Benny812

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  1. Oh, and Doug also said I "have enough rib material for two violins, so get bending and break some ribs!" Guess that's one way of saying break a leg? My book from Brian Derber is being delivered tomorrow so I will be reading quite a bit over the following days and will likely start my template and and mold on Sunday. I am actually curious if there is a pattern in Brian's book? If not I will likely be utilizing the Strad model in the Strobel book unless someone has a strad poster I can borrow in the Western MA.
  2. Julian, thank you for the list. I actually had the opportunity to visit and speak with Doug Cox yesterday. It was a helpful experience. He has a wealth of knowledge and shared his perspectives with me. He showed me his shop and various pieces of different stages as he builds. We will be keeping in touch. I will be bringing back his violin making protocol he provided me as well as sharing with him Brian Derber's book which I will be using as a guide. I also brought my "cheap wood" with me so he could look it over. He was most gracious with his time and answering of my questions. I will certainly be drawing everything, keeping notes, reading what I am doing and beyond to better understand the "why," comparing various sources and perspectives, and keeping my tools expertly sharpened. Doug mentioned the importance of feeling the tools and how the react to different wood. He stated that if we continue to talk and develop a rapport he would be happy to look over my instruments and give me an honest opinion. He also stated that I may ask questions and he will respond. By no means does he want a student nor did I go into this with any expectations of such, yet he has been kind enough to welcome me into this club and is willing to assist me in my journey in his own way.
  3. Manfio, I appreciate the encouragement and examples you have provided. I believe that training is invaluable and would accept it were I given opportunity. If I hadn't the financial responsibilities of life and family I might even find a way to afford luthier school. There are so many things that can be learned from generations of experience that may never occur in a lifetime of experimentation alone, but it is also plausible for one to enjoy a degree of success in the absence of "formal training." It may be much less common, but not impossible. I will do all I can to learn this skill and improve via whatever path life provides me. It will likely be the long and winding road of self learning from error and experimentation but perhaps I will be fortunate enough to find someone willing to help guide me from time to time for my free labor, a lunch and a drink? Who can say what the future holds. The journey holds as much excitement for me as the goal. I do appreciate everyone's contributions and hope you will all continue to assist as I fumble along this path!
  4. Great suggestion Brad! Thank you. Hogo, that is a beautiful looking instrument you created! Gowan, thank you for bringing my attention to some local luthiers. I briefly met Andranik Gaybaryan at Stamell while my teacher was having some work done on his cello. Andranik was interested in the luthier that had built it in Poland or Russia, they had a conversation in Russian before I was introduced as his student. I have seen Andranik's cellos on the shop's website. I did contact Doug Cox and he agreed to have me visit anytime to meet and once this whole Covid thing dissipates, get our faces into some instruments!
  5. Awesome Manfio! I will definitely check those out.
  6. Yes, I am in western MA. in the Connecticut river valley, also known as the Pioneer valley. It is the pleasure of hand tooled work, the joy of learning and improving a skill that drives me. Never ending questions about how, why and what or what if. The geometric forms and their effect on the sound waves traveling from strings to bridge and through the top plate, bass bar, sound post to the back and out the f-holes. The way the wood itself moves with these waves and how different characteristics effect them by speed they travel, or are dampened. How one can use frequency to vibrate a plate to display modes. How these modes can help to “tune” an instrument. These things all fascinate me and I want to better understand the math and physics behind it especially if I can utilize that information to build a better instrument! These are discussions for another time as for now just building is the focus, but I am curious.
  7. Nathan, when you state that one will not go far without some sort of training what are you suggesting is necessary in that regard? I don’t plan on quitting my day job or have illusions of grandeur, but I am also not opposed to working as a luthier in my later years. Possibly as a retirement occupation repairing, setting up, and building and hopefully selling decent instruments. So may I play devil’s advocate and suggest I would like to become skilled enough to do this? If this were the reality of my situation, how? If one isn’t able to drop life’s responsibilities for a few years and say the $70-80k at schools such as the North Bennet School here in MA. what other options remain? I imagine most shops look for school trained graduates these days and a professional luthier is not likely to train any stranger off the street. Possibly someone they know if need warrants and the person shows skills that could be useful, but even so do they have the time when running a business? I certainly can’t afford the schools and I don’t have the personal connections either, so I feel like I am up that creek without the paddle! If there is another way I have overlooked please share. If not I will continue to learn, do, and ask until I can make something a child would recognize as a violin that can be set up and played.
  8. Jezzupe, I am on the wrong coast at this point in my life to take you up on your offer, but appreciate it none the less. I never mind helping anyone out so cleaning shop wouldn't have been an issue! HoGo, I agree with much of what you recommend. Passion is what gives life its zest! I have other hobbies ( I play cello, woodworking, build tube amplifiers, etc) I love to learn, my passion audio equipment resulted in learning how to build and repair tube amplification which has over the years been a small source of supplemental income. Brian Derber's "The Manual of Violin Making book" was purchase today with the proceeds of an amp I just built and shipped to Oklahoma. I do not expect to be great although I would like to create great instruments before my short time here ends. I have no illusions of making money or quitting my day job, I just want to have a more intimate understanding of the wood I work and hopefully improve a skill to the point of creating something beautiful others can enjoy when I'm gone. I can't thank you all enough for sharing your experience, knowledge, and thoughts. I hope I too can contribute something of value someday to help someone else.
  9. Now I need a real coffee....
  10. Thank you all! I talked to Brian Derber and ordered his book. I should have it this week and this will be an invaluable resource to study. Catnip, your suggestion of a journal is spot on. I have always kept a journal regarding my cello practice and it has been an invaluable tool for recognizing areas of concern and addressing those areas by noting when things work or don’t. I was discussing with my wife last night the need to have a journal to document all of my instrument building in order to distill the process hashing out what worked, what didn’t and what I would like to see improved. It’s a sound process for developing any skill.
  11. Thank you all for your input. Jezzupe, your skill based exercises to assist in making me better are exactly the kind of recommendations I was hoping for. Although I like the “choose something else If you’re smart,” too! I might do a lot more when I retire, but this isn’t going to be my living! This is a hobby and passion.
  12. Thanks Jim. My cello pedagogue stated playing cello is a skill that one can not learn faster than one lives. All skills take time to improve by doing, regardless of how much I read about music, theory, or how to play it is only the act of regular perfect practice that my playing skill improves. I agree that I will learn best by building. I appreciate your honest answer. Hopefully others can share insight they might pass on if they had an apprentice! Ways to do things better that I wouldn’t figure out right away on my own, tips of the trade, etc. I will check out the book recommendations too, thanks!
  13. My goal is to make great string instruments that will become voices for musicians. I am a cellist (Non-professional) and wood worker and wish to merge these passions into one with luthier work. I am hoping to leave instruments of quality and desirability behind for generations to enjoy long after I am gone. I love art, music, and the process and history of hand crafted trade work.
  14. Hello all. I have ordered inexpensive supplies from Metmusic to build my first violin. Thanks Nathan for the suggestion. I am curious if anyone would be willing to share a grain of knowledge that they have learned or was bestowed upon them in their humble beginnings of luthier work. I have no tutor or master under which I can work, nor can I go and drop the kind of money required for luthier schooling so I am asking anyone willing to pretend I am your apprentice. I understand well the importance of sharp tools and shop maintenance, as well as patience, attention to detail, and pride in quality work. What I don't know is what I don't know when it comes to this craft. I have Henry Strobel's books and have read much online. I have professional musicians in my circle, many of which are Doctors of music and perform world wide that have offered to give feedback. I also intend to participate in workshops and gatherings of luthiers once this can again happen. What would you share with me if I were under your tutelage? Obviously there is no substitute for knowledge passed on through generations in this manner! I am hoping I can learn some of it, albeit not by the traditional means I would prefer had I the opportunity. Thanks again and kind regards!