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Ethan Ford Heath

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  1. I have a few questions regarding this viola in the current (Oct. 2022) Tarisio T2 auction: https://t2-auctions.com/auctions/lot/?csid=2199764992&cpid=3845292032&filter_key= 1. How possible is it to determine who actually made a Leo Aschauer instrument, whether he himself, a student, or another Mittenwald maker on contract? 2. Why is Tarisio’s description so cagey about the label? It doesn’t seem so illegible to me. 3. It looks like someone has changed the date, obliterating the line above; the paper also looks disturbed. Why would someone bother to do that on an instrument of this nature? 4. I’m no expert obviously, but to me this looks similar to the small/original version of the Guadagnini that the Hills expanded in size, the one David Rattray has spoken of so highly as his favourite model for viola (in the expanded version). Is my guess correct?
  2. Chris, it is great that you are still willing to make big violas! I played a 17-3/8" Helmuth Keller da Salo model for 25 years, initially using cases from "American Case Company", (IIRC), and later a carbon case by Accord. The hardware didn't hold up very well, though. I have seen Gewa, Bobelock, and I think some of the nice Maurizio Riboni Cremona cases are big enough. I never found a dart or shaped case that would fit it though. Strings... I used what Mr. Keller recommended, Dominants + Jargar A. Later Helicores + Larsen A, after Jargars seemed to go through a period of quality control problems. On my particular viola, the Helicores were good, except that they broke soon and often. I wore out Dominants too, but they didn't start breaking quite so soon. The extra-long Helicores worked fine for me. With standard C-strings, the upper wrapping sometimes wanted to hang over the nut. I haven't liked any of the newer strings on that viola, although Evah Pirazzi Golds are my favorite on my other violas, and seem to be the standard go-to string in my section these days. I always thought Obligatos were too dull. Could be useful for toning down a really brassy instrument.
  3. Does anyone happen to know the original (or current?) body length, or any other dimensions, of the Maggini viola listed in the Cozio archive as "Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Brescia, date unknown, Viola: 59839"? I doubt it would be acceptable to try to post copyrighted photos, so perhaps this question is just for those with access to Cozio, unfortunately. It is not particularly elegant looking, and might not have drawn my interest, except that I just played an inexpensive new instrument that as far as I can tell was inspired by that viola. It played and sounded *far* better than I could have imagined for the price. The new instrument is made in a wide range of sizes, and I was just wondering how big the original might be. The one I tried was 15-3/4", and to someone who has never been a fan of small violas, it was shocking how good it was. Or for that matter, the same question about this da Salo: "Gasparo Bertolotti 'da Salò', Brescia, date unknown, Viola: 49143" I would be thrilled if anybody knows these instruments and could give me a clue as to the actual dimensions.
  4. I missed the registration DL for the convention; does anyone know whether the convention recordings would be available to lapsed VSA members who re-join now?
  5. How old and/or tall is this student you are building for?
  6. I wear the varnish right off there within a month or two of professional playing, and then sweat starts attacking the wood, so I use the plastic protector films, and have never had a problem with them. No one can see them, and I don't really notice them either. There is still a bit of deterioration on the top and bottom edge of the tape, but it saves most of the varnish. I am told they are easily removable when cleaning and touch up work is needed. I admit I didn't like the idea of plastic on my viola at first, but in practice it's a non-issue. Due I suppose to Covid supply issues, the maker who set up a viola I purchased recently didn't have the tape or plastic film available, and although we have been off work for the most part since late January, I have already significantly damaged the rib varnish. I keep waiting for Covid to simmer down a bit before I go back to the luthier to get the varnish repaired and the tape installed...
  7. Even if the various ultralight instruments do not ultimately achieve wide acceptance, perhaps it is possible that the things makers learn from them could result in real, if marginal, gains in their more traditional instruments. Anecdotally, I met Mr. Curtin at a meeting of the Michigan Violin Makers' Society last summer, and tried a viola he had in his workshop; in fact his first: an Erdesz cutaway model he had made in the '70s. He recently pulled it out of storage, and put a new top on it with wood choice, arching, bass bar, and bridge according to his current thinking. It was great, and I mean great even in comparison to the old Italian instruments I have been lucky enough to try. I would have bought it on the spot if I were pecunious... as a result, I have some violas for sale... (facepalm emoji) In addition, he's a very nice guy! I would very much like to try his most recent viola evolution.
  8. Newark? It is Europe-adjacent, at least. https://www.lincolncollege.ac.uk/courses/ba-hons-musical-instrument-craft-violin-making-and-repair/
  9. I came to this thread hoping to become a card-carrying member of the "American Sycamore Movement"...
  10. I am very interested, he is selling these and if there is any way to get in touch with him.
  11. If they have online events, it would be the first time I could "attend" since 1992.
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