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Arash

Copying violins

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I have been reading the forums on an off for some time now, while waiting to make an instrument myself at some point. I have now embarked on my first cello at a workshop. Although at a very early stage with the cello, I am planning my next instrument which will be a violin. (I enjoy the planning and thinking process). I am hoping to get some advice here and to benefit from your knowledge.

At some point I would like to "copy" an old master with a one piece back. I understand some models are more difficult to copy than others. I am wondering which violin people would recommend to a beginner! If the question or my thinking are flawed, I would like to know that as well.

Many thanks,

Arash

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I'd find a violin you can get proper plans for, unless you plan on copying a particular physical instrument you like the sound or looks of.

I bought an inexpensive Vuillaume a' Paris copy which ended up having a really wonderful tone after regraduating the top so I made templates from this instrument's arching which served as a basis for my #1. I didn't copy it exactly. The rest was just following the steps from "The Art of Violin Making" by Johnson and Courtnall. I also used plate tuning advice from http://www.platetuning.org/index.html

Varnishing is whole 'nother adventure of course.

But I'm just a newbie as well. Preparing to make violin #2 ( a tweak on violin #1) and my first viola. I'm hoping to work up to a cello next year.

Good luck!

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Thanks for the link, Joseph. Your approach is interesting, but I was hoping to copy from a poster, thinking that that would be more straight forward for a beginner. However, I have not narrowed down my options to a particular model. I like the Viotti and its back, but read on another thread that people were sceptic as to whether the Viotti would be a good choice; if I remember correctly.

Good luck with #2 and the viola.

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The conventional wisdom is that beginners are better off copying Guarneri than Stradivari. I don't think it makes much difference. I think you're on the right track planning to use a poster. The only thing I'd warn about is to double check the given measurements with the actual picture on the poster, because they don't always match. I wouldn't worry about finding an example with a one-piece back; you can still put a one-piece on your copy, and not one person is going to be the wiser. :) At least until you get to the VSA.

Another consideration is that most violins in posters are somewhat asymmetric. Unless you can reproduce the outline perfectly, your violin will look different, perhaps decidedly so, and you might find that disappointing. Also, while it's nice to have the archings given, we usually don't want to copy them exactly, since they are almost always distorted; so we have to use our best judgement in making arching templates from them.

I'd recommend using the "Messiah" because you won't be looking at, and trying to duplicate, what gives some of the other violins their charm, for example the edge wear that soften the look. I think copying it will leave you with a better result and more knowledge. MO

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My thoughts agree with Will L's above, and I'd like to also suggest the 'Messiah' as a good starting point. It's 'mint' condition will give you a much clearer picture of your goals, and eliminate a lot of guessing as questions arise (How wide was this rounded corner before it was worn down? Did the purfling mitre point to the middle of the corner or does it just look that way now that the corner is worn down? How was the channel resolved in the corners, and what did the edgework look like before it was worn down?)

Start with the Messiah poster, but then go further with these excellent photos of the 'Messiah' shared by Peter Ratcliff (http://s215.beta.photobucket.com/user/PeterRatcliff/library/Strad?albumview=slideshow) to build your understanding. Bruce Carlson has offered some good commonsense advice in the past about how sketching details beforehand can be useful before putting your knife to wood.

In the end you can always soften the edges, etc. to simulate the wear of the 'Titian' after the violin is completed in the white - and it should help you to be more accurate than if you had all the wear to start with.

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Thank you all for your helpful responses. The 'Messiah' seems to be the violin to copy and I will be looking at P. Ratcliff's fascinating pictures later on.

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Thanks for the link, Joseph. Your approach is interesting, but I was hoping to copy from a poster, thinking that that would be more straight forward for a beginner. However, I have not narrowed down my options to a particular model. I like the Viotti and its back, but read on another thread that people were sceptic as to whether the Viotti would be a good choice; if I remember correctly.

Good luck with #2 and the viola.

Thanks! At the time I hadn't found good resources. You might also check out the luther's library

http://www.theluthie...thiers_library/

but pay no attention to the published arches (pdf's) as they are only generated cyloid curves. GREAT photos and dimension datails on lots of amazing instruments.

The conventional wisdom is that beginners are better off copying Guarneri than Stradivari. I don't think it makes much difference. I think you're on the right track planning to use a poster. ...

...

I'd recommend using the "Messiah" because you won't be looking at, and trying to duplicate, what gives some of the other violins their charm, for example the edge wear that soften the look. I think copying it will leave you with a better result and more knowledge. MO

I'm currently not able to log into the thestrad.com and I only recently subscribed...Just received the Rugeri poster a couple days ago.

I just sent them an email to retrieve my password as thre doesn't seem to be an automated way to do it.

So are recommended posters you are mentioning available in the archives, or do you have to pay for previously published posters?

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Thanks! At the time I hadn't found good resources. You might also check out the luther's library

http://www.theluthie...thiers_library/

but pay no attention to the published arches (pdf's) as they are only generated cyloid curves. GREAT photos and dimension datails on lots of amazing instruments.

What a fantastic resource. Thanks for the link.

So are recommended posters you are mentioning available in the archives, or do you have to pay for previously published posters?

I don't know about the archives, but the posters are available here:

http://www.orpheusmusicshop.com/posters.html

The conventional wisdom is that beginners are better off copying Guarneri than Stradivari. I don't think it makes much difference.

I have two children, who are hooked on Stradivari, so a Guarneri is out of question :). But out of curiosity: Is there a particular Guarneri violin that the conventional wisdom applies to?

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