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Tom_R

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  1. I think this use of "resistant" is essentially what she meant at the time-
  2. Yes, that was my understanding as well until I heard it used this other context! Probably just a one-off comment since it's not connecting with anyone here... Coincidentally, a related comment about great but difficult instruments was just made on another thread in the Pegbox -
  3. I remember reading a long while ago (source forgotten) about some very fine violins whose best tone and projection could only be brought out by the highest caliber players. In another context I overheard a conservatory student refer to a violin she tried as "strong," which I at first interpreted as a positive description of its sound - very good to my ear. It was later clarified that she meant "it took a lot of work" to make it sound that way. Is this use of "strong" common in describing a violin like this? Thanks, - Tom
  4. The thread has shifted mainly to how much can / should be done to improve sound quality but here's something to close the loop on a comment about the Lewis instrument's finish. I think this is more likely an artifact of flame patterns, lighting and camera angle. Inspecting it "live" the varnish looks pretty uniform and has clarity. Brush marks are evident in some places. See below for two lighting angles and note the shifting flame highlights even within the area you circled. In some diffuse lighting that area doesn't stand out in contrast to the rest of the instrument. I can't say if the current finish supports concluding it was stripped.
  5. Thanks again for the continued interesting discussion. With only 2 posts/24hrs allowed for a new member I'll try to capture what I can here. Also, with the delay of moderator approval, a few new replies may accumulate before mine is posted. Indeed I've taken your good advice about a dozen years ago! Two of the violins I've restored have become my daily players. The favorite is a Markneukirchen violin on a Guarneri model, labeled Heinrich Th. Heberlein, Jr. 1922. Received in pieces, only repairs and setup involved, no internal modifications. This Lewis & Son has mainly sat in its case and I'm deciding what to do with it now. Most likely outcome: Start with good, new classical strings and tailpiece, set it up as well as I can using the suggestions shared here, and explore placing it for consignment sale at one of the shops within a 100 miles or so of here. But since I do have a strong interest in violins and how they work (or not), I'm of course interested in other options. Beyond setup, I was only considering increasing the projection a bit and/or replacing the bar. Less inclined to spend the time on that now. BTW, regraduation is/was not under consideration, so no need to poke that hornet's nest on my account. I'm sorry but my scale only goes up to 300g so I can't provide a weight. My sense of it is similar to Don's comment quoted here. Having tried various setups and compared strings with greatly different properties (Dominant vs. Prim) without changing the basic character, I suspect it's more intrinsic to the wood, graduation, odd bass bar, or...all of the above. Not to disagree one bit that a skillful luthier could bring out "its best" or that it might appeal to someone else. Violadamore, thanks for your background on the "usual." Your comment quoted above leads me to what I think would help me most from here if there is still interest in the topic, i.e., sorting out its origin and relationship to Wm. Lewis & Son so I might better assess what shops may suggest for a selling price. So, back to the violin: It does have the appearance of upper corner blocks, either real or sham. The work is pretty clean. Scroll seems fully carved into the throat, beyond that of the Heberlein I mentioned. There is a tiny label inside the back with typewritten 4001 There is no varnish drippage inside under the f-holes as I've seen in lower quality trade violins. Following Blank Face's comment about varnish color differences, here's a shot of the inside of the pegbox. The only apparent internal work apart from the Szymanski bar is cleating along the center seam under the tailpiece. Now that the tailpiece is off I seem some signs the seam had opened a bit. From what I've read about Lewis / Einsele relationship, if the hunch about it being a German violin is correct it might imply that: 1) Einsele bought various violins in the white for sale through Lewis, from sources other than Garimberti; or 2) Lewis sold violins with the Einsele label that had no relationship to him; or 3) the Lewis / Einsele label was added after the fact by someone else. We'll see if there's any interest or patience left to speculate from here. Thanks again for what's been offered so far, - Tom
  6. Thanks all for the replies so far. First, I should clarify that the attempts at sound adjustments I mentioned were done 10-15 years ago. The luthiers I mentioned are no longer involved. I've since had some setup and repair training and have restored a few violins (with care, mentoring in traditional methods, no unmentionable glues, screws, bolts, turnbuckles, etc.). I'm not in the trade and am just working on my own fiddles. So I'd undertake the setup experiments and then assess if next steps are within my capability if the instrument is not particularly unique or valuable. That's partly why I'm interested in identification first. A few direct responses below: Andreas - I'll consider all your suggestions. Good thoughts, thank you. We did try the Kevlar tailgut threads but I don't recall trying to bring them close together or shifting them to favor the E or G string. Brad, The overstand is ~5mm. The arch doesn't show any signs of collapse. It looks even across all dimensions. I wouldn't take on a full neck reset but I was looking to see if it's a good candidate for a New York neck reset, which I've done before. I think I understand what you're saying, David. Assuming it is a thin varnish as you suggest, it must have been very viscous since it indeed leveled and obscures any sharply defined features. It's odd that wood discoloration and indention in the upper treble area of the top seems to be "varnished over." I guess I assumed a maker wouldn't have continued with an imperfection like that so maybe the "clear" was applied by someone later after a mishap. But maybe it's a birthmark and this is the original, thin varnish. Thanks for enlarging the photos. I was going "small" from the sticky guidance but these are clearer. Would you please explain a bit what you mean by "not the usual?" I'm not following... The current strings are Helicore. They're quite old now, on the violin when I gave up on it at least 10 years ago. At the time I tried it with Dominant, Helicore, and also Prim (the latter two being somewhat common in the old time fiddle community because we often change tunings and they tolerate that and settle quickly). All changed the personality a bit but didn't shift the core "stuffiness" and unresponsiveness. At this point I think I'm assessing whether there's something else worth trying to improve things. If so, I'll start with fresh strings.
  7. Greetings, First post here from Ithaca, NY. Maybe a little long but the details seem important. I’ve got a violin I acquired about 15 years ago that I need to decide what to do with. It’s not very responsive and hard to draw out a good tone. It’s actually not bad on open strings but stopped notes especially on the G & D strings really suffer – another player aptly described it as having a stuffed nose. A couple of luthiers worked on the setup many years ago. The bridge is currently placed on the f-hole nicks (about 192mm) and the latest sound post position is shown below. No joy. We also tried the bridge at 195mm with commensurate post adjustment. LOB = 359mm Fingerboard projection at bridge a little low = 25mm. I struggled with it awhile trying to play it in, but eventually set it aside and have a couple of other daily players. BTW, I’m an old-time fiddler, not a classical violinist. The label identifies it as William Lewis & Son with Geo Nicholas Einsele as the maker. But no date entered on the label…odd. I’ve looked at the other MN threads on Einsele / Garimberti and Chicago violins. This violin doesn’t seem to have the characteristic model or varnish of an actual Einsele. Whether this is one of the Garimberti violins that were imported in the white and varnished by Einsele is an interesting question. Maybe it’s neither? The varnish is very even and gold toned with no wear (the streaking that shows in the pictures seems to be an artifact of lighting and iPhone camera). But it has the look of having a heavy clear coat, applied even over top of various surface imperfections. The “clear” aspect of the varnish is heavy enough to smooth the sharpness of features like the f-hole nicks (see pic below). I've wondered if it's damping the sound. https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/337815-the-beckerwm-lewischicago-sound/&tab=comments#comment-752461 https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/304978-ferdinando-garimberti-violin/ The violin has also been sadly modified with an “Acoustical Bass Bar” patented by Adam Szymanski (presumably in 1966 by the label). I found the patent. Odd shape. So, my questions are… Any thoughts on actual provenance? Ideas about improving the sound? It has been tried with a couple of types of strings, reasonable bridge/soundpost adjustments, and the original classical tailpiece. Opinions on replacing the bass bar? I’ve seen the recent thread with concerns about replacing an original integral carved bar, but I’d say this differs because the original has already been replaced and it’s unanimous that the instrument is a dog. Thanks for any thoughts. Identifying pics below. - Tom
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