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Self-taught violin makers; seconde parte


Rico Suave

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Many u

25 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

No matter if amateur or pro,  the easiest way for me to get an impression is to look at the varnish, corners and f hole fluting. 

What about the varnish?  Too thick? Too opaque?? Sloppy application??? Wrong Coloration????

What about the corners?  Initial efforts are typically to follow the patterns provided by Ossman's or Strobel's Books - are they deficient for 'classical' looks?  Leaving too much wood in such areas seems to be a common challenge for folk attempting to recreate classic woodwork.

What about the f hole fluting? same as above

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30 minutes ago, Rico Suave said:

Many u

What about the varnish?  Too thick? Too opaque?? Sloppy application??? Wrong Coloration????

What about the corners?  Initial efforts are typically to follow the patterns provided by Ossman's or Strobel's Books - are they deficient for 'classical' looks?  Leaving too much wood in such areas seems to be a common challenge for folk attempting to recreate classic woodwork.

What about the f hole fluting? same as above

So hard to tell. It is simply a zillion of possibilities to screw it up and few to make it right. Just to name one: At the Vsa I saw a violin with opaque and rather thick varnish and I loved it.  
Generally I think that there has to be a clear visible idea behind the work. The more randomness, the lesser appealing it is to my eye. 

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2 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

Generally I think that there has to be a clear visible idea behind the work. The more randomness, the lesser appealing it is to my eye. 

Oh I couldn't agree more! A lot of things that might be considered unforgivable in isolation are praiseworthy when they hang together as part of a unified aesthetic whole. Del Gesu, for example! 

It's just wrongheaded to conceive of a laundry list of features that are "wrong" or "bad", provided the essentials are there. The rest is taste, and whether good taste or poor taste it's not a right/wrong scenario. If it were, this would be a math problem, not an artistic endeavor.

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Here's a good example.  My 1985 VSO  B.I & B.M  that's before the internet and before Maestronet.  On the back ignore the red half, that was  a more recent varnish experiment gone wrong.  The original VSO was that yellow color.   Examples of what not to do.  

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

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32 minutes ago, Rico Suave said:

Would some kind soul please post a photo (or 2 or 3) of a 'good/well executed' corner and a photo of a 'bad/amateurish' corner for contrasting comparison?

Countless varieties of "good" corners can be found by searching the commonly agreed upon makers in the Cozio archive of Tarisio. As for bad corners, the earliest posts in my bench thread should help. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we're lost! :lol:

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56 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Countless varieties of "good" corners can be found by searching the commonly agreed upon makers in the Cozio archive of Tarisio. As for bad corners, the earliest posts in my bench thread should help. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we're lost! :lol:

Growing up, my nickname was "RJ" - Rico Jr. - but when I got to Middle School, the Science Teacher, Dr. Chen, re-nicknamed me "Pb" - "Pb"? Because I liked Peanut Butter, you may well ask..?. Well, No. "Pb" - the Atomic Symbol for "Lead"... because I was so dense.

This being the case, how would one know if a commonly agreed upon maker's corners featured in the  Cozio archive of Tarisio aren't "charmingly eccentric" or "artfully unconventional"?

Hence the request to see well executed vs amateurish, side by side, here in a Post or two, or three.

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1 hour ago, Rico Suave said:

Would some kind soul please post a photo (or 2 or 3) of a 'good/well executed' corner and a photo of a 'bad/amateurish' corner for contrasting comparison?

When I first started taking violin lessons I used to bash my knuckle on the corner points so I thought they were stupid so  I designed my first violins not to have them.  As a beginner I didn't know this was sacrilegious.

my pointless violin.jpg

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1 hour ago, Rico Suave said:

This being the case, how would one know if a commonly agreed upon maker's corners featured in the  Cozio archive of Tarisio aren't "charmingly eccentric" or "artfully unconventional"?

Well the way I see it, that's just the thing - whether Stradivari or Del Gesu or Stainer or Vuillaume's corners are eccentric or not, they are, to use your terms in the first framing of the question, "good/well executed". 

That they are considered good and well executed are, being aesthetic considerations, inherently subjective. It is because they are agreed upon as good by the majority that they are good. We're going to need a guest lecture in aesthetics/philosophy at some point, I'm not equal to the task. 

What I'm perhaps failing to get across in these posts here is that if your hope is to get very clear cut notions of good, bad, or otherwise on anything relating to violins, you're going to be disappointed. There are very few elements of the trade that can be measured objectively, such as "is it put together well enough to do it's job". Almost everything else is a matter of taste, and while the majority rules in matters of taste, there are always dissenters. 

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12 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

When I first started taking violin lessons I used to bash my knuckle on the corner points so I thought they were stupid so  I designed my first violins not to have them.  As a beginner I didn't know this was sacrilegious.

my pointless violin.jpg

I like that! 

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I would say there are a) tone, and then b) playability which isn't quite as important if the tone is good enough - and the rest is art.  Re stylistic errors, I think these are art and may be identified only in a specific context.  But whatever they are they arise from an insufficient esthetic vision, and/or insufficient craftsmanship to realize a concept in wood and varnish.

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1 hour ago, Dr. Mark said:

I would say there are a) tone, and then b) playability which isn't quite as important if the tone is good enough - and the rest is art.  Re stylistic errors, I think these are art and may be identified only in a specific context.  But whatever they are they arise from an insufficient esthetic vision, and/or insufficient craftsmanship to realize a concept in wood and varnish.

I'll try to remember all that, next time I get roped into critiquing fiddles at a violinmaking competition or something.

Insufficient esthetic vision, and/or insufficient craftsmanship sounds much easier and more convenient to use, than going into specifics. :)

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Don't leave the plate edges too thick as advised by JacobSaunders and Don Noon

"At school I was taught to make the edges 3,5mm top & bottom bouts, 4mm in the middle, and the corners 4,5mm, with the button counting as a corner. I have always done it with a cutting gauge and a chisel. You need to finish the outline first"

 

 

 

 

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On 1/16/2023 at 2:43 PM, Dr. Mark said:

Rem I did propose that ' stylistic errors ... may be identified only in a specific context' which is what you have when judging a particular violin.

 

In my experience, instruments not hindered by "stylistic errors"  have a better chance of sounding great, being able to get to sound great, not being quirky (therefore easier to maintain the status of sounding great), and holding popularity/value/demand in the market.

How one gets to that point in their making may be another story...

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1 hour ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

In my experience, instruments not hindered by "stylistic errors"  have a better chance of sounding great, being able to get to sound great, not being quirky (therefore easier to maintain the status of sounding great), and holding popularity/value/demand in the market.

How one gets to that point in their making may be another story...

One way, depending on how we choose to define "stylistic errors", might be to become so in demand that your style is popular that it's quirks aren't seen as errors. 

Another might be to copy violins already deemed popular as closely as possible so that the only stylistic traits present are not original, and therefore errors. 

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About edge work/corners

First violin 1997, no Internet I didn't know what I was doing.

Corner_No1.thumb.jpg.d38a0ee08296446a4a874b465898f255.jpg

After a pause of 16 years, started making violins again.

Violin No. 10, 2016 after reading Roger Hargrave's book, still didn't know what I was doing got 3/5 points in a violin contest for these corners

Corner_No10.thumb.jpg.d47dbfe84e7d0eafc073d817a1e78a28.jpg

 

 

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On 1/10/2023 at 3:25 PM, David Burgess said:

While his origins as a maker are not clear (at least not yet), hardly any expert or accomplished maker is of the opinion that he could have just jumped to his level of making, from out of nowhere.

I read years ago (in the biography by hill) that A. Stradivari’s master violin maker was Nicolo Amati. Is this not true?

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