Sign in to follow this  
joerobson

Inspiration

Recommended Posts

I'm like Tim. I haven't really even held a real violin, except in a dealer showroom for a few minutes. And that was before I even knew what to look for! I've seen some great photos, I'm a sucker for Amati, and can imagine how much better they are in person. Even mine look better in person, I think. Violins aren't two dimensional. I'm just starting to realize the way f hole fluting and different archings change the way it looks. Maybe some day I'll know how those things change the sound as well. I'm encouraged by the fact that so far each one has looked better and sounded better. Some day I'll have to go some where to see some real violins.

The first time I really heard some great sound was a string quartet playing in a mall of a places. The sound just surrounded you. Especially the cello. Nothing like the sound you hear from speakers. Even hearing a outdoor concert the sound is ruined by the speakers in my opinion.

I got a book on making stringed instruments for Christmas one year and planned on making a guitar. The violins looked like more fun to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the first violin I held that made me say "wow." I bought it when I couldn't really afford it. And it is modest.

post-24063-1252102002_thumb.jpg

The label read "J. Ulrie Eberle Prague 1730" I knew it probably wasn't true, but the thing looked old to me, so I thought it could be an old fake. Up to that time, I had really only seen factory instruments from the 20th century. You can see a good button crack in this one now, a previous repair-- don't know when -- that failed.

It has a grafted scroll.

post-24063-1252102172_thumb.jpg

Which really made sense to me when I installed new pegs and could see the graft seam inside the reamed pegholes.

I don't play it much, don't even particularly like the sound of it now, but it was the instrument that opened up the possibilities of messing about with old fiddles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greatest musician I knew personally was Stephen Kates. (cellist taught at Peabody) His ability to instantaneously evaluate a cello floored me every time.

One of the first non luthiers to find me and become a customer was Steven Kates. He sent me a piece of 100 year old rosewood that he found in a luthier estate sale to make pegs for his Montagnana. I'm not sure whether they were eventually put on that instrument or not. He was a real gent.

In the early 80's some crazy person let me take the Rizzo Voboam baroque guitar out of its case in the Ashmolian and make some drawings of the rose in the library. The strings started popping and I freaked but it was amazing to get so close to it.

As I recall, we all stared a lot at the Andea Guarneri viola in the Shrine to Music in Vermillion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Messie Strad. It's not one I 'copy' but it's two hours drive away and It is invaluable to look at when thinking about how Strad cut, finshed and varnished. Even if I antique most of the time I first cut the wood aiming for this finish. ......a few feet away, less than well displayed is a small brothers Amati violin which is incomparable. These two blew me away before I had more regular access to top old Cremonse and they still do....I see a lot of instruments that excite and inspire me...many of them are made by contemporary makers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So then, Tim, exactly what got you hooked? Are you hooked - you act like someone who has been bitten? Was it just a random project? Someone in the family wanted one?

Is it hard to say, exactly?

Funny you should ask, as I did give this some thought during the past two years as I was working on the first. Notice I don't say "my violin", I acknowledge that it is only the first. Yes, I think I am hooked, but I think I got hooked a way long time ago. I think it may have something to do with a day when I was in, I think, fourth grade, or maybe third, and the teachers brought us into a classroom one day, and there were violins, violas and cellos there, and they said we could learn to play if we wanted, but our parents had to give permission. Not sure why. But my parents felt I was too young, and maybe they were right, but I think I've carried that disappointment since then, and perhaps a fascination with the violin itself. I forgot all about this, however, until about 14 years ago, during a period of unemployment, for some reason the thought struck me that it might be fun to make a musical instrument. Being unemployed (and having more time than money), I went to the library to see what I could find. I read a few books on making instruments, some of which offered very basic information for the light hobbyist, and then I read Heron-Allen's book. That crystalized my thinking, and I then spent the next 10 years or so thinking about it every so often, and picking up a tool here and there, until finally in 2007, I decided "Time to put up or shut up." Anyone here with the time to search can fill in the rest of the story, so far...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Best violin I've ever heard and played is the Jackson Strad. Played duets with the owner, me playing the Strad and him a Guarneri. Then traded.

Oded

Oded,

Ah the twins. The Doc is amazingly generous. The purple deep in the pores in the back corners of the Jackson took me 3 years to get...a smoky dark rose.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Messie Strad. It's not one I 'copy' but it's two hours drive away and It is invaluable to look at when thinking about how Strad cut, finshed and varnished. Even if I antique most of the time I first cut the wood aiming for this finish. ......a few feet away, less than well displayed is a small brothers Amati violin which is incomparable. These two blew me away before I had more regular access to top old Cremonse and they still do....I see a lot of instruments that excite and inspire me...many of them are made by contemporary makers.

The Rugeri there, though restored a bit, is a pretty fine fiddle too. :)

Greatest musician I knew personally was Stephen Kates. (cellist taught at Peabody) His ability to instantaneously evaluate a cello floored me every time.

Stephen's 'cello wasn't half bad either... :-) Great musician. Wonderful style. I miss him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funny you should ask, as I did give this some thought during the past two years as I was working on the first. Notice I don't say "my violin", I acknowledge that it is only the first. Yes, I think I am hooked, but I think I got hooked a way long time ago.

Anyone here with the time to search can fill in the rest of the story, so far...

Cool story Tim, thanks.

It's funny how seeds get planted and might lie dormant for years, waiting for the right conditions, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Best violin I've ever heard and played is the Jackson Strad. Played duets with the owner, me playing the Strad and him a Guarneri. Then traded.

Oded

I have heard these violins too, so I would have to say it is the best "Strad" I have heard, but then it is the only Strad I have heard in-the-wood :) Having said that, I thought his Guarneri was fantastic and better than the Strad. Mind you, we had benefit of hearing them played up close by a serious player who could push them hard. In fact, with respect to the original question, this was the lightbulb moment for me (and maybe others) as to the possible magic of the old masters. I was chatting with a violinmaker shortly after this impromptue session, and he said that when the player launched into a cascading free for all medley on the Del Gesu, the hair on the back of his neck stood straight up. I concured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Rugeri there, though restored a bit, is a pretty fine fiddle too. :)

.......................

Yes!...and then there's that Gaspar viola... :)

when I go to that collection I try to be very disciplined and only look at one or two fiddles each time just so my head doesn't explode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
when I go to that collection I try to be very disciplined and only look at one or two fiddles each time just so my head doesn't explode.

Yes, please keep that head of yours on your shoulders... We prefer it there! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And then sometimes it is a little more down to earth. One of the perks of my job is the opportunity to hear great makers playing on great instruments that they have made...like watching and listening to Raymond Schryer play .....

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's difficult to name a particular instrument. The Cremonese instruments all have a splendid charm. Also the Brescians are wonderful to look at.

Maybe the 'Alard' N. Amati stands out with its perfect scroll. The Betts Strad for the perfect FF's. Actually, the whole violin is gorgeous. Visiting the Shrine to Music is a religious experience. That's one of my favorites, if I must name one. Also, going back to visit Cremona every year is a bliss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not seen in the flesh, but a couple of Bergonzi violins had nice outlines. I like full C-bouts and rounded bouts. Many Strads that have squarish shoulders do not look very graceful to me.

I tend to draw these shapes for my viola patterns. I keep the upper bouts small and dropping away rasonably quickly.

Are there other old examples such as I am thinking of? Any recomendations for me to look at ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Occasionally we each have the good fortune to be close or very close to an instrument that is just overwhelmingly beautiful and we carry the moment in the back of our minds as a source of inspiration.

For me this came at an AFVBM meeting that I spoke to several years ago. Yo-Yo Ma was there with his 1733 Montagnana cello. I had the good fortune to have the instrument in my hands and lap, under good lights, for about 45 minutes...I won't try to describe it but I can play back the experience, frame by frame, in my mind...it just blew me away.

How about you?

The latest in a long series, including obviously the Cannon, was the baby 'del Gesù' Chardon of 1735 at our last instrument exhibition here in Cremona. Full varnished and unpolished. Yikes!

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes, the 'Chardon'!....I wish I had visited the exhibition to see that. I have the catalogue.

Bruce. How would you say the varnish colour on the Cardon compares to that ( disregarding patina) of the Cannone? is is lighter or darker in hue?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh yes, the 'Chardon'!....I wish I had visited the exhibition to see that. I have the catalogue.

Bruce. How would you say the varnish colour on the Cardon compares to that ( disregarding patina) of the Cannone? is is lighter or darker in hue?

I would say a lighter hue and more red orange, in many ways similar to the pure red orange on the back of the 'King' del Gesù of the same year. The neck I feel was also varnished with the same varnish but it has turned brownish as if it had reacted to oils and perspiration from the hand. Perhaps in a certain way it is not so different from the varnish on the Messiah.

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to say the best strad I have seen and handled was probably Hagner's sasserno strad. Incredible condition. I ended up making a violin based on it's ff and arching. The scroll had some damage so it ended up with the titian scroll. I was blown away with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The latest in a long series, including obviously the Cannon, was the baby 'del Gesù' Chardon of 1735 at our last instrument exhibition here in Cremona. Full varnished and unpolished. Yikes!

Bruce

Bruce,

I do not know this instrument.....are there decent pictures available? Thanks.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been a couple pictures of it posted on Maestronet recently. They're not the standard straight on shots though, but in a lot of ways pictures at different angles are a lot more interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bruce,

I do not know this instrument.....are there decent pictures available? Thanks.

Joe

Joe,

The violin is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue from last year in "Cremona 1730-1750: the Olympus of violinmaking". There might be a distributor in the USA, if not, let me know.

The one Martina Hawe sent to Don Noon is from the catalogue as you can see the by the color separation and halftoning from the four color printing process (CMYK - Cyan - Magenta - Yellow and Black). Most books like this are printed at 300 dpi. This means that the images appear sharp as is but when you look with a lens, you don't see more detail, you just see dots of color.

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bruce,

I do not know this instrument.....are there decent pictures available? Thanks.

Joe

Joe,

Here's a shot of the same corner that Martina Hawe supplied to Don Noon (see Wm. Johnston's link on post #47). The lighting isn't great and the varnish on the edge is closer to the real color. If anything the color inside the purfling is too cool red and a little underexposed.

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joe,

Here's a shot of the same corner that Martina Hawe supplied to Don Noon (see Wm. Johnston's link on post #47). The lighting isn't great and the varnish on the edge is closer to the real color. If anything the color inside the purfling is too cool red and a little underexposed.

Bruce

Thanks for posting that picture Bruce, it´s much more useful than my photo off the book!

I´ve got a question regarding the Chardon maybe you or someone else can help. In the lower curve of the bass C bout rib it looked like an accumulation of varnish as if it had run down a bit after application, did you see the same thing?

Martina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.