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old vs. new with a twist

 
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kubasa
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Joined: 13 Sep 2007
Posts: 192

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:52 pm    Post subject: old vs. new with a twist Reply with quote

So I had someone try out one of my violins who plays an old German factory instrument. He actually has two and they aren't bad sounding at all. He has played one of them his entire life. The part that caught me off guard was his comment about my violins. While he like the sound, he thought they seemed "bigger" but he couldn't put his finger on what bigger was.

Well, I do know what he is talking about. Both of his instruments are very thin at the edges - maybe around 2.5 mm or so instead of my 3.5 mm edges. My scrolls are around 38 - 40 mm between the ears and his one scroll is 32mm (I snuck in some measurements). Also, the walls of his pegbox tapers down to maybe 3mm whereas mine are a full 5mm. Lastly, the upper end of the fingerboard by the nut of one of his violins is right around 20mm instead of roughly 24mm or so.

So to finally get at my question - how common is this that some folks get used to what I would call "undersized" factory instruments so much so that anything seems like chopped liver? Anyone run into this and how do you handle this type of thing? Just accept it with a smile and move on?

Thanks-
James


EDIT - I realized that I started off by saying that he tried "one" of my violins. It was two as I eluded to further on. This is the detailed side of me coming out.....


Last edited by kubasa on Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Chet Bishop
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 641
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a player complain that all my violins were too wide in the neck. All of them were right at 24 mm (I do make them a little smaller now)...so I asked if I could measure the neck on her violin, and it turned out to be 19mm wide. Yep; that would tend to make everything else feel too big.

I assured her that her violin was way under the normal width, and she admitted that she found most violins to be "too wide in the neck".

It was a lose-lose situation to argue, so I dropped it.
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Chet Bishop
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L P Reedy
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Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 242
Location: Brevard, NC

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most people do not like to admit that their preferences are abnormal, even if they are aware. I seldom encounter those things, but several years ago a good violinist tried one of mine and immediately complained that the neck was "too thick" (front to back). It was about 12 mm, but he was used to something less.

One of my customers is a petite girl, about 12, playing a 3/4 with full width (24 mm) neck. One of her teachers told her the neck was too wide. Her other teacher disagreed. When I asked what kind of problems she was having, her mother told me "none at all." The first teacher backed off.
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Dave Chandler
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Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 673
Location: Mt Mitchell in North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chet Bishop wrote:
It was a lose-lose situation to argue, so I dropped it.


Exactly, you won't win the argument, but you can always solicit something custom for her, with the expectation she probably won't find another violin that fits her hand nicely so a custom make would be in order. Not too hard to narrow the neck down with a tiny touch up, depending on how they feel about the rest of the violin neck approaching normal width.

I've got a Johann Gottlob Ficker from early 1800 that has a very delicate feeling neck, although its actually 24mm wide at the nut but thinner, and with a V shaped neck which i find very comfortable, and which I try to emulate.
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Chet Bishop
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 641
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep...that would have been a good possibility, but she was not really in the market, and I certainly would not have thinned a neck to that degree without a commission...so we both walked away.

I do make my necks a little thinner nowadays, too...but not that narrow.
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kubasa
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Joined: 13 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I like the idea of soliciting something custom. Nice way to bring things around. Thanks for the comments.

I always appreciate feedback of any kind from players but this time it threw me a bit. It's okay though because earlier I had one of our symphony players try out a violin and she said that the violin she tried of mine felt similar to hers. She plays an "old Italian" violin.

I have to remember that player preferences can be all over the board and a lot like nailing jello to the wall. I guess that's why Dave's common sense approach struck a chord with me.
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