the faked instrument together might be correct. It’s close to impossible to determine the maker of your copy, because there is probably no comparable instrument with an authentic label of the same maker anywhere. Dendrochnology isn’t very helpful either because those makers didn’t work from the same tree during their working lives. However for historic records it is advisable to touch neither of the two labels. (1) There is a very similar instrument selling company working in Tokyo today which started their main dealings in guitars long ago. While it is, with the background of the Internet, impossible to sell obvious fakes to customers, profit can be maximized with making high grade factory instruments made 100 years ago look like the work of a master.
  14. But then in alcohol dissolved shellac should have the same problem and it doesn’t. It always happens with certain mixtures.
  15. Depends really on the surface of the interior top plate. For fitting the bar I made a frame device with a guide which holds the bar always in the desired position. if I concentrate on the fitting without getting disturbed I usually get a very clean and almost tension free fit in 60 minutes almost regardless the surface. Without chalk on a clean surface (new instrument) altogether maybe 80-90 minutes. Because the frame has a counterpart for clamping already attached glueing takes about 5-10 more minutes. i usually trim several bars at a tIme in a bulk ready for fitting.
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