Al Cramer

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About Al Cramer

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  1. Bridge must not slant. North side (side facing pegbox) should be perpendicular to body of instrument. Also that bridge looks absurdly thick. Maybe neck angle problems? May I suggest: for each of the 4 strings, measure distance between center of string and end of peg board. Then compare those measures to the standard numbers as posted on many internet sites. Best of luck!
  2. USSR in 1973 wasn't about making good violins. If that instrument has a pleasing sound, you should treasure it (but please fix the bridge and nut).
  3. I just wanted to thank everybody who responded to my question re sharpening (geigenbuaer, it was very kind of you to provide those links). Isn't it interesting how everybody has different ideas and practices?
  4. Hi Geigenbauer -- I'd like to learn more about the machine you're using. Could you provide a link? Thanks! Al
  5. Re this question of gouges: would anyone care to comment in their philosophy re sharpening? I come from a flute/pipes making background, where everything is lathe-oriented: you get used to stopping every 2-3 minutes and resharpen on a bench grinder, and rarely use whetstones. (Also you do things like use the edge of the bench grinding stone to turn normal gouges into incannel gouges). But I think the scroll carving world is very different!
  6. I just wanted to remind everybody that music is a healing thing. People are stressed out & anxious right now. If you can share your music with others, it can really help. Remember the celllist in Sarajevo? Of course you need to be smart, and not create situations where people cluster together to hear you. That balcony singing the Italians are doing looks pretty good.
  7. GeorgeH, I totally agree. If I owned a multi-thousand dollar instrument, I'd be terrified of tinkering with it. I'd be terrified to even play it! (Have played some instruments like that belonged to other people. They were quite nice, though in a few cases I thought the set-up seemed a bit dodgy).
  8. This idea that players should be able to carve bridges and set soundposts is interesting. I always thought it curious that people who play double reed instruments are expected to learn how to make their own reeds, but people who play violins aren't expected to fit their own bridges. (My own experience has been: it took me a long time to learn how to carve an ok bridge. It took me twice as long to learn how to reed my Scottish small-pipes, and I was never able to make an Uilllean pipe reed that played a full 2 octaves).
  9. Some news re Lombardy -- We live in New England, but my wife grew up in Milano and all her family's over there. Her sister reports that there are no shortages in the supermarkets, but the bookstores have sold out all copies of Manzoni's I promessi sposi . That's this big heavy 19th novel everybody used to have to read in high school, set in the plague years that killed off the Brescian school. Marisa says everybody is re-reading it.
  10. Delabo posted: That's kind of what I was wondering about in my post. Up until 20 years ago, if you wanted a fiddle, you'd go to whatever pawnshops/music stores/violin shops/maker's workshops you knew about and buy something (or trade your Fender tube amp for somebody else's violin, which is how I got into strings). Nowadays, if you don't have much money, you have to work thru the net. If you have some experience with violins you can maybe find something that looks promising and it can be a win, though it's always a gamble. But for setup -- especially soundposts -- I don't see how this net stuff can really work. I don't doubt that maestros like David Burgess can set the post perfectly and ship the thing with strings slacked 2 whole steps down and it all works out, but when we buy stuff off ebay or reverb.com, that's not who we're dealing with.
  11. I'm bewildered by the complaint that the soundpost was down. I thought that a good setup used minimal soundpost pressure for un-slacked strings? So if you loosened the strings for shipment, the post would fall and the recipient would have to go to a luthier to reset the post (or buy some tools and do it herself?).
  12. I would like to apologize to everybody for complaining about morgana. It never crossed my mind that someone would choose to mimic trigram based stochastic sentence productions in posting here! Sorry again -- I've no right to complain about anybody. Having said that -- I really enjoyed the interchange between Senseis Swan, Noon, and Burgess re the crushing of wood fibers. It kinda relates back to my questions about the wood used to make soundposts.
  13. Could our moderator please do something about morgana? I love Maestronet because I've learned so much from it. I enjoy the quirkiness of the people who post here. It really bothers me to see these stupid bot postings.
  14. 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)
  15. 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...