dpappas

Del Gesu model to start from

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Hello, I am thinking of self-teaching myself to make a violin.  This is a hobby and I do not see myself quitting my day job (Chemistry professor).  I have “the art of violin making” and I intend to try some cheap wood from the hardware store first just to get a feel for the work.  
 

I have always been captivated by del Gesu’s instruments.   Which style do you recommend to start with for inspiration?   I know this is a loaded and naive question but i don’t feel like buying all the available strad posters.  I’d like to take a stab at making a violin, I might as well start with a Guarneri.  

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I began with the Kreisler and worked my way forward. Difficult to pull off the crazy later stuff if you can't see where he came from.

 

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I suggest buying middle grade tonewood. The wood will be substantially cheaper than top shelf wood and will increase the likelihood (SWAG) of having a playable violin at the end. 

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Good points, thank you both.  I bought some cheap cheap wood today as I am teaching myself to glue and do the really basic stuff.  Maybe I’ll use it for my first mold.  I’m trying to go slow so as not to spend too much at once.  

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Just another option to consider maybe: There is a lot of really good information available for the Plowden GdG. You can buy a poster from "The Strad" (www.thestradshop.com), the violin is included in the Strad3D project (www.strad3d.org) and excellent photos can be found on the webpage of Jordan Hess (https://www.jordanhessviolins.com/plowden).

Another very nice book on making can be found here: https://newworldschool.cc/the-manual-of-violin-making-book/

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I know this is not what you want to hear but you should be aware that del Gesu's are notably harder to pull off for a beginner.  You'll likely have more success with a Strad model the first time round. They're much more forgiving in both form and function. 
That being said, the models listed above are some of the more standard DG's and should serve your purposes. 

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I vote for the Plowden! :wub:

Although...I am very fond of Brescian instruments - the proportions always look "just right" to me.

The only course I ever dropped...was organic chemistry (*whimper* :unsure:). The textbook was perfect for putting me to sleep...

I liked the labs though!

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1 hour ago, dpappas said:

Thank you.  For this poplar and pine special, I am using the Gibson strad outline and archings.    

You said violin. Are you making a viola?

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Don I was not going to copy graduations, as they should be specific to the wood used on a given instrument, but your point is well taken.  I was more interested in outline and the overall "feel" of the arching.  I am not looking for an exact copy per se.  Eventually, if I can figure this all out, I will likely design my own form and arching, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  

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8 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

The Gibson violin is played by Joshua Bell, a famous American violinist.
https://joshuabell.com/

I know that. But he mentions Poplar and Spruce.

The "Gibson" is also a Strad viola, 1734. Not Poplar, but when was the last time you saw a fiddle with a Poplar back? A few, but not a Strad or Guarneri.

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10 minutes ago, duane88 said:

I know that. But he mentions Poplar and Spruce.

The "Gibson" is also a Strad viola, 1734. Not Poplar, but when was the last time you saw a fiddle with a Poplar back? A few, but not a Strad or Guarneri.

Duane,

 

I am just learning the basics, so I used poplar and pine because I expect this "violin" will be useless and kindling at the end.  I didn't want to commit to spruce and maple before cutting my teeth.  Yes, I should have said the Huberman, because that's the poster I happen to have.

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Agree to start with something more straightfoward like the Kreissler. 

My first violin was white pine and maple from home depot, finished with Deft.  And it sounds like it too.  BUT KEEP THAT FIRST VIOLIN!!!  It is a pleasant reminder of how far you have come and your spouse will think it looks amazing no matter what is wrong with it.  (And the next two won't be much better as you work to get you technique down.)

Finally give some thought to whether you have or will acquire a drill press or bandsaw.  The techniques you use (will develop) with power tools are a bit different from the traditional, purely by hand approach.  This forum is heavily dominated by traditional practitioners.  I myself am happy to use power tools to do the grunt work, but never the fine work.

 

Interestingly, as I have become more experienced, I find myself using power tools less and less.  With good technique it is amazing what you can achieve by hand.  My father, a lifelong fine cabinetmaker, is stunned at what I achieve by hand (much of which I learned from Davide Sara's videos and helpful guidance from Michael Darnton). 

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Your first violin may look rough but if you spend the time on thicknessing and bass bar can be quite usable. I am glad I went with real woods for my first. The Kreissler patterns can be found online for free that is the one I went with.

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22 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I would be hesitant to use the graduations of the originial.  The pattern looks a bit abnormal to me.

In the context of Strad’s graduations, it does seem to be different to what is expected. That said, it appears to work well, and also has a great story attached to it

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One of the nice middle period 1734 /35 ish  is best to start.  Scrolls carved by his father and are symmetrical and beautiful proportioned and as a first attempt there is an advantage starting with a more conventional looking scroll.  Also these scrolls were carved by someone who knew exactly what they want to do and went for it in a purposeful manner. This is what you need to learn to do, even if you do later more funky scrolls at some point.  King Joseph / Plowden etc. 

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On 9/16/2020 at 8:49 PM, J.DiLisio said:

I know this is not what you want to hear but you should be aware that del Gesu's are notably harder to pull off for a beginner.  You'll likely have more success with a Strad model the first time round. They're much more forgiving in both form and function. 
That being said, the models listed above are some of the more standard DG's and should serve your purposes. 

I second the idea of using a Strad model for your early violins. There are many reasons I can give for my opinion,  which if you wish you and write to me personally.  I do have some experience teaching and I do strongly feel you would be better served using a Strad model

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5 hours ago, todd goldenberg said:

I second the idea of using a Strad model for your early violins. There are many reasons I can give for my opinion,  which if you wish you and write to me personally.  I do have some experience teaching and I do strongly feel you would be better served using a Strad model

I'd be interested to know what those reasons are. 

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