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Al Cramer

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  1. I think you're right: this is a 1959 pop culture attempt to talk about gays. Stuff was so heavily coded back then, it's hard for us now to understand what was being said (like: violin = gay? What a weird idea). Reason I think you're right is: we're never told why the violin kid freaked out so much at the death of the guy who was killed. But we are told that the guy painted pictures, so maybe viewers back then would have reasoned: violin = gay and painting pictures = gay, so they must have been an item. If this reading is correct, I think the film is actually pretty courageous? Somebody made a TV episode in 1959 that was sympathetic to gays. It's obvious that the film should end when the violin kid plays "American the Beautiful" at the officer's mess. But some studio exec panicked at the idea of airing something sympathetic to gays, and insisted they add the violin-smashing scene. Again I thank you for posting. Semiotics of film is fascinating!
  2. Thanks. It fascinates me how cultural uses of images changes over time. I can't imagine David Burgess or Don Noon pasting a picture of himself on the back of his work!
  3. Very interesting, thanks for posting. I watched the whole thing. Up until the final scene I thought: this is the old stupid patriarchy, trying to reify itself and doing a pretty convincing job of it. Then the final scene where the kid smashes the the violin and announces he wants to be a soldier. Completely wrong for the dramatic arch established earlier, but I'd guess the studio exec's insisted on it. Because I suppose they felt like the people they served were threatened by people like us?
  4. What an amazing artifact! Could someone comment on the photo on the back? That's a tintype, right? (direct positive image on very thin sheet of metal, with lacquer coating, superseded in the 1860's by albumen prints on paper). Are there other examples of this? Would the face belong to the owner of the violin, or is it that of some famous musician of the time? This object seems deeply weird to me: your-violin-on-LSD, like something from a Ken Russel film. Thanks for posting the photos (though I fear I will have nightmares about this violin).
  5. That looks a lot like my fiddle, except the arching on mine (both plates) is higher. Also mine is just flamed maple, not birds-eye. I'm really happy with it. But that price sounds awfully high -- I got mine from reverb for 325$. Something I had to do with mine was shim the fingerboard, because the projection had sunk down too much and I don't have the skills to a neck reset. When you take your measurements, you might want to measure the fingerboard projection.
  6. Hi Musicmeister -- If you just bought the fiddle, why are you even worrying about upgrading? It takes a while to figure out what any given instrument offers. Just play it and see what happens. Best test of quality I know is: play some major& minor scales in 5th position and really listen to the sound of the G & D strings. If it's good you got a winner. If not -- explore setup options like bridge & soundpost. If those don't work, maybe it's time to get a better axe. Good luck!
  7. I read maestronet because I play fiddle, and want to learn more about them! Violin is such an amazing instrument. It's this perfect fusion of acoustic engineering, craftsmanship, and visual art. Just to touch on the latter: I love the conversations about scrolls. I'm still trying to understand why one person says one scroll is good, but another is bad. It's such a dynamic form, the way the lines flow together and gather energy as they move inwards towards the eye (and how should the shape of the eye reflect that gathering of energy?). But maybe I've got this totally backwards? Maybe the energy of the eye should flow around and down and animate the whole instrument? Apologies for writing too much about scrolls. I was just trying to show why people (who care nothing about the violin trade) find learning how to see violins interesting.
  8. I just wanted to thank Michael and Martin for expanding on their observations, also OP for the better photos.
  9. Interesting exchange between M.Darnton & M.Swan. I read postings here a lot because I'm interested in learning how to actually see these instruments, and these guys are masters. My question is: in the OP pictures, isn't the left instrument a single piece back, and the the right instrument a 2-piece back (which do look they're bookmarked, which I think I understand why that's weird, because if the log was thick enough for a single piece slap cut, why would you split it?). The other things I was wondering about the split-back right instrument concerns the button. It looks like split is canted so that the button is part of the left side. Is this something people used to do? Many thanks to michael & martin and sorry if I'm bothering you with stupid questions.
  10. I'm amazed that Martin Swan can pick that up from such terrible photos, but people like he & jacobsaunders are pretty amazing. Why don't you take some better photos and post them? If you're not sure about how to do that, Rue provided an excellent sticky article about how it's done.
  11. I just noticed your posting about cats and violins. Would that extend to cats and cellos as well? I've been struggling to figure out how to translate 3-4 panel comix into animations. This isn't very successful but it does have cats & bowed string instrument. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJz2EVhzI7s&ab_channel=AlCramer
  12. I liked this part of the article: The estate from which Kavalec’s partner made the purchase was that of Gerardi’s daughter, who Kavalec said experienced a struggle not unlike his own to convince others of the violin’s significance in an arena dominated by dealers motivated to keep price-tags low. For years, he said, the instrument simply sat dormant. I had no idea dealers were motivated to keep price-tags low. Live and learn!
  13. Many thanks to the people who posted info re the Schweitzer label. The topic interests me because one of my instruments has that label. It's a very strange fiddle, based I think on the large Amati pattern: am pretty sure that the neck graft is fake, but the (repaired) cracks in the table are real. The 1-pece back is really cool: I think it's slab cut maple, and there's this vein of some sort that runs partway thru right-to-left and the wood has sort of deformed around it. Mostly I play folk and jazz, and for that I prefer my big boomy Maginni; but sometimes I noodle around with old Spanish tunes (am a huge fan of Veronika Skuplik ) and this fiddle is perfect for that sound.
  14. Could you say more about your comment re "Schweitzer"? Thanks!
  15. I was amazed at the quality of the work people submitted! It's really clear that everybody here sees/thinks/feels about the violin in a way that's unique to them. It was really cool to see how successful people were at expressing their own visions. My New Years resolutions: 1. figure out how to integrate 2d & 4th positions into my playing; 2. make more animated drawings to post on youtube.
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