KB_Smith

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Everything posted by KB_Smith

  1. Very interesting and helpful comments and advice. I'm not in the market to buy another instrument, so I'll go to order of proceedings 2 - set-up. A couple of you have mentioned the soundpost. It could very well be that the set-up won't make a big difference on this instrument, an early 20th century Schoenbach trade violin, but worth discussing with the luthier. I just bought this set of strings a month ago, so I won't try another set for while, but will likely take the collective advice here and try Obligato's when I'm ready to change them again.
  2. My instructor told me not to bother with a viola smaller than 15 1/2 inch. It just won't have the powerful sound. Besides, I love bluegrass and Celtic fiddling - and that's violin. It might be a while before I can do that. Maybe a year from now I might be able to do some simple fiddling, but good to have an objective to work towards. And one day I'll get back to my 16 inch viola. I might just have to learn to shift to second position to cover for my short fingers! But now we're moving this discussion to something more for the Fingerboard forum - sorry about that.
  3. Okay, I'll talk with my luthier about the soundpost. He told me to let him know if I needed any adjustments. I also have problems bowing the D string cleanly. Seams like I almost always catch the G or the A string with it. I'm wondering if he puts a little more curve on the bridge for me if that will help. But my instructor does not have that problem on my violin at all. He says it is a good setup and I just need to learn the correct bow angle to play that D string cleanly. I don't have that problem on any of the other strings.
  4. I went with Dominant G, D, and A and Pirastro Gold E because that is what my instructor recommended I start with. He said we can try something else next time if I wan to "fiddle" around with different strings (my words, not his). I actually started learning on a 16 inch viola and I loved the deep, rich tone, but my hand and fingers are too short to comfortably reach the 4th finger on C and G. I had quite a bit of strain and pain in wrist tendons, and invariably my other three fingers would creep forward on the fingerboard whenever I had to reach for that 4th finger. So my instructor suggested I try violin. So I rented a violin for a month to try it and it was instantly easier for me to reach all the finger positions. So I went all in and bought a violin. I kept my viola and hope that after I get reasonably good at violin, I'll give the viola another shot. I love the deeper, richer tone of the viola. I know the violin is not going to sound like a viola, but I'd still like to get that full rich sound from it. I'm quite sure my bowing is the real culprit right now.
  5. My current setup is Dominant G, D, and A strings with Pirastro Wondertone Gold E. It was set up at my local violin shop with a new sound post and an Aubert Luxe bridge. I think it sounds bright, although I must admit it sounds beautiful when my instructor (a professional violinist) plays it for me. I can't seem to get a full, rich tone out of it, but I just started learning a few months ago and my bowing is not very good yet, so I imagine it is more the violinist than the violin. But would you say Dominant with the Pirastro Gold E is a bright set of strings? I'm just looking for advice for the next set of strings, maybe a year from now. Thanks.
  6. I'm not sure if this question is better placed in the Fingerboard or the Pegbox forum, but it seems to be more of a hardware question to me, so I'll place it on the Pegbox. I see violins described as having a "bright" tone, or having a "rich" or "warm" tone. I don't think I've seen them described as having a "dark" tone, which in my mind would be the opposite of a "bright" tone. Anyway, I'm wondering how much a violin's tone depends on the string selection, as opposed to the instrument's actual design, the qualities of the woods used its construction, and setup (tailpiece, bridge, etc.). without making changes to the setup, can one significantly change the tone of the instrument simply by putting on a different set of strings? If the violin sounds too "bright," can you "darken" the tone just by changing the strings?
  7. By the way, JW also makes a Carbon Fiber version of this case - more expensive ($283 on Amazon and 159 EUR at www.thomann.de). I asked JW about that case. They told me it is just a Carbon Fiber foil, rather than the fabric finish of the non-carbon version, as the outer finish of the case. JW told me it is just for looks. It does not offer any additional protection to the violin.
  8. I have a Bobelock case for my viola - very sturdy with a stiff, protective plywood construction that is difficult to compress. But it is also a heavy case becaue plywood is heavy. Bobelock cases retail for over $200 on Amazon, and also at my local violin shop, but I bought it used from a local violin shop where I take lessons for just $100. So I recommend you check with your local violin shops to see if any have some used Bobelock (or Gewa) cases. I just purchased a Jakob Winter JW 51025 case for my violin. I saw this case selling for $250 in the US on Amazon. I emailed the Jakob Winter company in Germany and they sent me a link to the best priced retailer in Germany for the same case. It is significantly cheaper in Germany. You can buy it at: https://www.thomann.de/intl/jakob_winter_jw_51025_n_b_violinkoffer.htm for 106.72 EUR plus 30 EUR for shipping to U.S. and less for shipping in Europe or UK. That comes to a little over $150 delivered in the U.S. if you use PayPal, there will also be a $5-10 charge for converting USD to EUR. I don't know if it will incur an import duty/tax by U.S. Customs, but I don;t think it will. It is not quite as firm a case as the Bobelock, but it is quite firm and very well padded. I also like that it has a channel formed in the top that ensures the padding in the lid will not touch your strings or bridge. It seems very well constructed except that the latches can't be locked, so they may be prone to pop open. You can also learn more about the Natural Fiber Composite material this case is made of at https://www.jakob-winter.com/en/natural-fiber-composites/ This Jakob Winter case looks very much like a Gewa Bio case available from Thomann for about the same price: https://www.thomann.de/intl/gewa_bio_violincase_4_4_gy_mp_sh.htm
  9. Wow, this discussion sure hits home with me. I am 66 years old and just took up the violin about 2 months ago. I 100% share Peter K-G's frustration. I actually started more like 6 months ago, trying to play a 16" viola my son played in high school orchestra, but stopped playing when he went off to college. In his defense, he played both piano and viola, but always had a passion for classical piano, decided to focus on just that instrument, and has become quite proficient on piano. Anyway, rather than sell his $2,000 viola for maybe $500, I thought I'd try to learn to play it. But my hand is too small and I just could not reach the 4th finger on the C or G strings without sliding my other fingers up the fingerboard, losing their proper position, or painfully straining tendons and ligaments in my wrist. After several months of that, my instructor suggested that I try violin. So I rented a violin for a month and instantly found that I can reach all the finger positions without pain. I went all-in and bought my first violin. I am still struggling with proper bowing - speed, pressure, and placement (mostly trying to keep the bow perpendicular to the strings). I am only just now starting to to be able to put together a short series of nice clear and focused sounds before the next dreaded weak, airy, squeaky, or scratchy sound invariably leaps forth. And if I focus on my right hand (bowing), I completely lose track of where I am in the music, or what the left hand is doing. Getting the three components (reading the music, proper fingering, and proper bowing) all in sync is very difficult and taking much longer than I thought it might. But I continue to practice, and figure eventually two of those three will sync up, and then eventually all three will magically come together. I like to go through about a page of my assigned music at one sitting, but then I set the violin down on the coffee table while I'm watching TV at night. I pick it up about once or twice an hour and just practice scales, or try playing fourth finger rather than open strings as I work a down-scale (very difficult for me)...short exercises that don't require sheet music, just drilling.
  10. A good shot of reality. The truth can be so simple and obvious. Thanks George and Rue. I will take your advice to heart.
  11. Thanks George, pretty helpful discussion about anatomy of the scroll and pegbox. The best graphic in that discussion is this ... very helpful. But the discussion about orientation was still confusing. Is it the bee sting that marks the fluting on the scroll ends? In an other comment, someone said the fluting is actually runs along the back of the pagbox and scroll, starting at the chin of the pegbox and running to the top of the scroll. When I look at a front view of the scroll, that fluting wraps all the way around the head, eventually disappearing under the scroll somewhere approaching the throat. So I can imagine that being described as the "fluting ends at 6 o'clock," but then wouldn't that apply to all scrolls? Looking at my scroll again, it looks to me like the bee sting ends at about 10 o'clock, and the bottom of the eye (or ear?) in the center of the scroll is at 6 o'clock (but again, that would pretty much be universal wouldn't it?) I'm still confused ... but learning.
  12. In the first response I got to my original post, Baroquecello commented on a couple of features of my violin's scroll and pegbox that I don't understand. So in the interest of teaching me more about how to identify a flawed scroll from one that is correctly made, can you please give me a short lesson about the scroll? I'm re-posting a couple photos of the scroll and pegbox for ease of reference to these questions. What does "fluting ends at 6 o'clock" mean? Is that an indication of poor workmanship, or low quality tradecraft, or that it simply does not meet a high artistic standard? Where should the fluting end if not at 6 o'clock, and what is the point to look at on the scroll fluting that tells you where it ends? And what is the "Delta" at the chin of the pegbox? Is that a feature seen on the front, side, or back of the pegbox? What does a good Delta look like, and what is wrong with the Delta on mine?
  13. Why is it that a novice buyer can't trust the authenticity of what is offered at auction? Aren't those instruments inspected by experts at the auction house before being offered? And why is it that certificates are not necessarily trustworthy as validation of authenticity? I understand that buying from somewhere like Brobst is the best way to ensure you get an authentic instrument. But that is a commitment to paying full retail price. Auctions give one the opportunity to get an instrument at a discount to full fair market value. It seems unless one has your level of experience, and therefore the knowledge and ability to determine the quality of the instrument, we really have no business bidding at an auction, even at Skinner or Tarisio - or risk the same fate as buying from eBay.
  14. To put a stake in the heart of this discussion, I wanted to share with you feedback I got from a very reputable violin dealer in Washington, D.C. area that has been in the business for over 50 years. I took my violin into Brobst Violin Shop in Alexandria, Va to take a look at the actual instrument, rather than photos. To give you an idea of what Brobst sells, he currently has for sale a c.1776 JB Guadagnini with certificate, a 1784 Storioni (Cremona) with W.E.Hill certificate, a c.1845-50 JB Vuillaume with certificate, and many more certified old violins. My point is this is probably the #1 dealer in the D.C. area in authentic old instruments and the most qualified to evaluate my violin. I also took in a summary of the many comments I got from all of you to discuss with Brobst. You should not be surprised to hear that they agreed completely with most of the comments from all of you. They did not give me a clear opinion of where this violin might have been made (France, Markneukirchen, Shoenbach), but agreed it is a basic trade violin, probably with several different workers involved in making different parts of the violin. They agreed it is old, and has been revarnished (which I learned destroys valuation). So, I want to thank all of you again for your comments and advice. I'm impressed with your expertise and ability to determine so much about an instrument from a handful of photos. I'll leave this discussion with one last question. I've read so many stories just like mine on this forum, so it seems a common issue - fake old trade violins that are not what they are claimed to be. And even some comments in the Auction Scroll about lack of authenticity of violins listed and sold by the Auction Houses (like Tarisio and Bromptons), and even that certificates might not be worth the paper they are written on... So I want to start a new thread asking where does one go to find authentic old instruments. I imagine that's been discussed before on MN. Can anyone provide me a thread or two where it is discussed where the real instruments are? If not, would that be an appropriate question to put out on The Pegbox or better asked in the Auction Scroll?
  15. Thanks. Great photo...shows how the ribs come together pretty well. What is the liner material? is that a plywood or fiber board to provide structure and support to the ribs? There does not appear to be a corner block here, unless the triangular shaped section of rather fibrous looking material is it.
  16. Yes, I think I'm ready to abandon the dream and raise the white flag. I'm developing a sense for the very high level of experience and knowledge of this forum's membership. Several appear to be expert luthiers, and some, like you Martin, are violin dealers who have been in the business for some time. I imagine several are also qualified appraisers. As such, I trust that the information I'm getting here is exactly on-point, accurate, and reliable. I've asked many questions, not so much to maintain the dream, but to learn what I can and store it for future reference. It reminds me somewhat of buying my wife's first diamond. I was young and knew nothing about diamond grading. An expert jeweler, and GIA appraiser, sat me down, handed me a jeweler's loupe and started teaching me about how to look at diamonds. But in the end, the only thing most of of care about is how much fire does that diamond have when looking at it on her finger, right? It's sort of the same for me here. I want the fire hose of detailed information to learn what I can from all of you about violins. But in the end, all I'll really want is an instrument that sounds good to me and I like to play. And for now, at my very novice level, I'll be satisfied with what I have. But I reserve the right to continue to pick your brains. By the way, Martin, I'm having a hard time telling the difference between the squared-off ends of the rib seam comparing the photos of the JTL violin and my violin. I can't see how one rib is feathered into the full thickness of the other on the JTL. They both just appear to be filed to a square end to me. Maybe it's something you have to be looking at the actual instruments to really see.
  17. PhilipKT, sorry for misattributing the information on corner blocks to you. I see now that you were also quoting that post just to thank baroquecello for the interesting lesson. baroquecello, I read your lesson on violin construction again. I misunderstood it the first time through. I think I understand now, after reading it again, that you only correlate the lack of corner blocks to the 2nd BOB construction method, “to sort of pre glue the ribs together….” If this is a cheaper construction method, I wonder why it would not have been more widely adopted by violin makers all over Europe, rather than becoming a recognized Markneukirchen method? When you see a violin with filed corners that lead to the seams being in the center of the Corners, like my violin, should that always be interpreted to mean this is BOB construction with no corner blocks (or fake corner blocks if at all present), and probably made in Markneukirchen? But I see photos of a JTL violins that also look to me to have center seam corners. Here is a picture of a certified JTL violin from 1930 for sale today from a fine violin dealer in D.C. $4,000. If you can't enlarge the inserted photo enough to clearly see the corner seams, you can see it at this link: (https://brobstviolinshop.com/instruments/jerome-thibouville-lamy-workshop-mirecourt-c-1930-geronimo-grandini-label/?view=grid&view=grid). Is this also BOB construction?
  18. Martin, I read through both threads...very eye-opening, Unfortunately the pictures are no longer available, but I certainly now understand your references to the south of France. The seller’s eBay handle for my violin’s auction is Ortigaitalia. Are you familiar with him? Is this the same south of France eBay dealer you seem so familiar with?
  19. My apologies to all for not responding to all your comments sooner. Believe me, I am very interested in all the advice. Unfortunately, I am limited as a new member in my ability to respond in a timely way. First, until I get a couple more posts under my belt, my responses will be delayed for moderator review, sometimes for several hours. I understand the need to do that to ensure appropriate content, so I'm good with that, but please don't think I am not anxious to stay engaged in the discussion. I also ran into another delay when I unexpectedly reached my "limit" by making three posts yesterday. I don't know if that also gets lifted after I've made 10 posts or if there is a permanent limit of three posts in any 24 hour period. So I'll respond to a few things here in a single post. To PhilipKT: I'm very interested in the lesson about how the rib cage is made and what to take away about the squared off corners on my violin's ribs. What will the corners look like on a violin where the ribs are not squared off at the corners? Do they come to a perfect joint with a fine line where the rib sections meet at the corners? Is that necessarily a better construction method or a sign of a better made violin? Also, do the squared ribs tell you this violin was not made in France, or that it is just a cheaper way to mass produce VSOs and a sign of a lower quality instrument? It might be helpful if you can post a picture of this. And also, if modern violin construction is done without corner blocks, is it common for all modern violins to be missing corner blocks, or are better quality violins still made with corner blocks? I know this probably too much minutia for uninformed new-guys like me, but I am honestly interested in what makes for a better violin. Martin, Do have an opinion of where this violin might have been made if not made in France? Is it Chinese, or German, or Czech? I'm thinking not Chinese if it is anywhere near 100 years old. Also, thank you for the links to the Auction Scroll. I have not yet read those threads, but I will. A few people have commented on the "new label." Is it that blatantly obvious that this label is new? I guess a 100 year old label would indeed look much older. To put all of my many questions and inexperience into context. This is my first violin. I just started taking lessons a little over a month ago and so I am a total beginner. But I am enjoying this and I did not want to continue with a beginner's rental violin. I wanted to buy my own instrument and I thought the charm of owning a vintage French violin would be nice. So, I took a chance on this one. True, I count myself among the "unwary." But I did not buy this out of a need to get a bargain. I'm just not ready to invest a couple thousand dollars into an instrument until I know I will stick with this and can truly appreciate a fine instrument. I'll play this for a couple of years. And then, if I really am committed, and hopefully become a reasonably good violinist and decide to buy a better instrument, I have the resources to buy a good instrument. So no need to feel sad for the OP (original post?), Wood Butcher. Everything I learn from all of you will help me down the road when I'm ready to buy my next instrument. So I genuinely appreciate all the helpful information, advice, and feedback from all of you.
  20. I bought it for $365 (USD) or about €350. I paid $80 for shipping to the US plus $21 tax. My luthier told me he had to plane the neck down from about 30 degrees to 27 degrees and the fingerboard was cracked, so he replaced that with a new fingerboard. He also cut a new bridge and a new sound post and I had it strung with Dominant G, D, A, and Pirastro Wondertone Gold E. The lutherie totaled $430 for all the described work. So, my total investment in this violin is about $900 (~€800)
  21. By the way, I reached out to the guy in Southern France who sold this violin to me and asked where he got it and if he knew anything of its provenance. Here is what he told me: "I am not such an expert in violins, I simply have a great network of people retrieving violins all over France and that I highly respect. I try to talk to them as my clients would, which means that they have to carefully inspect the violin, see the soundpost areas, confirm if the wood and varnish looks old...well the basics. This Delanoy violin was bought from one of my contacts in Bordeaux, and then it could very well come from the Delanoy workshop, however as you understand I do not qualify to certify anything, just the provenance and the way I bought it."
  22. I have a new-guy question. I write responses, but my comments are held up for moderator review for many hours. Is that simply because I'm new and have not made many posts yet? At some point will my posts go live right away - seems all of the other posts in this thread, many made well after I've submitted my comments, go live long before my posts can be viewed.
  23. Thanks so much for your comments, expertise, and advice. I'm not at all surprised to hear you all agree this is not an authentic turn-of-the-century French violin of any value. I was cautioned more than once not to buy an instrument on eBay, and actually, not to buy any instrument I could not try first. So, I knew I'd be taking a chance buying anything on eBay, but I thought there is a chance the instrument could be what it is represented to be if it actually came from France (or Italy or Germany), rather than the USA - where most of the counterfeit junk is from China. I'm new to the world of stringed instruments, so I have no idea what features to look at. I would never recognize any of the faults baroquecello listed. It is interesting that my luthier also told me the instrument appeared to have been re-varnished at some point. I also have no capability to look inside for missing corner blocks - why would they be missing? Aren't corner blocks a necessary support structure when building any VSO? Do the cheap copy instruments just go without, or is there another reason they would not be present? I'll settle for a minor win with Martin Swan's closing comment, "On the plus side, if you like the sound then it's not all bad!" The instrument does sound very nice in capable hands. So I guess I can take the positive view that it only cost me $365 plus shipping and a few hundred dollars in work from the luthier to have a functional instrument that sounds good. I'll tell myself it is probably a nicer instrument, or at least one with a better story behind it now, than if I had purchased a $800 instrument from Amazon or a local music shop. Not to sound as if I'm desperately hanging on to my now-dashed hopes, but just wondering if there is anyone out there who might not agree with baroquecello or Martin -- who sees signs in this violin that it might actually be old? Was it even made in France? By the way, can any of you point me to a Maestro Forums thread where the business of producing and selling counterfeit copy instruments is being discussed? I wonder where do these come from, who is producing them, and how do they make a successful and profitable business out of it trying to compete with legitimate businesses producing instruments with an honest label? This is probably a discussion for another thread, so if any of you know where that discussion has already been discussed, please send me a link (or several)...perhaps the "South France" discussion in the Auction Scroll mentioned by Blank Face? Where is the Auction Scroll? I really do appreciate your comments. Thanks.
  24. Last month I purchased an “old French violin” from a gentleman in Ventenac-Cabardes, France. It is labeled: "Alex-dre DELANOY à Bordeaux, élève de JB Vuillaume, 1914". The violin also has a hand-inscription above the label "Modèle d'après Guadagnini" as pictured below. So, I’ve been told to be highly skeptical about labeling in violins with no validated provenance. My luthier in the Washington, D.C. area is not an expert in old European violins, but he said it is certainly an older instrument and in very nice condition. He believes it is of French origin, and postulates it may have been made by JTL in the early-mid 1900’s. I Googled JTL and see it was a mass-production Mirecourt workshop from the mid-1800’s until about 1970. Wiki shows many names used on JTL production labels, but Alexandre Delanoy is not among them. Interestingly, in his early days, Jérôme Thibouville was a partner in the instrument maker Husson-Buthod-Thibouville, and Delanoy apprenticed under Buthod in JB Vuillaume’s workshop in Paris. Not sure if there is anything to make of that indirect connection, but still interesting. My violin instructor is a well-credentialed professional free-lance violinist on the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore music scene. Last night he saw my new “old violin” for the first time. I must say, it sounds magnificent in his hands! He was very impressed and said it is a very nice instrument. He too thinks it is from France. He pointed out the “mascara” along the edges of the scroll, and told me that is typical of French violins (although I don’t know if mascara on the edges is a characteristic unique to French violins). He also told me it “sounds” like a French violin. I don’t know how a French violin sounds versus a German, Romanian, Italian, or Chinese instrument, but after playing it, my instructor agreed this is a French violin. So, I enjoy reading many of the Maestronet Forums topics and posts. I think there are many members who genuinely know what they are talking about. I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts about this violin. Do you agree it was likely made in France in the early 1900’s? Is it possible that this violin actually came from Delanoy’s Bordeaux workshop? If so, what are you seeing that supports that opinion? If not, why not? I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and grateful for your input.
  25. Thanks to all for the input. I'll reach out to Peter again via , per GeorgeH's recommendation.