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according to the papers theres a full moon, an eclipse and the moon is going to turn blood red. no kidding, except im not sure if its in australia or usa as i read news from both countries, all i can say is if your a red blooded american male living in michigan, be sure to keep you daughters away from some violin makers we know, just kidding

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according to the papers theres a full moon, an eclipse and the moon is going to turn blood red. no kidding, except im not sure if its in australia or usa as i read news from both countries, all i can say is if your a red blooded american male living in michigan, be sure to keep you daughters away from some violin makers we know, just kidding

I'm not a violinmaker, I'm a gnu. :) When is the gnu moon? :lol:

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This business would be so easy if the d@#$ed Victorians had never written a violin book and left their romantic claptrap in their minds instead of putting it permanently on paper!

Romantic Victorian claptrap, like "the cult of Stradivari", which has it's roots in that era? ;)

No, you have the stimulus confused with the response. I think the story you're looking for is here.

OK, I’ll stop cracking jokes about this series of posts (with some things, it’s hard to know what to do better than apply humor), and give a more serious response.

If one is willing to use a broad brush to paint what was written about violins in the Victorian era as “romantic claptrap”, this would also need to apply to what was written about Strads.

When did the romance with Stads start to take off? The Victorian era. :o

I don’t think it’s a “trade secret” any more that the hullabaloo over Strads really took off when they were successfully integrated into the antiques and collectibles market in France, a market which was already thriving at the time as an alternate form of investment, because the currency was so unstable.

This effort to integrate, thereby raising market value, was a deliberate strategy by some dealers (one was Vuillaume), versus something which happened naturally as a result of player accolades.

The value of those in our trade pretending otherwise has probably faded, as these violins have attained a clearly established collectable value, separate from their utility as musical instruments. We don’t need to pretend that they all sound exceptional any more.

An example is the recent record price fetched for the Lady Blunt Strad. It has seen little use as a musical instrument, and probably won’t in the future, so that’s obviously not why someone paid the big bucks. Did anyone even string it up with a modern setup, to get an idea of how it sounded, before bidding on it?

There's quite a bit of information in print now about manipulation of prices and desirability of fiddles, from Vuillaume to Machold, and also a lot of information on sound comparison tests, so I think it's time to consign some generalizations to the trash heap.

Yes, there are some exceptional sounding Strads.

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I don't think there's any denying most of the Victorian violin books are ridiculous. Gemünder has to be the worst... "I'm not going to teach you anything except how great I am." Well, thanks. rolleyes.gif

Haven't read that, but the US Gemunder put out some pretty good fiddles. They are on my "would like to own someday" list.

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David I'm really not trying to start anything... I've never played a Strad, and you have.

Would you say that the best Strads sound better than all others?

E

Maybe. We've had some which were considered top-notch, at blind shootouts, and they didn't place at the top, but I haven't played or heard them all.

Feedback from trusted high-level musicians suggests that there are maybe 12 of them that will be really hard to beat.

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I don't think there's any denying most of the Victorian violin books are ridiculous. Gemünder has to be the worst... "I'm not going to teach you anything except how great I am." Well, thanks. rolleyes.gif

I actually read that thing (it was in our local public library). And I think "teach" is not quite the right term, as it implies that the student learns what is being taught. More like... "I'm going to tell you over and over and over how great I am and how stupid everyone else is." And the attentive student learns... "Dang, that guy has one huge ego issue." And that's about it. I was kindof curious where that prize-winning violin of his ended up, though.

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well david, i must admit im a bit jealous of you, having done and doing all these things that ive never done, there is one thing ive done, though, ive owned a gemunder, albeit a very late, probably regraduated one, after selling it to a dealer who says he had to redo all my work, its going for 18,000 now, i saw it, didnt think it looked or sounded any better than when i was selling it for 6000, but some noticeable cracks had "dissapeared",

people seem willing to pay gnourmous amounts to "think there violin doesnt have any cracks" when in fact it really does, ive talked to experts and theyll admit a really well repaired crack thats quite visible, is no more likely to fail than one thats been made to disappear, i guess no one would want to pay big bucks for a corvette with a bunch of ugly scratches on it....... the good news to me, the dealer said he had a really hard time getting the cracks i had repaired apart, even questioned if id used modern glue(i didnt, just hide) so at least i know my cracks arent falling apart, even if a lot of yahoos think im a crackpot!!!!

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I actually read that thing (it was in our local public library). And I think "teach" is not quite the right term, as it implies that the student learns what is being taught. More like... "I'm going to tell you over and over and over how great I am and how stupid everyone else is." And the attentive student learns... "Dang, that guy has one huge ego issue." And that's about it. I was kindof curious where that prize-winning violin of his ended up, though.

Still haven't read that thing. Maybe it will make me gag, or lapse into obscure jokes?

Not unlike what happens on various forums. ;)

Don, I will always consider you as one who does an admirable job of putting ego aside, and presenting facts and outcomes, however they play out. A worthy example to us fiddle-business guys.

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I actually read that thing (it was in our local public library).

I've read quite a number of the moldy oldies. Most of them are ridiculous in one way or another... secret inside coatings, secret varnish, ect. etc. while bashing everyone else's secrets.

My favorites so far are Heron-Allen, and Moya. They are just outside of "Victorian," being 1914 and 1916.

I would love to own a Gemünder, but his book is in the trash. dry.gif

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I've read quite a number of the moldy oldies. Most of them are ridiculous in one way or another... secret inside coatings, secret varnish, ect. etc. while bashing everyone else's secrets.

I have read quite a number of them too. The interesting thing is that there are some gems amongst the dirt, if one can figure out a way of separating the two. Not unlike mining for gold, or diamonds.

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I have read quite a number of them too. The interesting thing is that there are some gems, amongst the dirt. Not unlike mining for gold, or gems.

You are correct, sir. But the ratio of tailings : gold can pretty high. Not to mention the fool's gold... which can fool fools like me. ohmy.gif

Reading the early works first would have saved time, because there is a lot of copying/repetition. Fetis is not a bad read. But if you read some of the later ones first, you've already heard what he had to say. On the other hand, if you read the late works first, you read all the bashing before you get to that author.

I haven't read Reade yet, so I can't say if Reade is a good read, or a bad read.

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Ah, ever the voice of faith, hope and love...good cheer, and all.

Foreigners "took over" violin-making from Italy, a few hundred years ago...but it still flourishes there. Why would you think that China will take over the craft to the utter exclusion of non-Chinese? I expect anyone who aggressively pursues a trade has a chance of succeeding at it, especially in a country where it is essentially unregulated...the U.S.

I remember discussing with a maker in Germany some time ago, why they could not simply go into business, as they were making very good violins. This maker explained to me that unless you are certified a master maker by the government, you could not open a business, there, as a violinmaker. This maker explained to me the testing process, and it is actually pretty impressive...and possibly quite exclusive, as, no matter how good you are, if THEY don't say you are good, you can't do it, legally. Once the test had been passed the legal hurdles were behind, and the business began in earnest. (Clumsy wording, as I am avoiding identifying the maker, who is a current member of M-net.)

Here, you can go right ahead and call yourself a violinmaker...even if it isn't true. I have never labelled any instruments I did not make from scratch, but there are some who do. The reason I and other beginning makers, regardless of skill (or lack of such) and integrity (or lack of such) have trouble selling is not because of regulation, but because of either a lack of making skills or a lack of marketing skills...or both, of course.

I do see China as a growing threat to worldwide markets, simply because they are smart, energetic, hungry, and determined. Nothing wrong with any of that. It just lets me know I have to be all of the above if I hope to survive in a changing world.

Just to start my opinion here is based purely on experience in other industries. China will take over a significant portion of the violin supply but only at the entry and mid levels. The top end products will still likely be dominated by the truly gifted makers worldwide. I don't want to go farther than this because it will be a long heated debate about social and cultural issues. But based on just about every other industry the innovation, new technology, and high end product do not come out of China.

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You are correct, sir. But the ratio of tailings : gold can pretty high. Not to mention the fool's gold... which can fool fools like me. ohmy.gif

I get fooled on a regular basis, sometimes investing a year of research into something before I cast it aside. Then, I might take it up again, because the flaw was that it required four years to get it right.

Welcome to my world of being willing to explore the question until definitive results come in, and phuck those guys who pretend that they know everything. :D

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I have read quite a number of them too. The interesting thing is that there are some gems amongst the dirt, if one can figure out a way of separating the two. Not unlike mining for gold, or diamonds.

I was just trying to recall one of those books I read, where there were several things that I thought were useful information... you know, where someone reported experiences of something working or not working, and I could see reasons why it might be so. However, the author chose to explain the WHY behind it, and it made no sense according to the laws of physics I tend to use.

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I was just trying to recall one of those books I read, where there were several things that I thought were useful information... you know, where someone reported experiences of something working or not working, and I could see reasons why it might be so. However, the author chose to explain the WHY behind it, and it made no sense according to the laws of physics I tend to use.

You're an aerospace tech guy, and those blokes from 100 years ago spent a lot of their time following horses around with shovels. I try to pay attention to their observations, less on their explanations. Things need to be interpreted with context.

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Just to start my opinion here is based purely on experience in other industries. China will take over a significant portion of the violin supply but only at the entry and mid levels. The top end products will still likely be dominated by the truly gifted makers worldwide. I don't want to go farther than this because it will be a long heated debate about social and cultural issues. But based on just about every other industry the innovation, new technology, and high end product do not come out of China.

That's what people in the auto industry thought too about Japan at one point.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/403/nummi

A few months ago I heard the report that JD Powers ranked Hyundai Equus (a Korean car) highest in its APEAL satisfaction index.

And why would you think innovation would be important when both violin makers and players are the most tradition-bound individuals anywhere?

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On the book front, I read Max Moeckel's varnish chapter a few months ago. Unfortunately (or not), I don't think it has been translated. It was fascinating, but he went all the way to the end before telling the reader he was not going to reveal the critical specifics of his varnish. I had read elsewhere that the key ingredient he was writing about was propolis and that certainly would fit with what he DID reveal. Supposedly he was a proponent of propolis, something his brother Otto dismissed based on the German experience. Max worked for some time in Russia, if I recall correctly, and suggested that propolis has different chemical properties -- primarily in the amount of balsam present -- depending on the plant life in the bees' environment. (Jacob or skiingfiddler may well weigh in here and correct my memory and/or my understanding based on my underused German skills.) Then again, so would a lot of other substances! What's my point? I guess it is just a reminder that there is a wealth of material out there, some of it fairly specialized like Brother Max's chapter, that isn't always accessible because of language barriers. Guess I need to learn Italian, then French, and maybe update my pathetic Russian -- in between instruments... Naaahhh! I'd rather make.

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