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Samuel Detached

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  1. Retreading this topic it is interesting how members give quickly and freely their thoughts, off the cuff. I knew this violin, the date it was tabled, the date it was sold, to whom and how much and have it under my chin every morning, and had Bernard Millant’s written opinion before posting. I know what it is. My experience of maestronet is overall very positive, and am grateful for the experts to opine, show and share their experience quickly and freely. The tendency is at first to be dismissive (pace Brumcello) which given the amount of mediocre instruments around is completely understandable. But I still think G&B are, in a way, a pinnacle of engineering, if you like that kind of thing: powerful, radiant. Their lutherie, coming after Vuihhaume, their predominance over many decades, explains for example the French orchestral sound of Berlioz, the sound of Faure, Debussy, Satie etc and I hope they will be appreciated and played well for many years to come. Thanks all.
  2. Yes you are quire right Mr Swan, nearer to £20k as you say. Once again thanks for the comments.
  3. I have a great big thing from Louis Moitessier and a F.Chanot style corner-less violin made by Noclas Florentin [see viaduct violins], both 1820s. Both long pattern. They were into big [I stand to be corrected] Maggini style? violins then, presumably for the mellow tone, though they are quite difficult to play in the upper registers for obvious reasons. Good second violin material. Wolf tone is more B and C. The Chanot model, set up for me recently by an expert luthier Andreas Hudelmayer sounds great, really powerful if a bit unsubtle. He had to angle the soundpost to make it work. The Moitessier, well, I haven't found its voice yet and thinking of selling it to another hopeful. Maybe give it some viola strings and see how it goes ;-)?Both are lovely to look at. The French Revolution had something to do with it, before the restoration of the monarchy they were much more experimental with violin shapes, in line with their equally radical political attitude.
  4. A postscript to ugundte's post of May 13, proving this Senior Member correct: Tarisio in June 2021 auctioned a G&B in good condition for £15k plus 20% premium and a Gustave in rather more varnish-worn condition for £14k plus premium... Having lived with my 1892 GB for 9 months, my experience is that lower tension strings get the best out of the instrument, especially upper positions on the G string. Thank you all the various experts who have posted on this topic. It has been extremely helpful and I hope these finely crafted violins get the attention they deserve.
  5. I am fascinated by uguntde's comment that GB used an inside mould, because literally everyone else has said they used outside moulds which is why they all look so symmetrical and precise. Agree about the sound, very radiant. Mine has internal stamps, both Gand & Bernardel and Gustave Bernardel, but with a Gustave B label. Gustave's partner, Charles Nicolas Eugene Gand died at the beginning of 1892 [2 February, aged 66] and Gustave B carried on as sole proprietor until he retired and sold the firm in 1901. I see Ingles and Hayday have a 1894 Gustave B viola coming up for auction with an estimate of £15-20k.
  6. Good point, I meant G&B rather than the whole of French production, thank you for the correction.
  7. I defer to your experience, and am really interested/intrigued by the adjectives we use to describe violin sound (and sound in general): i.e. brittle/wiry v. harsh/shrill. I see there is another topic posted on this on the pegbox: 'Descriptors of Sound' and there has been some good academic work on this over the years (from Helmholtz onwards) for example Zachary Wallmark at Oregon. What must be true, if 'French 19th century artistic Lutherie production' used: a) outside mould and smaller blocks/lining b) thin(ner) wood c) low arching d) Strad Lupot type wide waist e) angled neck and low overstand that these would affect the sound. Of course the bow and the player make all the difference. Once again thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my queries. I really appreciate it.
  8. Does anyone still think that 'le Messie' the Messiah is an actual Strad? Having read Nicholas Sackman's research https://themessiahviolin.uk/book.html it seems possible/probable that this was Vuillaume's greatest forgery - he found some old tone wood and tried to see if he could fool the experts. Perhaps he was not only a great fabricator/innovator but also a good fabulator. For me the dot under the bridge and the mis-reference to the mould, as well as the suspicious activity of finding an immaculate Strad and then immediately taking the top off, scribbling on it, changing the angle of the neck, new pegs etc. before showing it to anybody else are a bit of a giveaway.
  9. Many thanks for the responses. So I have learned this: a) How many moulds did G&B use, and how many 'sister violins' are there to mine? All G&B violins are pretty much the same shape. (Mine is very similar to the illustration shown by Martin Swan, though with darker varnish and little gold caps on the pegs which seems to be a feature of high class French violins from about the 1870s -1940s) b) Why should a Gustave B in 1892 be different from a G&B in 1891? No reason. c) I have seen comments somewhere that there are 'early' and late' G&Bs. What is the difference? Became more standardised as time went on. d) Did G&B make Guaneri models, mine is a Strad type? Probably not. But the earlier generation Bernardels and Gands may have made some. I have also learned: e) They are pretty much 'workhorse' violins for French orchestral players. (This makes sense to me because G&B were luthiers to the Conservatoire and I read they were commissioned to build a whole string section for the Trocadero orchestra in 1878 - see https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/cozio-carteggio/lupot-and-his-successors-part-4-gand-bernardel-freres/ ) Nice to know they are still being played a lot. f) They are on the whole good instruments, some 'spectacular', and with the occasional 'dog'. Hope I got this right. Finally I would say about mine, it has none of the harshness or shrillness Martin Swan associates with French instruments. I would describe the tone as classy, silky, clear, strong, resonant, yet warm. I chose it after trying an 1870s G&B, a couple of Hels and an ASP Bernardel. For me, and I know it is deeply personal, this one 'sang' and was very responsive. My wife found it the mellowest of them all, though it still has the same power. I was quite surprised that I liked it so much, I think of my self as non-conformist yet I ended up with about as much of an 'Establishment' violin as one could imagine. Thank you Michael and Martin, you have helped me to understand my instrument. 'To understand in order to love, to love in order to understand...' as Stravinsky once said. Best wishes.
  10. I have been playing for the last 9 months a Gustave Bernardel violin dating from 1892 in almost pristine condition which hadn't been played for a while, and have followed discussions on Maestronet about this maker and the Gand & Bernardel firm. I have to say it is absolutely the best violin I have ever played. Strong, even, sweet, clear, responsive, you name it, it's got it... including a wonderful pianissimo, and harmonics I have never heard before, a strong B natural on the E string, you choose between the G string 6th and the E string 3rd harmonic.... plus for the first time I actually 'enjoy' C sharp. I was interested in Martin Swan's comments that Gand and Bernardel violins can be inflexible, but on his website he gives the only Gustave Bernardel violin he has tried 3 stars, i.e. up with the best. My questions are these: a) It is made with an outside mould, and over 1,500 violins had been made by the 'firm' before mine. How many moulds did G&B use, and how many 'sister violins' are there to mine? b) Why should a Gustave B in 1892 be different from a G&B in 1891? c) I have seen comments somewhere that there are 'early' and late' G&Bs. What is the difference? d) Did G&B make Guaneri models, mine is a Strad type? Would be most grateful for responses from m'learned members of this forum if these questions are of interest. Many thanks in advance.
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