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Deo Lawson

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  1. Resist the temptation to remove a lot of wood all at once when carving the purfling channel. Though it is satisfying, you'll quickly learn that your cuts probably didn't go as deep as you thought, which manifests as chips on the outside of your channel.
  2. There's a million things but one thing I am confident about is a wider, stronger bass bar (in an instrument where it is deficient). Besides of course the obvious surface level adjustments, such as a sound post move or a lighter bridge. I would say about half the instruments I have come across in my life have had bridges that are too thick, sometimes even ones set up in professional shops.
  3. Shading with amber varnishes is difficult. I have used them for years. In my experience it is hit or miss whether or not you'll be left with "grade lines" showing the edges of the layers. Usually miss, although I have gotten lucky once.
  4. Fashions come and go. Personally I strongly dislike the obsession of many violin owners with changing out all the fittings on their instrument, like they're painting a new house or something. Lots of fine fittings sitting unused in dusty drawers.. Good business for retailers though. Admittedly when I was younger I also fell for the harp tailpieces and trying different woods and all that.
  5. It's very simple to avoid strings riding on peg shafts by drawing out your scroll template and drawing a line from the *outside* of the widest point of the peg hole to the top of the nut. If all the lines clear all the pegs, you're good.
  6. Deo Lawson

    Tearout

    Honestly, don't worry yourself silly about it. Learn the direction of the grain and work with it. With time you'll be able to work the wood without a second thought to the grain direction. A sharp plane helps.. but you really don't need to spend hours getting a razor edge on it.
  7. Gut strings only work well within a very specific pitch / tension ratio. I have tried gut on an extended range instrument (low C on a 5 string) and I was highly disappointed. The optimal range for gut strings is probably the reason string instruments have the tuning they do today.
  8. It's not makers that are stuck but the players buying instruments. Makers have no shortage of novel and interesting concepts for violins.
  9. Get a very small knife and cut very deep. Remember that if the tip breaks off it is no great feat to glue it back in as if it never broke.
  10. It will be fine, don't be silly. But don't expect gut E strings to last anyways: they operate very close to their breaking point and they are sensitive to skin contact, depending on your physiology.
  11. Careful where you get it from. I ordered button lac once directly from an Indian supplier and after applying it to wood it was eternally soft and sticky.
  12. Very few violinists do Paganini well, but many *think* they do it really well. Most modern recordings are unlistenable in my opinion. For me Alexander Markov has the best take on the caprices, and Massimo Quarta on the concertos, by a mile.
  13. Acoustic instruments in a rock band situation is a losing battle. I've been there. Different strings will not help you much. It is possible to improve the sound by adjusting the placement of the transducer. Even a small adjustment can change the tone dramatically. Adding a stick-on element to the body of the instrument will get you much nicer sound also, but it also makes the whole thing more microphonic. (don't spend a lot of money, you can get piezos for cheap on Amazon and Aliexpress and they are functionally the exact same thing, with less fancy packaging)
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