Serious question about Del Gesu


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Roger,

 

Your clarification of Stainer's role in Italian violin making is very illuminating.  I always learn a lot from your extended posts.  Clearly Stainer was a strong influence.

 

In support of my assertion (point 4) that the Hills saw a Stainer influence in Cremona, but not in Stradivari, I can offer only the text from which point 4 came (Hill, The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family, 1989 Dover edition of 1931 original edition, p 33):

 

On that page, the Hills are discussing the influence of Stainer on Pietro Guarneri of Mantua.  They make a rather broad statement about Stainer's influence after suggesting that Pietro, as a player, might have been "captivated" by the "charms" of Stainer: "... the master [Pietro] was not alone among the great to be thus captivated.  Even Guarneri del Gesu and Carlo Bergonzi were at times caught up in the vogue.  The only maker who consistently throughout his life would have none of it was Antonio Stradivari."

 

The Hills' assertion that Stainer somewhat influenced at times both del Gesu and Bergonzi is frustratingly vague.  The Hills offer no details supporting that assertion.  Are we dealing with an adoption of a Stainer model on occasion or just a Stainer feature here and there (like the shortened stop length you mention) or just a tonal conception?  Specifically, which del Gesu and Bergonzi instruments support that assertion? Unfortunately, all one can do is take the Hills at their unelaborated word.

 

What is clear in their assertion is that the Hills find no Stainer influence, whatsoever, in the work of Stradivari.  Stradivari seems to be the important exception to Stainer's influence in Italy, including, to some degree, Stainer's influence in Cremona, if one wants to believe the Hills.

 

I know the section almost by heart, but I fail to see anything of Stainer in either Bergonzi or del Gesu. If anything, then surely the Amati, who had influenced Stainer, continued to have a far greater influence on the later Cremonese makers. Let us not forget that by the time Carlo Bergonzi and del Gesu started pumping them out, Strad himself was already both famous and successful. Surely two of the cities last great makers were more likely to have followed his example. After all Bergonzi even took over the Strad shop, not to mention the distinct possibility that both Bergonzi and Del Gesu, (and possible even his dad Jos. filius), were working in the Strad shop for a number of years. (See my earlier diatribe on Stradivari a few days ago.)  

 

Now what about Pietro of Mantua? Well we must remember that big Pete was a generation earlier than Bergonzi and del Gesu and he was well on the way to becoming king pin in another town, namely Mantua, before Strad seriously hit the big time. As first born Pietro was probably groomed to take over the Guarneri workshop and therefore he too is more likely to have imbibed the Amati methods and traditions than those of Stainer, who was long gone when Pete was receiving his tuition in Cremona. He was certainly the cleanest craftsman (whatever that means) in the Guarneri family. Within the Amati tradition he also developed a very distinctive style of his own. It is not clear why Pietro went to Mantua. It may have been a political or financial move, however, like so many of Cremona's great masters, Pietro's life had been touched by loss and grief. In the year he departed, after only two years of marriage his first wife Caterina Sussagni died. He may simply have gone away to forget. I like a bit of tragic romance. 

 

I might concede a point or two with big Pete' archings, however, as you point out, he was a player as well as a maker and as such he was probably influenced by every new fad that came on the market. Wa... Did I just say that?

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Roger, 

 

How do you feel about a connection between big Pete, and the rather huge violins of filius (with or without del Gesu) of ostensibly the 1710s/20s) do you think that they have something to say for each other? 

 

As for Stainer, the violin that really gets me each time I see it, is the one in the Berlin musical instrument museum which is from the 1650s. It's so obviously Stainer, but also so obviously Amati in so many ways, and frankly, if you put something like that into the mix, I can kind of see where a speculation might come from that could attribute a little more to these ideas - but in a profoundly different way from what we expect. 

 

Lastly, whilst acknowledging that there are Italian Stainer-influenced instruments out there, I wonder how much we use this as a shorthand for the influence of Albani and his lot into 18th century Italian violin making. Although Albani could be viewed as "Stainer influenced" I think they probably represent quite a separate cultural influence. Corelli, incidentally, was amongst the musicians owning an Albani. This was brought, along with another to England in 1704 by his pupil Nicolo Cosimi. 

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I just wish there was a violin petting zoo where you could go and play some of these instruments.  I have looked at lots of books and seen some great violins but I just don't have the eye for f holes and edgework.  I would like to know why so many german instruments such as Klotz get such a square outline and not the wonderful curves of Amati.  My usual violin is a copy of the 1733 Del Gesu "Lafont-Sisofsky"  It is a little square in the upper bouts just like the original.

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Personally I would divide Stradivari's work into thre groups.

1. 1666-1690 Amati period. Amati copies.

2. 1689 1700 experiments with original models PG 1689, B 1692 Long pattern.

3. 1700-1737 settles down to making violins with his sons Francesco 1671-1743 and Omobono 1679-1742.. A lot of violins. Principally on three forms. PG 1689, P 1705, G 1708.

While the work does change over the course of the 60+ years it is very gradual and not at all radical.

I'm on the train right now but I will later today post photos of each decade to illustrate my point

Nothing ground breaking here.

All from Goodkind. ~every five years from 1702-1734

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Granted, there is a continuity through Strad's work.  And his skill is such that the work is generally clean, balanced, and graceful.  Though, as you pointed out, it isn't always as free as some.  

 

I've been looking closely at the geometry and proportions behind classical Italian work, something I believe was an integral and active part of the build process, not a preliminary confined to a well separated design stage.   I've tried to trace along and understand these instruments in terms of a workshop construction process guided by simple proportions and compass and rule geometry.   I know that I'm coming from sort of an odd perspective.  Using the very large body of photos available to all of us on the web, and computer geometry programs to assist the processes, I've spent much (most) of my energy over the last 5+ years looking a classical making in this way.  What I believe I'ved seen is that Strad is almost constantly experimenting, though often in modest ways. 

 

Overall, there's much more consistency across Italian methods than difference, and that's especially true of Cremona work.  And almost all the differences can be seen as variations on consistent larger themes.  For example, the inset of purfling from the outer edge of the outline on violins consistently relates to a line which is basically 3 purfling width or equivallently basically one edge thickness from the outline.   But in much work the purfling sits just outside this distance (see anything in the first three generations of Amati).  But in other later work, the purfling sometimes sits inside this same line (see Lady Blunt and many Strads and some Guarneri).  In this example, there is a consistent basic proportion, but later generations experiemented by reinterpreting the application.  Sometimes they experiment by actually changing numerical proportions between parts, but more often then just vary what is included or excluded in the proportion.  Overall, consistency reigned.

 

While Strad's work has a few major differences, like a long patern versus a very squat instrument like Lady Blunt, most of his apparently continous tinkering is subtle and undramatic.   In the examples you posted, the eye can catch some slight differences in the curvatures through the cBouts, and in the 'hookedness' of the inner corner circles.  Also, the soundholes vary some in squatness and elongation.  With Strad, such things often reflect actual different choices in the underlaying construction geometry.

 

 

 

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David you raised an interesting topic. I am not sure that I should comment too much since there are people who know a great deal more than me. However, I have never been one to let ignorance stop me, here are a couple of points.

 

The biggest link between Stainer and Cremona is the inside mould. As far as we are aware no other school developed or used this method. Indeed it was so important to the Cremonese that Strad even (almost rather ridiculously) built his guitars around an inside mould. Even if Stainer had some second hand knowledge of the Cremonese inside mould, and even taking into account his undoubted craftsmanship, reproducing the method without tuition would have been almost impossible. We know that with all the information available to us, it is proving extremely difficult to crack the Cremonese system.  

 

This is why whenever makers wished to copy successful instruments, they simply drew around them and used the method of construction they were used to. When we examine ancient instruments, the general rule is that ‘method defines the school and stylistic details define the individuals in that school’. Today of course we try to copy both, but that is only because we can afford that luxury.  Copies of Stainer’s own work illustrate this perfectly. I have never seen a contemporary Stainer copy that was made on a Cremonese style mould. They all used the system of construction that they were taught as apprentices.  

 

As Ben suggests there are also several strong stylistic links between Stainer and Amati. I seem to remember writing on MN about an Amati violin back that Charles Beare once showed me. It turned out to be a Stainer. Clearly there are many differences between the (at home) Cremonese school and Stainer's works, but it is the fundamental similarities that for me connect him to Cremona. Nevertheless, we should not forget that if we are to believe him, that Stainer was rather isolated and worked without apprentices. Having said this, for various reasons he was obliged to travel and he certainly spent several months in Venice, a city with many German speaking instrument makers. At various times at least thirty-four makers from Füssen alone are known to have lived and worked in Venice. There is also ample documentary evidence for similar trips to Salzburg, Munich, Innsbruck, Bozen and other important centres. In other words Stainer had ample opportunity to pick up tips and methods that he no doubt applied. His Gamba construction for example is more akin to Venice and the Germanic influence than it is to Cremona.  

 

This is why Stainer and others like him are so difficult to tie down. It is difficult for us, living as we do in an international world, to understand the fundamental differences and controls that were enforced in city states that were often more akin to remote countries. They traded with one another and forged many links, but rather like todays computer espionage stories, rival companies and states guarded there secrets carefully.

 

Now to the distance that purfling was set from the outer edge. It has always been my understanding that this was dictated by the position of the ribs and linings. In order not to weaken the edge the purfling channel was set directly above them. This is the reason why Strads with wider edges also have bigger overhangs. Conversely,on instruments with tiny overhangs the purfling is closer to the outside edge.

 

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As Pollens suggests, I think that much of Strads redesigning was carried out empirically. Perhaps as Francois Denis has suggested the moment of pure design was gone with the Amati family. After all even del Gesu appears not to have done much designing. His work is work is characterised by stylistic changes rather than any alteration to the basic design. Nevertheless, they all still clung to the Cremonese system of construction.   

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The biggest link between Stainer and Cremona is the inside mould. As far as we are aware no other school developed or used this method. Indeed it was so important to the Cremonese that Strad even (almost rather ridiculously) built his guitars around an inside mould. Even if Stainer had some second hand knowledge of the Cremonese inside mould, and even taking into account his undoubted craftsmanship, reproducing the method without tuition would have been almost impossible. We know that with all the information available to us, it is proving extremely difficult to crack the Cremonese system.

Hi Roger,

Did not the makers in Venice use an inside mould? At least some of them claimed to have worked in Cremona. Could he, Stainer, not have taken it up (the inside mould) there?

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Hi Roger,

Did not the makers in Venice use an inside mould? At least some of them claimed to have worked in Cremona. Could he, Stainer, not have taken it up (the inside mould) there?

 

Yes, perhaps I did not make this clear. The inside mould was limited to the Amati family in Cremona until the 1640's. In the late 1620's, as a result of military conflict in what is now northern Italy, the countryside of Lombardy was stripped bare to feed the various armies. Food prices were exorbitant, and many people simply starved to death. Even the rich were hurting. They were required to billet soldiers and pay large tax increases to help finance the wars. Their hardship appears to have been quite genuine. Tragically, the 1628-29 famine was not the worst problem of the period.

 

In 1630, the population of Cremona, already weakened by the famine, was decimated by the plague. The Plague arrived in 1630 probably introduced into Italy by German peasant farmers. In Milan Lombardy's administrative capital, the population of about 120,000 was reduced by more than 60,000 within a few months, a death rate of 50%. Half the populations of Brescia Mantua Padua and Lucca were also slain. In Venice and Bologna more than one third died. The plague stopped all musical activity in the area for about 18 months. Altogether in northern Italy this epidemic probably killed more than one million people. In Cremona the situation was particularly bad. The population was reduced to one third by death and flight.

 

In some ways it was fortunate that the best violin maker of the era survived. Nevertheless, for almost ten years, production in Nicola Amati’s shop was practical nil. This is why Nicola was forced to take on apprentices outside his immediate family circle. (His son Hieronymus II, born in 1661, was too young to take over the shop).

 

From this group of apprentices the Amati system was passed on and when several makers moved to other cities the method moved with them. The main protagonists being Pietro Guarneri of Mantua and his nephew Pietro Guarneri of Venice, Giovanni Baptista Roggeri of Brescia and probably Stainer.

 

It is of course possible that the Amati family did not impart all of their knowledge to these (non-family) apprentices. It may be that the mathematics behind the design were held back. This might explain why the later Cremonese makers appear to have worked empirically; but this is speculation.

 

When these makers settled and took on their own apprentices they again passed on the Cremonese method. However in most cases the Amati method or system appears to have died out within one or two generations, probably in favour of the local system.

 

So basically you were correct in stating that the inside mould was used outside Cremona albeit in a limited way. Unfortunately, it did not arrive in Mantua until 1679 and Venice until much later. Pietro may not have gone directly to Venice when he left Cremona. His first labelled instruments in Venice were dated 1730.  

 

Whoever instructed Jacobus Stainer, at sometime around 1638, he returned to his hometown of Absom and set up a workshop. Cozio di Salabue mentions a violin of 1638, and although this violin is now unknown, it is reasonable to assume that Cozio did not make a mistake with this maker. Either way this was long before the Cremonese system moved to either Mantua, Brescia or Venice.

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Ben I am not sure that I can add much. It is I think significant that at a time when the Strad workshop was churning them out, almost no one else in Cremona seemed to be producing instruments of the violin family. In the ten years or so of the 20's fewer than 20 instruments have survived from either Filius or his son.

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In 1630, the population of Cremona, already weakened by the famine, was decimated by the plague. The Plague arrived in 1630 probably introduced into Italy by German peasant farmers. In Milan Lombardy's administrative capital, the population of about 120,000 was reduced by more than 60,000 within a few months, a death rate of 50%. Half the populations of Brescia Mantua Padua and Lucca were also slain. In Venice and Bologna more than one third died. The plague stopped all musical activity in the area for about 18 months. Altogether in northern Italy this epidemic probably killed more than one million people. In Cremona the situation was particularly bad. The population was reduced to one third by death and flight.

 

 

 

Great stuff (all the posts), thanks.

 

Interesting also is that the records of  the books from the University of Merchants Cremona for the year 1631 reveals how the apothecaries successfully escaped the great plague of the previous year with inferior damage in respect to the other arts who where in larger numbers stricken by the contagion to the point of been reduced, between dead and emigrated, to less than half (as stated by Roger); perhaps the knowledge as well as the availability of medicines may have had an effect....healing or preventive....or the need to be clean and conserve their houses and workplaces clean also may have been of great influence.

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Great stuff, thanks.

 

Interesting also is that the records of  the books from the University of Merchants Cremona estimated for the year 1631 reveals how the apothecaries successfully escaped the great plague of the previous year with inferior damage in respect to the other arts, where in larger numbers stricken by the contagion to the point of been reduced, between dead and emigrated, to less than half; perhaps the knowledge as well as the availability of medicines may have had an effect....healing or preventive....or the need to be clean and conserve their houses and workplaces clean also may have been of great influence.

Nice, I got a lot of my information from my ex brother in law who was a doctor, with a large collection of historical medical info.

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Great stuff (all the posts), thanks.

 

Interesting also is that the records of  the books from the University of Merchants Cremona for the year 1631 reveals how the apothecaries successfully escaped the great plague of the previous year with inferior damage in respect to the other arts who where in larger numbers stricken by the contagion to the point of been reduced, between dead and emigrated, to less than half (as stated by Roger); perhaps the knowledge as well as the availability of medicines may have had an effect....healing or preventive....or the need to be clean and conserve their houses and workplaces clean also may have been of great influence.

I bet they knew something about rat poison.  ;)

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Yes, perhaps I did not make this clear. The inside mould was limited to the Amati family in Cremona until the 1640's. In the late 1620's, as a result of military conflict in what is now northern Italy, the countryside of Lombardy was stripped bare to feed the various armies. Food prices were exorbitant, and many people simply starved to death. Even the rich were hurting. They were required to billet soldiers and pay large tax increases to help finance the wars. Their hardship appears to have been quite genuine. Tragically, the 1628-29 famine was not the worst problem of the period.

 

In 1630, the population of Cremona, already weakened by the famine, was decimated by the plague. The Plague arrived in 1630 probably introduced into Italy by German peasant farmers. In Milan Lombardy's administrative capital, the population of about 120,000 was reduced by more than 60,000 within a few months, a death rate of 50%. Half the populations of Brescia Mantua Padua and Lucca were also slain. In Venice and Bologna more than one third died. The plague stopped all musical activity in the area for about 18 months. Altogether in northern Italy this epidemic probably killed more than one million people. In Cremona the situation was particularly bad. The population was reduced to one third by death and flight.

 

In some ways it was fortunate that the best violin maker of the era survived. Nevertheless, for almost ten years, production in Nicola Amati’s shop was practical nil. This is why Nicola was forced to take on apprentices outside his immediate family circle. (His son Hieronymus II, born in 1661, was too young to take over the shop).

 

From this group of apprentices the Amati system was passed on and when several makers moved to other cities the method moved with them. The main protagonists being Pietro Guarneri of Mantua and his nephew Pietro Guarneri of Venice, Giovanni Baptista Roggeri of Brescia and probably Stainer.

 

It is of course possible that the Amati family did not impart all of their knowledge to these (non-family) apprentices. It may be that the mathematics behind the design were held back. This might explain why the later Cremonese makers appear to have worked empirically; but this is speculation.

 

When these makers settled and took on their own apprentices they again passed on the Cremonese method. However in most cases the Amati method or system appears to have died out within one or two generations, probably in favour of the local system.

 

So basically you were correct in stating that the inside mould was used outside Cremona albeit in a limited way. Unfortunately, it did not arrive in Mantua until 1679 and Venice until much later. Pietro may not have gone directly to Venice when he left Cremona. His first labelled instruments in Venice were dated 1730.  

 

Whoever instructed Jacobus Stainer, at sometime around 1638, he returned to his hometown of Absom and set up a workshop. Cozio di Salabue mentions a violin of 1638, and although this violin is now unknown, it is reasonable to assume that Cozio did not make a mistake with this maker. Either way this was long before the Cremonese system moved to either Mantua, Brescia or Venice.

 

Eternal thanks for being so generous sharing information, throughout your career.  It's changed the landscape.

 

 

Looking with my pecular lens, I'd guess that Stainer either didn't have the full inside story on Amati family methods, or that he rejected parts of it in favor of other systems.   Perhaps he was already a trained maker before learning Amati ways?   Or perhaps he learned second or third hand?  Or, as you suggested, perhaps the Amati family tended to hold parts of the story back.

 

Too keep my own task simpler, I haven't looked much at Stainer.  I don't think of him as representing the main line of classical making.  I understand however that he was/is highly valued in some circles.   But I tend to ascribe at least some of Stainer's stature to geography, and quirks of economic, political, and musical history.  Also, at times, I think there is an nationalistic (Germanic and English) impluse to give as much credit in Stainer's direction as possible. 

 

Merited or not, I've not yet invested any energy in trying to understand the parts of Stainer that diverge from Italian methods.  The very little I've looked at him has only been to see where he carrys Italian methods on, and where he doesn't.   For example, the methods of his plate outlines and scrolls (even if not necessarily the results) have much in common with Amati methods.   However, his top and bottom blocks have no relation.  And the fall of his arching from the center line (at least in the 1650 Tenor featured in a Strad poster) doesn't consistently follow the normal ratio observable in Cremona work, and much Italian work generally.

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This is the NMM Stainer x-ray, with Muratov's drawing and photo of the MB mould overlaid. If you have played this game before, you'll see this is a good fit, except where Stainer raised the lower corners, and of course the characteristic neck and bottom blocks.

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I'm probably going to be beaten up by this, but seriously, why this praise of Del Gesu violins. I mean hand on hart they are horrible. If a contemporary maker would do such lousy work today, without copying a DG, his/her work would be graded as failed.

One example among other DG:s

http://sparebankstiftelsen.no/en/Dextra-Musica/Instruments/Guarneri-del-Gesu-Guiseppe-Violin

If we would talk about sound and how they perform I can understand, but copy "sloppy" work? :huh:

Or am I not artist enough

Is that even a del Gesu?

I can see the Doyenesque f holes so it could be the bench twin for it. But a beech back from Mr "I've got a brother in Venice who can get me anything"? Even the backs of the LeDuc and Sainton are of maple if not the flashiest sort. I can't think of a single Del Gesu made of B grade wood.

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I know this is not the right place for this, but it might add another tie to have some of the shapes were produced by various makers. This is from a paper I prepared that was not published showing the relationship of the catenary, a bent stick and the fit to some of the Cremona inst's. It might be coincidence  but it does show the possibility. Just something to add to the porridge.

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I just wish there was a violin petting zoo where you could go and play some of these instruments.  I have looked at lots of books and seen some great violins but I just don't have the eye for f holes and edgework.  I would like to know why so many german instruments such as Klotz get such a square outline and not the wonderful curves of Amati.  My usual violin is a copy of the 1733 Del Gesu "Lafont-Sisofsky"  It is a little square in the upper bouts just like the original.

I second that wish!!!

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I'm probably going to be beaten up by this, but seriously, why this praise of Del Gesu violins. I mean hand on hart they are horrible. If a contemporary maker would do such lousy work today, without copying a DG, his/her work would be graded as failed.

 

One example among other DG:s

http://sparebankstiftelsen.no/en/Dextra-Musica/Instruments/Guarneri-del-Gesu-Guiseppe-Violin

 

If we would talk about sound and how they perform I can understand, but copy "sloppy" work?  :huh:

Or am I not artist enough

Serious question about DG,

I am no expert by no means and have no clue what I’m talking about exactly,

So as a serious answer,You must decide,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Grasshopper.

I think that when looking at DG you have to observe them in the same attitude that they were made.

He obviously didn’t care what anyone else thought about how they looked, or did he?

He doesn’t appear anal does he?

Good enough was good enough.

On one hand they appear totally relaxed,,, on the other hand they look like a race car going into a broad slide in the corner,,,

one wrong move and you’re goanna blow it, he would be sliding toward the cliff then pull it back and stay on track.

so the pricks are in the wrong place on the scroll,

Is there any law that says the they have to be followed,,,

Obviously not.

Right now I feel like it would look better like this.

Ah,,,,good choice, I like that, I better straighten the other side, that’s more like it.

But I'm not in the mood to cut under the scroll,,

I won't.

So the over hang is way off according to what I wanted this plate to look like from a front view,,

Should that stop me from making the corners like I want them to appear no matter what the overhang ends up at?

Obviovsly not.

I need a little more off here and some more there,,, oh too much,, now a little more there to correct it ah!,,,there you go!

So the fs get a little out of control, somehow the lines manage to get pulled together in to a whole.

They can look natural, like they were grown on trees. The lines have movement and work together

I don’t want to start this ghastly subject again,,,,,,, but

You have to be a real artist to pull off making in this manner.

It is a matter of getting the shape roughed out, getting the boundries set,

Then relaxing and going to work and looking at what you are doing,,,not just following some lines on a piece of wood.

It takes superior craftmenship to make a fiddle like this and make it work.

You have to absolutely know what you are doing, and have the eye to see the difference,

Or what you will end up with will look homemade and really ugly.

They weren’t just hacked out, all the boundaries were properly set and they were made correctly,

It appears to me that he just did the job with no concern about what anyone else thought.

But it is obvious that he was an artist and produced what I believe to be an elegant product.

They probably do push the edge of vulgar occasionally,

But they push the limits of perfection also.

Strad on the other hand, yes look good,, better at times ,sometimes glorious,, and to me just factory made at times.

He was making money production style, can’t afford to do anything else, ,sales depended upon it.

Those were the days of elegance and aristocracy, no one of that state of sophistication would be seen with anything but perfection.

They want perfection ,,, offer them perfection,, it is for sale, this is a business we are here to make money.

Quality control checks , ,inventory, varnish supply, sales, he was a successful businessman

That had a great product, he could produce it consistently, and he could sell it, those are the three keynotes for success in business.

No time for fooling around or daydreaming or sloppy work!

Personally The pics of the messie and lady blunt scrolls look close to hideous to me,

I hope to never make one the looks that bad. That is just my perception, the blacking is sloppy and

I could never use elegant in the description, just another scroll, but because it’s a strad…….

I think that many Strads are quite breathtaking, so don’t misunderstand me, and some scrolls are to die for,

they show superior craftsmanship,,but so do DG’s if you have eyes to see it.

Talk about perfect craftsmanship,, I’ve seen guys at school take 3 years to make their first fiddle.

Absolutely perfect in every way, all the while I’m screaming and waving my arms to get it done and make a few more instead.

But they would start over if they messed up a bee sting,, I’ve seen it happen.

And the end result,

,the ugliest long or misshapen corners, fs that are executed perfectly but have no proper flow, a wonky looking body shape,

all perfectly crafted, finer than strad was capable of, yet because they thought it looked good to them,,

they went with it and could not be stopped because they held the misguided belief that perfect craftsmanship would make it look alright.

It never will.

I think it is a good exercise to make a corpus in two days,(I'll go for 1) try to do the best job possible in the time allotted,

you will learn things that cannot be taught in any other way, please don't use a strad for the model,

and if you can't make a strad model proper and clean first forget it. you won't learn a thing.

You have to be a fantastic musician before you can adlib worth a hoot.

Ed Campbell always used amati scrolls ,corners, c-bouts and fs, to teach proper proportion and

movements of lines working together. At first I thought it was a waste of time, who cares about anything but sound?

How wrong I was. He just kept pounding it in like a blacksmith at the anvil¸ how right he was.

Strad. Reminds me of a guy with a pencil behind his ear, running around checking up on things making sure that all is well,

you would need an appointment to see him..(nothing wrong with that)

DG reminds me of a guy in a blacksmith shop, working hard when he worked, but sitting down to visit if someone happened to walk in,

much more relaxed, not concerned so much with perfection as much as enjoying what he was doing at the moment and just getting er done

and being totally satisfied with the result..

It can be related to music,,, Great musicians can play every note perfectly, greater musicians yet can play with such depth of soul

that the music becomes surreal and is transformed into a force that can move your soul,,

greater yet is the one who forgets the notes and becomes the music so that it becomes a living thing that can change your soul

through spontaneous interaction with it.

That spontaneity can create something that appears to have grown on a tree rather than to have been planned out and executed by a man.

To me there is an inner beauty and depth and relaxed freedom and artistry that is hard to put into words,,

It is my personal goal.

Just my opinion.

What do you think?

am I totally nuts?

Has my wife been right all along?

I know she's nuts for lovin me.

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To me, Guarneri's later work looks like it was done by a highly competent maker working at high speed. Maybe there were a lot of people who could not afford the high end Cremonese violins, and Guarneri saw a way of making instruments at a lower price point. He could cut some corners here and there with how the instruments were finished, therefore making them quicker and selling them cheaper. Meanwhile, he was good enough to do the important things well, starting with using great quality wood, and later ending up with instruments possessing a great sound. If people couldn't afford a Strad, they could still buy something that sounded great, but looked comparatively rough.

 

I reason that it's not so hard for any maker to allow flaws to exist in work that's made for a low price. Rough workmanship can be excused if you are still creating instruments with a great sound. I don't have the view that Guarneri was trying to be some sort of artist with his more wild instruments, and if I don't get it, I must be some sort of philistine. I haven't time to do any particular research to back up my views with hard facts, but I suspect that in reality, there was a more down to earth reason for his less finished work than a romantic notion. If it wasn't for the tone of his best instruments, we probably wouldn't hear about him any more than the many other violin makers working at that time who are hardly given much more than a mention.

 

I respect Guarneri very much, I'm a week away from finishing a Guarneri model violin, without the tool marks because I have the time to remove them which I think Guarneri didn't have.

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