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Delabo

Hand made versus machine made violins

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3 hours ago, Guy Booth said:

I guess price comes down to quality, reputation of the maker, marketing, and the story - if any - people want to buy. 

With a C.F.Martin or Gibson you are buying a fancy decal.

They use a  Siemens SINUMERIK 840D sl CNC to make the neck  in a few minutes. After all you have to have something to  stick the very expensive decal onto .

$10,000 for a fancy C.F.Martin decal.

It will appreciate in price though.

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3 hours ago, Guy Booth said:

...

I don’t think Guitar players care so much about buying any story - they just want to buy an excellent instrument for a good price....

Oh, I think you'd be surprised...

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8 minutes ago, Rue said:

Oh, I think you'd be surprised...

I guess so...people do like a romantic story! 

47 minutes ago, Delabo said:

With a C.F.Martin or Gibson you are buying a fancy decal.

They use a  Siemens SINUMERIK 840D sl CNC to make the neck  in a few minutes. After all you have to have something to  stick the very expensive decal onto .

$10,000 for a fancy C.F.Martin decal.

It will appreciate in price though.

Sounds like they have a good marketing team! 

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1 hour ago, Guy Booth said:

I guess so...people do like a romantic story! 

Sounds like they have a good marketing team! 

Not as good as the team that sold the last Jackson Pollock painting.

A wooden frame with a stretched canvas and paint splashed and splattered on it  - $140 million.

Its the way you splash that counts.

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17 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Not as good as the team that sold the last Jackson Pollock painting.

 

The world’s most expensive photo in 1999,  ‘worth’ 4.3 million.  Go figure! 
I wouldn’t even use it a free screen saver! 

Andreas-Gursky-Rhein-II-1999-detail.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

By hand, or can they use a mechanical painter? 

Both.

I will have the hand painted one please.

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19 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

I agree, to demonize something just because we disagree about its use is profoundly wrong, but this is also true for those who want to "demonize" manual work by ignoring its cultural sense and judging it to be just a waste of time.

This is profoundly wrong and it seemed to me sometimes to read it between the lines of this thread.

IMHO, demonizing manual work as obsolete not only cheapens our culture by demonizing all craftsmanship by implication, but sometimes leads to an inappropriate use of technology.  For some examples:

1.  Sewing machines are great for seam stitching, but don't produce really great embroidery.

2.  The patented techniques which the Chinese have introduced into Japanese-style swordmaking ensure that acceptable shinken can be made for the martial-arts community at reasonable cost, but the fine structures and surface textures don't really look like those of an entirely hand-forged shinsakuto, which are what one wants for aesthetic appreciation.

3.  If I was going to throw up an airbase in record time, heavy equipment is the obvious way to go, but if I was tasked to quarry and erect an exact copy of the Great Pyramid, 100,000 unemployed Egyptians with ropes and chisels is still the cost-effective approach, because nothing we have in the mining and civil engineering arsenal will handle the size and weight of the blocks required (though I'd employ bulldozers and trucks liberally for constructing and demolishing the earthen ramps used as scaffolding).

:)

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43 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Not as good as the team that sold the last Jackson Pollock painting.

A wooden frame with a stretched canvas and paint splashed and splattered on it  - $140 million.

Its the way you splash that counts.

I'll have to start splashing varnish on my violins, to keep distance  from mere craft and finally enter the art world.:D

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32 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

The world’s most expensive photo in 1999,  ‘worth’ 4.3 million.  Go figure! 
I wouldn’t even use it a free screen saver! 

Andreas-Gursky-Rhein-II-1999-detail.jpg

Anyone who has fallen in love with this photo should come to Kansas, where they can gaze upon such beauty for 300 miles, all the way to the Colorado border. It's easily the best or worst road trip possible, depending on how much you love that exact image, that one, right there. I can kind of see why such a photo could be iconic. And also why anyone would give it a 'meh' and not think it is anything special.

Violins handmade by one person who knows what they are doing will always be better. Power tools build in lazy into the work, and bigger mistakes are possible if not inevitable. That's not an opinion. It's what happens. I've been in maestronet forums enough to see the pattern. You don't like that being said, when folks ask if they can fix this mistake or that one, or use this wood, or is that seam tight enough, can this be reglued, whatever...watch. The power tool users (for the most part) say it's fine, keep going. Those who are known for handwork suggest that in their opinion it's a redo. It's a different orientation not just to the process but to the importance of the integrity of the work itself.

How is this conversation still going on? 

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2 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

I'll have to start splashing varnish on my violins, to keep distance  from mere craft and finally enter the art world.:D

Funny! But craft is as admirable as art in the first place. There is nothing ‘mere’ about it! 

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34 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

The world’s most expensive photo in 1999,  ‘worth’ 4.3 million.  Go figure! 
I wouldn’t even use it a free screen saver! 

Andreas-Gursky-Rhein-II-1999-detail.jpg

Shouldn't there be a funny-looking guy on a bridge in the middle of it, screaming?  :huh:

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26 minutes ago, not telling said:

Anyone who has fallen in love with this photo should come to Kansas, where they can gaze upon such beauty for 300 miles, all the way to the Colorado border. It's easily the best or worst road trip possible, depending on how much you love that exact image, that one, right there. I can kind of see why such a photo could be iconic. And also why anyone would give it a 'meh' and not think it is anything special.

Violins handmade by one person who knows what they are doing will always be better. Power tools build in lazy into the work, and bigger mistakes are possible if not inevitable. That's not an opinion. It's what happens. I've been in maestronet forums enough to see the pattern. You don't like that being said, when folks ask if they can fix this mistake or that one, or use this wood, or is that seam tight enough, can this be reglued, whatever...watch. The power tool users (for the most part) say it's fine, keep going. Those who are known for handwork suggest that in their opinion it's a redo. It's a different orientation not just to the process but to the importance of the integrity of the work itself.

How is this conversation still going on? 

Mistakes occur using any tool. Things break, slip, go off line or whatever. No hand is always prefect and no machine is either. 
I totally agree it should be an absolute redo for anything not up to the desired quality.  What determines that is the maker, not the tool. Power tools are simply that - a tool. They don’t in any matter dictate what is good  quality. 

I doubt Martin 'machine made guitars'  that sell for $10,000 are ‘inevitably' full of ‘mistakes' and I doubt the company is lacking ‘integrity’ in terms of quality control either. 

The conversation is still going as you, me and others are enjoying participating! 

On another topic, I go to Kansas (Wichita) twice a year. Not my ideal landscape, once again it’s personal perception. I like mountains but other people like plains. Neither is intrinsically is superior to the other, even if mountains are better for me. 
 

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22 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

I'll have to start splashing varnish on my violins, to keep distance  from mere craft and finally enter the art world.:D

You're works are all already inhabited with your intention and presence.  No need to step outside your truth.

 

Art is rather difficult to pin down.  Disingenuous imitation definitely isn't the way to go.

 

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13 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

Mistakes occur using any tool. Things break, slip, go off line or whatever. No hand is always prefect and no machine is either. 
I totally agree it should be an absolute redo for anything not up to the desired quality.  What determines that is the maker, not the tool. Power tools are simply that - a tool. They don’t in any matter dictate what is good  quality. 

I doubt Martin 'machine made guitars'  that sell for $10,000 are ‘inevitably' full of ‘mistakes' and I doubt the company is lacking ‘integrity’ in terms of quality control either. 

The conversation is still going as you, me and others are enjoying participating! 

On another topic, I go to Kansas (Wichita) twice a year. Not my ideal landscape, once again it’s personal perception. I like mountains but other people like plains. Neither is intrinsically is superior to the other, even if mountains are better for me. 
 

Martins are cheap crap (imo). Everyone, especially those doing violin work, knows that(*everyone whose opinion I have thus far sought on this issue, which I discussed with some of the few violin makers who talk to me about such things). But whether you were joking or not, you know that. You said it--$10,000 for a decal. It's true. They got cocky and are sailing along on their name. Handmade arch top guitars made by one highly trained person are superior in every way possible, and definitely in the details. Ok, that's an opinion. But I doubt the Martins being made now will appreciate. Lots of people (*the ones I discussed this with) agree with me.

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19 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Art is rather difficult to pin down.  Disingenuous imitation definitely isn't the way to go.

You have some awesome stuff on your Website pertaining to violin geometry / ratios, David. 

I hope its not disingenuous for me to imitate some of those ratios in my designs! I guess violin makers have for centuries? 
Along with some other stuff, the long arch for the back plate geometry that you show was new to me . Before I just used templates and eye to arch without really knowing how that arching can be geometrically derived. 

Anyhow,  just wanted to say thanks for that stuff...has been very useful to me. 

The link for anyone else wanting to take a peek. 
http://davidofsantabarbara.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-first-draft-imagining-how-to-make.html#OutlineGeometry
 

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22 minutes ago, David Beard said:

You're works are all already inhabited with your intention and presence.  No need to step outside your truth.

Art is rather difficult to pin down.  Disingenuous imitation definitely isn't the way to go.

Yep, this is why I have always refused to make copies:)

Nor that I believe that violins can be true objects of art in the strict sense of the word.

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1 hour ago, not telling said:

How is this conversation still going on? 

I blame it on Davide Sora. :)

A few years ago I happened upom his violin making videos and spent hours watching them.

It soon became obvious to me that he is naturally gifted and loves making violins. This thread is in support of people like him who could disappear if technology has its way.The world would soon become a sad and empty place when people stop doing things for love and only for monetary reward. But I am sure that in the end, when people do what they love, it can work out well for them financially as well. And even if they never make the big time they have the reward of a life spent doing what they loved.

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1 hour ago, not telling said:

Martins are cheap crap (imo). Everyone, especially those doing violin work, knows that(*everyone whose opinion I have thus far sought on this issue, which I discussed with some of the few violin makers who talk to me about such things). But whether you were joking or not, you know that. You said it--$10,000 for a decal. It's true. They got cocky and are sailing along on their name.

Mostly agreed. If you can advise my wife on the most opportune time to sell her Martin guitar, I would very much appreciate that.

She mostly bought it because of the name, and because her sister had one she thought she loved.

Later, when my wife bought a custom-made guitar (it wasn't really "custom made" by fiddlemaking definitions), but when she and her sister perform together, her sister refers to that guitar as "stage hog". :D

1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

Yep, this is why I have always refused to make copies:)

Nor that I believe that violins can be true objects of art in the strict sense of the word.

Davide, you and I have trodden the less beaten path, and it appears that both of us are doing OK, maybe even better than those who thought they needed to sell their souls to the devil.

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I more or less agree that violin making is essentially craft rather than being either a science or art.

But, I take a rather broad  view of what both ART and craft are.   To me,  ART generals sets out to be art and to say something to us, as its primary purpose. Picaso's Guernica,  Tarintino's Kill Bill movies, or Mozart's Haydn Quartets are all good examples.  And so are Pollack's paintings.

However, most things I accept as art or more easily accused of merely being craft than Pollack painting is.  With the Pollack, there is very little there beyond the intent to say and express something, the technique or craft of his chosen medium of expression is minimal, nearly to the point of vanishing.  But, even with his minmal almost anti-skill medium, he still does manage to invest is works with emotive communication and presence.  To my feel, that is the actual core of what art actually is.

Vermeer in contrast can easily be labeles as primarly exercising a craft.  The skill is astonishing, but still a skill, like making a hamburger.  I don't acknowledge Vermeer as art because he works as a painter, nor because his craft rises to art, nor because his skill rises to art.  Again these are all medium, and craft rather than art.  What makes me ackowledge his works as art is ultimately the same as with Pollack.  Vermeer puts himself, his perception and feeling for the world into the work, his presence is there in the work to felt. 

So, again just me way of seeing it, if I don't feel genuine human presence and feeling/perspective in a work then I don't regard it as art, even if the work from an 'art' genre, like skilled portrait printing.  If human life and heart are present in the work, then art. If not, then not -- even if highly skilled work in an art genre.

On the other hand, sometimes the mundane is invested with love and presence and becomes art.   A fork, a shovel, a hamburger, a shirt.  On an exceptional basis, any of these can be made by an actual person, and when that happens they can sometimes be invested with the presence and loves of that person.  When that or similar happens, a hamburger or a spoon can be ART.

 

Ok. With that preamble, my main point.

For some, classical violin playing will always remain about combining skill and knowledge with love of the music and the instrument.  For those folks, a violin not only made well, but with love, and that not only is amazing to perform on, but is in itself lovable; these human elements will always matter.

And, again just me, I don't give a fig about players that aren't in that place.

 

So, based on these wild opinions, I think violins made by a real person investing their heart and soul will always be preferable in some ultimate sense.

That leaves room to use whatever tools and machines you choose, within an overall making the remains completely within your hand and heart.  But it doesn't leave room to turn the making over to your tools, machines, or assistants. Not in the smallest way. 

You must be the actual hands on chef. Not just a process designer.

 

(Seems I enjoy ranting)

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

Mostly agreed. If you can advise my wife on the most opportune time to sell her Martin guitar, I would very much appreciate that.

She mostly bought it because of the name, and because her sister had one she loved.

Later, when my wife bought a custom-made guitar (it wasn't really "custom made" by fiddlemaking definitions), but when she and her sister perform together, her sister refers to that guitar as "stage hog". :D

David, I know more about the market for Pokemon cards. Sorry. The ones being made now (within the last 20 years) won't appreciate for 50 years according to Q at my local guitar store. An expert, obviously. So, there you go. I don't personally tiptoe my nosy fingers into guitar forums ever, but she might want to, just to see what folks say.

A good friend of ours makes awesome arch top guitars that are flying out the door and appreciating already after 10 years. A lot of guitar guys think what he does doesn't matter, because they are guitar guys, but say what they will,  he sells everything easily to the people who want something real made by a person. Ideas appreciate more than objects can. Objects are only what the ideas say they are, right? The idea of a guitar, now, not being mass produced....suffice to say, he's doing great and doesn't look like that will change. So, I base my opinion on that, a little. Just a few people have to see what's going on, and that's all you need if your product is really great.

What is interesting to me, is people assume most violins are made with great care by individuals with hand tools. The idea persists. And honestly, today you can buy a Gibson for under $1000 (and there's nothing better than a Gibson!), so $1000 seems like a huge investment on an instrument to people. $3000, and that's just huge... you're investing in the future there. I'm talking about the Midwest... I hope it's different elsewhere. You talk about $7,000...$20,000 for a new violin....or more? A lot of people think that is really crazy. Especially guitar people...

So people expect completely handmade instruments, for nothing. Kansas though...not the best place for culture. I tell myself it's a regional difference. I know the whole country is mostly like this, but I can tell myself otherwise just to feel a little better.

It's happening in the pipe organ industry too. Neither here nor there, most pipe organ factories aren't making many new organs. They refurbish some, but for the most part, new churches don't see the point or the value of some huge handmade set of pipes and parts. Why, when all you need is a guitar and a drum set to start a church "music program"? And a big PowerPoint setup, but on the bright side, they'll save on hymnals and so forth and even better, we don't need the people to learn how to read music to participate in the church service anymore. I kvetch a lot about the end of culture and whatever, but this is a big one. How many of us learned to read music at church? 

Looks like I enjoy ranting as much as David Beard. His rant is more focused and interesting though...I better stop.:rolleyes:

 

 

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

I more or less agree that violin making is essentially craft rather than being either a science or art.

On the other hand, sometimes the mundane is invested with love and presence and becomes art.   A fork, a shovel, a hamburger, a shirt.  On an exceptional basis, any of these can be made by an actual person, and when that happens they can sometimes be invested with the presence and loves of that person.  When that or similar happens, a hamburger or a spoon can be ART.

For some, classical violin playing will always remain about combining skill and knowledge with love of the music and the instrument.  For those folks, a violin not only made well, but with love, and that not only is amazing to perform on, but is in itself lovable; these human elements will always matter.

(Seems I enjoy ranting)

I certainly made my first violin with love, for my girlfriend at the time. The neck and sides were from an oak tree that grew on my grandfathers property. It was a crap violin in terms of construction, acoustics and commercial value, but it was meaning and special to a few. Still, I wouldn’t call it art, even if I couldn’t have invested more love into it.

The meaning (or lack of) that we attribute to an object depends on our reference frame. And whatever meaning or personal value anyone attributes to anything is true to them. It’s not for Jack to tell Jill what she should value, nor is it for Jill to tell Jack what he shouldn’t value.

When making a ‘human life and heart” statement, we should simply be able to say, “For me this important” and “For you that is important” without the need for status and ego to get in the way and into pitch us into debating “what I deem as meaningful is superior to what you deem to be meaningful,” or “what I deem as important ought to be important to everyone.” 

Emotive and human value don’t need to align with functional value, nor with monetary value.
We can assess functional value far more objectively than ‘emotional’ value. But I don’t think we should fall into the trap of thinking if something costs more,  it must automatically be more meaningful.
Functional value and ‘emotional value’ don’t even have to be sort in the same object or instrument, and one can be present without the other.  

Although it has been widely debated, there is no universally accepted definition of art.
Many things in life are a spectrum rather than binary - art falls into a spectrum, as does the concept of ‘originality’.
Following a recipe for Chicken Soup and tossing in an extra teaspoon of salt isn’t being ‘original’ to me. Cooking the chicken with a hand-dryer would be original.

Likewise, following a set form to produce a violin isn’t being original to me, even if we change things here and there by a few millimeters.
Inventing a new instrument would be original.  
But then others may argue using oak for a neck is being ‘original’ and at least on that count the resultant instrument qualifies as art!

Art, craft, original, copy : these definitions are fun to ponder, but ultimately they don’t matter - at least not compared to simply participating in something, in whatever manner you choose, with whatever tools you want, simply because you are inspired to do so. 

And now I am rambling! But ain't it fun chatting about stuff! 

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