Sign in to follow this  
llowman

Hunt to Commission a Viola - Part 3

Recommended Posts

Hello!

I am the proud owner of this beautiful Alf viola that is of incredibly fine workmanship and without cracks. Thank you to all who have given my instrument the benefit of the doubt. I could not be any happier with this beautiful instrument, and am in Mr. Alf's debt for creating a viola that suites me perfectly. I always enjoy showing off the design on the back (sometimes referred to as the "tattoo" of the viola :), and take much pleasure from the reactions of fellow violists when they learn of its small size.

That is a very beautiful instrument and you must be a very proud violist right now! :)

Hope to hear you play some day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At first I thought they were cracks as well, I think what we are seeing is that the violin had rosin on the strings and at some point before the photo the string tension was reduced dramatically, the bridge was removed and the strings touched the belly for a moment leaving a rosin dust trail, it is suspect that there are 4 and that they end right before the tail starts

also, it looks like the A string is over out of its slot on the bridge, it needs to shift over to the right .55 mil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can see the shadow of the fingerboard and the last 2 "reflections" stop exactly at the shadow of the FB. Of course cracks could by chance end exactly there but... And they really don't appear on the picture of the top taken with no angle (first picture). Impressionists were painting rays of lights exactly that way, short broken brush strokes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kelvin, it wasn't so clear to me. In fact, if I showed that picture to most experienced restorers, I think they would assume that they were seeing damage.

We can run it by the people at the Violin Society of America/Oberlin Restoration Workshop in a couple of weeks, and see how clear it is to them. We'll have some of the major players in the restoration business there.

I think that if you showed it to Sacconi himself, he would tell you that he's never seen a photo of a violin with 4 equidistant cracks in front of and behind the bridge that look suspiciously like the string angles and mistook them for a reflection.

David, I've never met you, but reading your posts here I'm entertained by your sense of humor. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that you are, successfully, trying to tweak your friend G. Alf, stir the pot here, and promote Oberlin all at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aren’t those marks just a result of a hasty photo-shopping of string shadows ?

I like that the best of the explanations so far. thumbsup.gif

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that you are, successfully, trying to tweak your friend G. Alf, stir the pot here, and promote Oberlin all at the same time.

Moi? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that if you showed it to Sacconi himself, he would tell you that he's never seen a photo of a violin with 4 equidistant cracks in front of and behind the bridge that look suspiciously like the string angles and mistook them for a reflection.

David, I've never met you, but reading your posts here I'm entertained by your sense of humor. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that you are, successfully, trying to tweak your friend G. Alf, stir the pot here, and promote Oberlin all at the same time.

I have taken the time to read throught the thread and I can only agree with Colledge.

This thread is about a gorgeous modern viola and the adventures of a 16 year old woman who commissioned it. Reporting back after a couple of years is priceless information to those of us interested in small violas or in commissioning instruments from one of today's leading makers.

Less interesting is the pathetic spectacle of one modern maker trying to divert well deserved praise from his colleagues. Alf's fine work and professional demeanor is obvious in both the photos and in the owner's written account. Make no mistake, we see disingenuously innocent sabotage for what it is ... jealousy cloaked in witty comebacks. It shameful and serves Burgess poorly.

On a side note I can only state that, if those photographic artifacts where really cracks, I to this date have yet to encounter anybody who would be incapalbe of spotting this on the actual instrument. No expert replaces or substitutes common sense.

Musicalk, you are a courageous and lucky young lady. Thank you for sharing your beautiful instrument with us and please accept our best of wishes for the competition next week.

I sincerely hope some of these ramblings have not upset you too much and do not keep you from enjoying what you have and do and sharing it with others.

Come back and let us know what happens!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have taken the time to read throught the thread and I can only agree with Colledge.

This thread is about a gorgeous modern viola and the adventures of a 16 year old woman who commissioned it. Reporting back after a couple of years is priceless information to those of us interested in small violas or in commissioning instruments from one of today's leading makers.

Less interesting is the pathetic spectacle of one modern maker trying to divert well deserved praise from his colleagues. Alf's fine work and professional demeanor is obvious in both the photos and in the owner's written account. Make no mistake, we see disingenuously innocent sabotage for what it is ... jealousy cloaked in witty comebacks. It shameful and serves Burgess poorly.

On a side note I can only state that, if those photographic artifacts where really cracks, I to this date have yet to encounter anybody who would be incapalbe of spotting this on the actual instrument. No expert replaces or substitutes common sense.

Musicalk, you are a courageous and lucky young lady. Thank you for sharing your beautiful instrument with us and please accept our best of wishes for the competition next week.

I sincerely hope some of these ramblings have not upset you too much and do not keep you from enjoying what you have and do and sharing it with others.

Come back and let us know what happens!

Don't misunderstand this. Burgess didn't suggest there were cracks in this instrument. Someone else did. He just took the ridiculous and ran with it for fun. (Did Gregg Alf deliver a new violin with 4 big cracks in the top and boastfully photograph it? :) ) Of course not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have taken the time to read throught the thread and I can only agree with Colledge.

This thread is about a gorgeous modern viola and the adventures of a 16 year old woman who commissioned it. Reporting back after a couple of years is priceless information to those of us interested in small violas or in commissioning instruments from one of today's leading makers.

Less interesting is the pathetic spectacle of one modern maker trying to divert well deserved praise from his colleagues. Alf's fine work and professional demeanor is obvious in both the photos and in the owner's written account. Make no mistake, we see disingenuously innocent sabotage for what it is ... jealousy cloaked in witty comebacks. It shameful and serves Burgess poorly.

On a side note I can only state that, if those photographic artifacts where really cracks, I to this date have yet to encounter anybody who would be incapalbe of spotting this on the actual instrument. No expert replaces or substitutes common sense.

"Servingaudio", how nice to have a mind reader weigh in. :)

You might benefit from reading the thread again, putting a tendency toward drama and dark thoughts aside for a moment.

I wasn't the first to mention that unusual photo. I wasn't the first to say that what it showed resembled cracks. I didn't say that they were cracks.

There is a photo in the first post showing something unusual, possibly a photo artifact, and that is what is being discussed. I don't happen to think it shows accurately depicted string reflections. Photo artifacts of some kind, maybe stemming from reflections, possibly. In questioning if they were cracks, I asked if the instrument had had an accident, and never mentioned or implied anything about inherent defects in the instrument or its construction. Nothing negative has been said or implied about Gregg or his work.

You may not be interested in the technical side of photography or instruments, but others of us are. Sometimes readers focus on what happens to be interesting to them in a thread, and it may not be the same thing that interests you. This is a discussion forum. You are free to skip over the parts you don't enjoy. It is normally the moderators who make decisions about how wide-ranging the discussions on a forum should be, and not a first-time poster.

Or you can pull a fanciful scenario from some dark, tortured part of your mind, and make anonymous personal attacks. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never met Mr. Burgess, and I have only met Mr. Alf once at a conference 13 years ago. They live in the same town. I have never seen Mr. Burgess behave in anything but an honorable manner on the forum here, and he does not need my puny support in any way. They are both very celebrated makers. I think we need to let this thread die as it is getting personal. I think the lines on the picture show some evidence of what are called "jaggies" which are an artifact of digital photography. I put the picture into another program and blew it up a bunch and that is what it looks like to me.

Best To All,

Dwight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sorry to have mentioned what I suspected might've been cracks. :)

Ah, don't worry about it. You made an interesting observation, and it resulted in an interesting discussion, involving interpretation of photographs, and damage to instruments, both typical and atypical.

There are those who use forums to act out anger and resentment. I suppose that's preferable to kicking the dog or beating the wife, so look at the bright side. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah, don't worry about it. You made an interesting observation, and it resulted in an interesting discussion.

There are those who use forums to act out anger and resentment. I suppose that's preferable to kicking the dog or beating the wife, so look at the bright side. :)

++++++++++++++

I think those are bear craws. It adds value. :) Don't try to kick a mean dog. A terrible result it may bring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You made an interesting observation, and it resulted in an interesting discussion, involving interpretation of photographs, and damage to instruments, both typical and atypical.

I think I agree with those who say it's a reflection of the strings. On the last "line" in question, below the bridge, I think I can see a bit of blue on the line which seems to match the color of the end silk.

But who knows? The original poster, of course.

Interpreting potential threats from photographs has resulted in many a Powell-up. Oops, foul-up.

Get it? Badumpchhh...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just met Kathryn, the owner of this Alf viola and her lovely parents. Alf`s viola is quite a good instruments and Karthyn makes it sing in very nice way!, My congrats to maker and player!

As far as the "crack" on the top is concerned, there is no crack there, as mentioned probably it was the reflexion of the strings, the top is healthy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now, I don't mean to be an a-hole, or to stir a pot that's already cooked,

but how in God's name do you see those as string reflections?

They are broken, bent lines that don't make any sense as a reflection.

For example, the first line, or the "e string reflection", clearly stops and moves about a mm over to the treble side.

So, if we were all looking at this violin on the Tarisio website, trying to decide whether or not to bid on it during an auction, would you really look at that picture and decide that it's just string reflections? I think not.

And can anyone show me another picture of a violin, out of the countless thousands that have been taken, where that "string reflection" occurred?

Again, I hope this viola is healthy and safe, but let's be honest with what we are all looking at.

That is a picture of a cracked and broken top.

Wow, what an amazingly obtuse comment. Why would he lie about whether the instrument is damaged? He's not selling it, just sharing a great story of having an instrument made for his daughter. Surely he can look at the instrument in his hands and see that it is not damaged. Photos can be notoriously misleading. A very reflective varnish, perhaps with some patina or "orange peel" over a surface that is slightly irregular - following the grain - which would be expected with such a lovely wide grained piece of spruce, would most certainly explain the lines. I find it interesting, not somehow threatening. If he were posting photos to sell it then sure, it would be good to change the angle a little bit until the reflections go away, but this was just a warm fuzzy post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to let you know how my daughter performed at the 38th Annual International Viola Congress. She was not chosen as one of the 5 to compete in the finals. As a parent, I just know she would have been selected if they had chosen 6! Regardless, she performed extremely well and I am proud of her! And, it was a great honor for her to have been selected as one of twelve (in the world) to perform and compete.

On the viola front, I feel her Gregg Alf viola sounded wonderful in the hall. (Also, we had time to compare the Alf to other makers at the Congress; my daughter kept saying "I still really like my viola more than anything I have tried here".)

Just a quick note about her bow. About a year ago we had about 18 bows shipped to our home from among many gold medal winning modern makers (12 different makers in all). Our final choice was a Steve Salchow bow from New York. Unfortunately we had to return the bow since we were unable to sell my daughter's old viola at the time. In addition, I lost my job and was out of work for 9 months. Fast forward to a month ago: I asked if Steve had a bow we could rent in time for the competition. He did not have any in stock. However, a couple weeks later Steve Salchow let me know that a dealer was sending a bow back and asked if I would still be interested in using a bow for the Congress. He added a P.S.: "did you keep track of the bow number when you tried my bows a year ago?". In fact I had. Lo and behold, the bow available was the same bow we loved! Now we were set with a great viola and bow match for Cincinnati!

A HUGE thanks to Steve for his kindness. Wow, what a wonderful gracious thing he did for my daughter! I highly recommend his bows and recommend Steve as kind soul to work with.

Also, I want to offer a GREAT thanks to Joshua Henry, a bow maker that is attending the Viola Congress and offered to take receipt of the bow on his way to Oberlin next week and return it to Steve. Josh was SO HELPFUL and allowed us to also test drive a couple other makers bows, as well as his. (Josh graciously offered to take some bows from other bow makers to the maker's exhibit at the Congress, on their behalf). Joshua Henry's bow sound fabulous and are a great value.

I heartily recommend both makers.

Thanks again for following our posts. I guess we are at the end of this story. A big THANK YOU to those of you that offered so many encouraging remarks.

-Lane Lowman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wanted to let you know how my daughter performed at the 38th Annual International Viola Congress. She was not chosen as one of the 5 to compete in the finals. As a parent, I just know she would have been selected if they had chosen 6! Regardless, she performed extremely well and I am proud of her! And, it was a great honor for her to have been selected as one of twelve (in the world) to perform and compete.

Congratulations to your daughter! I am sure she was #6 too :)

Could you spell it out (again), in black and white for all to see (again):

Are there any cracks on the front of the viola?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Could you spell it out (again), in black and white for all to see (again): Are there any cracks on the front of the viola?"

I did not really want to make my final posting on this journey on this point again. But to be courteous: no, there are no cracks on the front of the viola. In fact, there have never been any cracks on the front, back, side, neck, scroll, tailpiece, fingerboard, pegs, button, bridge, anywhere.

Now, to end on a more positive note, this has been a wonderful journey for daughter and dad! My daughter has gained a great musical gift now and for her future, and we are thankful for Gregg Alf's skill and craft.

Lane Lowman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Could you spell it out (again), in black and white for all to see (again): Are there any cracks on the front of the viola?"

I did not really want to make my final posting on this journey on this point again. But to be courteous: no, there are no cracks on the front of the viola. In fact, there have never been any cracks on the front, back, side, neck, scroll, tailpiece, fingerboard, pegs, button, bridge, anywhere.

Now, to end on a more positive note, this has been a wonderful journey for daughter and dad! My daughter has gained a great musical gift now and for her future, and we are thankful for Gregg Alf's skill and craft.

Lane Lowman

Understandable.

Congratulations and best wishes to your talented daughter!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Understandable.

Congratulations and best wishes to your talented daughter!

+++++++++++

It is a fact that there are many capable makers in this forum. This maker is one among them.

Is that a correct assumption? I wish to see beautiful instruments of other makers, as well, but space is limited.

Choices have to be made. With this understanding, all comments are in line. Just a thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, what an amazingly obtuse comment. Why would he lie about whether the instrument is damaged? He's not selling it, just sharing a great story of having an instrument made for his daughter. Surely he can look at the instrument in his hands and see that it is not damaged. Photos can be notoriously misleading. A very reflective varnish, perhaps with some patina or "orange peel" over a surface that is slightly irregular - following the grain - which would be expected with such a lovely wide grained piece of spruce, would most certainly explain the lines. I find it interesting, not somehow threatening. If he were posting photos to sell it then sure, it would be good to change the angle a little bit until the reflections go away, but this was just a warm fuzzy post.

Please point out the instance where I said he was "lying" about this instrument. :)

This topic took a rather interesting (imo) turn into what does a picture reveal about a violin.

At no point did I ever accuse the original poster of lying about the viola.

As eyewitnesses have shown, this is an UNDAMAGED instrument. Fine.

I believe it 100%. There is no damage to this viola. Hooray!!!! :) :) B)

It was a curious picture, which more then a couple of people seemed to think showed major damage.

If I were to be shown that picture today, out of the blue, with no info about it's origin or owner, I would still say that that is a picture of a broken top. Again, I'm glad it's not.

One thing that I found interesting was the truckload of bullsh*t photographic speculation that was instantly shipped in over this picture. Opinions are like...

llowman: Congratulations to you and your daughter. I wish you both happiness and the best of luck with your beautiful new viola. Please convey to your daughter, if you wish, that my comments (and I would assume all comments) were not of a personal nature, nor directed at her or her new instrument. Thank you.

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.