Al Cramer

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About Al Cramer

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  1. Many thanks for all the ideas! Would anyone care to say something about soundpost woods? (I've read wildly conflicting statements about this is previous threads)
  2. The Maggini looks an awful lot like the one I bought from Reverb for 325$ and spent lots of time setting up, replacing pegs, and reworking/shimming the fingerboard. I really love the result -- rich dark tone, a great fiddle for what I play (mostly Celtic and jazz). It really rocks in 5th position -- e on the d string makes the top e ring like a bell. I was surprised that Conor Russel wrote they're disliked in Ireland: here in New England the session and French players like them. Re fix-up: have you considered starting slow? You could just ignore the crack in the Maggini for now and work on setup. Get yourself 5-6 bridge blanks, some sandpaper, an exacto knife with the curved scimitar style blade for thinning; then read some of the stuff on the net about fitting bridges and have at it. Some deal with sound-post: the fitting tools required cost little and you can them from Fiddlershop. Next step would be fingerboard, then pegs... none of this stuff is impossible to learn, you just have to spend a lot of time noodling around. Though I should add -- if you're new to the fiddle as a player, this is probably not the way to go. If you're going to try setup, you need to have your ears tuned in and your fingers need to know what a decent instrument feels like. But it works the other way as well: I found that doing setup seemed to make my playing better, not entirely sure why...
  3. That looks like a really nice fiddle for 275$ ! Wonder how it sounds... I know absolutely nothing compared to the people who regularly post here, but did want to mention: you might want to consider replacing the pegs with "Perfection Planetary Pegs" (or the Wittner version thereof). You can do the work yourself: set of pegs is 75$, plus you might need a peg-reamer (around 30$, cost + shipping from Chinese suppliers on ebay). If you did that, you could get rid of all 4 of the fine tuners, plus relieve all the stress on the pegbox (I really love that beautiful repair). If this interests you, check out the postings in Maestronet/Fingerboard re geared pegs. Players love them but it's a controversial topic as regards authenticity, respect for tradition, etc..
  4. If I might ask a more general question about notchless f holes (which I have never seen before): am I right in thinking the notches play no role in the response of the instrument, and are just there to cue us players into where to position the bridge? Thanks!
  5. Could someone please comment on the wood? I'm really intrigued by the back, because the upper region looks flamed but the lower looks almost quilted. Also the wide grain of the table is very cool. People say this is Markneukirchen/Schönbach ca. 1900: I didn't realize that those makers used such interesting wood!
  6. Violadamore, thanks for for your explanation of fluted f-holes. I did some googling and think I now understand what you wrote. I read through a great 2010 thread in Maestronet where people like Don Noon were trying to figure out how much the fluting affects the sound. (Results were inconclusive). But at least I understand Martin Swan's observation Fluting means more hands-on-work, so factory instruments wouldn't have it but individually made axes might; so if you took a factory job and carved some fluting prior to revarnishing, people would think it more valuable. Have I got this right? It is difficult for me to believe that anyone involved with this noble instrument would stoop to such shenanigans, but I am beginning to understand that scams are an ancient and revered part of the violin biz.
  7. Could someone please explain what "fluted ffs" (or "fluted fs") are? Am guessing it refers to the f-holes, but don't understand what "fluted" means. Thanks and sorry to ask a dumb question.
  8. Many thanks to everbody! Johnmasters saved me 32$. Maybe I'll risk 25$ on Harbor Freight's 6in long reach digital caliper. Since it's for the automotive crowd, it should be adequately sturdy (?)
  9. Rockler sells an interesting digital caliper for 32$. It's meant for people who are turning bowls on lathes, but I wondered if it could be used in violin making? The picture looks to me as if the distance between the end points and the base would be long enough to get to the center of a violin plate, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Here's the link.
  10. Dave Slight -- many thanks for the clarification! I didn't understand your first post, but now I get it. I can definitely see how the tail piece slamming down (especially the fine tuner of the E) can cause serious damage.
  11. Thanks for your replies! I am really envious of people who have so much experience working with these amazing instruments. I am only beginning to understand how they work. You think you've learned something about bridges and soundpost placement, and then find you've done a setup that's impossible to play. Then you start to noodle with with nut heights and fingerboard scoop and struggle to relate that to what you know about bridges and soundposts, and realize that you basically know nothing...somethig very holistic is going on with setup! I am very grateful for Pegbox and the willingness of people to share their knowledge.
  12. I'm a player who has become somewhat obsessed with carving bridges and noodling around with bridge & soundpost placement. Given my limited but evolving knowledge, I'm really bugged by warped bridges, because they make it hard for me to visualize the force vectors. But I'm curious: you always read that if a bridge is too warped, it can snap and damage the instrument. Is this really true? Has anyone actually seen that happen? Thanks!
  13. Blank face, you're talking about serious restoration. I was just trying to point how much it would cost to get it to speak again if the guy did the work himself. I figure cost of instrument + cost of self repair comes to 500-600$. Which it seems nowadays can get you a pretty nice instrument from Yitamusic.. I did this myself with an unlabeled late 19th century Maggini and was really happy with the results. If I were to try it again, I don't think I'd buy the instrument this guy is considering. The back seam is messed up and the scroll looks badly carved (maybe it's just the pix, but the left shot looks nothing like the reflection of the right). Also the way the flaming on the back points downwards? On the other hand there's the completely amazing label. In my musical neighborhood (Celtic) we have some tunes that everybody understands were composed by the Good Folk (aka. Faeries). I never heard of them making instruments, but if they did, that is exactly the kind of label they would slap on them.
  14. So what would it cost to get this fiddle up and running, if you want to do it yourself? Here are some guesses from my own experience. Pegs: 75$ for Planetary Perfection + 15$ for pegbox reamer. Strings: 30$ for Fiddlerman knockoffs of Dominants Bridge blanks: 40$. (That's for 5 - 6, again from Fiddlerman. You need at least this many to come up with something remotely plausible. Unless you're done this many times before). 1" wide plane from TrueValue hardware, + sandpaper: 15$ . You need this to regrade the fingerboard. bottom & top nuts, soundpost: 20$. Add in cost of xacto knife, hacksaw, and little bench vice (40$ total?) if you don't have them already. Hide-glue: 10$. Fingerboard shim: 20$ from StewMac. You only need this if the FB projection has sunk too low. Quite a lot of money! In my case it was worth it, but I think I was lucky.
  15. Could someone please comment on the scroll? I am trying to train my eye to evaluate scrolls. This scroll looks odd to me, as regards the side views and the visual swoop of the curvature... I would like to know what people who actually know what good scrolls look like think about this one. Thanks!