bengreen

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About bengreen

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  1. Bending Flat-backed Instrument

    Oops. The dates just registered. Nice solutuon with the wedges. Simple and effective.
  2. Bending Flat-backed Instrument

    Actually, not a bending iron. It's your basic household iron (or in my case, two of them...one for each side of a bass back). I followed Roger's guidance (with plenty of practice on scrap first) . I had tried both V and narrow straight bit and found the straight bit worked better for me. I just had to pick a diameter such that the kerf was narrow enough to close when fully bent but not so narrow as to close before the full bend was achieved, which could rip the back. I clamped the back to the bench, making sure it was quite flat so the routed channel would of uniform depth. Clamped a guide rail across, crossed fingers and toes, and went across in one pass with a trim (small) router leaving between 1 to 1.5 mm of thickness at the bottom. I built a bending platform of plywood. A level portion to clamp the back to and a downward inclined ramp matching the desired bend angle. I lined up the kerf where the level portion met the ramp and clamped, the top of the back extending over the ramp like a diving board. Heated up a pair of household irons set for max steam, lay a wet cloth over the bend area and ironed it (albeit two handed) like ironing trousers, gradually tilting the irons to lever the back down against the ramp. Then clamped bent portion to the ramp. There was virtually no springback when I released it the next day. Considering the absolute terror I felt at the start, the result was strangely anticlimactic. After considerable prep and positioning, the actual bending was fast and easy. Hope that helps.
  3. Glue for underslide

    Instrument makers have it easy. Hot hide glue. But bow makers are all over the map. The closest I’ve heard to anything resembling a rule is to use more water resistant adhesives at the grip due to sweaty hands. CA glue works fine. In reality so does liquid hide glue in spite of the admonition. I wouldn’t stress over it. What’s probably more important is your prep and working techniques. Rough up the gluing surface of the silver prior to gluing. Some use acid. Others sand paper. Pin the silver before stressing it with filing. Always file or sand pushing the silver into the wood, not prying it away. Drill the initial portion of the hole for the eyelet that penetrates the silver slightly wider than the eyelet. Then switch to slightly undersize for the wood. This can help avoid the thread of the eyelet from prying up on the silver as you screw it in for the first time. What I would love to see is a questionnaire handed out to bow makers asking “what types of glue have you used on the various parts of the bow, bonding what materials and how effective were they? I wish the VSA would take it up as a project. To me, the value of such a statistical survey seems a no brainer. I put the request in years ago when they were soliciting topics to pursue, but never did hear back.
  4. Double bass forma

    I told myself I was going to wean myself from social media. So much for resolutions. -- Bob, I've got all of the plans and remember crosschecking at the time. I have a vague memory that one other neck was in error too. They're buried in my storage locker. Next time I'm over there I'll try to remember to look. -- I had the same issue with Fedex copying. In my case the widths were similar but the lengths were off from 2 to 5 mm. I elected just to live with it. Faulty expectations: thought blueprints would be pricier and didn't go there. Thanks, I'll know better next time. -- For those of you into making a BIG violin: http://hutchinsconsort.org/ Joe let me play the big one. Forget D or Eb. It was more like a C or C# neck.
  5. Double bass forma

    Be careful with the Peter Chandler plans. It was wonderful that he was willing to fill an obvious void in the literature but there are problems with his plans. Specifically, I made a template for the neck and scroll of his John Lott Sr. bass by gluing a copy of the plans to some hard board and cutting along his lines. But I noticed the dimensions he specified for the thickness of the top and bottom of the neck were way thinner than the actual measurements of my template, by a good 15mm. It was as if he was including the thickness of the fingerboard to the neck as well, except that the surface of the phantom fingerboard flowed directly into the scroll. Luckily I caught it before cutting any wood. And also luckily I had made several full size copies of the plans so was able to do some creative cutting and pasting to come up with a template that matched his written (and reasonable) dimensions. Chandler was a very nice man who was kind enough to send me photos of the actual bass upon which the plans were based. But by the time I caught these problems he was gone so the opportunity for having corrections made were past. I did send an email to the supplier you note above alerting them to the problems but never did get a reply. So if you go that route, look the plans over carefully and be sure everything makes sense before you cut any wood. Also understand that the outlines either side of the center line are two separate drawings. One side is the outline of the front, the other side is the outline of the back. So what you will end up with are two half templates from the one drawing. I got my wood at International Violin.
  6. cello bow with German grip

    Well, that's me again answering while sleep deprived. I'm awake now and your last post actually registered. Don't be too bothered about bad habits. Yes, foundations are good and if you repeatedly practice mistakes you'll decidedly slow your progress. But as far as crossover goes, the principal bass in my section regularly takes lessons from a violin teacher and I only wish I could play half as well as he does. Your technique is never final, it's a process. Draw from as wide an information base as you can access. Try stuff. Some ideas you'll use, some you'll reject, and the mix will evolve as your playing does. By all means, try a bass bow on your cello. Easiest/cheapest would be to borrow your teachers bow when you go for that bass lesson. Not sure what to expect. I had a weird experience at a makers workshop where someone showed up with a pair of french bass bows that weighed in at around 230 grams (typical is more like 130 to 150 for bass, and your cello about 80). Monsters! They were built for a specific, reasonable application but I can't remember what it was now. Tried them on my 7/8 bass and felt like I was torturing the poor thing. It felt like I was way overdriving it, sort of like overdriving an amp with too much input voltage. German bows are generally lighter than French so maybe not quite so overkill on your cello. For what it's worth, David Finckel uses bass rosin on his cello bow. His 100 YouTube cello talks are totally fun for this bass player to watch. Good luck with it. If you get a chance later on, give us an update with how things worked out. PS Fun quote, possibly even relevant. My first serious bass teacher was in the Philadelphia Orchestra. A large man. Demonstrating a passage on my dinky plywood instrument, he said "This bass can't take as much as I can give it!" Always loved that line. PPS Second thoughts, jogged memory of trying expensive bows of my teacher's...I dropped it. Luckily, carpet.
  7. cello bow with German grip

    Short answer is, any bow maker could make you a frog to spec. In one respect it would actually be easier than a conventional frog because German bass frogs rarely have a heel plate. So that's one fussy, time consuming operation that goes bye bye. You'd just have to figure what are appropriate dimensions. Looked at the web site filddecollector mentions and some of those baroque cello bows look very like a frog made for bass (Alsatian) which is meant as a crossover for French and German bow players. Looks like a viable option. The thought of adapting an existing cello of German bass frog is not that compelling for me. Anything you add to a cello frog would be kind of Rube Goldberg-ish and probably interfere with a proper grip. And a German bass frog has a much wider hair ribbon than a cello, an eyelet too wide to fit in a cello stick's frog mortise, a screw diameter larger than the cello's drilled shaft, a stick channel too wide that wouldn't mate with any cello stick. There would be so much work involved in repurposing it, the end result so compromised, it really would be better to start from scratch. Since she's already done it, my first move would be to give the person Jerry mentioned a call. Then you'll be talking to someone who knows exactly what it costs and how successful the result was for the player. I sympathize with your problem. I have shoulder issues too. I really can't go for more than about two minutes of continuous playing without searing heat crippling me. In my case, all that's necessary is to "unload" the tension in my rotator muscles for a second or two and I'm good to go again. Probably 99% of orchestra rep has sufficient pauses in it that my shoulder has a negligible affect on my ensemble playing. But to make it through the five minutes or so needed for a Bach cello suite movement, that's where it makes me so frustrated I could cry. I also contemplated your route: switching to German frog, or making a bow with a crossover frog. Underhand is less stress on the shoulder.Trouble is, I have close to fifty years invested in learning French bow technique. I can pick up a German bow and scrub away simple lines, but as far as playing with anything remotely resembling the facility and nuance I can manage with a French bow...no. But that brings up a point. French and German technique are very different. And almost certainly baroque bow too. Whichever you go with, it would probably be a boon to get some lessons with a teacher proficient with that grip, even if it means a cellist taking a lesson with (gasp!) a bass player.
  8. Ebony won't plane

    Hi Ed, Just curious, do you use the toothed irons in your bow work? Reason I ask is that I've started using the Hill method planing sticks: wire tensioner to straighten cambered stick and use of larger planes, longer strokes. Results have been way more even octagons than I ever managed with the little French bowmaker planes. But tear out is a problem and at some point I have to switch back to scraper planes, in particular the Lie-Nielsen 212 above. Is a bow facet too narrow for a fine toothed block or apron plane to be effective? Ben
  9. Ebony won't plane

    For bows and fingerboards this seems to take nasty grain in stride (when it's sharp). And angle is adjustable. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/scraping-planes/small-scraping-planes?node=4075
  10. Edward Herron-Allen ebook...

    Re: H-A dissing bass bows..."It might be the torn out and burned page missing from your copy" No Will, it appears more to be the burned out grey cells in my skull. I downloaded the epub and searched but the remark wasn't there. The only thing skimming through the bow section that jumped out at me as being a bit iffy was the illustration of the keystone shaped plug holding the hair in the head. Can't see how that shape would work. Sorry friend. I do remember going to the Central Library (San Diego) long ago when I first got interested in the subject and reading that quip in one of the aged tomes I brought home at the time, but it wasn't the Heron-Allen. One other souvenir from back then that has stuck with me was an author postulating that the reason Strads are uniformly good is that they were made so long ago that all the bad ones have had enough time to be weeded out and junked. Kind of a musical survival of the fittest.Does that thought ring a bell?
  11. Edward Herron-Allen ebook...

    It's been years since I looked at it, but I remember him losing me when he made a crack along the lines of "compared to the artistry that goes into a violin bow, any garage handyman can make a passable bass bow!" Oy!
  12. Roman Numerals engraved into top plate?

    " Such roman numbers are so called assembly marks ..." Having trouble with that one. If I were assembling such, my marks would be penciled on the inside surfaces, not marring the outside. Tongue in cheek? I bought a grab bag of some 60 junker bows years ago at a swap. About half of them had similar marks. I assumed they were schools. And Roman Numerals used because they could be done more easily with a scribe or blade than alphabet characters.
  13. Bow Wrapping, Whalebone style

    I just skimmed through all of the comments so hope I'm not repeating something already said. I was taught (by Lynn Hannings) to do faux whalebone largely the same as a silk wrap. Which means both ends are pulled under, not just the beginning. I use a dot of CA at each end as insurance but it's really the tension of the wrap that holds it together. If you haven't done silk, the way to end the wrap is to lay a loop of thread underneath the last half dozen or so turns, slip the end of the wrap through the loop and then pull it all through underneath the wrap so that the winding exits with the loop. Then just trim flush. A quick and dirty drawing done with a mouse: When doing this with whalebone, you terminate the white strip after entering the leather area, burying its end under several turns of the black, Then finish with the black alone to the end so you only have the one strip to pull under. It's easy with silk, tricky with whalebone, but it gets rid of your problem of trying to stabilize the wrap until the leather is in place. Though in reality you could just tape the end and leather over it, especially if you want some padding to lose some of the ripple feeling under thin lizard skin. If you do the pull under, the whalebone needs to not just taper but be sliced into a thin ribbon for maybe a half inch after the end of the winding so it can flex easily, but thick enough not to be severed by the thread. It's also a good idea to roughen the entire length of the underside of the wrap material with sandpaper so it won't be so slick. Plus doing a shoeshine with the strip over the edge of your bench to make it more supple. If the pic's too primitive, let me know and I'll try to make it clearer.
  14. Effect of practice mute?

    First two were plywood before I got serious. Advancing instrument was carved,a Juzek 5-string, obtained locally. I wanted the low notes (Eb down to C) but found extensions and machines awkward to play. 5-string is simple and comfortable with the bonus of going down to B0, though it has its own set of quirks. When it came time for a professional instrument, I literally did a grand tour of the country auditioning basses because not many 5-strings this side of the pond. The Pöllmann was the best price/perfomance I found at that time. Buying it ended up a little weird (actually a lot weird) but that's another tale. One regret. Had a Prescott 5-string conversion on trial but it gave me tendinitis after a few days because it was set up so abominably. At that time I didn't have enough playing experience (and no making/repair chops) to see beyond the setup. Prescotts are something of a holy grail for American players, maybe as much mystical as practical, but still sorry I let it get away.
  15. Effect of practice mute?

    Bass is a Pöllmann. The carving at the edges has been a feature on every bass of theirs that I've ever seen. It has conventional purfling as well. The corners are especially ornate. Let me know if you'd like more pics but there are probably plenty of them out there on the web.