Stephen Perry

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  1. Stephen Perry

    Building for too-much resonance?

    Thanks all. I'll take all this under advisement. I work so hard for even across and up and down and blah blah. A bit disappointing, to say the least!!! Some very good points above.
  2. Stephen Perry

    Building for too-much resonance?

    I had a client reject too instruments because they were too resonant: "The thing that I find doesn't work for me is that both violins have so much resonance (for want of a better word). I realize that this may for many people be a highly desired characteristic, and given that both your violins have it, I'm sure it's the sound you were aiming for. I can only say that it doesn't work for me for playing fiddle tunes. I've reluctantly come to this decision based on playing both, along with the loaner I have, and having a good fiddler (who is also a classical player) give me her opinion and let me hear the instrument played." I am used to this kind of response, and am unsure of how to remedy this. I have no idea really where too much resonance would come from, or whether there is something I might detune to reduce this. Thanks much for any help.
  3. Stephen Perry

    How to sharpen a gouge, for the average bloke

    Mr. Darnton has precisely the same experience as I do with the woodcraft stone. One of my favorites. For regular gouges, I use the green chrome compound on a buffing wheel to polish the inside (if it's messed up, I have slip stones and then abrasive paper on a suitable dowel to get the junk out - lots of my tools are my great grandfather's and need restoration prior to use). Following the woodcraft stone, I go straight to stropping strokes on maple with compound on it. Just to get that edge polished. With gouges, if I can't get my technique smooth they end up a bit irregularly polished or whatever, but still work. I keep the maple & compound stuff right by me and touch up while I work. I used to use a leather wheel in my drill press to polish and keep touched up, but I sold my drill press when I moved. It was a bit scary, regardless!
  4. Stephen Perry

    Tutorials for Bridge & Soundpost

    Major and minor bridge adjustments can have a substantial effect. The trick being to determine enough is done, lest one go from OK to great to blah! I know enough to eventually figure things out well enough, but am no master.
  5. Stephen Perry

    Tutorials for Bridge & Soundpost

    This is a real issue - not only the sound, but good violinists can play with both power and very softly. I can't duplicate the test conditions myself. Especially in my current "wow it's loud in here" shop! I end up listening to the attack and all kinds of other components of the response and sound, fooling myself that I'm getting close to optimal. Used to be that I could borrow an excellent church whenever I wanted. No more!
  6. Stephen Perry

    Tutorials for Bridge & Soundpost

    Vertically, edge is half bridge thickness towards endpin, edge is set in about 1.5 mm, same as bar. I set the post symmetric with the bar, as to outside edge, and back 5 mm from the line between the F hole notches as a starting point. Exactly, marking up low stick tape. Then I fit the bridge. YMMV
  7. Stephen Perry

    Which viola to make for myself?

    Gives me some ideas. Thanks. I've not built anything Brescian influenced, but always could do. I'll sketch up a Strad CV mod, see what others have done with that general model. Imagine that just shy of 16" would fit. As for Manfio's comment - I have no idea how to avoid such things! Got a good model?!? Suggestions? I clearly don't know what I'm doing, except that I know that a viola is not a scaled up violin!!! I see is gone, but I can likely browse for pictures! Pretty varnish, too. Just did OK on a ukulele, though. Perhaps slightly different!
  8. Stephen Perry

    Which viola to make for myself?

    I'm going to make a viola in 2019, possibly even to keep. Recommendations on a laid back model? I have da Salo Strad poster, if I remember correctly. I know very little about violas. Just a model to work around. Suggestions on arching etc? Thanks!
  9. Stephen Perry

    Medio Fino Student Violin

    Bill, that's what I immediately wondered. I end up bushing the big side of the peg holes on these. No biggie and keeps the new pegs normal sized and tapered. I want it. Fun instruments!
  10. Stephen Perry

    Tips for getting started on my own

    Great advice. On wood, general lumber suppliers often have decent Engelmann useful for practicing. I had a perfect 12" wide board that I used for several tops, after aging it for years. I used silver maple out of my yard for quite a few neck blocks. Wonderful wood! The simple steps are the way to go. Make ribs. Lots of ribs. Practice joining spruce and maple. Thin the wood after and try to break the joints. Make sure the glue holds. Get some decent wood for neck blocks, practice laying out, cutting etc, to end up with several scrolls, a couple to laugh about and a couple to use! Study the threads here on everything. Especially tools and their use. Tools and technique generate a personal feel to an instrument.
  11. Stephen Perry

    Tips for getting started on my own

    Learn to really sharpen things.
  12. Stephen Perry

    Best resource for violin setup?

    Some nice reference material on a few aspects here:
  13. Stephen Perry

    Just venting

    Rue has really hit on an issue. I barely feel qualified for repairs, but compared to the stuff I imagine we have all seen, I'm at the masters level. People have moved into a commodity/dispose mindset. Don't understand the time an instrument takes to make, let alone repair. Unwilling to pay. And are then too-often obnoxious about the whole process. My most cringeworthy discovery was the inside of an interesting 17th C N Italian instrument. Fortunately, bondo hadn't been invented when the butchery was done. A friend and I surrendered and turned it into a kit, soaked out a pound of glue and parchment, and random patches. I hate to think what would have happened with modern materials available!!! I have zero, none, nada instruments to repair at this point, and am hiding.from them for a bit!!!
  14. Stephen Perry

    Where to buy a decent white violin?

    Trade names are used for most products. Ivan Dunov. Andreas Eastman. Kohr. Gobs of regular supplier trade violins are imported in the white and labeled. For over 100 years. What's the alternative? Now the specific situation you point out does present some issues. As does the last substantial transformation rule. That's the issue to be concerned about. Violin carved in China goes somewhere in Europe in the white, varnished and set up, gets a maker's label. That's legal, but intentionally misleading. Years ago, 1990s, I saw a Chinese violin (a very nice one) with the label of a maker trained in Cremona. Called the maker's dad (couldn't find the maker), who stated clearly that the violins of that color etc were made by his son, and several had been sent to the US. Later I saw the instrument on a general music dealer site as being Italian. It's a problem. In this country, the United States of America, "Made in USA" requires that all or substantially all materials and labor be USA sourced. Violins have enough stuff from enough different places that real attorneys get baffled how to arrange a label!. I was a bit uncertain, so I had a real import type attorney do a label for me. Which was hysterical. Even that provides problems, ethical and otherwise. An importer was advertising "made in USA" violins. I called. Plates and rib assemblies were coming in almost finished and being assembled in the US. I wrote a detailed letter, simply to help keep him out of trouble. The website disappeared. The business shortly disappeared. Likely just differently packaged now!! If the industry were better organized, might be possible to define labeling standards and get a buy in. Then there's the issue of educating the buying public. I've seen in shops both accurate and honest selling about what's what, and some outrageous statements that had me leave, lest I say something. Labels giving a name, place, and year are going to exist. If that's the name of a fictional entity, people still think it's a real shop somewhere. If it's the name of someone right there in front of them, they'll think it's made by that individual. So some truth in labeling is useful. On the other hand, few are going to find out their instrument isn't what they think, and none are going to sue or report to enforcers. So it's just going to exist. As is stands, if I buy wood from Europe, and use imported fittings and strings, but carve the whole thing in the United States, it isn't a Made in USA product, but if I get a white violin from China, spray paint it and set it up in Europe, then it's a European product. Pretty silly!
  15. Stephen Perry

    Free Pianos

    Sometimes there are incredible solid rosewood pieces. The frames make great yard junk. But for violins, not a whole lot of material that's immediately and obviously useful. Grand piano case turned up with shelves is fun. Main advantage of the frame is that the wood is so aged and stable. I've used chunks for making jigs and tools (a friend is a piano maker - and we think a violin is a lot of work!)