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Hi! After posting on this wonderful forum for a while, and getting really into the whole 'violin restoration' thing, I figured I would make myself one of these bench topics in the makers' gallery!  :)

I don't presume to call myself a luthier, that would be a disfavor to the profession! I'm just a craftsman messing around with violins!  ;)

So I'm going to start the topic with a photo of the corner of my workshop dedicated to the violins...

Violin_Workshop_20180215_040506.thumb.jpg.ee5fda05f659e50bb5c0d77b75925ae9.jpg

There is where the magic happens!  ;)

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Alright, now my first actual violin post here!

Might as well start with the one that started me on this path of messing around with violins (besides just playing them!), the old German one that was subject of my very post on this forum:

 

It was such a joy to work on this, from restoring the little chip on the corner, to touching up the varnish, to making my very first bridge, I learned so much and I'm thankful for all the help I got!

And it turns out it's not a bad fiddle!

'Meditation' from Thais (Old German Violin).mp3

(pardon the poor recording, it was done on my phone. Also try not to mind the screw-ups  ;)  )

 

I always loved the way Tariso makes their photos of the violins on their archives, so I decided to start making mine like that too from now on.

5a8578fe145c7_OldGerman20170630_211925.thumb.jpg.739f307d5d26a449060cc9c9dbcabbc9.jpg 5a8578fc1459f_OldGerman20170630_212100.thumb.jpg.bd7298113ca2b05ef1624dea6f3fa22d.jpg

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Stavanger said:

Nice place you have there Fox! Looking forward to seing your work. 
 

Thank you! I look forward to filling this thing with my works!  ;) 

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Looks like you are off to a good start, nice space, great photos!

Back in the good ol days when we had to walk uphill to school, and uphill to get back home again, there was no internet, it was truly a slow and somewhat lonely process of acquiring info and traveling to learn something. There you are and here we are,,profound huh!

At some point in time when you're ready, getting together with others at a workshop are some of the best memories that I have!

Evan excited

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Nice work Fox  you're a natural! Also enjoyed your sound file, you did great to my ears, one day I might get that good.

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 7:17 AM, FoxMitchell said:

 

5a8578fe145c7_OldGerman20170630_211925.thumb.jpg.739f307d5d26a449060cc9c9dbcabbc9.jpg 

 

 

how do you do that kind of photo with the white background.  Are there some instructions somewhere?

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2 hours ago, MikeC said:

how do you do that kind of photo with the white background.  Are there some instructions somewhere?

In one word, Photoshop.  ;)

You can get a really nice white background if you have excellent lighting and a good camera and white wall/backing, but I find even then on a home setup you might get some shadows or texture or an off-white on the background, so I clean those up on Photoshop. One must be careful though not to want to 'correct' blemishes on the violin that way.

There are various tutorials out there on how to clean-up or altogether replace a neutral background on an image. Google for replacing image background.

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3 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

Looks like you are off to a good start, nice space, great photos!

Back in the good ol days when we had to walk uphill to school, and uphill to get back home again, there was no internet, it was truly a slow and somewhat lonely process of acquiring info and traveling to learn something. There you are and here we are,,profound huh!

At some point in time when you're ready, getting together with others at a workshop are some of the best memories that I have!

Evan excited

 

3 hours ago, carl1961 said:

Nice work Fox  you're a natural! Also enjoyed your sound file, you did great to my ears, one day I might get that good.

 

Thank you!  :) 

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If the violin above was 'patient zero', this one is officially Number One! It's working title was Orange Strad.

This one I took completely apart and used it as test subject to learn to make blocks and linings and bushings and pegs and cleats... the only thing I didn't do was a neck reset which after I put it all together I noticed I should have done!

I also re-did the graduations on the top and the back, bassbar, the works!

If I may be so bold, I like to think it turned out Ok for my first complete rebuild.

'Meditation' from Thais (Orange Strad #1).mp3

I've got to get myself a proper recording thing! The phone is Ok but I feel like it could be better still.

It has some issues (besides the crooked fingerboard): There are some wolves, way up high on the G string and on the A string between C and C#, but so long as your intonation is spot-on, they don't howl.  ;)

Also it feels like you have to put some work into getting the notes out of it, but personally on this one I think it feels rewarding when you do it and it comes out good, it's not exhausting work, it's a bit of a back-and-forth, give-and-take partnership thing... Ok, I'm rambling. Its voice feels sometimes a bit dry, but it's powerful and projecting, though it doesn't like pianissimo too much.

 

5a8ba1ba04ccd_OrangeStrad20171207_024149_white.thumb.jpg.bb50c84efe495f097ae1020e4821ba93.jpg 5a8ba1bb3f482_OrangeStrad20171207_024323_white.thumb.jpg.0ca0be6709c1de052c8097186e050ad2.jpg 5a8ba1b82fde5_OrangeStrad20171207_024617_white.thumb.jpg.540ee759330dcdd12ffc0907184111b4.jpg

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8 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

...It has some issues (besides the crooked fingerboard): There are some wolves, way up high on the G string and on the A string between C and C#, but so long as your intonation is spot-on, they don't howl.  ;)

Also it feels like you have to put some work into getting the notes out of it, but personally on this one I think it feels rewarding when you do it and it comes out good, it's not exhausting work, it's a bit of a back-and-forth, give-and-take partnership thing... Ok, I'm rambling. Its voice feels sometimes a bit dry, but it's powerful and projecting, though it doesn't like pianissimo too much.

Congratulations!  Finishing a working #1 is a big accomplishment.  My first violin (owned not built) was an 18th century fiddle gifted to my son who just couldn't take to it.  It had the full dynamic range from mf to fff. :o  It's DbA was limited by what your ears could take.  So it became mine and it carried the infectious disease for violin making.  I sold it last year to pair a bow with my #2 that is now my son's primary violin.

So, are dreaming anything up for #2?  

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9 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

Congratulations!  Finishing a working #1 is a big accomplishment.  My first violin (owned not built) was an 18th century fiddle gifted to my son who just couldn't take to it.  It had the full dynamic range from mf to fff. :o  It's DbA was limited by what your ears could take.  So it became mine and it carried the infectious disease for violin making.  I sold it last year to pair a bow with my #2 that is now my son's primary violin.

So, are dreaming anything up for #2?  

Thank you!

...well, #2 is already here as a matter of fact!  ;)

 

It's that one with the fake Vuillaume label, ...

I patched it, touched it up on the inside (meaning: Completely re-did the graduations, but I managed to keep the integral bassbar! ...made it pretty and proper, though!), reset the neck, cosmetic touch-ups, setup...

This one is a bit odd. The response is incredible, it almost plays ahead of the bow so fast it responds! But it's also quite tiring to play, maybe because it's a 3/4 and I'm compensating for it? The sound is acceptable for a violin, great for a fiddle, but I find myself sick of playing it after a very short while. And the open E has a weird sound, it sounds 'hollow' under the ear, but perfectly fine from far away.

'Meditation' from Thais (Fake Vuillaume #2).mp3

That said, it's incomparably better than the way it was before!

Freed-Vuillaume_20180214_001146.thumb.jpg.4c6aa7db0b1efd9b62fdd69ff616b1ab.jpg Freed-Vuillaume_20180214_001305.thumb.jpg.c786e633ccaddcafe9c0dca8d30baeda.jpg Freed-Vuillaume_20180214_001416.thumb.jpg.1c2c6249084f0ad1e6a6b6c389212d7c.jpg

The neck was pretty much separated from the block at some point and had been glued wrong with mystery glue. When I got it all cleaned up and glued back up I put it without any adjustments, and it seemed right, but the projection turns out is quite high. Add that to the list of quirks it has.

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And here's #3!

This is the one discussed on this other topic...

This one I call the Butt Strad, because of its very prominent posterior (and the crack it had on it)!

Butt-Strad_20180214_000743.thumb.jpg.bc4ab4d80ed18e3926caf990e2bf8611.jpg

 

It had a terrible horizontal crack across the grain on the back that required patching. I'm happy with the patch but disappointed with my attempts to match the color and make the repair disappear! The wood absorbed the pigment in an unexpected way and the whole thing became a big blotch.  :( 

I thought about clearing the whole area back there and starting over, but I didn't want to remove more varnish, and wood from the surface.

The back graduations on this were surprisingly well within the 'average' Strad specs, and the back itself was of quite good quality finish on the inside, but the top was beaver-chewed and I completely re-did it.

Of the three I've thoroughly messed with so far, this one has the best sound in my opinion. Also is the easiest to play, with no quirks to get in the way, and does pianissimo or fortissimo with ease!

'Meditation' from Thais (#3).mp3

The fingerboard is some dyed wood (maybe low quality ebony), and I was going to replace it after I had the whole thing together and found out if the sound made it worth the effort, but now I'm afraid of messing with it lest it changes the way it sounds and handles!  ;)

Butt-Strad_20180214_000540.thumb.jpg.7ec52fafcf6fa3044e24562bb5388b82.jpg Butt-Strad_20180214_000624.thumb.jpg.66a0dd626e36af44c9e52d32415d4027.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

You could sit a cup on that booty.

I like the sound of that number 3 too, it has a wonderful tone you did a good job. Thanks for posting the sound clips. Fox did you put a new bass bar in it.

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1 hour ago, carl1961 said:

I like the sound of that number 3 too, it has a wonderful tone you did a good job. Thanks for posting the sound clips. Fox did you put a new bass bar in it.

Thanks Carl!

Oh yes, it got a new bassbar and everything!

 

Before:

Butt-Strad_20180119_233409.thumb.jpg.bce328ff60277890b37b547ee6c19551.jpg

 

After:

Butt-Strad_IMG_20180201_045014_910.thumb.jpg.d1da861d6df9347e283a22bea7c234af.jpg

 

...I need to get myself some smaller deep clamps. Those monstrosities I use can be a bit unwieldy!

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And now #4!

This one took a loooOooOOong time to get done, so many cracks, so many patches! So much old glue to undo! ...But it's done at last! ...it was done last month actually but I hadn't had time to take nice pictures and record it.  ;)

This is the 'Conservatory Violin' discussed on this previous topic:

This one I didn't re-graduate anything, just put it back together fixing old crappy repairs, setup, touch-ups here and there, and here it is!

 

Conservatory_Violin_20180322_012339.thumb.jpg.e8993c259d98f6802455e4b8207b0886.jpg Conservatory_Violin_20180322_012823a.thumb.jpg.4447ae304d88d03b42bac78cad3d7568.jpg

 

And the usual sound sample... 

Meditation_from_Thais_Conservatory_Violin.mp3

 

This one has an interesting sound. I don't like it under the ear, but when listening not as player, it sounds rather nice. I find it a bit 'stiff' at some points, though, but from a distance it seems to get better. And while it's not necessarily hard to play, it's very unforgiving of sloppy technique.

 

 

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I hear two very strong resonances that jump out above the others... B1- at around A, and another around 970 Hz at B on the E string.  It's a failing of mine to listen for resonances instead of the overall impression of the music being played.

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6 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I hear two very strong resonances that jump out above the others... B1- at around A, and another around 970 Hz at B on the E string.  It's a failing of mine to listen for resonances instead of the overall impression of the music being played.

Cool! ....what does it mean, these resonances jumping out above others?  :) 

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With even playing, a note played at those frequencies is a lot louder or ringier or a different timbre or any/all of these.  Mostly louder on the fundamental, which overpowers the overtones.

Two examples:  the low note of the first passage, and the third note of the second passage. 

Resonances.mp3

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

With even playing, a note played at those frequencies is a lot louder or ringier or a different timbre or any/all of these.  Mostly louder on the fundamental, which overpowers the overtones.

Two examples:  the low note of the first passage, and the third note of the second passage. 

Resonances.mp3

Oh yes, those things. I've noticed on other violins before. Do you know what causes that?

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Strong structural resonances.  Knowing what they are is easy; knowing what to do about them is hard.

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