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Latest 'cello

Melvin Goldsmith

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Just finished latest cello and had some pro quality pics taken for

the first time ever. They were taken using digital by Richard

Valencia who often shoots the Strad poster pics. I had been hoping

I'd be able to watch him shooting but got the feeling he'd be

happier working alone so did not ask!...Nice guy though.

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Why is everything conspiring against me????

After a day spent turning up 16 little brass "top hat" buttons and 8 brass columns so that I can accurately bolt the 4 sections of my cello mould together. My neck is sore, my back aches - so much pain and effort for so little apparent forward movement. I fire up the electrons and burrow into Maestronet for a mental pick-me-up - and what do I find?

Melvin shows a cello - a complete cello - a beautiful complete cello - a superbly crafted cello that reflects the 300 years that he spent making it - a scroll that I immediately printed and added into my scroll file...

My eyes glaze with envy - just plain green envy!!!

... then there's Kittykatjaz whose webpage records her progress - but such progress that it scorches it's way across the firmament...

... and I'm plodding along trying to complete my first mould.

It's enough to make a strong man weep. Maybe the sun will rise tomorrow.

cheers edi

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Thanks for the kind comments everyone. The cello is based on a 1694

Francesco Ruggeri that I know very well. The wood of the back is

slab Italian Grey poplar and the ribs ar of another slightly pinker

type of poplar. The grafted head is slab maple. The slab poplar can

be quite difficult to work smooth because of it's texture. It

tends to distort slightly too...It has here but luckily for my

peace of mind also seems to have done on the original cello!...To

call this a copy is probably too kind a word...I prefer to call it

a pastiche...I've tried to be faithful to the original without

being too fussy and I did make the corners a bit more 'Brothers

Amaiti than on the original to my taste....

This is the first time I have had pro shots taken and I found it a

very exciting experience ...Because I look at pictures of violins

so much I wondered what my work would look like in a formal

pic!....I think I will learn a lot from looking at what I did in

2D....Maybe for a start try to be less heavy handed with the


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Hi Tets Cheers!...Yes the cello leaves home at the weekend

fortunately (you are always a welcome visitor tho!)...I'm pretty

confident with the slab head...The cello I copy does not have

original head & Nertz kindly lent pics of a nice Ruggeri head

that was on the slab for me to work from...I did choose tough wood


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Just two words sum it up, Absolutely beautiful

How long did it take to make?

Hey Edi,

Don't worry about lots of work and the feeling of no

real progress. For when it seems that all the preparation of

bits just keeps dragging on and on, suddenly things start

to take shape and a whole new feeling of progress comes along. Just

keep working on as the exciting times will come to you.

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Hi Edi....Violin making makes me feel like what you describe every

day!....I guess if we are satisfied we might be the new Strad or

more likely insane!

Hi Kittykatjaz...'how long did it take to make?'....Too long!..This

one was delayed by a family illness but I'd aim to do 4 or 5 of

these in a year. ..I'm not very mechanised or smart so I'd guess

that a clever energetic pro would be able to double that at least.

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Hi Magnus ..you wrote

'What sort of thicknesses do you use for wood like that? I

imagine you have to stay well above normal maple dimensions? I'll

call Rivolta tomorrow and have them send me some slab poplar as

soon as possible! Very inspiring instrument, Melvin! '

To be honest I found best success with copying the thicknesses of

the Ruggeri I had at hand & trying to find similar wood!....I

have CAT scans of that cello and thickness measurements. I am not

sure if the thicknesses are original but they work!. I just copy

them!.....The 'lungs of the back are 3.5 mm (ish) ..and the centre

is a firmer 8 mm.....At this 3.5 thickness the poplar back is

 floppy like rubber and very scary!..Once it is glued to the

ribs it gets a different strong character!  It

works!....Poplar can be a bit like balsa in texture....But I know

nothing about that debate!

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A good thing about professional photos is that they give us a "cold" portrait of the instrument.

When we see the instrument in our hands, we are influenced by the varnish texture, weight, balance in our hands, colour, etc. But the professional photo is cold, it will be unmercifull with form and proportions, the most commom faults (such as corners, scroll, etc.) will be unveiled by the photos, and we can learn a lot from these photos.

But professional photos will display also the best of master instrument, as in the case of Melving's

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