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Pollen collector


DougP

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For Maestronetters who are bothered by pollen, I have found a wonderful solution to cleaning up the air. You simply hang a freshly varnished fiddle up to dry and all the pollen in the house will attach itself to the fiddle instead of getting in your eyes and nose. I made this discovery this weekend when I finally got the varnish on an old German fiddle I have spend the last few months reworking after it went through a flood and came unglued. The original varnish cracked badly and had great green blotches where it absorbed the dye from the case lining, so not refinishing was not an option. When I hung it up to dry the finish was smooth and a great color. I am back to stripping the finish again, as I am not a great fan of Southern pollen collections. This time I will use a little better judgement as to where I hang the fiddle to dry. Perhaps in the spare bathroom after running the shower to steam up the room.

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Yes, it's sad to see them commiting suicide and leaving their legs and wings in the varnish... Perhaps in the future THE STRAD will publish something like that: "MANFIO'S SECRET DISCOVERED ... microscope exams and scientifical tests proved that the master used bees and insects in his varnish..." !!!!!

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Doug,

You are making it easy for future scholars to authenticate your instruments, even catalog them by season. A tiny chip from under the fingerboard, put under the right microscope, should do the trick...

Buon giorno, caro Signore Manfio,

Sadly, I fear that future STRAD readers will be unable to reproduce your secret, since the voice of the insect chorus is particular to each time and place.

I have accumulated a small collection of presumably North African insect parts, with a few entire vespids or other hymenoptera, stuck to a paper towel with sandarac, in a circle about as big as the mouth of a jam jar, Some of the little darlings are less than 1mm long. Are you saying I should refrain from filtering them out, and so improve the tone of the instruments?

For the right price, I might sell part of my collection...

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Va bene! (those are the other two words of my entire Italian vocabulary.)

Hmmmm... People can only be persuaded to buy so much; I don't know if there is much of a market for "bee violins." Suitable only for a limited repertoire, I imagine. Oh, wait, was that one of the secrets? Yes, one could create a whole family of instruments, with their plates tuned to the various voices of the honeybee, the bumblebee, the tiny ground-nesting bee, perhaps even a cicada. You may use this idea gratis.

On the other hand, such instruments could be valuable in multi-media (multi-sensory?) works,where not only the sound of the wings, but the odor is meaningful. For example, angry bees smell like bananas, and bees wishing to be attractive smell like lemons. From there, the palette only expands...

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Now I will always wonder what magnificient sounds I might have sanded out of my fiddle when I foolishly revarnished it after the pollen attack. Manfio, is there an advantage in playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" on one of your instruments as opposed to one without bees in the varnish?

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Well, I think I'll start mentioning the "bee factor" in the documents of my instruments. I have to pay more atention to the "bee sting" too!

Perhaps an ad "moto" like "perhaps because of the bee's fragments dispersed in the varnish, the sound of Manfio's violins is as penetrating and intense as a bee sting!" Hummm... I consider this as my last day in the propaganda field...

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I can see it now- a couple of centuries in the future, one of your violins will hang in the Smithsonian, labled the Manfio "Ali". An accompanying note explaining that the maker said it produced music that "floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee".

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Keeping in the realm of bug parts, pollen, lac bug, and the red violin movie, how about this. Last spring while traveling on I90 in NY for a sales meeting, my truck struck hundreds of large bee size insects traveling in a swarm at 65 mph. Many of these exploded on contact with the windshield, others just bounced off. I could not however notice the wonderful color that was left behind, beautiful translucent reddish amber. My first thought was that the color was better than my current varnish shade, and maybe found "The Secret"

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