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Posts posted by sftokyo2016

  1. 'W Hill and son, London' branding on the bracket feet.

    I believe some of the earlier Hill chinrests were branded on the side of the chinrest.

    The mounting attachment on the chinrest is slightly different as well. 

    Benjamin Hebbert has a rare catalogue of Hill chin rests on display https://hebbertsviolins.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/vintage-chin-rests-by-w-e-hill-sons/

    Personally, for that kind of money I would consult/commision a local luthier to make a custom chinrest. 





  2. 1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

    Ok so there’s 38 of them but why are they worth 11 thousand dollars?




    You'd be surprised by the number of chinrest fetishes over here in Japan.

    Yahoo Auction have Hill & son chinrests listed between ¥100,000 to ¥300,000 yen (mint). So if assuming max of ¥300,000 a piece x 38 could yield the happy winning bidder up to 10 fold. 

    Madness, of course. Or is it… 

  3. Haha yes baffling indeed, that said regardless of this makers high prices for average Joes like me,  I have to admire and respect the woodwork.

    I found his instagram account and the cups, tea bowls and chinrests are truly impressive. Judging by the number of chinrests this chap is making I can only assume he has orders coming in. 



  4. 20 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

    Ummmm...........no.  Lovely stuff, but.......truly impressive prices, one could buy entire nihonto for that, with all antique koshirae (fittings), mei (smith's signature), spiffy polish, and NBTHK origami (certification).  Let's say I'm a little surprised. :huh:

    Anybody familiar with the carver?  Like with those prices, they might be mukansa in something else, like being the Imperial Family's tansu maker, or something??  I wouldn't expect someone to just appear out of nowhere asking eight or ten grand for a chinrest. 

    Yes, I was thinking along similar lines. If he has access to particular woods from the Izu Islands then he could well belong to an elite class of master makers.  I understand the Mikurajima mulberry wood is possibly one of the most prized if not expensive woods in Japan.

    Still, at those prices it had better make me sound like Kogan or Oistrakh and grant me three wishes.

  5. Hi,

    Just wondering if anyone has come across this Japanese maker/brand of chinrest and fittings.


    I stumbled across this maker online while searching for chinrests made from Japanese Mulberry wood. 

    They look really beautiful.… 

    However, the prices seem to be a tad higher than what I am acustomed to. (Eye wateringly)

    I am sure whoever is making them is a master craftsman. So wanted to know if anyone in the maestronet universe has ever come across or own any of these fittings. 




  6. Hello everyone,

    Just wondering if anyone out there can please help me find information about a possible violin maker by the name of Francis Roberts. 

    I recently saw a violin with the handwritten label, Francis Roberts London 1926. So far, my search online has been rather futile. 

    Will take some photos next time I am in the shop.

    It has a lovely tone and a reasonable price tag.

    Would be grateful for any clues, hints or tips how to find out who this maker is..


    Thank you,



  7. I was just about to post about this as well.

    Looks like this is going to be a very interesting auction. Going to pick James Buchanan’s brains on this one. Can’t wait for the catalogue to come out.

    Surely, there must be a living Cremonese master who would be able to recognise his own work in the white...



  8. 38 minutes ago, ______ said:

    Not really, never seen such a results list. If you want to see the final price you must register first and then put each lot that you're interested with into your Auction Watchlist. Once added it will be seen after closing. That's the only way.

    Hi there,

    Yes, you need to register first then add each Lot item on your watchlist. Then watch your email inbox explode with all the bid updates..


  9. 6 hours ago, jamesbuchanan said:

    Evening sftokyo2016,

    Looks like you spotted a few bargains - I hope you had some fun if you were bidding. Can't really comment as the auction is still going, but good work and thanks for mentioning us and if you ever do make it to one of our viewings grab me and say 'hello'.

    Best wishes,


    (P.S. The Betts was / is completely delicious)


    Hi James,

    Thanks!. The Auction was fun to watch. I was (as expected) outbid on the French 3/4 size but no worries. It was a good first time experience. 

    I was very happy to see my predictions go well. The Lot 73 bow held up well. This type of 'possibly JTL' bow can sell for ¥500,000Yen retail in Japan . I did put a bid in on that too but quite early on.

    Typical JTL french 3/4 size like Lot 65 normally sells for about ¥170,000 - ¥200,000 over here too. 

    I have to say I really like the Amati website. Very easy to navigate and super clear photos.. The 360 viewing app , while not always working for every violin listed, is a fantastic feature. 

    Super fast replies from your staff too.

    Will be sure to say hello in person if I make one of the viewings in London. 

    Just wondering what is the latest acceptable bid time on a lot when bidding online. My friend tried to bid within the last minute but his bid wasn’t accepted. I think he clicked with just 30 secs to go (against my advice I might add). Is that too short notice. Should one bid 5 mins at the very latest? 

    Anyway, look forward to the next auction. Thanks


  10. Hello all,


    Just wondering if anyone out there is eyeing the current Amati.com auction listings.

    I am a complete novice but have seen a few nice bows and violins. Any opinions/thoughts on the following lots.

    I haven’t been able to attend the viewings so going on my gut instincts. 

    Lot. 73 I really like the look of this bow and the low reserve suggests it will hit a bidding frenzy? My hunch is it’s a nice JTL bow. Slight warping can be straightened so not an issue. I think it will reach about 1,200 euros (my guess) Frog looks nice and flush. good condition. Lovely head in my opinion. Wood looks to be good quality from my eyes. 

    Lot. 71 Lovely looking Hill bow. Clean repair to back of head. So for a player it will be a good value. Good Broken bows are still sought after so I think this will get a good price. I have a repaired Lamy pere that I bought on the cheap and works a treat.

    Lot 65, 66 two nice childrens violins. I think both will have a good tone. Bargain price for my students if I can win either of these. Problem is they sell for much higher in Japan so I will be up against the big guns. 

    Lot 9. Betts violin looks nice although not sure of the starting price.


    This is just my humble beginners eye opinion. Any experts please feel free to offer pearls of wisdom. 




  11. I can't help but be a bit skeptical about assuming that all violins following a certain "pattern" will necessarily have similar sound qualities. Real Stainers are quite rare violins, as I unerstand things. I know I've only had the chance to play on one that was widely accepted as authentic. One other, which was supposed to be, had a late Dario certificate, and I know some experts were questioning whether it was really a Stainer. From such a small sample, I could only say that the real Stainer I played was very nice, clear, responsive, and very similar to a rather high arched Amati I tried at the same time in the same setting. In any case, it was a brief trial, and I wouldn't draw any serious conclusion from it. After that, what does one consider a "Stainer copy?" The high quality violins I've known and played that some might call "Stainer copies" have included Widhalms, Stadelmanns, Carcassis, Tecchlers, a Peter Guarneri of Venice, Busans, Goffrillers, Guersans, Klotz', Pfretschners, a Laske, a Rombouts...but personally, I wouldn't call any of these "copies." I think of them more as "Stainer-inspired," because while they might take inspiration from certain Stainer-like features like f-hole shape or a certain idea of arching, they often don't resemble the data one can access of authentic Stainers in several key aspects that affect tone, like the actual arching, thicknesses, f-hole positioning, stop length and wood choice, let alone the "unmeasurables" like varnish composition and the possibility of ground layer effects. Those violins I've used that were "Stainer inspired," some for short trials, some for long periods of professional use, were very different in their sound and playing qualities, some deep and gutsy and some clear and "bell-like" as the usual Stainer prejudice goes. Years ago, there was a report in the Strad about a Smthsonian concert where a respected quartet played a concert on a set of Stainers and a set of Stradivaris, and the journalist reported how the Stainers surprised everyone in the hall by how deep and powerful they sounded.


    Thank you for your interesting thoughts on the subject. I guess there are far too many variables to just pin down to the properties according to a certain pattern, as I am learning on MN.

    I would love a chance to play on an authentic stainer violin.


    My luthier friend, who is letting me trial a ‘stainer labelled’ violin, was confident of it’s potential tone quality and projection before even completing the restoration job. ( it had been sitting in the back of his paris workshop in pieces for 50 years before moving to Tokyo)


    The new bass bar is kind of curvy shaped. While the neck projection and saddle height measurements have been adjusted to his specifications for high arched violins.

    I have no idea about the ins and outs of this.. but the end result is a violin with a large projection, really deep G and singing A and E. Not sure how I would describe the D string though..


    I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a lucky find. 


    Anyway, this has all set in motion an interest into discovering the tonal qualities of an authentic Stainer. I may never know. 

    All fun and games. 


    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I’m very much new to MN and going through all the posts is overwhelming.

  12. One reason - because all wood (of the same spices - from the same tree even) is similar, and yet not EXACTLY alike.

    The same maker, making the same model violin, with the exact same overt measurements - out of wood from one tree or log? they will never sound exactly the same.

    Very much like different models of the violin (Strad - Stainer) MAY sound very similar. Or not at all alike. OR - very different. Or perhaps partially alike.

    It all depends on exactly what the maker does with the thickness-ing of the final plates and all of the other etc.'s.


    Considering such is why violin making is a science AND an art - both.


    Thanks. Out of interest. I wonder how much consideration, if any was placed on the scientific aspect of violin making all those centuries ago over the artistic aesthetics. (sure this question has been discussed on MN, so will have a sift through posts)

    Having said that, I guess scientific concepts back then was very different to the knowledge base of today’s modern scientific approach and use of high tech equipment.

    With regards to art, I suppose this is continually evolving.

  13. Hi All,


    As a follow up to my recent acquisition, I was wondering if anyone could recommend recordings of real stainer instruments in both baroque and modern set up, solo and ensemble?


    I recently came across the clip of Jorg-michael Schwarz briefly discussing the different qualities of his stainer along with some lovely playing. 


    I have noticed that my particular stainer-esque german violin has a bell like tonal quality to the A and E string. It is a very different to my ‘strad G forme’ copy. 

    So wondering if this is a common quality found in the better Stainer copies. My friend’s Marchetti has a very similar quality on the A string so I was a bit confused how two very different patterned instruments could have similar tonal characteristics. 








  14. A bit off-topic, but I'm curious about the orientation of the figure on the back of this violin.  How is it that one side of the back has a rising flame direction, while the other slopes downward?  It's as though it was a one-piece back in that sense.  If the back is bookmatched, then both sides should slope up or down, right?  Did the maker flip one side over?  My violin has the same configuration, also made by a maker of Füssen heritage (though trained in Vienna, it seems)...




    Is it one of those random things ("pay no attention to the direction of the figure in this maple") or does it have some significance?

    Interesting. I didn’t notice the flame direction. But now that you mentioned It does seem rather at odds to what I usually come across. I wonder whether this was a quirk of regional maker(s) aimed at particular acoustic results? Or just using what was available at the time. I quite like it though. I actually like the asymmetrical features on this violin, especially the f-holes. 

    I love the look of your violin as well. How would you describe the tonal qualities of your instrument..if one is able to put it into words?

  15. To my beginner, untrained eye I see a few similarities... pegbox shape, varnish color, a few spots in the wood grain seem similar, and of course let's not forget the obvious similarity that is is also a violin  :P  Just trying to build my knowledge by comparing what I can here online and in person, and reading what others say.  Following this thread.  

    Message to the OP: I know nothing of what I speak... erm, type!  Just sharing a thread with an discussion on instruments you might find useful or interesting that was helpful to me.  I see you, too, are a new member.   :D   

    Thank you for sharing your experiences as well. I am indeed new to this forum. So Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, as they say in Japan.

  16. OK I thought there was a much bigger repair involving new wood below the bass f-hole - there seem to be some rather suspicious diagonal lines ...

    I suppose originally the violin would have looked a bit more like this?



    Hi Martin, 

    Just wondering whether the valuation of the type of violin you posted falls within the 5-10k pounds price range? If so would this the rough ball park for my violin too..Difficult to assess by photos alone...the pricing of similar instruments in Tokyo is quite optimistic in comparison to Europe.

  17. OK I thought there was a much bigger repair involving new wood below the bass f-hole - there seem to be some rather suspicious diagonal lines ...

    I suppose originally the violin would have looked a bit more like this?


    Thanks for sharing a similar looking violin for comparison.

    Yes, the only piece of new wood is the small repair to the left f hole. The rest are minor crack repairs to the table. 

    I just found out the violin was shown to Rampal (I previously thought it was Eric Blot but my friend corrected me yesterday) during a recent visit to Tokyo, who gave an estimated date of around 1720-50 based on his observations of the wood.

    It would be nice to find out who actually made it but I guess I’ll settle for an unknown maker from Fussen ..mid to late 18th century. 

  18. Hi

    How recently was the mouse-enlarged f-hole repaired? It looks like a very neat job, not the sort of thing people do these days on just any old violin ...

    I like the look of the instrument but I have to admit I get pretty confused between English and Saxon instruments of this period (which I take to be circa 1800). It's all the more difficult in this case since there's a lot of over-varnishing.

    I wonder where you get the idea that full arching is incompatible with power and projection? I suppose this is true if you're a jet-setting soloist and need to be heard above a full orchestra, but the needs of a concerto soloist should not be the general measure for acceptable violin tone. There are many fine early 18th century Italian instruments which are full in the arch, and plenty of serious professionals using them. 



    Thanks for the look in. I guess the glossy over varnish makes it hard to see the overall grain and texture. 


    The f-hole was repaired this year along with new bass bar and fingerboard.

    The left f hole from the outer nick down to the lower wing had been chewed off.

    I also noticed that the back while two piece has an additional slice of wood on the lower bottom right bout. My guess is the maker did not want to waste a good piece of tonewood as it doesn’t look like a previous repair job. 

  19. Hello everyone,


    I have acquired a lovely sounding old violin.  Apparently the instrument had been stored in pieces over the past 50 years or so before finally receiving some tender loving care a few months ago. (part of the f hole had been eaten by a hungry mouse, some table cracks but not serious, loss of varnish to top left side of table.) Back is in good condition with no sound post cracks etc. 


    Anyway, I believe the instrument could be from around mid-1700s. Based on a Stainer model. Has a label dated 1660 but not pinning my hopes on that. 


    The tone seems to have a bit of everything, rich deep sound on lower strings (viola like it played with a heavy arm) and pure sounding upper strings..So I reckon potentially lots of colours to be had from the instrument (with the right playing).

    Given the violin hasn’t been played in over 50 years I would imagine it would need some time to ‘wake up’. It's already a joy to play and projection is very good, which confuses me as I though fuller arched models did not have as much power and projection as the flatter arched models. 


    Would be very grateful for any clues as to the region and even possible maker.. (wishful thinking)


    I like to think the violin lived a fruity life over the centuries and is now ready for more action.












  20. Hi ,


    I would like some help identifying this hand written inscription. It was located inside, under the upper right side of the violin top.

    Th ink has spread making it hard to read, although I can just make out the year 1997 or 1947..



    Would be grateful for any ideas who this might be?




    Sorry wasn’t sure how to upload images..so pasted it as code.

    <a href="http://s1338.photobucket.com/user/kurisutokyo/media/IMG_8144_zpsu1m63uzx.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o699/kurisutokyo/IMG_8144_zpsu1m63uzx.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo IMG_8144_zpsu1m63uzx.jpg"/></a>
  21. Thank you very much for the replies so far folks.

    All very helpful. I will probably take the cautious approach of small incremental tweaks while keeping a log of the changes. 


    I guess it would be prudent to ask the luthier to copy the original bridge in case it needs to be cut down in the new position.



  22. Hello everyone,

    I’m new to Maestronet so just wanted to say a quick hi and wish you all a Happy New Year 2016.


    I’m currently sifting through all the archived posts for advice on a change in set up for my violin.

    However, I would be grateful for any up to date feedback/opinions etc.


    I have a modern violin (16 years old) that I bought from the day it was made. 

    I love the violin but have started to think about whether a change in the string length might make life slightly easier for playing.


    Here are my violin measurements based on a strad G pattern:


    Lob 360mm

    neck stop 132mm

    body stop 198mm

    vibrating string length 332mm (measured from edge of nut to front edge of bridge facing the fingerboard along the A string)


    From reading posts on the MN forum it seems the standard bridge position should allow for a 328mm-330mm string length.

    My second (spare) violin has a much smaller string length of 326mm and feels very easy to move around.


    My question is should I consider moving the bridge further north (adjusting sound post accordingly)?

    Will this adversely effect the tonal characteristics of my violin for the worse?


    I don’t have large hands but can adjust my intonation more or less on any violin. However, I am hoping an adjustment will help my 10ths, fingered octaves and other stretches for the better, as the stretches feel more natural on my smaller instrument.


    My local luthier (in Tokyo) offered various solutions to shortening the string length. The most extreme solution was to extend the nut to shift the finger board down by a few mm and then move the bridge up by a few mm. However, the neck elevation would have to be adjusted so I am worried this would be too evasive. The least evasive seems to be to just incrementally move the bridge up a tad and see if this makes a difference to playability.

    Alternatively, thinning the neck might also help. So far I have refrained from any work that requires shaving any wood off my violin.


    I have to add that a few years ago I changed my fittings to the Bogaro and Clemente pernambuco tailpiece and pegs.

    The previous tailpiece was 112mm whereas the current one is shorter by a few mms. The tail gut was lengthened ever so slightly to accommodate the difference. Would this be something to look into as well.


    Thanks in advance for any help and words of wisdom.





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