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VSA Competition results?

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Thank you for the very kind words Janito. Your opinion means a lot to me.

I had a fantastic time at the convention. To be able to pick up and inspect so many great instruments was enlightening and very educational and it was a pleasure to finally meet some of the forum members.

I chose to purchase the pictures that were offered by the VSA including the full-size poster. They did an amazing job in taking these pictures. I was originally going to have a local photographer take pictures of my finished instrument but It never would have come anywhere close to the VSA pictures.

Here is the certificate-size photo of my violin and the scroll shot (in a reduced pixel format for posting). I couldn't be more pleased.

Chris

post-24557-073440500 1289874840_thumb.jpg

post-24557-020331000 1289874862_thumb.jpg

Need we be reminded? This is a first instrument! You deserve to be proud of this one, Chris.

Joe

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Yes. That's him. I saw his instrument, and the quality of work was absolutely astounding, woodwork and varnish. I think he bribed David Burgess to make him a fiddle. I can only guess that he didn't win anything because of a slight gap between the neck and fingerboard, and possibly the light color of the varnish.

Hi Don. That is very kind of you to say. (But I don't think David Burgess would be very happy :lol: ). I saw the fingerboard gap but was pressed for time so I let it go - bad decision :( . I certainly learned a lot during the week.

Chris

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Hi Don. That is very kind of you to say. (But I don't think David Burgess would be very happy :lol: ). I saw the fingerboard gap but was pressed for time so I let it go - bad decision :( . I certainly learned a lot during the week.

Chris

Naw, I'm fine with it. ;)

Chris, I don't recall looking at that fiddle, but going by the photos, you've got some intriguing stuff going on.

The conventions can be an interesting learning experience, can't they? At least they are for me.

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Hi Matthias,

Thank you. I’m getting more praise here than I deserve. Here are front and rear body shots with a little larger pixel size. The original pictures are unbelievably detailed. There is almost no limit to how much you can zoom into them. Jerry Pasewicz and the others in the VSA really did a fantastic job.

Chris

post-24557-068578100 1289923765_thumb.jpg

post-24557-048912500 1289923755_thumb.jpg

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Hi Matthias,

Thank you. I’m getting more praise here than I deserve. Here are front and rear body shots with a little larger pixel size. The original pictures are unbelievably detailed. There is almost no limit to how much you can zoom into them. Jerry Pasewicz and the others in the VSA really did a fantastic job.

Chris

post-24557-068578100 1289923765_thumb.jpg

post-24557-048912500 1289923755_thumb.jpg

The three people to thank are Ryan McLaughlin, David Buchi and Kevin Miller. They did a great job working long hours to be sure the images were fantastic. I understand they shot 100gb worth of photos.

Jerry

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Agreed! I sent a congrats off to Gary earlier today. We haven't met and I haven't seen his work but I think its a notable feat to win three gold medals at one competition. We have the same last name so I'm taking a little vicarious enjoyment in his achievement. :)

Gary Leahy got three gold medals for his bows, that's gonna take some beating.

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Agreed! I sent a congrats off to Gary earlier today. We haven't met and I haven't seen his work but I think its a notable feat to win three gold medals at one competition. We have the same last name so I'm taking a little vicarious enjoyment in his achievement. :)

Think the last (only other?) person to do this at the VSA was his teacher/mentor (Noel Burke)?

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I'm afraid I can't agree Chris. This is outstanding work for your first fiddle. Congrats!

I agree with this disagreement. Prior to getting the list of who made what violin, I went through all 238 violins and picked out 27 that I thought were the best workmanship. Chris' was in that list. 9 in of my list of 27 won at least a certificate of workmanship.

Chris, did you get to chat with the judges about what to improve?

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Think the last (only other?) person to do this at the VSA was his teacher/mentor (Noel Burke)?

I remember it well. Noel was sitting next to me at the dinner when he won them. I'm not sure if he is the only previous triple gold though.

BTW Eeero Haahti won something in both violin and bows. That is truly amazing and another first.

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Chris, did you get to chat with the judges about what to improve?

Thank you again Don, and thank you DLeahy and luthier9010,

I talked with three judges and they were pretty consistent in their critique. I didn’t want to tell the judges it was my first violin because I wanted a good strong critique but a couple of them asked. Perhaps for that reason they were quite generous in their assessment.

The first judge, Francis Kutter, took some time to look at the violin and kindly said it was “very good”, that there were “no obvious issues”. He felt that the corners could be a millimeter longer, that the bridge was good, but that the f-holes were a little narrow and that the tips of the wings were a bit too close to the body. He said the scroll is good but that I may want to, as a personal preference, extend the bevel around the eye. He prefers the pegbog varnished. He said that the heel of the neck was a little square, “The setup is good” and “the varnish is good but lacks interest”. After looking it over again he finished with,”I place it in the upper middle of the competition instruments”.

That pretty much made my day but there was more fun to come.

The second judge, Tscho Ho Lee, looked over the violin and said; “Nice work” then added, “You could use a better ground”. After looking it over awhile longer he said that he preferred the arching to come down a little smoother “like an airplane landing”and that the point of the edge work could be more rounded. His final comment was, “The scroll is good, nice violin”.

The third and final judge was Roland Feller. Roland looked at the violin for a long time turning it over and over in his hands. Finally he said, “You’ve been making violins for quite a while”. When I told him that this was my first violin his response was fun to watch. “This is your first violin?” he asked. I said yes. He was quiet again for awhile and was clearly having a problem wrapping his arms around this. I guess he figured I must have made three or four in school so how could this be my first. He then asked, “Where did you study?” I told him that I used a number of books and the internet forums. He looked at the violin again and said, “This is beautiful” The issues he pointed out were small discontinuities in the shape of the neck and that the neck heel was a little square. He felt the purfling was a bit wide which worked against the size of the f-holes. He added that first impressions were important in this competition, using a better ground would add intensity to the finish. He finished with “Great arching, great work”.

After viewing so many violins I had already come to the conclusion that my finish lacked intensity. Unfortunately I already had my ground complete before I contacted Joe Robson. His varnish is really amazing but without the proper ground it couldn’t provide the intensity that it is capable of. I did get a nice application which I contribute to Joe’s varnish and his generous assistance.

Chris

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I just realized that I have 2 violins for sale in my shop by one of the 2010 competition winners, Shi Liao of the Scott Cao shop. Two very nice "Soil" and "Heifetz" models. I'm glad I checked up on the winners results...

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I got to meet gold medal winner Paul Sadka there for the first time. I believe he also won three gold medal for his bows at this competition. He was just a very nice person and very humble. The bows looked beautiful. I didn't get to see the bass bows this time, because every time I wanted to see them, there was a crowd of people looking at them.

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When the tone award winners were played on stage by the judges, I felt Peter Goodfellow's gold medal cello stood out from all the other instruments by having more available edge, articulation, consonant qualities when the player wished. This on top of warm and complex lower resonances as well as "singing" workmanship.

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One gold and two silvers, i.e., only 3 out of 238 met the players requirement. Good violins are indeed very rare.

I see this differently. Good violins were in abundance, great violins are always rare.

Joe

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I found Douglas Martin’s balsa violin to be very interesting. With all of the structural issues he had to overcome, his asymmetric violin has a very beautiful clean contemporary look. His version of the f-holes were built into the body like the air intake on an aircraft and the elegantly tapered head allowed the strings to flow perfectly to each peg. It was really well thought out.

Chris

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Great to meet you Chris.

Thank you for your observation on the look.

I'll take this opportunity to report that this instrument suffered an amazing deterioration in sound due to the dry air in combination with a last-minute panic

move of the soundpost to the southwest. As soon as I arrived back home, I played it in familiar surroundings as well as took a bowed spectrum and made a recording. I felt it was about the worst violin I had ever played.

Now, four days later, it has recovered to where it was and could be my personal best. At VSA, this instrument was about two weeks old.

The other instruments I brought

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......continued.. (reached the limits of phone for single post)

I brought appeared to change in proportion to their age-- the oldest and

thinest at four years possibly improving. One at

three months changing little and one at one month changing a lot but not as badly as the contest entry.

I'll be following your work with interest. Great job.

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Thank you again Don, and thank you DLeahy and luthier9010,

I talked with three judges and they were pretty consistent in their critique. I didn’t want to tell the judges it was my first violin because I wanted a good strong critique but a couple of them asked. Perhaps for that reason they were quite generous in their assessment.

The first judge, Francis Kutter, took some time to look at the violin and kindly said it was “very good”, that there were “no obvious issues”. He felt that the corners could be a millimeter longer, that the bridge was good, but that the f-holes were a little narrow and that the tips of the wings were a bit too close to the body. He said the scroll is good but that I may want to, as a personal preference, extend the bevel around the eye. He prefers the pegbog varnished. He said that the heel of the neck was a little square, “The setup is good” and “the varnish is good but lacks interest”. After looking it over again he finished with,”I place it in the upper middle of the competition instruments”.

That pretty much made my day but there was more fun to come.

The second judge, Tscho Ho Lee, looked over the violin and said; “Nice work” then added, “You could use a better ground”. After looking it over awhile longer he said that he preferred the arching to come down a little smoother “like an airplane landing”and that the point of the edge work could be more rounded. His final comment was, “The scroll is good, nice violin”.

The third and final judge was Roland Feller. Roland looked at the violin for a long time turning it over and over in his hands. Finally he said, “You’ve been making violins for quite a while”. When I told him that this was my first violin his response was fun to watch. “This is your first violin?” he asked. I said yes. He was quiet again for awhile and was clearly having a problem wrapping his arms around this. I guess he figured I must have made three or four in school so how could this be my first. He then asked, “Where did you study?” I told him that I used a number of books and the internet forums. He looked at the violin again and said, “This is beautiful” The issues he pointed out were small discontinuities in the shape of the neck and that the neck heel was a little square. He felt the purfling was a bit wide which worked against the size of the f-holes. He added that first impressions were important in this competition, using a better ground would add intensity to the finish. He finished with “Great arching, great work”.

After viewing so many violins I had already come to the conclusion that my finish lacked intensity. Unfortunately I already had my ground complete before I contacted Joe Robson. His varnish is really amazing but without the proper ground it couldn’t provide the intensity that it is capable of. I did get a nice application which I contribute to Joe’s varnish and his generous assistance.

Chris

Chris, really great looking,very, very clean. It looks like you figured out the varnish thing ok. I don't know Roland personally, but know people who do.If he liked it, thats saying something. So anyway, get back to work, I smell the greatness in the air, times a' wasting <_<

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