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I have noticed in violin maker dictionaries, author often states that a maker displaces fair, good, or fine, craftsmanship. What should one look for in the quality of the craftsmanship? Does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of the sound?

Thank you :)

BX

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I have noticed in violin maker dictionaries, author often states that a maker displaces fair, good, or fine, craftsmanship. What should one look for in the quality of the craftsmanship? Does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of the sound?

Thank you :)

BX

Yes.

And no.

Very old, very cheap, carved in place bass bars, hacked out plates, no blocks and linings violins, often have a very sweet, wonderful sound.

Then again, on the other hand, I played a fameous name $80,000 old Italian violin, about a year ago, that I wouldn't have paid $1000 for.

"Quality of sound" is getting into strange, hard to pin down territory.

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Yea, it can be very strange sometimes. I've had at least two or more unlabeled violins that I bought for nearly nothing out of junk shops for repair wood, that turned out to be very sweet sounding instruments. I once had a bow made out of hickory of all things, that was one of the best playing bows I ever owned. But these are flukes.

I also tend to equate craftsmanship with tone, but there are some surprises out there!

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One definition of Craftsmanship is the ability to display asthetic beauty in the construction of a utilitarian object, and the level at which a "Craftsman" does so. As "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", the terms "fair, good or fine" are that particular observers opinion of the work of that particular Craftsman. Only when that particular observer becomes a "recognized expert", is his/her opinion of value to other people who do not have immediate access to the work of a particular Craftsman.

"fair, good or fine" should not be particularly difficult to understand. It is "that" particular authors opinion of the asthetic beauty of the work of a particular Craftsman and has absoulutely nothing to do with it's "utilitarian" value. Utilitarian in the case of a violin meaning "quality of sound".

Although a violin that was not properly assembled would probably not have a "fair, good or fine" "quality of sound", a poorly finished instrument with rough sanded scroll and globs of dried varnish "could" have a "fair, good or fine" "quality of sound".

IMHO, the general lack of true Craftsmen in most areas of endevor, is the direct reason why so many people don't understand the meaning of the word "Craftsmanship".

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Nice post, McBenet. Please PM me with who you are.

Could be a familiar poster with a new username, but that could just be my demons talkin'. :)

Other nice posts too, but I already know who they are, and hope I have already acknowledged them.

I'm somewhat surprised that anyone was willing to take the topic on, and I didn't expect such good results.

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Nice post, McBenet. Please PM me with who you are.

Could be a familiar poster with a new username, but that could just be my demons talkin'. :)

Other nice posts too, but I already know who they are, and hope I have already acknowledged them.

I'm somewhat surprised that anyone was willing to take the topic on, and I didn't expect such good results.

Hello David. Sorry if I sound like someone else that you knew before, I certainly would not want their good name impuned by mistakeing me to be them. It is not necessary for me to PM you, as I have no need to hide my identity from anyone on the Board.

As such, I will be happy to make formal introductions:

My name is Barry Bennett, I am 57 years old, live in the greater Los Angeles, CA area (310). I am a native born American of Scott and Irish extraction and use the Celtic version of my sir name (McBenet) for my User Name as a sign of respect and affection for my late father.

I am not anyone famous in the violin/fiddle world, but I have for many many years been absoulutely facinated by the instrument which in my mind, is nothing short of a "magic box" from which ordinary people are allowed to coax heavenly music, although I personally do so with great difficulty and only on sporadic occasions.

Because I have been facinated with violins for sooooooo many years, but have spent most of them raising children (single father), I am now happily following my heart into the world of violin repair/restoration and after haveing previewed several Forums, decided that Maestronet would be an excellent place to trade information and and gain knowledge. Although I am not formally trained as a Luthier, I have years of experience repairing everything that my 4 children broke while growing up, from computers to furniture to quitars, and to the extent that I am at all able to impart any small amount of knowledge, I will consider it to be a small down payment against what I expect to gain from the many experienced members who are already here. For this, I wish to thank you all in advance.

If there is any way I may be of service to you or any member of the Forum, please feel free to ask.

-----Barry

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I have noticed in violin maker dictionaries, author often states that a maker displaces fair, good, or fine, craftsmanship. What should one look for in the quality of the craftsmanship? Does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of the sound?

Thank you :)

BX

BTW BBBXXX, I could be wrong, but I believe you meant to say "...a maker displays fair, good or fine craftsmanship", not "...a maker displaces fair, good or fine craftsmanship".

"Displays" means to present for others to inspect.

"Displaces" means to remove from view.

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BTW BBBXXX, I could be wrong, but I believe you meant to say "...a maker displays fair, good or fine craftsmanship", not "...a maker displaces fair, good or fine craftsmanship".

"Displays" means to present for others to inspect.

"Displaces" means to remove from view.

thank you for the answer! sorry i meant to say displays :)

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Maybe there are a few aspects to this kind of question.

I will bring up the flawed but classical example of the 2 categories of what most poeple consider the finest instruments around: 1) a golden period Strad and 2) late del Gusu. Using one definition of craftsmanship you could say the Strad is high craftsmanship and the DG less so (in most areas). Other people would say that each group of instruments have the highest level of craftsmanship; if you use the definition of craftsmanship to include the ability of someone to have the skills, talent, expereince to make what they intend to make at the highest level. Both instruments are beautiful to look at and to play and to listen to, but perhaps in different ways.

Another example is an instrument that is very percise, everything meticulously done, but it sounds bad, is hard to play and looks uninteresting to most people. Would that be good craftsmanship (in the violin world)?

So it seems that craftsmanship in the violin would needs to include the capacity to make an instruemnt that sounds good and is nice to play (the intention of the maker is realized in the finial product). If you were a potter who makes pitchers that are meant to hold water, no matter how beautiful they were, if they always leaked, you would have to say the person's craftmanship was poor in that their intention was never realized even in a basic way. (I know the arguement of sound being subjective and somewhat person comes into play)

In the book Nature and Art of workmanship David Pye says:

"In the workmanship of risk (which violinnmaking would fall under unless making it by CNC machine) , rough work is the necessary basis for perfect work, just as the sketch is of the picture. The first sketchy marks on the canvas may become the foundation of the picture and be burried, or they may be left standing. Similarly the first approxomations of the workman may afterwards disappear or they may be left standing. For the painter and the workman it is sometimes difficult to know when to stop on the road to perfect work, and sooner may be better then later. "

So maybe the definition of good, bad of fair workmanship needs to include "those first sketchy marks" in some way, no matter how far you decide to work them.

And one last thought is: does the less "precise" workmanship and attitude toward making that del gesu seemed to have, especially in his later years, actually contribute the beauty of sound and playing charactiscs that people are more then willing to pay millons of dollars for? In other words does the "free and rough" workmanship of DG, at least partially account for the value of the instruments and with a more "precise" mind set and work habits, his violins would be less good?

This doesn't account for the full answer to the question, but is meant to go deeper into one aspect of it.

Fun topic

-Peter

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I have noticed in violin maker dictionaries, author often states that a maker displaces fair, good, or fine, craftsmanship. What should one look for in the quality of the craftsmanship? Does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of the sound?

Thank you :)

BX

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

How can you tell if the violin sounds good (to you anyway) ?

Answer, play it. What is more basic than that? Price, looks, worksmanship, name of makers, may be deceiving.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Important thing to do is to convince yourself, not to convince others.

We are different people. Some players spend big sums of money to buy their violins, they can get great sound out of them.

When I tried it ( in one or two occasions ) the violins sounded good but ordinary. I realized that our skilling levels were different too.

Violins are not like cars which we can easily tell if it is a fast car. Violins are more like horses.

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Hello David. Sorry if I sound like someone else that you knew before, I certainly would not want their good name impuned by mistakeing me to be them. It is not necessary for me to PM you, as I have no need to hide my identity from anyone on the Board.

As such, I will be happy to make formal introductions:

My name is Barry Bennett, I am 57 years old, live in the greater Los Angeles, CA area (310). I am a native born American of Scott and Irish extraction and use the Celtic version of my sir name (McBenet) for my User Name as a sign of respect and affection for my late father.

I -----Barry

Formal introductions, yikes!

Cool, another Celt... (soon, I believe, we will exist with enough numbers here to crush everyone else on the board into a fine powder!)

My name is Craig Tucker, (ctviolin) and my grandparents on my mom's side were "Armstrong" and "Welsh". The "Tucker" side was German and French Canadian... The term "Celt" in some respects, may be hard to pin down exactly, and in Europe celtic roots roots may be said to include the German and Italian people, etc. (as I understand it)...

They tell me that the Armstrong clan (name) is Scottish, but my grandfather claims (well, claimed actually) lineage directly from Ireland, where "his people" still live. So, my mother, for about the last fifteen years of her life, made the pilgramage back to Ireland to see and visit the area where both of her parents hailed from.

I'm much younger than you (55), and living in Roswell NM. But I I got here from thirty five years in the South Bay (that South Bay which is considered a part of the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area) Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo Beach. ( - as opposed to the other South Bay area, a bit further north) - prior to that time it was Worcester Mass.

My big thing is that I am happy just to be alive, but that I miss not having an ocean nearby that I can jump into and float around in.

I have made right around forty violins, have a strong background in quick, student level meatball repair techniqies, and can provide some insight about bow rehairing.

Very nice to meet you and I hope you stick around a while and ask many questions.

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BTW BBBXXX, I could be wrong, but I believe you meant to say "...a maker displays fair, good or fine craftsmanship", not "...a maker displaces fair, good or fine craftsmanship".

"Displays" means to present for others to inspect.

"Displaces" means to remove from view.

Indeed, and 'asthetic beauty' could be incorrectly interpreted as deriving from 'asthenia' (loss or lack of bodily strength; weakness; debility).

Languid beauty has been the subject of poesy.

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I have noticed in violin maker dictionaries, author often states that a maker displaces fair, good, or fine, craftsmanship. What should one look for in the quality of the craftsmanship? Does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of the sound?

Thank you :)

BX

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

I usually see fine glue lines. (thin and uniform or invisible )

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Man, I checked the board this morning on my iPhone and I have to tell you, I have been "chomping at the bit" all day long waiting to get home and get on my keyboard so I can reply to some of these Posts, but first things first:

Thank you Craig, Jeffery and David for welcomeing me to the Board.

Now, to get started:

Maybe there are a few aspects to this kind of question.

I will bring up the flawed but classical example of the 2 categories of what most poeple consider the finest instruments around: 1) a golden period Strad and 2) late del Gusu. Using one definition of craftsmanship you could say the Strad is high craftsmanship and the DG less so (in most areas). Other people would say that each group of instruments have the highest level of craftsmanship; if you use the definition of craftsmanship to include the ability of someone to have the skills, talent, expereince to make what they intend to make at the highest level. Both instruments are beautiful to look at and to play and to listen to, but perhaps in different ways.

Another example is an instrument that is very percise, everything meticulously done, but it sounds bad, is hard to play and looks uninteresting to most people. Would that be good craftsmanship (in the violin world)?

So it seems that craftsmanship in the violin would needs to include the capacity to make an instruemnt that sounds good and is nice to play (the intention of the maker is realized in the finial product). If you were a potter who makes pitchers that are meant to hold water, no matter how beautiful they were, if they always leaked, you would have to say the person's craftmanship was poor in that their intention was never realized even in a basic way. (I know the arguement of sound being subjective and somewhat person comes into play)

In the book Nature and Art of workmanship David Pye says:

"In the workmanship of risk (which violinnmaking would fall under unless making it by CNC machine) , rough work is the necessary basis for perfect work, just as the sketch is of the picture. The first sketchy marks on the canvas may become the foundation of the picture and be burried, or they may be left standing. Similarly the first approxomations of the workman may afterwards disappear or they may be left standing. For the painter and the workman it is sometimes difficult to know when to stop on the road to perfect work, and sooner may be better then later. "

So maybe the definition of good, bad of fair workmanship needs to include "those first sketchy marks" in some way, no matter how far you decide to work them.

And one last thought is: does the less "precise" workmanship and attitude toward making that del gesu seemed to have, especially in his later years, actually contribute the beauty of sound and playing charactiscs that people are more then willing to pay millons of dollars for? In other words does the "free and rough" workmanship of DG, at least partially account for the value of the instruments and with a more "precise" mind set and work habits, his violins would be less good?

This doesn't account for the full answer to the question, but is meant to go deeper into one aspect of it.

Fun topic

-Peter

Peter, like so many others, you have taken the String OFF TOPIC and attempted to confuse the issue by changing the meaning of words and then running off in another direction. THE ORIGINAL QUESTION POSED BY BBBXXX was: "Does the quality of Craftsmanship directly have an affect on the quality of sound?"

While you are rambleing on about various things that may or may not increase the value or desireability of a particular violin to a particular buyer, that was not the question. Again, the question was: "Does the quality of Craftsmanship directly have an affect on the quality of sound?"

You then ramble on about a mythical Potter who makes a pitcher that will not hold water and attermpt to back up your thesis with a quote from the book: "Nature and Art of Workmanship" by David Pye.

FIRST, words are important!!! It is by the use of words that have agreed upon definitions that we are able to convey information to people who are not present at the time we provide the information and are not able to experience a hands on show and tell with actual examples present. When someone starts changing the words, they change the entire subject of the conversation.

The definition of Craftsmanship is: "...the ability to impart asthetic beauty into the creation of a utilitarian object" and your attempt to confuse "Workmanship" with "Craftsmanship" is an all too common failure. I am a Union Tradesman by vocation. I work for my employer under the terms of a Union Contract. One of the terms of the Contract between the Company and the Union is that I agree to provide my services in a "workman like manner". "Workman like manner" is the BARE MINIMUM STANDARD by which the Company has agreed to exchange their money for my labor. My high level of Craftsmanship is the reason why I have been employed by this same Company for almost 30 years while many, many others have come and gone.

Despite your attempt to interchange the word, workmanship with craftsmanship, WORKMANSHIP IS NOT THE SAME AS CRAFTSMANSHIP!!! It never has been, and it never will be. Workmanship is the bare minumum skill level required to produce a utilitarian object.

Your example of a Potter who produced a pitcher that would not hold water falls flat on it's face simply because a "utilitarian object" must by it's own definition be UTILITARIAN. The definition of a utilitarian object is: "...an object which will perform the function for which it was designed." Therefore, a pitcher that would not hold water would not be a pitcher! While it might be possible to produce a piece of ART that RESEMBLED a PITCHER, it could not by definition be a pitcher. AGAIN, words are important. It is the way we transmit information to one another.

Lastly, your thoughts on the determination of value regarding the Stradavarius vs the del Gesu is completely nonsenceical. These are instruments which have high value based on a combination of many factors and Craftsmanship may or may not be one of the factors by which either instrument is valueated by a particular buyer.

Is a Stradavarius priceless? If it is, is it worth 10 Million Dollars. If it is priceless and worth 10 Million Dollars (or more), why is it that no Stradavarious has ever sold for 10 Million Dollars? If Stradavarius had produced 10 million violins and all of them servived and were of comperable quality and sound, do you think any of them would be worth $10,000.00. Probably not. What about the del Gesu? If there were 10 Million del Gesu's floating around on eBay, what do you think they would be worth? I would venture a guess that regardless of their age, they would just be another nice sounding cheap violin.

Violins (and some of their stringed cousins) are the only musical instruments that have value beyond their utilitarian and antique value. A trumpet is a product of technology. A brass bugel is a brass bugel and unless you have provenance that links a brass bugel to the battle of Getteysburg, or some similar event, a used brass bugel is always worth less than a new brass bugel. The quality of the material it is made of may change the value, for instance a brass bugel would be worth more than a steel bugel and less than one made of silver or even gold, but apples to apples and oranges to oranges, a used bugel is always worth less than it's comperable new version. Not so the violin.

And finally, back to the original question: "...does quality of craftsmanship directly have an effect on the quality of sound?"

Drum Roll Please.............

THE ANSWER IS: NO!

Indeed, and 'asthetic beauty' could be incorrectly interpreted as deriving from 'asthenia' (loss or lack of bodily strength; weakness; debility).

Languid beauty has been the subject of poesy.

Janito, ok, ok. LOL, but as I said, words are important. I said: "asthetic". I did not say "asthenia, angina, arthritic, articulate or argumentative". I said: "asthetic".

Nuff said.

Barry

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"In the workmanship of risk (which violinnmaking would fall under unless making it by CNC machine) , rough work is the necessary basis for perfect work, just as the sketch is of the picture.

Mr. Pye says this.. what is wrong with a CNC machine if you have designed the entire arch yourself? You still have to finish the surface. Since many people copy so closely, they may as well use a CNC pattern.

In fact, some seem to define good workmanship as the ability to copy something else precisely.

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Mr. Pye says this.. what is wrong with a CNC machine if you have designed the entire arch yourself? You still have to finish the surface. Since many people copy so closely, they may as well use a CNC pattern.

In fact, some seem to define good workmanship as the ability to copy something else precisely.

There is absoulutely nothing "wrong" with useing a CNC Machine. It is an efficient way to mass produce almost anything. The problem appears when you take the product to market. If you want to flood the market with a low cost product, it is a time proven way to do it. What the heck, Wrigleys got rich selling packs of gum for less than a nickle and I would venture that not one stick of his gum was "hand made".

The desireability of a particular means of producing a product is based entirely on it's acceptance by it's intended customers. Chase your market and see where it takes you.

BTW, "...the ability to copy something else precisely" is often times called forgerie and carries legal penalties, but as long as it is made clear that a "copy" has been made, then the only concern is any applicable pattents and/or trade marks. None of which apply to the copying (not forgeing) of 300 year old violins.

Have fun. Yippie kie aye.

'

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Looks like we need to change the name to "Newbie Net" this week. :)

Quality means good sound and stable construction. I've worked on a few awesome strange fiddles with no linings or blocks, and they sound great, but in the long run, I'd question how long the workmanship and good sound will last. As much as I love quirky instruments, I would much rather have a nicely made violin with clean interior and exterior work, than something that might not last.

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"you have taken the String OFF TOPIC and attempted to confuse the issue"

"While you are rambleing on about various things"

"You then ramble"

"FIRST, words are important!!!"

Barry;

Yes, words are important... and how they are used is also important. It's my opinion you may have been able to get your point across without impugning another participants motives.

Also, I get the feeling that antique violin sales are not one of your areas of expertise.

Cordially,

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nother newbe here for newbe week my name is James michael Jones born to this life 6/12/66 and proude to be in your estemed company .I have been an artist craftman since 1984 i have made hundreds of flutes drums I am currently finnishing #6&7 violins I am also a trained blackmith and have studied the workmanship of risk method for years. I belive the origin of craftmanship is in the understanding of the language of the material and the purposs it will serve. A fine instrument may lack a fine finish, bee stings on purfling and symetry to the scroll, yet possess solid joints, good arching and graduations, selected woods and great setup. Ask what was the value structure,Intent of the craftsman? tone power resonance or mabe they wanted to just look good I belive some good instruments will be made by poor craftsman but most will not look for tight joints a light quality 450 gm 400-500gm range and lack of structural fault (sound post cracks caved in ffs ect.) the bottom side of most old stuff was left rough not because of poor craftmanship but diffrent vallues

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.I have been an artist craftman since 1984 i have made hundreds of flutes drums I am currently finnishing #6&7 violins I am also a trained blackmith and have studied the workmanship of risk method for years. I belive the origin of craftmanship is in the understanding of the language of the material and the purposs it will serve

What is a flutes drum? ... and what and thee hell is the workmanship of risk method?

I can identify with the union thing.... being a craftsman in my union trade has provided me with a sense of job security in the past..

I trained and worked with some of the old timers in alot of NYC projects...including those who built & erected the Twin Towers...

Ornamental ironwork, I learned from a guinee off the boat... as the Jersey slang goes.

For those interested... his name was Yugo and he was the shop foreman for Hackensack Steel in NJ.

( Did I spell that right Mike?)...It's been awhile since a had to spell Hackansack.

He was a true artist in iron...and my inspiration...looking back now...a very hard man to work for...sound familiar?

-Ernie

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