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6 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

The workmanship on del Gesu violins in the 1730s is often exquisite....I doubt anyone criticising DG's workmanship in this thread have handled many if any at all. 

There is the story that goes something like as follows. .....A young Rene Morel apprenticed with Sacconi looks at a del Gesu and declares that he would have to have mud in his eyes to make a violin like this. Sacconi tells him he will be able to make a violin like this when he no longer has mud in his eyes.

Melvin, your statement about DG doing exquisite work is certainly a stretch, in the 1730's his work was better than later. His workmanship was so awful later it made his early work look better.

Now as for your statement about me never having handled a DG, you are dead wrong about that. I've frequented probably twenty Skinner and that many Tarisio viewings. I also have visited several of the high dollar shops here in the states. I have been given access the their vaults. I have handled DG's and been given time to view them. You really shouldn't say things you don't know anything about.

 

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   Hi Melvin !  A picture with Maria Florea  at the age  of 13  with the Ex Arthur Grumiaux's DG. after  the  Mendelssohn 's violin concert  witch took place  in Biarritz (France) . I mention  the  Grumiaux  becase  it was  my  first contact  with  the  DG's  violins !

9.jpg

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8 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

The workmanship on del Gesu violins in the 1730s is often exquisite....I doubt anyone criticising DG's workmanship in this thread have handled many if any at all. 

There is the story that goes something like as follows. .....A young Rene Morel apprenticed with Sacconi looks at a del Gesu and declares that he would have to have mud in his eyes to make a violin like this. Sacconi tells him he will be able to make a violin like this when he no longer has mud in his eyes.

I think a lot would depend on which Guarneri is was. And I also think it's fair to say that most dealers only caught on to the the visual beauty of Del Gesus, after some major players started championing them as playing instruments. Paganini, for instance. Hard to say about Paganini, because he was also a dealer (or attempted to be one).

1 hour ago, Berl Mendenhall said:

Melvin, your statement about DG doing exquisite work is certainly a stretch, in the 1730's his work was better than later. His workmanship was so awful later it made his early work look better.

Now as for your statement about me never having handled a DG, you are dead wrong about that. I've frequented probably twenty Skinner and that many Tarisio viewings. I also have visited several of the high dollar shops here in the states. I have been given access the their vaults. I have handled DG's and been given time to view them. You really shouldn't say things you don't know anything about.

 

Berl has had exposure to some good people and good stuff.

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1 hour ago, indru said:

 

   Hi Melvin !  A picture with Maria Florea  at the age  of 13  with the Ex Arthur Grumiaux's DG. after  the  Mendelssohn 's violin concert  witch took place  in Biarritz (France) . I mention  the  Grumiaux  becase  it was  my  first contact  with  the  DG's  violins !

 

It doesn't seems to be the Rose/ Grumiaux DG on your picture.

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22 hours ago, carl stross said:

I don't know how many dogs DG made, there might be some. Strad's dogs seem however to be rarer than hen's teeth. 

I have no idea how many were re-voiced but some were. I suspect that is a smaller number than what we would like to believe. But why can't "they" re-voice violins nowadays with the same success rate ? I mean it's hard to believe that Strads and DGs re-voice well and all the others not so well. If at all. 

22 hours ago, carl stross said:

 But why can't "they" re-voice violins nowadays with the same success rate ? I mean it's hard to believe that Strads and DGs re-voice well and all the others not so well. If at all. 

A very interesting point, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears.  :-)

I once posed the possibility that all the lemons made by some of our current masters might be saved in the future, but no one had an opinion if it could be done.    

Sacconi wrote that Strads were good enough that they could survive "improving."  

The idea that Berl boldly states earlier in this thread is amusing: that dG didn't make that violin sound great, someone else did later, adding that it didn't sound good when it left dG's shop.  I'd like to hear the evidence for that statement.  A fly on the wall in his last life, perhaps.  :)  Maybe I missed some context or something.

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22 minutes ago, Will L said:

A very interesting point, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears.  :-)

I once posed the possibility that all the lemons made by some of our current masters might be saved in the future, but no one had an opinion if it could be done.    

Sacconi wrote that Strads were good enough that they could survive "improving."  

The idea that Berl boldly states earlier in this thread is amusing: that dG didn't make that violin sound great, someone else did later, adding that it didn't sound good when it left dG's shop.  I'd like to hear the evidence for that statement. 

Fair enough. Evidence to the contrary? Back when I was coming up, it was pretty common to try to rebuild a Strad (or whatever) to bring it up to market expectations. When we in the workshop failed, the salespeople could keep the momentum going.

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12 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Fair enough. Evidence to the contrary? Back when I was coming up, it was pretty common to try to rebuild a Strad (or whatever) to bring it up to market expectations. When we in the workshop failed, the salespeople could keep the momentum going.

I'm sure you guys in the workshop did sterling work. But it seems one needs to start with a real Strad.... ;)

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I don't see an issue. Not every "better" instrument is going to be equal in quality.

What if this one wasn't worth putting more effort into at the time? What if it was made in a rush to fill an order or other requirement (emergency)?

What if there were more pressing jobs to complete and he cut his losses on this one? 

It all happens. We can be as fanciful as we like in our speculations but these things do happen.

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3 minutes ago, Rue said:

I don't see an issue. Not every "better" instrument is going to be equal in quality.

What if this one wasn't worth putting more effort into at the time? What if it was made in a rush to fill an order or other requirement (emergency)?

What if there were more pressing jobs to complete and he cut his losses on this one? 

It all happens. We can be as fanciful as we like in our speculations but these things do happen.

Or what if poor Giuseppe was more interested in making it sound good than to match the finish standards of 2017?

Or maybe the rent was due?

Yes, it's fun to speculate.  Even a know-nothing like me can do so.  It's what makes the internet such a fun place to visit.

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Exactly!  Some of the Impressionists painted designs and pictures on fans to pay the rent. Current kitch. Not everything they produced was a well thought out Masterpiece or statement.

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32 minutes ago, carl stross said:

I'm sure you guys in the workshop did sterling work. But it seems one needs to start with a real Strad.... ;)

Most of the Stads  I worked on were quite well vetted, with attributions surviving to this day.

Probably the worst I put a lot of work into was an instrument which Francais described as "a shadow of a Strad", due to the condition. To the best of my knowledge, nobody with serious chops has ever questioned it being a Sradivari

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2 hours ago, christian bayon said:

It doesn't seems to be the Rose/ Grumiaux DG on your picture.

good question Bayon ! it‘s  not  the' Rose '  it‘s  the one before the ‘Rose‘  The  1728 DG. The  one   that Grumiaux   use  from 1950 -1970 .  It‘s also has  been played on  ( Mozart‘s Sonatte )   with Clara Haskil  . Rumours  say  that  Vatelot  accidently broke  the back . now is in the Guarneri Museum ! 

 

2 hours ago, christian bayon said:

It doesn't seems to be the Rose/ Grumiaux DG on your picture.

 

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2 hours ago, Greg F. said:

Or what if poor Giuseppe was more interested in making it sound good than to match the finish standards of 2017?

Or maybe the rent was due?

Yes, it's fun to speculate.  Even a know-nothing like me can do so.  It's what makes the internet such a fun place to visit.

You could consider it that way, but equally worth consideration is the higher price he might have commanded if his workmanship was better executed.

Strad appears to have been unwavering in quality of workmanship and the pride he took in his finished product; he created a name for himself.  Even today, most respected and successful manufacturers maintain these standards of quality.

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46 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

You could consider it that way, but equally worth consideration is the higher price he might have commanded if his workmanship was better executed.

Strad appears to have been unwavering in quality of workmanship and the pride he took in his finished product; he created a name for himself.  Even today, most respected and successful manufacturers maintain these standards of quality.

This whole theme of criticising Del Gesu workmanship is  a bit like saying Van Gogh was a crappy painter because he didn't blend his brush strokes and never sold a painting.

Please don't forget that del Gesu is the last expression of unbroken Cremonese tradition dating back with direct connections to the original Amati workshop. The last of 3 generations of Guarneri. Certainly he more than any maker knew what it takes to make a great violin and time would seem to have proven this. OK in his later years he was not too much interested in scrolls or bee stings but the things that really matter like archings and gradations and evolving design he nails....and varnish too. We also must understand that by the time he comes into his own as a young maker the market conditions that Strad thrived on were gone. 

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If you're talking about del Gesu, I'd say that given that Dad "filius" was able to peacefully retire to cutting scrolls (something which he probably enjoyed and was one of the best at, ever, in many people's consideration) the last ten years of his life while his son was making violins using the best wood in Cremona, I'd say they were delighted. Meanwhile, production in the Strad shop had slowed to a trickle, and the wood often looks like it came from packing crates. It seems pretty obvious who was making the big bucks in Cremona at that time and was the most respected maker of the time, so I'd say the customers knew a good violin when they saw one, even if some of the posters here don't.

I don't like to steal good ideas without credit, so I should mention that I didn't make that observation, myself; it came from Bob Bein, supposedly from Charles Beare, though I don't know for sure.

I'd echo what I take to be Melvin's subtle suggestion that if the average punter on the internet doesn't think it's good, whether it's Van Gogh or del Gesu, that vote probably doesn't really count for much among people who actually do know what they're looking at.

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Why do people have to resort to name calling and bullying to try to make their point. We have a president doing that and its not getting him anywhere. Melvin and Michael I thought you were better.

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1 hour ago, Berl Mendenhall said:

Why do people have to resort to name calling and bullying to try to make their point. We have a president doing that and its not getting him anywhere. Melvin and Michael I thought you were better.

Berl - I would take Melvin's comments in a positive way -  he is trying to encourage you to open your eyes and learn something.  

With Del Gesu, first impressions can sometimes be deceiving. A few years ago I was asked to copy the 'Ole Bull' Del Gesu violin. At first I was hesitant to copy such a violin. But once I gathered some good information (good photographs and a cast, etc) and made my copy, I eventually had total respect for the original instrument. The arching in particular was beautifully done and the freedom and creativity of the overall design is impressive.  While most other makers in Europe were still following Stainer and Amati, Guarneri was trying to create something new.  

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1 hour ago, Berl Mendenhall said:

Why do people have to resort to name calling and bullying to try to make their point. We have a president doing that and its not getting him anywhere. Melvin and Michael I thought you were better.

I read no such thing. I read two informative posts from two contributors who REALLY know what they are talking about. I'd wish they'd "bully" me more - maybe I'll learn something. 

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It's Passion.

Whether you are a professional or not the passion for violins are equally strong. I do understand makers who makes a living from this business are annoyed by "us amateurs" stating dGs as horrible craftmanship (which btw of course it is).

On the other hand some del Gesu sound boxes (arching, plate balance, air resonance, etc.... ) is unmatched.

Some scrolls are ugly, sorry about that

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22 hours ago, Berl Mendenhall said:

...DG doing exquisite work is certainly a stretch, in the 1730's his work was better than later. His workmanship was so awful later it made his early work look better.

I think of them as more "sculptural" than some of the other Cremonese makers. I tend to like that, though I like clean, flowing lines as well.

Appreciate them or not, there is a progression, and I feel the workmanship and style hold together rather nicely.  There is certainly a "progression" DG's approach. I recall a rather lengthy array of ff hole photos laid out in order on a table (in Bob Bein's hotel room) during the del Gesu exhibition in NY. The developing form makes much more sense presented in that way.

As far as favorite fiddles, I've always been very fond of the "King Joseph" and have been lucky enough to have it in my hands more than once.

If we're getting into tidy workmanship, in my opinion, Nicolo Amati is pretty hard to beat.

What's not to like about a great Strad head?

Nice to have choices and be free to chose what we like, or may not like. :)

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There's no point to getting ruffled feathers over something like this. With DG,  anyone can easily look at his work and determine where his efforts were focused. Fine finishing wasn't on his mind.

The Van Gogh example is appropriate because some view his work as inspired genius, and others may see it as kindergarten level art created by a inebriated madman; neither view is any more correct than the other.

These things all come down to personal opinion; Beauty being in the eye of the beholder certainly applies here.

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