When you can't take the 'best' advice? Then what?


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Jeffrey... Lets not lose sight of the fact that although an OP might not follow the seasoned advice,  when you feel your advice has been wasted, please remember that there are others like myself who get it, and will quietly use your advice at another time usually unbeknownst to you.

Here's to all the people who quietly use good advice from multiple sources, without attempting to twist it into some kind of BS factional or turf war, seduced by the potential for drama. B)

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I'll bet that most of us do freebies, or "cheepbies" (way below what it really costs us) on a rather regular basis, for various reasons.

 

I don't have a lot of sympathy for some able-bodied person who won't spend a few hours in their car or an airplane. 48 hours on a bicycle will really start to get my attention.  If someone bicycled across two states to reach me, I'd freekin' bend over backwards!

 

Yeah, growing up I was always told, "Drive 100 miles to one of these shops in another city".

 

Fortunately, one of the luthiers from the other city started a shop here in town.

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Quite.  That's why I've passed up all the Strads and GDG's I've been offered online :lol:

 

Seriously, the dedicated amateur luthiers, particularly those working for their own use, are not the problem here to the extent that unscrupulous professionals are.  You Tube is crawling with video ads for people who "rebuild and refinish", and many large and supposedly reputable "music stores" are little better.  To ice the compost heap, I've had several pros point at other pros and tell me not to deal with them, followed by a horror story.  My advice was not to go to a shade tree luthier, but to become a competent one yourself, do your own procurement and work on your own gear.exactly as I've advised people through the years with regard to other hand tooled craft items such as period clothing and weapons.  If you do your own, you know how good a job was done as well as protected yourself from all the Machold wannabes out there.

Viola

The fact that there are some doctors who have committed malpractice  will not lead me to ask a sausage maker to take out my appendix. I also think that if someone can't be bothered to travel a few hours to a competent violin shop it's unlikely they will commit to the ten thousand hours or so that it takes to learn a profession.

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To throw another monkey into the wrench, the "best advice" is often lost on people who wouldn't recognize great advice from horrible advice.  This is obviously often true with young parents buying the first violin for their kid.  They should not be expected to know.  I bet they know a lot more about raising kids than I do.

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...how many players have genuine aspirations to become pros?  And what does that have to do with anything?

I was not referring to becoming a professional musician but rather to the time and effort to become a competent luthier. Amateur musicians harm no one but people who do violin repair without proper training can do substantial damage both in financial terms and at times by irrevocably altering historic artifacts. In the course of my training as a violin maker I spent two years in one of the best restoration shops in the world and  learned  that a realistic assessment of ones abilities is more important than the skills themselves. While I primarily make instruments I am often asked to do repairs but do not hesitate to turn down work that I feel could better be done by a more experienced colleague or specialist..

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 I am often asked to do repairs but do not hesitate to turn down work that I feel could better be done by a more experienced colleague or specialist..

So would I, if I ever saw any.  My situation's all in the other direction.  Most of what I work on has been vociferously assailed here as rubbish not worth working on on more than one occasion.  The few exceptions aren't exactly the Sistine ceiling either.  Anyone taking these to a major shop would probably be sent on their way or gouged for a less than optimal job due to their presumption.  There are pros posting here who have said as much in the past.  Operations like mine fill a niche and serve a purpose.  Better resurrected by me than tossed in the trash.

 

The assumption by some that experienced amateurs and semi-pros can't recognize more valuable instruments or work to a professional standard, BTW, strikes me as more than a little soaked in hubris.

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I was not referring to becoming a professional musician but rather to the time and effort to become a competent luthier. Amateur musicians harm no one but people who do violin repair without proper training can do substantial damage both in financial terms and at times by irrevocably altering historic artifacts. In the course of my training as a violin maker I spent two years in one of the best restoration shops in the world and  learned  that a realistic assessment of ones abilities is more important than the skills themselves. While I primarily make instruments I am often asked to do repairs but do not hesitate to turn down work that I feel could better be done by a more experienced colleague or specialist..

 

Well said and I applaud your good mentality. Personally, I think that although amateur luthiers like myself can be at a very great disadvantage when it comes to repairing (I honestly don't understand why nooby/unexperienced/untrained folk take on this sort of work or how/why people hand over their instruments to folk who have never actually worked repairs decently -_-) people have got to start using their heads, decent background checks of ANY/all professionals before any sort of repair/work of any kind is done should be totally defacto and absolutely essential. 

 

I've never dealt with amateurs (shops who do minor repairs don't count as I avoid their services like the plaque LOL) when it comes to repairs nor have I ever attempted any sort of setup/repair on a working fiddle (other than my own) of any value because I feel that any work commissioned must add value to the instrument instead of detracting from it and I'm not at that stage yet.

 

Regardless of a diploma or not, proof of skill should be asked ALWAYS. I've seen horrible setups and disgruntling "repairs" done by Luthiers with very prestigious diplomas and reputation. Name is not always everything, skill is :)

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Nice sentence!!!

 

Let's all take a few seconds to read it again.

 

Huzzah!

 

(However, now all I can think about are appendix sausages. yum.)

The fact that some sausage makers adulterate their product certainly won't lead me to buy any sausages from a surgeon, either.  [skims off a few bars of "Sweeney Todd"] :lol:

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Well said and I applaud your good mentality. Personally, I think that although amateur luthiers like myself can be at a very great disadvantage when it comes to repairing (I honestly don't understand why nooby/unexperienced/untrained folk take on this sort of work or how/why people hand over their instruments to folk who have never actually worked repairs decently -_-) people have got to start using their heads, decent background checks of ANY/all professionals before any sort of repair/work of any kind is done should be totally defacto and absolutely essential. 

 

I've never dealt with amateurs (shops who do minor repairs don't count as I avoid their services like the plaque LOL) when it comes to repairs nor have I ever attempted any sort of setup/repair on a working fiddle (other than my own) of any value because I feel that any work commissioned must add value to the instrument instead of detracting from it and I'm not at that stage yet.

 

Regardless of a diploma or not, proof of skill should be asked ALWAYS. I've seen horrible setups and disgruntling "repairs" done by Luthiers with very prestigious diplomas and reputation. Name is not always everything, skill is :)

Lusitano - 

 

Interesting perspective.

There are many ways to look at violin repair.

The ability to fix or repair violins of value or great age, is something that is a learned skill, and it should be performed by someone with enough brains or professional experience and/or skill to do it correctly, you're right.

 

Still the glut of cheap crap that is currently sold to beginning violinists, is and should be repaired by anyone who thinks they can do it...  Dad, for example can use concrete to fix the cracked belly. When you're paying $99.00 for a case, a bow, and a violin... well -  you're not going to be contributing to the value of the fiddle by having a specialist fix it and repair it with the various lutherie skills and repair techniques.

 

So when the auto repairman offers to repair the crack in the belly for $10, on such a violin - great! Go for it.

 

The difference in what we're talking about must be considered also from a perspective of innate quality or value. Realistically,  a huge glut of modern student violins are simply mass produced crap, and will always be crap - no matter what's done to them.

Perhaps they can be set up well, and play well - perhaps not.

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Ladies and Gentlemen;

 

Wouldn't "the best" advice be balanced to the item and situation at hand?  I don't sense anyone here is arguing or advocating for elitism... still there are repairs I see mentioned here that may have consequences that should be considered and carefully disclosed... some things are better not attempted (the best advice may be "get another fiddle")...  and all is lost if the initial judgement (the worth or lack of) is incorrect.

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 some things are better not attempted

 

True, but someone has to be the MN moderator, and you're the lucky fellow Fate chose :lol:

 

 

Wouldn't "the best" advice be balanced to the item and situation at hand?

 

Yup.  All I really wanted to see suggested. :) I feel that the various alternatives have been plainly stated.

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 In the course of my training as a violin maker I spent two years in one of the best restoration shops in the world and  learned  that a realistic assessment of ones abilities is more important than the skills themselves. 

Very worthwhile statement.  And this is a problem that maybe all of us face at one time or another.  Dirty Harry:  "A man's got to know his limitations."  The bad news is that there are some who don't.  I believe the scariest people in the business are not the serious, well trained pros, or the neophyte owners; rather, they are those who get a little too brave, too soon  Those of us in the middle.  

 

I had a couple of valuable instruments wrecked by one fellow who had worked in a large, high-end shop.  And since he had a beautiful shop, himself, and knew everyone I did, I assumed he knew what he was doing.  Little did I know how incapable he was. (He actually had a complicated visual problem.)  He skipped the country and hasn't been seen since. :)   

 

Funny when you think about it, but violins rarely come with an owner's manual.  What most violinists learn is learned the hard way, and over time.  By the time most violinists purchase a concert-calibre instrument, they are pretty appreciative of the importance of repairers and are loathe to work on their own instruments.  But many pros realize the importance of being able to do minor things, like gluing rib seams; some even carry a little glue and a couple of clamps.  But they also know where to draw the line.    

 

The most dangerous , IMO, are those who have not had the opportunity to get first-rate training   But I believe that even most of them are good, honest people who are more likely to pass an owner on to a more experienced repairer when appropriate.  But how does an owner know?  That will always be a problem.  The owner is always the first line of defense for his instrument, and the more they can educate themselves, the better.  —MO

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 ...  and all is lost if the initial judgement (the worth or lack of) is incorrect.

 

Hmm, maybe so and maybe not. I wonder if we're talking about the same thing.

 

"Lack of worth" is most often an initial judgement I have to make anymore, with regard to many repairs I face.

 

 It's effect on the future of "violins" in general, or as a whole, simply is what it is.

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