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ethics of just sticking stuff together


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Hi all, 

We've all seen franken-fiddles.  These instruments that already exist are often great playing instruments and don't bother anybody.  However, is there not an ethical question to consider when creating them?  

I doubt anybody would argue with carving a new top, etc. in the style of the original maker.  What I'm referring to is the cobbling together of various finished bits from different instruments.  To me, it just seems disrespectful to the people who made the instruments, even if it is only "the usual."  On the other hand, isn't it also reprehensible to not build the odd parts into a violin that someone can play and love?   Why leave good violin parts collecting dust?  In general I'm referring to rib assemblies, plates, and necks from unknown instruments.  And obviously it's unethical to try to pass off a hodge-podge instrument as fully original.  

I have never actually built a composite violin BTW.  

What do you think?

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9 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

  What I'm referring to is the cobbling together of various finished bits from different instruments.  To me, it just seems disrespectful to the people who made the instruments, even if it is only "the usual."  On the other hand, isn't it also reprehensible to not build the odd parts into a violin that someone can play and love?   Why leave good violin parts collecting dust? 

I haven't had a chance to cobble parts either.  With-in the pgs. of the old 1800's Petherick repair treatise story book the first step mentioned for such cobbling work is to determine if the fiddle is worth doing that type of work on.  If yes, then it is to the cup board storage to find a possible matching needed piece for replacement/repair.

That book was before the time of the cheap mass produced trade work so that way of thinking may not be used anymore or ethical.  

   

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In a world of reduce, reuse, recycle, one could argue it is a duty to mend and make do whenever possible. There are piles of violin parts in boxes, on shelves and even in auctions waiting for someone to do something with them. If someone has the time and energy to upcycle these old bits and pieces into decent playing instruments good for them! I think the full disclosure of upcycling might even enhance value a little in the correct niche!

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I think you first have to have a plan on how these Franken-fiddles will get into player’s hands, and if your target customer would pay enough for these violins to make it worth your time. I do like the idea. 

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10 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I don’t think “cobbling together” is much of an issue. Far more I think that in reality there is generally an irrational reluctance to put rubbish in the dustbin

Oh yes! Hence Ebay :D

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11 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I don’t think “cobbling together” is much of an issue. Far more I think that in reality there is generally an irrational reluctance to put rubbish in the dustbin

I think the problem is that "we" seem to be unable to define "rubbish" ^_^.

...er, to everyone's satisfaction.

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Is a gorgeous but unidentifiable Mittenwald rib garland & neck "rubbish?"  I can't see any way it's worth the work, but it's too pretty to throw away.  May even be transitional period.   

This is not a purely hypothetical discussion, as you may have guessed.  That is only one example of many.  

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From a players point of view, I would happily buy an instrument that has a back, ribs, belly and scroll from 4 different makers if it played well and sounded good. Obviously the price would have to reflect this and the general look would have to be effective (meaning pleasing to my eye).

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1 hour ago, Shelbow said:

I presume that there are some instruments that are not cost effective to repair at this current time, but that in the future may become worth repairing.

And Shelbow is offering to store them all in his centrally located block of gigantic warehouses! :D

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Think of your monthly rental fee structure!

1. Possible Strad/DG €xxx

2. Possible Vuilluame €xxx

3. "The Usual" Waldie €xxx

4. Chinese/Romanian €xx

5. Rubbish bin rate €xxx

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Possibly. If the demand for old, antique and unusual/different remains high.

The "new" trend of the grandmillenial might also affect instrument purchases...who knows?

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12 hours ago, Shelbow said:

I presume that there are some instruments that are not cost effective to repair at this current time, but that in the future may become worth repairing.

I think this has always been the case, and the end result is often a great shame. What became old and cheap/worthless in one generation, then mended by a blind welder, was irrevocably ruined.
Now we look back upon this with horror, and wonder how such an act, which would almost seem criminal today, has been allowed to occur.

This will only continue to happen in even greater numbers, as now, anyone thinks they can watch videos on youtube, of clueless ham fisted buffoons destroying things, and have a go themselves. Thinking they have resurrected something, when in reality a lack of knowledge and ability, have just consigned it to the dustbin of history.

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I'd have no qualms putting together a franken violin. I think it's totally acceptable to salvage an old neck and repair a semi decent violin that will keep it in use rather than making a new neck from scratch when neck is gone (one customer thought violins' weren't repairable, threw out the neck and found out you could fix a violin 2 weeks later). I think mixing plates is less okay. If unlabelled, totally fine as long as it's just the usual. I never messed with labelled plates but would probably make a repair label though offensive to some :) (ex. local maker or some no name) . If it's a nice instrument (labeled or not) would you make a new plate or if something was close use that? 

Problem is when to know if an instrument is nice or not..... as has been discussed before on this forum

Now bows.....is it okay to mix frogs etc. 

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So everyone take note and hoard the broken 'usual' violins now and don't try and fix them. Look at them again in 70 years :-) and reap the rewards.

I will start my violin depository soon :lol:

 

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Heard some idiotic director of the Aust Chamber Orch saying it had been proven wrong to use gut strings for Bach, I guess the same goes for baroque bows and violins, seriously I thought we had advanced on these matters, evidently not. He also had tonnes of ridicule for players that minimize vibrato in period music. He then proceeded to mangle a Bach concerto with modern instruments and techniques.

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19 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Heard some idiotic director of the Aust Chamber Orch saying it had been proven wrong to use gut strings for Bach, I guess the same goes for baroque bows and violins, seriously I thought we had advanced on these matters, evidently not. He also had tonnes of ridicule for players that minimize vibrato in period music. He then proceeded to mangle a Bach concerto with modern instruments and techniques.

Wonder who it was? Doesn't sound like Richard Tognett, their leader:  

https://www.aco.com.au/the-orchestra/our-instruments/1743-guarneri-violin

https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/cozio-carteggio/richard-tognetti/

Tim

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