Thomas Coleman

How do you "dirty" up a new instrument?

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15 minutes ago, TunaDay said:

So...  If I purchased a high-end modern instrument that wasn't antiqued by the maker, are there specialists who can antique that instrument for me?  And, if so, is that a complicated process?  Also, is there any risk to the performance quality of the instrument?  

I,d be Leary about it. I mean ya could but the risk of insulting the maker and devaluing their work ....devaluation would be a serious deterent for any truly high end modern. ....and vision would be very low on my list of things to do today.better to have the work original. . And there are Lot's of good makers doing good work with antiquing to choose from.

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I'm so bummed that I can't seem to market my old dead skin and tracked-in filth, I mean, my artisinal schmutz. 

I just saw this  super enlightening video of a lecture on how to antique violins,  and maybe someone will learn something from watching. I didn't, but that's because I already read all of the same articles he did. 

Seriously,  watch this.  I think this guy got out of Newark last year or this year maybe... 

(spoiler alert: Vandyke Brown-start at 60 minutes for description of the method used by him )

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On 14-9-2017 at 11:49 PM, not telling said:

Seriously,  watch this.  I think this guy got out of Newark last year or this year maybe... 

(spoiler alert: Vandyke Brown-start at 60 minutes for description of the method used by him )

that's a really nice video.. wish they could do a remake with better images and less coughing though B)

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The first violin I worked on was a Schweitzer Copy of 1813; it was a top off bit of work. To hide my markings along the edges where the top and ribs join I used a pinch of potting soil and oil.  Mixed together, applied, then wiped off, several times, made the edge look like it had not been opened.  Two years ago that was my impression.  Maybe my eye has become more discerning ...

The latest "find" was a no-name 1900-1910 gem with a nice tight-grained top. I noticed tool marks on the pegbox and a roughly cut scroll.  Good materials, solid assembly, a little bit rushed in making it perfectly pretty.  

These days?  Even the cheapest Asian import has a perfectly defined scroll and pegbox.  

My thinking is that perfect craftsmanship is more a modern thing;  the 100 - 150 year old violin likely to come into my hands - hopefully for $40 -  will be a rough example, a violin played at countless fairs, in innumerable pits, sold and bought over and over, a harsh life.  It was not made for a fancy orchestra, it was made for the trade of musician, a trade instrument.  Made in great quantities.  Made in a hurry.

Not only a stained scarred worn finish, but tool marks lend provenance.  A real wreck came into the house yesterday.  Not sure how to date it, but pre-1880 would be a start.  The smell reminds me of an 1859 building I worked in for a couple years.  No fingerboard, nut, saddle, pegs (the peg holes are gaping;  it will be my first bushing job). Very interesting observation: it was used extensively by a left hander, for years and years, in a dark pit somewhere.  The instrument was repeatedly held in the same place by the right hand, between sections of music, I imagine. Same evidence of wear on the neck and top.

 

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@Woodman

Welcome to MN! Sometimes when people ask me why I like old violins so much, I tell them because I like to imagine the adventure that they had before they came to me. I think you captured that feeling in your post.

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