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About Felefar

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    Looking ar rocks, and fiddles, and other interesting stuff

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  1. I wonder where the German makers (the Dutzenarbeit-makers, I mean) sourced their maple from? The "tram lines" are distinctive, and very common, but only on instruments from that area.
  2. I saw somewhere a hypothesis that the 1/4 size was originally made as a "sopranino" instrument, to be tuned one fourth higher than a normal violin. That makes it one octave higher than a viola. Then all the other sizes got their name by filling in the gaps around full size and 1/4.
  3. The label looks VERY suspicious. The violin looks like it was built on back, which is unlikely since Enger was trained in France. MAny Scandinavian violin makers trained in Germany so BOB is common - but not Enger.
  4. A while ago I accidentally acquired a 5 string viola. Since the instrument was a "regular" 40.5cm one (16"), the e-string was barely able to stay on the tuning peg, and painfully tight. So I started wondering about changing it to a deep F instead. After thinking about this for a while, I sent off a quick email to one of the better known string makers asking if they could suggest a string made for fractional cello which might work. To my considerable surprise they replied that they a) don't make F-strings for violas, b) had some experimental F-strings lying about, and c) would send me two different ones to try out - free of charge - if I would send them an honest report on the strings! So I got the strings, moved everything about and adjusted the pegs while I was at it, and put the first F-string on. When plucked, it sounds about as resonant as a wet sponge. But when bowed! Maybe it's just my cheap&shiny viola that does it, but that string sounds amazing and much closer to cello than "normal" viola sound - even in high positions. Another week to settle in, and I will write the report on that string, then change to the other one and see if there is any difference.
  5. I have used Kurschner strings on my bass Gamba, and like all the others I can highly recommend them.
  6. Cattle. It's the most easily available bone of sufficient size and strength to make anything out of.
  7. Sounds like consensus, then. I will look for something that might work as a low F string. Hmm - I have the old strings off my tenor Wulf-fiedel...
  8. I would like to see - and try - that viola. One of my "future projects" is to make a Stainer "Tenore" copy. Then again I am 193cm tall (6'4" to the metrically challenged) with extra long arms, so I look for something around 48cm...
  9. Since this thread popped up, I will sneak my own question in here: I have a viola that someone has "converted" to 5 strings. The problem with it (apart from it being not a very good viola, which I guess is why it was butchered in the first place) is that it is rather big (42cm body), and the e string barely reaches the pegs and is close to the breaking point when tuned. So I am thinking that it would make more sense to put a deep F string on it instead? If I do, can anyone suggest a string that might suit? Something from a fractional cello, perhaps?
  10. Remains of an integral bass bar, partly carved away by some repair person and replaced with a "normal" glued-in one? Also I hope your thicknesses are missing a decimal point, or that is one thick block of wood.
  11. You could also look at Pyramid: http://pyramid-saiten.de/de/products/classic-violine.php Not really known for their violin strings, but my ca. 1970 "Kniefidel" sounds better with those than others I have tried. Not that there are many makers to choose from for that instrument...
  12. I would say Böhmen rather than Franken.
  13. #000 steel wool will just take the shine off without really removing anything. Talc is more likely to leave a thin film of talc on the neck - it should be softer than hardened varnish unless there are too many impurities in it.
  14. "A typical German factory model of the Saxon school" is another way of putting what we have all said here. Markneukirchen is on the German side of the border, Luby is on the Czech side - and Luby was formerly called Schönbach. Both towns are in Saxony, and many instruments were made in BOTH; parts being carried from one town to another depending on who needed which pieces when. This area produced an astonishing number of instruments over a long period of time, most of them by a kind of cottage industry / factory setup but also purely factory based. There are some common traits which are fairly easy to recognise, and your violin ticks all the boxes. Even with industrial scale production, there are fashions in violin making which helps to get an idea of when a particular instrument was made. The Art Noveau-inspired carving on yours puts it post-1910 and pre 1940. I am not sufficiently familiar with the fads and fashions of the Saxon instrument industry to get any closer than that, but Blank Face knows what he is talking about - so 1930's it is. I am a mere amateur here to learn, it seems I have begun to learn a little.
  15. It looks very Markneukirchen to me, or maybe Luby? The carving on the scroll looks more 1910-1920 to me, but it could of course equally well have been made after this to give it an appearance of ca. 1910...