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scordatura

"Eyes Only" Francais/Morel Shop Setup Sheet

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I was wondering if anyone has a copy of the somewhat famous "eyes only" sheet that shows the setup dimensions from the Francais/Morel shop? It was rumored to have been written by Guy Rabut and/or Jim McKean. I know it was somewhat secretive back in the day. I am curious to check the numbers against the various sources that I have (Weisshaar Book, my notes from Hans Nebel, etc.). 

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I think most people have the Top Secret “eyes only” set up sheet by now.  I’ll post it when I get some free time if someone else doesn’t beat me to it. 

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8 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

What is "secret" about that?

Nothing. Which is why I find “eyes only” amusing. Maybe back in the day, a shops setup numbers might set them apart, but I don’t know. 

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

What is "secret" about that?

I have pages and pages of Rene Morel specs, first semi-publicly divulged at the Oberlin Worshops, as far as I know. I don't know whether he meant these to be broadcast all over the planet, including to those who would not know how to interpret them, so I'm trying to be somewhat careful about that.

I had the privilege of being around Rene a little bit, but would rather defer to the several members here who actually worked in the shop.

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Must be fun, sitting in New York jealously guarding the holy grail, blissfully unaware that the rest of the world has been using the same measurements for decades:rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

Must be fun, sitting in New York jealously guarding the holy grail, blissfully unaware that the rest of the world has been using the same measurements for decades:rolleyes:

I have never lived, nor been employed in New York. As I said earlier, I would rather defer to those who  actually worked in the Francais/Morel shop. However, some who have worked there have taken major issue with you proclamations on "neck tilt", which would seem to counter your claim that "the rest of the world has been using the same measurements for decades".

I may be somewhat more qualified to comment on what went on in the Weisshaar shop, since I was actually employed there, while also acknowledging that you may be more qualified to comment on what went on in the Machold shop, for the same reason. ;)

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10 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

It is hard to know what you don’t know and even tougher to learn what you don’t think exists....

A crumby list of measurements?

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Seems  like a bog  standard set  of  measurements to me. The eyes only thing must be a joke.

Interesting  that the string spacing is equal  distances  between,  rather than equal centres, at least  for  the bridge. I'd  assume that it goes without saying the same applies at the nut. 

 

( still a bit bemused by a row we all had a few years  ago,  in the good  old days)

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I have pages and pages of Rene Morel specs, first semi-publicly divulged at the Oberlin Worshops, as far as I know. I don't know whether he meant these to be broadcast all over the planet, including to those who would not know how to interpret them, so I'm trying to be somewhat careful about that.

I had the privilege of being around Rene a little bit, but would rather defer to the several members here who actually worked in the shop.

If I may jump in here.

As an explanation, before I came to Rene's shop I was familiar with the Vatelot style of setup measurements from the workshop of Marc Rosenstiel. in his shop we used some patterns and I was told measurements orally, but no chart existed. I would absorb procedures step by step. However if there was a question Marc Rosenstiel was almost always available to answer questions directly.

I came to NY in 1997. For the background: Machold had opened the NY shop maybe 3 years earlier and Jacques Francais was not in the shop in 57th Street any more. Landon, who came from Rene as well, had his shop in the same building as Machold. In the same year one of Rene's best workmen had left initially to work alone but in the end landed in the Machold shop. So there was quite a bit of  tension between those businesses. 

After all those employees had taken the learned measurements with them, there was hardly any secret about it any more. However, Rene was not the character to distribute freely his measurements to another luthier. (Understandable enough) I think he was sometimes mad to see that his measurements would more freely available in other shops if someone asked for it. I think we have to realize that all measurements were elaborated with top musicians and teachers for the aim of 'virtuoso performance techniques' , a procedure which took several years.

At that time the only measurement chart I knew was the one used in the Mittenwald school. 

What was new to me was not that someone had a chart but rather the precision it was controlled by Rene. It was the first time I had measurements precise to 1/4mm and someone standing behind me who would argue if 1/4mm was off the demanded measurement. 

What was new too, was the idea to measure string height over the fingerboard to the center of the string and string spacing at the bridge NOT from center to center but in between the strings. (Other things as well) I don't think there is a big difference in measuring between strings or from center to center, however for controlling the string spacing Rene's system is by far better because employees don't have much room to argue!

I think the chart came simply from the need to make a standard clear to all employees especially in a situation where Rene was not around. Otherwise Rene might have done it more in the Mirecourt tradition where each workman would make his own notes in a small and handy note book. (Mark Rosenstiel had one and Rene had one too)

I used Rene's chart in a transformed version in my own shop. However any measurements are only as useful as the explanations when to do different which is in general not written on any sheet. So the 'secret' about Renes measurements (if there was any) were rather the interpretation of them.

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With all due respect, the secret or proprietary setup measurements ship has sailed decades ago. The measurements are pretty standard and available from many sources. Interpretation is noted however. Context always should be taken into account. For instance string heights measured from the center of the string. Shouldn't the amount of "scoop" in the fingerboard be taken into account when determining string height? What about player preference? That would make the string height above the fingerboard somewhat relative.

Morel's measurements came not only from Mirecourt but also his tenure at the Wurlitzer shop with Sacconi (also Weisshaar and others). He was not the first luthier to determine "best practices" nor were the measurements only his. Besides, these aspects can be measured on existing instruments and only a fool would take them as absolute. Didn't Rene sum up sound post adjustments by springing a rule from the edge of a table? Hmm...

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26 minutes ago, scordatura said:

With all due respect, the secret or proprietary setup measurements ship has sailed decades ago. Yes, this is indeed from decades ago...pre internet, the Weisshaar book, and the AFVBM I believe. The measurements are pretty standard and available from many sources. Interpretation is noted however. Context always should be taken into account. For instance string heights measured from the center of the string. Shouldn't the amount of "scoop" in the fingerboard be taken into account when determining string height? Yes, and it is...this is about shop standards and the scoop is also standard. What about player preference? That would make the string height above the fingerboard somewhat relative. No, the measurements were standard except very rare circumstances.

Morel's measurements came not only from Mirecourt but also his tenure at the Wurlitzer shop with Sacconi (also Weisshaar and others). He was not the first luthier to determine "best practices" nor were the measurements only his. Besides, these aspects can be measured on existing instruments and only a fool would take them as absolute. There is a reason for standards.  If you cannot control the things you do, you cannot judge the things that change....it is about accuracy in workmanship and being able to diagnosis issues long into the future. Even today when an instrument comes in from the Francais shop I have at least a good idea, and often know exactly, what it was like when it left Rene’s hands. Didn't Rene sum up sound post adjustments by springing a rule from the edge of a table? Hmm...He certainly did, but what does that have to do with a workshop having high standards?

 

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3 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Didn't Rene sum up sound post adjustments by springing a rule from the edge of a table? Hmm...He certainly did, but What does that have to do with a workshop having high standards?

Hi Jerry :)

Nothing. I was just making a point on interpretation that others had brought up in previous posts in this thread.

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Just now, scordatura said:

Hi Jerry :)

Nothing. I was just making a point on interpretation that others had brought up in previous posts in this thread.

Okay thanks.

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It is also worth mentioning that we were working for Rene who was working for the top players in the world.  He needed to know that what he was delivering was at the highest level....that is where these came in.  At any point in time he could take a newly cut post to any customer from any bench and know exactly what to expect.  Same with neck sets, finger boards, bridges, etc.      When he got to the adjustment room, he could recognize what needed to change partly because he knew what he could rule out.

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For those who are not familiar with the Francais/Morel shop, link below is a video that shows them both. After re-watching this just now, I was struck with the fine artistry of Aaron Rosand. I had the pleasure of being in his masterclass in Nice France in the 80s. He was initially concerned and then amused when I used to stare at his Kochanski de Gesu in his case. I believe this is the violin in the video that Morel is adjusting. Unfortunately we lost Rosand this past summer.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Conor Russell said:

The eyes only thing must be a joke.

Conor, not really or only half.

Rene knew that repeating over and over exact measurements for years of training you would get them burned in your eyes and see immedeately if something is off. Before I was in Renes shop I would know only vaguely what is a good, precise and functional set up. After having spend 5.5 years there it takes me now 5 minutes to spot all the things which need to be done. Measurements are one thing the training with them another. 

His general attitude, and I think you will agree to that, is not to think but have to get it in the memory of your fingers. Final control with a ruler in this concept is a necessity. 

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5 minutes ago, scordatura said:

I believe this is the violin in the video that Morel is adjusting.

Interesting enough, to my knowledge, Rosand, kept the original Wurlitzer bridge his whole career.

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44 minutes ago, scordatura said:

For those who are not familiar with the Francais/Morel shop, link below is a video that shows them both. After re-watching this just now, I was struck with the fine artistry of Aaron Rosand. I had the pleasure of being in his masterclass in Nice France in the 80s. He was initially concerned and then amused when I used to stare at his Kochanski de Gesu in his case. I believe this is the violin in the video that Morel is adjusting. Unfortunately we lost Rosand this past summer.

 

 

Thank you for sharing this.

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13 hours ago, David Burgess said:

 you may be more qualified to comment on what went on in the Machold shop, for the same reason. ;)

KILL!!!!!  iiiieeeeee!!!!

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