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  1. I've been bitten by the bug…!! I am just beginning, ribs bent and glued using a single piece inside mold influenced by the du Diable Del Gesu. I know a lot of you might be wondering why copy (influenced) the du Diable. Well I am taking a class that is about a year long , 6hrs., 1 day/week through Surry Community College in Dobson NC that is being taught by Joe Thrift. That happens to be a del gesu that he has a lot of information about, his copies that he has built sound just incredible, it is also one of del gesu's more normal looking violins (scroll and shape of the body). Joe has just finished a copy of the Lord Wilton that if I had the money, I would buy it in a heartbeat or less. We have 12 people in the class and everybody is making great progress toward a completed violin. Everyone is using Italian Alpine spruce and European maple through a source that Joe has developed a good relationship with. I have no doubt that the wood will exceed my abilities as a newbie luthier. For the people who are not familiar with Joe Thrift, he lives in Dobson NC, and is a very accomplished luthier as well as a great Old Time fiddler, all around musician, and a great teacher of violin making as well. He was trained at the Newark school of violin making. He and Roger Hargrave were table mates and have remained friends. It has really been enlightening getting to know the building process. It gives me a whole different prospective on the violin which has provided me a living for the better part of 40 years as a musician. I highly recommend any one who wants to learn how to build a violin in the "Cremonese Method" sign up for the course when it comes up again as the tuition is incredibly affordable and Joe has been a first rate teacher. We have classmates from all around the area and some have come from a pretty long distance. One has come from Vermont (a good friend of ours that is renting a room from us), and one drives every week from around Beckley WV. My wife, who is an incredible musician, even signed up for the course and is doing great in the class. I need to get busy installing the linings but I will post pics in the appropriate place when I get a little further along. I can most definitely say this will not be the only violin I build. I just intend to build, try different ideas and have fun…!!! David Blackmon
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