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Best luthiers for cello in the US


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19 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

What does Benning say about it?  Hans maintained Heifetz's instruments and handled their auctioning apparently.  So apparently would know what he's doing

As far as I know, Heifetz mostly went to a guy name Koodlach. I even happened to be visiting at (Ben or Benny) Koodlach's shop when Heifetz came in one time.

A little more about Benny:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/000313137502500122

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19 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Benny sounds a lot like Benning.  Are you finally getting confused?  Koodlach's was the restaurant around the corner...

You can read the article I previously linked, and see what you think.
Here's another reference to Benjamin Koodlach:
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-11-10-mn-3344-story.html

You could also do your own search, should you feel so inclined. :)

Benjamin Koodlach was quite well known, at the time.
 

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Two more ideas (assuming the wolf is not originating on the treble side):

1.  Play the wolf and have a musical person feel the top below the f-holes.  They are looking for the place that has the maximum displacement or vibration. Look on both the bass and treble sides.  Touching that area should dampened the wolf and then you will know that you have found it.  If found, that is the area where the weight or whatever will be placed (in the center of it).

2.  Put a wine cork under the fingerboard to see if it has any effect.  Sometimes there can be a wolf on the neck/fingerboard due to an up and down motion of the fingerboard.

Removing the top or adjusting the sound post is not the way to go for this.  Any loose seams or loose basebar will sound as a buzz/rattle.

I know this can be solved.

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1 hour ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Any loose seams or loose basebar will sound as a buzz/rattle.

If only the life of a violin repair person were so simple!  I’ve seen plenty of open joints that did not buzz or rattle, but did have a significant negative impact on the sound of an instrument, including, as I mentioned earlier, a marked increase in wolfyness on some instruments.

I’ve also seen many more players convinced that their bass bar was loose than I’ve seen loose bass bars.  I’ve seen very few loose bass bars during the time I’ve been doing instrument repair and I don’t recall any of them rattling or buzzing, even the one which was ripped from the top after a heavy impact on the bridge, even though it makes perfect sense that it should have.

Keep in mind that the problem of the unusually broad and troublesome wolf started relatively recently and suddenly.

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It is difficult for me to understand, some of the things which have befallen this relatively new cello.

I think we all agree that new instruments have a settling period, after which there may be changes with the arching, resulting in a change to the neck angle. There are a number of ways to address this, as has been mentioned.

Though it is not specified by the OP, I am thinking that this is probably the first time that the cello has been opened.
If that is the case, I am at a complete loss to understand why the entire neck block area, and a large area of the seam on the right of the internal photo has been plastered with what looks like car body filler. This is only the part we can see, so who knows what the rest of the gluing surface now looks like.

Since any experienced maker would glue the table, with a weaker glue, to facilitate removal when repairs are required, it is hard to see why so much damage has occurred to the flat gluing surface.
I appreciate it can be troublesome to remove the table over the larger surface of the blocks, and that there could be some splinters pull free. However, one would surely carefully soak those free, and glue them back in place, rather than reach for a big tub of grey slops?

I cannot see any reason how it would be possible for the neck to move off centre with any great significance, and do not understand the comment of one shoulder being higher than the other. 

 

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9 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Two more ideas (assuming the wolf is not originating on the treble side):

1.  Play the wolf and have a musical person feel the top below the f-holes.  They are looking for the place that has the maximum displacement or vibration. Look on both the bass and treble sides.  Touching that area should dampened the wolf and then you will know that you have found it.  If found, that is the area where the weight or whatever will be placed (in the center of it).

2.  Put a wine cork under the fingerboard to see if it has any effect.  Sometimes there can be a wolf on the neck/fingerboard due to an up and down motion of the fingerboard.

Removing the top or adjusting the sound post is not the way to go for this.  Any loose seams or loose basebar will sound as a buzz/rattle.

I know this can be solved.

I did all of this. I did mention the "feeling all over", didn't mention the wine cork. Basically, everything anyone suggested I have already tried. At this point the pointers are say that the problem is loose upper block.

As Mark mentions, I've heard a lot of people suggesting a loose bass bar over the years for various problems. In thousands of problem instruments I've only seen this once. From the sinking on the outside it was obvious that this was the problem. There was no buzz from that.

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45 minutes ago, Jerry Lynn said:

Does it look like there might be a shim at the front of the mortise for a projection raise? 

It does, but shimming a normal-sized top cutout down to that size seems inconsistent with the amount of edge overhang remaining in one of the other photos.
Tough to know without having the instrument in hand, so just guessing.

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Well, I gave it my best shot.  I do think the OP should start over again from what she(he) has learned on this site and try to find the location of the resonance.  This region can be felt by a sensitive hand, and that is why I suggest a musician friend to do the feeling while the OP plays the note.  In my experience, the resonance is always found below the f-holes, and that is where you should look.

I think tapping can be used to detect open glue joints due to the buzz.  And that should be pursued, again.  

The sudden-ness of the wolf's appearance must be associated with some event--maybe, dropping the instrument?  Anything we should know?

It is possible there are two wolfs, I suppose, coming from two different locations on the top.  This behavior is new, but it should be explainable.  It is probably too much to ask the OP if the top is unusually thin under the bridge and lower regions.  

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18 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Well, I gave it my best shot.  I do think the OP should start over again from what she(he) has learned on this site and try to find the location of the resonance.  This region can be felt by a sensitive hand, and that is why I suggest a musician friend to do the feeling while the OP plays the note.  In my experience, the resonance is always found below the f-holes, and that is where you should look.

I think tapping can be used to detect open glue joints due to the buzz.  And that should be pursued, again.  

The sudden-ness of the wolf's appearance must be associated with some event--maybe, dropping the instrument?  Anything we should know?

It is possible there are two wolfs, I suppose, coming from two different locations on the top.  This behavior is new, but it should be explainable.  It is probably too much to ask the OP if the top is unusually thin under the bridge and lower regions.  

As the cello has already been in the hands of someone as experienced as Michael Darnton, it would seem clear that whatever is going on, it’s not any of the common issues you mention.

Touching the top, while the instrument is played, in order to find the naughty bit, seems the obvious solution, but this can be a flawed experiment. Every time you touch the top, energy is absorbed by the hand, and that in itself can stop, or improve the wolf. That does not necessarily mean that area is the actual problem.

Let us also not forget that the cello has been made by a very experienced maker, so it’s only fair to show them some respect for their work, rather than claiming it might be too thin.
Although we have limited information, everything points to the cello being fine previously, and was also ok for some time after the repairs were completed.

I personally would be interested to know, what, if anything, changes with significant swings in ambient humidity.

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Thanks Wood Butcher!  Yes you're exactly right.  As the wolf appeared about 3 months ago when the weather was dry in TN, I waited to see if things improved as humidity increased.  Unfortunately nothing has changed as humidity is quite high here now.  Michael did a very thorough examination, post adjustment and nothing changed.  He did notice the post was a bit short so we will try fitting a post but if that fails to improve will take off the top plate to see what's going on.  I will keep this post updated on what is discovered!  Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions!  I really appreciate it!

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