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If serious students of violin making have nowhere else to turn because of reasons unforeseen...disability, old age, poor, but still have that desire to tread on...and having exhausted all the forums...which we all know MN is THE place to educate oneself...still

I know from personal experience that there are some things that are not shared...on the forums...that leaves those of us that fall into this catagory feeling...well... somewhat lost I guess for lack of a better word...

We invest a butt load of time...money...and if we end up listening to the wrong advice...then we're down and out...

Here's a thought...I know in this time that it is a foolish thought...but bear with me...it's just a thought...

What if us...those described...who are unable to attend a violinmaking school or apprentice with a premier maker...have the ability and desire to drive on...were to send our partialy made instruments confidentionally to some competant maker for inspection...

such as graduation schemes...plate tuning and mode analysis...things like that...

We would pay the shipping to and from...and a charge of what ever time it would take...

You would not be disclosing any secrets...just basic info that gets lost or side tracked in the threads...

In these difficult times it would be a little extra...just a thought

Am I trying to buy secrets?...No I'm interested in fast track learning from the pro's without trying to sift thu all the BS...

and I'm willing to pay for realtime info...It's a win, win...

If I make 50-100 instruments in my lifetime...I'm not putting anybody out of business...so pass it on man...it's good karma... :)

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There's a difference between being motivated and desperate. IMHO, this is a terrible idea. I wouldn't mail a painting or sculpture to some famous artist for a critique. I'd much rather have some personal hands on feedback. By the time you finish paying for a pro to look at your instrument(s), you'd probably have paid for school.

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There's a difference between being motivated and desperate. IMHO, this is a terrible idea. I wouldn't mail a painting or sculpture to some famous artist for a critique. I'd much rather have some personal hands on feedback. By the time you finish paying for a pro to look at your instrument(s), you'd probably have paid for school.

I don't know about terrible, but perhaps somewhat impractical.

What about a Maestronet violin making course with video tutorials and actual online coursework, tests, homework to be submitted by video, certificate of completion at the end, beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc. One could submit videos and photos of instruments in progress, watch lectures from masters and so on. It wouldn't be without precedent; there is lots of virtual coursework online these days. Pinchas Zukerman teaches violin lessons online.

Money and time saver for the student, income for MN. I have the feeling this post may be shot down, but wth.

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I don't know about terrible, but perhaps somewhat impractical.

What about a Maestronet violin making course with video tutorials and actual online coursework, tests, homework to be submitted by video, certificate of completion at the end, beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc. One could submit videos and photos of instruments in progress, watch lectures from masters and so on. It wouldn't be without precedent; there is lots of virtual coursework online these days. Pinchas Zukerman teaches violin lessons online.

Money and time saver for the student, income for MN. I have the feeling this post may be shot down, but wth.

I like that idea!

I had another idea just didn't think anyone would go for it. What if some really good maker sends a violin in the white to someone who has a really nice ground and then that person sends it on to whoever has the best varnish and then that one sends it to whoever does the best set up and then it gets sent to a great soloist to record a performance to share with all. :) A MN group violin... or would that be a violin by committee ?

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What if some really good maker sends a violin in the white to someone who has a really nice ground and then that person sends it on to whoever has the best varnish and then that one sends it to whoever does the best set up and then it gets sent to a great soloist to record a performance to share with all. :) A MN group violin... or would that be a violin by committee ?

Some craftsmen already do what you're talking about... they send their instruments to be finished by friends who are excellent at varnishing, etc etc. I've never heard about it going so far as having a soloist play it though. There must have been one or two Ole Bull builds that were jointly done.

So back to the original post, the concept seems too casual. You can't get a solid education with so little invested.

My online swimming classes will begin tomorrow! ;)

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Ernie,

Let's look at the current alternatives.

Violin making school. An excellent choice if your life is in a place to make the commitment.

Go to work for a shop or maker. The wages aren't so hot, but you won't starve and you will

learn a boatload in a short time.

Workshops. Oberlin, Michael Darton's, New Hampshire,our varnish workshop. Those of us interested and willing

to teach what we have to offer find this the best alternative. Immersion into the subject for a week...

or a week a year....have proved to be a great way to for both the teacher and maker. Hopefully the cost to you is worth the investment of time and $. It will be interesting to see if more workshops form. I am currently working for a European based home for the varnish workshop which would allow us a week there and reduce the cost for a larger circle of makers.

VSA...lots more gets exchanged there than one would imagine...

The video. This MAY work for other aspects of the trade....for varnish there are too many variables to be covered.

The blog. Beyond MN this is a growing chance for makers to exchange info....but it does not cover you and the instrument you are making right now...

Leaving your instrument exchange idea. It is hard for me to imagine how this would work for varnish in a way that would benefit either of us........

The phone...often more effective than one would guess....

All of this reminds me why Marilyn, Roman, and I chose the workshop scenario as the best long term way.

on we go,

Joe

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There's a difference between being motivated and desperate. IMHO, this is a terrible idea. I wouldn't mail a painting or sculpture to some famous artist for a critique. I'd much rather have some personal hands on feedback. By the time you finish paying for a pro to look at your instrument(s), you'd probably have paid for school.

What is the difference between the two...you're an artist...explain in shades of grey...I'm not a desperate johnny come lately but have invested much...Is it wrong to ask to cut to the chase and pay for something of value...rather than proceed with the pro-quo of frustration...you're probably right...which is why in the memo of this thread it states a crazy thought...but I think not...there are lots of people out there with valuable knowledge who may not be in style and they understand and have much more experience than newbies...Forget the BIG guns...you're right...I know one can make a great sounding fiddle...it's knowing a few things that sometimes takes years of headaches to uncover...get my drift...

If I'm shot down so be it...I'll find another way

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I like that idea!

I had another idea just didn't think anyone would go for it. What if some really good maker sends a violin in the white to someone who has a really nice ground and then that person sends it on to whoever has the best varnish and then that one sends it to whoever does the best set up and then it gets sent to a great soloist to record a performance to share with all. :) A MN group violin... or would that be a violin by committee ?

Isn't that the "factory" concept?

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Workshops are great...IF... you can afford them...what if you can't?...

My question is for those out side the box guys...No Pro-Bono in this Biz?...

You can't take it with you...but maybe that's the point in violin making...shallow-cuts

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Workshops are great...IF... you can afford them...what if you can't?...

That's hard. Especially when you work to make a workshop if not affordable, but at least worth the investment.

We have toyed with the idea of a basic varnish workshop. Larger group. Demonstration but no participant varnishing. Over a long weekend in a central place....maybe eventually.

Joe

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While it seems like a reasonable idea at first, I'm not so sure there'd be much benefit to it.

- The primary important thing to get from an experienced maker is HOW to do the job, rather than just the result.

- To really understand where the difference is between what YOU build and what PROS build, you need to look at a lot of the good ones, and get in your mind what the goal is. I don't think a critique will get the image fixed in your head.

- Then there's the whole issue of sound... again, hearing as much (in person) as possible of the good stuff and A/B comparisons is the way to go, although it is also valuable is to have a good violinist provide a critique.

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While it seems like a reasonable idea at first, I'm not so sure there'd be much benefit to it.

- The primary important thing to get from an experienced maker is HOW to do the job, rather than just the result.

- To really understand where the difference is between what YOU build and what PROS build, you need to look at a lot of the good ones, and get in your mind what the goal is. I don't think a critique will get the image fixed in your head.

- Then there's the whole issue of sound... again, hearing as much (in person) as possible of the good stuff and A/B comparisons is the way to go, although it is also valuable is to have a good violinist provide a critique.

Sounds like an argument for attending VSA.

Format this year will feature extended makers' forums.

on we go,

Joe

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Ernie (and anyone else who shares his distress):

I'll bet you can save enough to go to a workshop. If not, then the next best thing is to find a luthier close to you who would be willing for you to stop by once a week, with your current project, to receive coaching, correction, criticism, ranting, rudeness...whatever he/she chooses to hand out that day. I mean every word of that. If the teacher is worth approaching, you have to commit yourself to the idea that he/she is worth it ALL the time...not just on good days.

If that is simply not a possibility, then several good books are the next best...and it might pay to buy a decent chinese violin in the white (or varnished...your call) and try to literally copy that work...arching, scroll, final surface, everything. Open it up, if need be, and look at the inside. (Remember, it is your violin, and you are buying it specifically as a teaching tool...).

At some point you need to decide that it is important enough to start setting aside funds for a week-long excursion to Claremont, or somewhere. In my case it is 1000 miles to Claremont. I threw all my tools in my beater toyota, and drove down. Before that, the only thing available was the workshop in Tucson...that one was 1,500 miles from home. Same deal. No, I couldn't afford it, either, but my wife was very supportive in the decision, and, as things worked out, after I made the decision to go, I got some extra work that neatly paid for the trip.

Has lutherie paid for itself yet? Not in my experience, but I keep holding out hope that it will. Took me 45 or more years to figure out what I wanted to do...too bad. Still gonna try.

Chet

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Ernie (and anyone else who shares his distress):

I'll bet you can save enough to go to a workshop. If not, then the next best thing is to find a luthier close to you who would be willing for you to stop by once a week, with your current project, to receive coaching, correction, criticism, ranting, rudeness...whatever he/she chooses to hand out that day. I mean every word of that. If the teacher is worth approaching, you have to commit yourself to the idea that he/she is worth it ALL the time...not just on good days.

If that is simply not a possibility, then several good books are the next best...and it might pay to buy a decent chinese violin in the white (or varnished...your call) and try to literally copy that work...arching, scroll, final surface, everything. Open it up, if need be, and look at the inside. (Remember, it is your violin, and you are buying it specifically as a teaching tool...).

At some point you need to decide that it is important enough to start setting aside funds for a week-long excursion to Claremont, or somewhere. In my case it is 1000 miles to Claremont. I threw all my tools in my beater toyota, and drove down. Before that, the only thing available was the workshop in Tucson...that one was 1,500 miles from home. Same deal. No, I couldn't afford it, either, but my wife was very supportive in the decision, and, as things worked out, after I made the decision to go, I got some extra work that neatly paid for the trip.

Has lutherie paid for itself yet? Not in my experience, but I keep holding out hope that it will. Took me 45 or more years to figure out what I wanted to do...too bad. Still gonna try.

Chet

Chet,

Good points. We often have makers who buy a commercial instrument [or 2]. Varnish them at the workshop using their workshop materials. Then sell them to pay for the week.

Joe

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if you cant get into a top violin making school or afford summer classes, look for a semi retired older violin maker in your area and ask about apprenticing, not only will he/she probably not charge you, but you may get some pay for your work, especially if you get better at it, most of the top builders in the world started out apprenticing and its harder to go far if youre self taught, IMO, younger makers are very busy and reluctant to take on apprentices but older makers are winding down, probably quite bored and love to talk, especially about violins.

i worked off and on for 9 yrs for two old guys in their 80s and 90s, try this, tell the older maker you would like to learn to hair bows, that might interest them, if there running a buisness ask to learn fittings and the basics of repair as well as making, ask them if the have some junker violins you can practise on till youre better etc, i cant say it worked for me cause im still not that good, but i learned a lot apprenticing, always wished my illness didnt prevent me from getting a job at a serious shop like weisshaars, my hats off to anyone that made it through shops like those

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I have thought of sending work to other makers, but decided against it, because it is just so hard to see a persons reaction and explanation thru mere words.the caress, or how long they play ,how many times they turn it over ...was that a smile ? Did their tone of voice drop off a bit when they said "nice work"? subtle feed back really is the most valuable of all. I've had my share of frustration, being a late arrival to violin world and finding that the TRUE knowledge not simply available in a book or web site...I say that a little tongue in cheek,as violins are arguably among the most advanced of human endeavors and nothing like the experience of making a violin comes easy.

My experience is that three months of school gave me a real feel for how to work, I was not able to complete the whole 3 yr program for financial reasons and so only was able to complete one body ....no neck or set up or finishing for me ...so I understand the frustration...But I can say that studying with a master builder helped my understanding immensely and ...as I like to say, IF a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demonstration is worth a thousand pictures.....So right now I'm getting ready to go to Joe's varnish workshop By hook, crook, canoe, or slingshot...it will take a hurricane stop me.

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Tried that locally two years ago...local guy not willing...so here I am...I've learned so much and so fast...there's just the acoustic side that is foreign...I try to follow Anders and Don but it is over my head...I would like to attend the Claremont workshop...

Really it was just a passing thought about others who have the desire and talent to build but who are lacking for whatever reason...

As far as learning from books and the internet...it only goes so far as you say...I have learned from other distant violin makers when visiting...and I'm financially able to do workshops...What about those who can't tho...

Oh well...crazy thought...

Been watching the Shark Tank too much!

:)

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What is the difference between the two...you're an artist...explain in shades of grey

Ernie, sorry if I'm coming off like a negative Nancy. I think very highly of the connection between sacrifice (time, money, skill) and education, especially in the arts. The difference between desperation and dedication is where you focus your energy. You're trying hard to come up with a solution to your problem, and I fear that you're limiting yourself when there are easier solutions.

With the amount of money you spent on your bending iron, I bet you could attend a workshop. ;)

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Here's another thought--still along the lines of "books": Violas and basses are pretty forgiving of anomalies, etc. Violins are not. Get one of the books such as Useful Measurements by Henry Strobel. Check every single measurement, and try to get them right. Make the templates for the volute and the heel and neck profiles, cross-sections, etc.

I had made four instruments before someone (Pablo Alfaro, actually) pointed out that the curve of the heel of my neck was way too high--like 29mm, where it should have been 26. The violin was already finished, varnished, set up and being played, but without hesitation, I grabbed my knife and re-carved the heel, and corrected the other things he had pointed out, as well. I think it shocked him...I know other makers said, "Oh, no, don't correct this one...make another." But that is not how you learn. I have never again forgotten to check that dimension, but I still catch myself making necks too thick, etc.

Sometimes an error is not fixable. Then you go get more wood and start over. I don't know where you live, Ernie, but I would look around and find another luthier to talk to. Did that local guy see the violin you just finished? If he did he might change his tune. The man that is coaching me never saw my work until I was on #7 or so, if I remember right. He evidently thought I showed at least some hope, but I think he has nearly despaired sometimes, since then. :)

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In regards to the original question, I'm not convinced that there are all that many 'secrets' (you mean techniques?) being kept from websites, forums, or books for that matter. I think it's all a matter of understanding certain approches rather then thinking of them as technical secrets. Oh yes, certain makers have different approaches to arching, corner cutting, thicknesses, scroll carving, even grounds, varnish, etc. etc. but these all revert back to original basic ideas and methods, concepts long in use. I'm no master luthier in my own mind, but much of what I know I got from this very website over the years. There are other great making sites as well you could check out. But I can't presently identify any basic "secrets" to learn about.

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Ernie, sorry if I'm coming off like a negative Nancy. I think very highly of the connection between sacrifice (time, money, skill) and education, especially in the arts. The difference between desperation and dedication is where you focus your energy. You're trying hard to come up with a solution to your problem, and I fear that you're limiting yourself when there are easier solutions.

With the amount of money you spent on your bending iron, I bet you could attend a workshop. ;)

About a fifth of a workshop...That was fun...huh

Is Famous Ray's Pizza still in the village?...I would pay good money for one of his pies...

Grew up on the west side of GWB...

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