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jacobsaunders

"It never rains, but it pours" Alban(i) D'Amore

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For Bass Clef

 

Michael Ignaz Stadlmann was the nephew (not son, as stated elsewhere in the literature) of your fathers violin maker, Johann Joseph and his assistant “Adjunkt” as Hof violin maker, a title that he subsequently held himself. He was also a “Violonist” (double bassist) in the orchestra. His biographical details are best summarised in the “Österreichische Muziklexikon” (in German) here https://www.musiklexikon.ac.at/ml/musik_S/Stadlmann_Familie.xml

 

The instrument has a peg box and head of pear wood with 14 peg holes. At the moment it is strung with 6 melody and 6 bourdon strings, but would be ready to take 7 upper and 7 lower strings any time one should wish, the bridge notches ready for either set up. The unpurfeled maple back is “flat” in so far as it doesn’t have the sharp bend at the top bouts often seen, but is slightly bent along it length. I have as yet ben unable to determine if the ebony strip along the middle joint is original, or a feature of a later repair. The belly with it’s flame sound holes is purfeled, and has ebony edges. If these ebony edges are original, or a cunning method of a repairer to get the belly to refit the rib outline, remains speculation. The label dates the instrument with 1787(?)

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

For Bass Clef

 

Michael Ignaz Stadlmann was the nephew (not son, as stated elsewhere in the literature) of your fathers violin maker, Johann Joseph and his assistant “Adjunkt” as Hof violin maker, a title that he subsequently held himself. He was also a “Violonist” (double bassist) in the orchestra. His biographical details are best summarised in the “Österreichische Muziklexikon” (in German) here https://www.musiklexikon.ac.at/ml/musik_S/Stadlmann_Familie.xml

 

The instrument has a peg box and head of pear wood with 14 peg holes. At the moment it is strung with 6 melody and 6 bourdon strings, but would be ready to take 7 upper and 7 lower strings any time one should wish, the bridge notches ready for either set up. The unpurfeled maple back is “flat” in so far as it doesn’t have the sharp bend at the top bouts often seen, but is slightly bent along it length. I have as yet ben unable to determine if the ebony strip along the middle joint is original, or a feature of a later repair. The belly with it’s flame sound holes is purfeled, and has ebony edges. If these ebony edges are original, or a cunning method of a repairer to get the belly to refit the rib outline, remains speculation. The label dates the instrument with 1787(?)

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Be still, my beating heart. Thanks a lot for this wonderful post! Much appreciated. So beautiful!

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Funny that the tailpiece is canted in the opposite direction than is normally seen, and is the "new hot item" in harp shaped tailpieces. Is itPicture1.thumb.jpg.f91bbfe7079bf612ffa62923fb205eb7.jpg a reproduction?

Also here is a violin peg that was in the hsreinzer collection in Vienna, now in Nuremberg. 

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36 minutes ago, MeyerFittings said:

Funny that the tailpiece is canted in the opposite direction than is normally seen, and is the "new hot item" in harp shaped tailpieces. Is itPicture1.thumb.jpg.f91bbfe7079bf612ffa62923fb205eb7.jpg a reproduction?

Also here is a violin peg that was in the hsreinzer collection in Vienna, now in Nuremberg. 

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Yes, I agree with you. I think the tailpiece is slanted the wrong way around too, but I am not repairing the Stadlmann, I have just borrowed it to help work out the specs for the other two. I am sure the tailpiece is a later addition. Also I am not sure if the ivory post the tailpiece is ankered on is original. There seem to be two variations of D’Amore, those with a Gamba type post, and those with a violin type end button.

 

Thanks for the picture of the Stadlmann peg. I don’t know if the pegs in the Stadlmann D’Amore are original or not, they are certainly very old and a bit knackered. They are all “matching”, but a little different from each other, and I could well imagine that they are original to the D’Amore, but I don’t know how one could prove it. In the Technische Museum in Vienna they have an interesting collection of original pegs/tailpieces and bridges from mostly 18th C Vienna, but also elsewhere, from the Jaura collection, and I guess they will have a lot more in storage if I asked and pestered them enough.

 

I am still investigating the Eberle, and trying to work out if there are bits missing or not. The edges were a total dogs dinner, full of Araldite(?) or similar from my predecessor, and I can’t understand what the really thick patch is for by the bottom block. I won’t mention that the neck is genuinely dovetailed in, but that can stay where it is anyway:)

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29 minutes ago, MeyerFittings said:

Are the pegs box or fruit wood?

Certainly not box wood. I believe some sort of fruit wood. I am not very good at recognising different types of wood, so I will have to find someone to ask.

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A really marvelous thread, Jacob.  Thank you so much for all the photos, the link, and the informative commentary. :)

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5 hours ago, deans said:

Fred Oster's web page shows another attributed to MI Stadleman, similar design, but some other differences

https://vintage-instruments.com/product/michael-ignatius-stadlmann-viola-damore-1801-vienna/

Many thanks for the link. I do wish one could enlarge the photos more, or is it just my lack of computer skills? They repeat the old inaccurate tale that he was Johann Joseph’s son, but I suppose Philadelphia is a long long way away. I gave the actual correct biographical data in my post to Bass Clef above, and one can see in detail here:

https://www.musiklexikon.ac.at/ml/musik_S/Stadlmann_Familie.xml

(Mr. Google can help with the German)

 

Interestingly it has, similar to the one in my workshop, an ivory post Gamba style system rather than an end pin but also a tailpiece that slopes, as both Eric and I agreed, in the wrong direction, although they claim (bravely) that it is in “completely original” condition. I have also no recollection of a Stadlmann instrument with such a varnish. Normally I would expect a varnish like the Johann Joseph violin in my front room (below). Michael Ignaz’s instruments in the 19th.C. did though become more “modern” and I would expect them to have a varnish of what I think of as “Geissenhof colour” His workshop seemed to be successful with a number of assistants, so I will retain an open mind.

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Since one should never open a D’Amore (or Gamba) unless there is really absolutely no alternative, not that they are difficult to open, just fiendishly difficult to get back together again, I thought this would be a good opportunity to investigate the Eberle D’Amore from the inside. Eberle is after all variously lauded as “The Stradivarius of the D’Amore” and I think it is worth trying to save.

 

The accident that happened was that the lady fell over, and landed, with the full weight of her body on the D’Amore, which was on the floor (a big no-no) roughly at the bass soundhole, smashing that side of the instrument, and causing tremors on the other side. (Picture 1)

 

The unpurfeled 2 piece back is of slightly knotty, slab cut maple, a uniform 2,8ish mm thick, with a fairly wide strip of purfling along the middle joint. My personal opinion would be that one shouldn’t use slab cut wood for this sort of instrument, since it is even more prone to shrinkage (in it’s width), so that re-glueing the belly back on, will always leave one with too little edge for too much rib. It has a sound post bar in the centre, 3,9cm wide, which goes all the way, fairly close to the ribs. Eberle didn’t seem fussed about using choice wood for this bar, since it seems to have been quite close to a knot on the bass side. The sound post side, shows a good deal of attrition from no doubt various frantic sound post fittings. Just south of the post bar is a small shrinkage crack, which I will have to see too. Above and below this bar. It has two smaller bars, 6 resp. 8 mm wide. These bars go right up to the ribs, and at all 4 ends, have an (original?) glue block (picture 3) to keep the bar ends from rising up. Due to the back shrinkage, the bars have spent the last 263 years, making there way through the rib (photo 4).

 

8 mm south of the lower bar, and 40mm north of the upper one, are V shaped groves, which I would expect on a Gamba back with a pronounced sharp bend. Here though this only seems to facilitate the slight bending of the whole back (picture 5). You can also see the depth of this grove on picture 4.

 

I presume that the top to bottom joint reinforcement is from colleague Kusil in Brunn, who has made a pencil repair remark The small corner blocks are of pine, and the pine centre bout linings are let in with a point. The sturdy bottom block seems to have the end pin glued in, since it has resisted all attempts to come out to date.

 

The ribs are of the same wood as the back and 1,2ish mm thick. The ribs are 53 mm high in the centre boughts, 40mm at the neck root, and 45mm high at the end button.

 

The two piece belly is of fairly closely grown pine in the middle, widening to the edges. It is about 5mm thick in the middle, and about 2,5mm in the flanks..It has a strange patch by the bottom block, which makes is ca, 6mm there, so I am speculating than it isn’t a let in patch, but a laid on one.. The patch even goes over the shortened original bar, which is 9mm high in the middle and 5ish at the ends. The bely has purfling, then a stretch of pine. And on the very edge a black edge work, which at first I thought was ebony, but actually it is stained pear.

 

The (original) neck and scroll are of pear wood. Would anybody like me to measure anything else?

 

PS, got the pictures in the wrong order, sorry

 

 

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To the repair attempt:

 

I first spent about 2 hours, taking all the strings and pegs off, and numbering them, since I don’t want to be left working out in which order 14 pegs go in!

 

Then I carefully removed all sorts of bits, large and small, through the smashed sound hole with a pair of tweezers, and put pine bits in one ice cream box, and maple ones in another. Since then, I have been judiciously glueing one crack a day, or by long ones, half a crack a day. This might be superstition on my part, but I always leave a crack with cramps on over night. I have always thought that many colleagues are in to much of a hurry. The lady did gingerly ask when I thought I might be finished, and I said “perhaps Christmas”. Christmas is always a good delivery date to quote, since it comes every year.

 

On the belly, there was one tiny bit, 2/3 up the bass soundhole, which I thought was missing, but I found it then after all. I have now gradually got it to the point, where I can make a plaster cast. I will have to half edge it, and hope this gives me a bit of wiggle room, when glueing the belly back on.

 

The big hole on the bass centre rib is in 5 (or 7, depending on how you count) bits. I am not certain that I have found it all, and will have to think hard how to get that back together again. I have made a counter form, and a counter-counter form, which we accidentally photographed upside down. I actually chalk fitted them to each other, so they are a perfect fit, when they are the right way around. In the picture I have the bits beneath some cling film, ‘cos I didn’t want anything to blow away You can wish me luck with that.

 

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On 4/24/2019 at 10:32 AM, jacobsaunders said:

I do wish one could enlarge the photos more

Don't use the "enlarge" button at the upper right corner, but the the right mouse click, than one should see something like "Grafik anzeigen/show picture". Having clicked this, you can usually enlarge it while pressing Ctrl/Strg with the mouse wheel.;)

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On ‎4‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 3:12 PM, Thomas Coleman said:

@jacobsaunders Thanks for posting these.  Are the sympathetic strings hooked onto nail heads at the lower block?

The ivory Pins for the sympathetic strings are evidently later, since one can see plugged out holes where original ones might have been.. Unfortunatly one pin head has broken off, so I will either have to find something suitable to replace it, or make  new one.

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I have been repairing a smashed Viola D’Amore that I illustrated here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/342252-it-never-rains-but-it-pours-albani-damore/&do=findComment&comment=843184 for ages. It has taken so long because it wasn’t a high priority repair, but one that I have done now and then when waiting for something else (a cello bridge to straighten for instance:P). Now it is from a woodworking point of view back together again and needs some varnish retouching. Then I will have to fit it up to work as an instrument again.

 

The next problem crops up. As with all instruments that one needs to open that don’t have edges that overlap the ribs, when re-glueing the belly back on, there were miles to much ribs than there was outline. To overcome this problem, I removed the (not original) bottom block and shortened the ribs.

 

A D’Amore has 7 ivory (or bone?) little buttons, (see Picture) with a round head about 2 or 2,5 mm diameter and a spike about 10 mm long which is glued into a hole, drilled into the bottom block, to hold the bordon strings, either side of the end button. Whilst removing the bottom block, there were the remains of dozens of these pins that had broken off at some stage in the past. The now pinless bottom rib now looks like it has been perforated.

 

To carry on with the set up, I need (at least) 7 such new pins, and wanted to ask Maestronetters if anyone knows where I can buy such pins, or if anyonecould make some for me?

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

To carry on with the set up, I need (at least) 7 such new pins, and wanted to ask Maestronetters if anyone knows where I can buy such pins, or if anyonecould make some for me?

Have you gone back to Mr. Monical? How about Fred Oster? Somehow I think that one of Monicals workers is now with Oster, but I could be mistaken.

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5 hours ago, deans said:

Have you gone back to Mr. Monical? How about Fred Oster? Somehow I think that one of Monicals workers is now with Oster, but I could be mistaken.

Sara Peck is there now, yes. She does lovely work.

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13 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

To carry on with the set up, I need (at least) 7 such new pins, and wanted to ask Maestronetters if anyone knows where I can buy such pins, or if anyonecould make some for me?

Sent you a PM

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Bone is not such a great material since it is so brittle. You will have a hard time getting them made from ivory unless you can find them in Austria, since they run the risk of getting confiscated. Even mamoth is problematic since small pieces are hard to distinguish from elephant. I can certainly make them, they are modified guitar bridge pins , getting them to Europe is the conundrum. Any good bow maker might help you out with a small lathe.

 

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