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Julian Cossmann Cooke

Style elements of del Gesu

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I am preparing for a build modeled on the del Gesu Vieuxtemps and looking for resources on the maker's style of that period.

I have assembled photos from all the usual sources -- the  books, the poster, the Chinese site (included in a separate thread) -- articles from The Strad and Roger Hargrave's site/the books, and key measurements (also from the poster).

Have I missed any more recent analyses of del Gesu's style points?

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Short notice and costly, but in person instruction is worth every penny if you have both the pennies and the time. Joe Thrift’s workshop starts June 10th. Let me know if you want more details.  Joe specializes in GDG models. 

-Jim 

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15 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I am preparing for a build modeled on the del Gesu Vieuxtemps and looking for resources on the maker's style of that period.

I have assembled photos from all the usual sources -- the  books, the poster, the Chinese site (included in a separate thread) -- articles from The Strad and Roger Hargrave's site/the books, and key measurements (also from the poster).

Have I missed any more recent analyses of del Gesu's style points?

Julian, I guess you have done what can be done.  

Now you just need to reduce the number of tools to 3 and you are done. (I am exaggerating!) :D

And maybe you better don't use your glasses when working because those imprecisipms are not necessarily the result of vino rosso but maybe the result of bad eyesight as well. (Who knows?) 

Hope you'll have fun. 

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18 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Now you just need to reduce the number of tools to 3 and you are done.

Saw, chisel, and drill.

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I second Jim’s suggestion , I will not be able to be there this year ,wish I could,, got a job doing iron works on a deadline, but  after attending two years, IMHO  Joe,s got a pretty good handle on Del Gesu model , shares openly , friendly fun and honest, with great hosts and dedicated students.  In terms of models and style, remember early works were marked by more or less clean work,comparing favorably to strad and others. it,s the latter years when he started going wild. Another bit to share is that his corner overhangs were generally more than the 2.5 /3 mm we are used to in modern work and the plates do not exactly follow the rib lines up to maybe 5-6mm , leaving them somewhat fragile. ....

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Is this instrument beautiful / appealing to your personally?  If it is,  then as you make the instrument you will sense if it "feels" right or not because of your emotional reaction as you remove that last bit of wood just there.    The other danger is exaggerating what you like or think should be there from some cartoonist notions of "roughness" or some such thing.  Don't give into desire or oversimplification.  

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It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life.

I suggest  you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter

your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.

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13 minutes ago, donbarzino said:

It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life.

Catch 22:  you can only imitate de Gesu's style if you don't try to imitate del Gesu's style.

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6 hours ago, James M. Jones said:

I second Jim’s suggestion , I will not be able to be there this year ,wish I could,, got a job doing iron works on a deadline, but  after attending two years, IMHO  Joe,s got a pretty good handle on Del Gesu model , shares openly , friendly fun and honest, with great hosts and dedicated students.  In terms of models and style, remember early works were marked by more or less clean work,comparing favorably to strad and others. it,s the latter years when he started going wild. Another bit to share is that his corner overhangs were generally more than the 2.5 /3 mm we are used to in modern work and the plates do not exactly follow the rib lines up to maybe 5-6mm , leaving them somewhat fragile. ....

The overhangs are all over the place, according to the poster.  And the outline leaves the lower c-bout curves caddywumpus at least on the bass side.  My guess is that he made up for that on the outline which may account for some of the variation in overhang. 

I chose a late model in part because of suggestions that he moved toward the Brescians in his approach to archings, though seems to me you still couldn't call them Brescian in anything except a slight fullness down to the edge and very little in the way of a channel, except maybe in the c-bouts.  Another step in my ongoing search for the elements of a personal model.

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6 hours ago, Peter Lynch said:

Is this instrument beautiful / appealing to your personally?  If it is,  then as you make the instrument you will sense if it "feels" right or not because of your emotional reaction as you remove that last bit of wood just there.    The other danger is exaggerating what you like or think should be there from some cartoonist notions of "roughness" or some such thing.  Don't give into desire or oversimplification.  

We are of one mind, Peter, on the issue of following intuition.  I do believe that we put a part of our personality into our instruments, particularly if -- like I am -- we are not adept at the kind of pristine work some folks can produce seemingly without effort.  I don't think you can go in with a lot of preconceived notions and be successful, though I do believe there is a relationship between method and style and therefore  following the method will get you to the style more successfully than going directly after the style.

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4 hours ago, donbarzino said:

It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life.

I suggest  you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter

your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.

Well, at least I have the messy shop and desperate need for money down...;)

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6 hours ago, donbarzino said:

It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life.

I suggest  you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter

your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.

If the violins made by him list is close to correct then his output equates to over seven instruments per year not including some that have disappeared over time.   

How does one read about and copy Del Gesu's life style?   Surely alcohol consumption could help, I guess.  At times I've envisioned DG as a short, plumpy fellow of sorts.  

Julian, the guy died at age 46.  I've studied a few plans/blueprints supposedly for a Del Gesu fiddle - Just go for it all out, non stop if you choose, worry about alignment to the rib assembly late - he very well be a 1/2" out of centerline alignment to rib assembly after working wood down in some places some of the time - what he thought was going to be spot on - wasn't,  then figure out pin placement, work the profile and edges down, scrape some eveness into the mix on the outer of the plates and then work on the purfling.  We're talking well over a hundred fiddles made - he knew the process of what he could get away with

Surely you have studied the early period works to the later works to take note of differences through out his making years - I haven't done that yet.

Something else - how about when it was purfling making time?  Did he make his own or did he get them from another source?  What about installing the purfling.  Were the pieces already glued together or were they separate strips laid in dry, then glued together after the needed length was figured?  Over time this last method could turn out to be a time saver with decent results, if needed.

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I don't think DG's instruments can be copied verbatim and still maintain what makes them so interesting. I think the unifying feature of his later work is attitude. That he was working as fast as he could for economic reasons and that he didn't like making violins much anyway and was pretty frustrated to be doing it.  According to Cremonese census and other records he had quit the business in his early thirties and then had to move back home and take over when his dad got sick. Looking at some of his later work I can almost hear him muttering to himself "Yeah I'll give the SOB his f-ing violin by the end of the month..." None the less his early training and working methods came through whether he wanted it to or not and I get the impression that he kept his mind occupied by experimenting with "I wonder if it will sound different if I do this?".

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2 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I don't think DG's instruments can be copied verbatim and still maintain what makes them so interesting. I think the unifying feature of his later work is attitude. That he was working as fast as he could for economic reasons and that he didn't like making violins much anyway and was pretty frustrated to be doing it.  According to Cremonese census and other records he had quit the business in his early thirties and then had to move back home and take over when his dad got sick. Looking at some of his later work I can almost hear him muttering to himself "Yeah I'll give the SOB his f-ing violin by the end of the month..." None the less his early training and working methods came through whether he wanted it to or not and I get the impression that he kept his mind occupied by experimenting with "I wonder if it will sound different if I do this?".

Not that you are suggesting otherwise, Nate, but my approach is to try to immerse myself in the spirit of his work and of this particular instrument.  I'm at peace with my skill level as it currently stands -- which is not to say I won't continue to try to improve -- which means knowing that copying is not in my wheelhouse.  Nor do I aspire to the ability to make copies.  I'm much more interested in exploring in depth the work of others as an avenue to developing my own style and model.

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6 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

Not that you are suggesting otherwise, Nate, but my approach is to try to immerse myself in the spirit of his work and of this particular instrument.  I'm at peace with my skill level as it currently stands -- which is not to say I won't continue to try to improve -- which means knowing that copying is not in my wheelhouse.  Nor do I aspire to the ability to make copies.  I'm much more interested in exploring in depth the work of others as an avenue to developing my own style and model.

I think you are on the right track. If you make an instrument which looks like Guarneri but not like any particular Guarneri you are actually coming closer to the spirit of this master. Having said that there are certainly people who can and do make exact copies which can be very nice but I don't get the impression that this master would have been very happy had someone comissioned him to make an instrument "exactly like so and so's".

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at

On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 9:16 PM, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

The overhangs are all over the place, according to the poster.  And the outline leaves the lower c-bout curves caddywumpus at least on the bass side.  My guess is that he made up for that on the outline which may account for some of the variation in overhang. 

I chose a late model in part because of suggestions that he moved toward the Brescians in his approach to archings, though seems to me you still couldn't call them Brescian in anything except a slight fullness down to the edge and very little in the way of a channel, except maybe in the c-bouts.  Another step in my ongoing search for the elements of a personal model.

Hi Cossman luv. Have you got YouTube? Well, there's a good video some Russian lad has put up there when Amati family, Stradivari and Guarneri violins and violas, really very good footage of these instruments in the flesh, so to speak, as they were being exhibited to the public. You get a goodlong look at the Guarneri's without the needless chit-chat. Can't remember what his video title is, something like a display of Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri. This useless typing on here. I give up. I will look for it now and link it but I am being moderated constantly so this post won't apparently appear for a few days. Ask The Strad magazine for a copy print. Why not? If you don't ask you don't. Get!

xxx

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:00 PM, donbarzino said:

It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life.

I suggest  you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter

your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.

19 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I don't think DG's instruments can be copied verbatim and still maintain what makes them so interesting. I think the unifying feature of his later work is attitude. That he was working as fast as he could for economic reasons and that he didn't like making violins much anyway and was pretty frustrated to be doing it.  According to Cremonese census and other records he had quit the business in his early thirties and then had to move back home and take over when his dad got sick. Looking at some of his later work I can almost hear him muttering to himself "Yeah I'll give the SOB his f-ing violin by the end of the month..." None the less his early training and working methods came through whether he wanted it to or not and I get the impression that he kept his mind occupied by experimenting with "I wonder if it will sound different if I do this?".

You guys left out the probably vigorous encouragement that Katarina would undoubtedly have contributed to getting his substandard, underperforming rear in gear.  It appears probable that she arrived in Cremona with the Austrian Army, and seems to have become a competent luthier herself, which suggests that she must have possessed a great deal of "character", and most likely a vocabulary and delivery to match.  "Behind every great man............."  :ph34r::lol:

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10 hours ago, morgana said:

at

Hi Cossman luv. Have you got YouTube? Well, there's a good video some Russian lad has put up there when Amati family, Stradivari and Guarneri violins and violas, really very good footage of these instruments in the flesh, so to speak, as they were being exhibited to the public. You get a goodlong look at the Guarneri's without the needless chit-chat. Can't remember what his video title is, something like a display of Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri. This useless typing on here. I give up. I will look for it now and link it but I am being moderated constantly so this post won't apparently appear for a few days. Ask The Strad magazine for a copy print. Why not? If you don't ask you don't. Get!

xxx

 

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I recommend contacting Bruce Carlson regarding his excellent photo set of 1735 Chardon.
It's the best preserved example of DG's work and should give you a good sense of what the edgework and corners looked like pre-wear. 

58d433ff878d4_1735Chardonbelly.thumb.jpg.bb5b6e554944228099e0329a8d9c87a7.jpg

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On 5/29/2019 at 2:58 AM, Violadamore said:

You guys left out the probably vigorous encouragement that Katarina would undoubtedly have contributed to getting his substandard, underperforming rear in gear.  It appears probable that she arrived in Cremona with the Austrian Army, and seems to have become a competent luthier herself, which suggests that she must have possessed a great deal of "character", and most likely a vocabulary and delivery to match.  "Behind every great man............."  :ph34r::lol:

So are you suggesting that he may have been browbeaten to death at 46, albeit as a master luthier? ;)

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2 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

So are you suggesting that he may have been browbeaten to death at 46, albeit as a master luthier? ;)

I'd prefer "over-encouraged".  :ph34r:;)

 

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