Selected violin design topics: The violin's outline, scroll, geometry, esthetics. Wood: species, selection, figure, cut, and orientation. Making: mold types, antique and modern methods. Ribs, corners, graduation, barring, selected repairs. Creativity and copying, fads and fundamentals. Illustrated with over 70 photographs and diagrams. For the violin maker, repairer, and connoisseur. The Strobel books for violin makers are professional, concise, and convenient, reflecting traditional, conservative, and artistic work. Some forty thousand sold, they are used internationally by student, amateur and professional makers in shops and schools, and referred to by manufacturers, sellers, users, and lovers of bowed instruments. High quality 8.5 by 11 in. paperbacks made to lie flat and last on your workbench.
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Henry Strobel is the author-publisher of seven books on violin, viola, and cello making, repair, and adjustment, which are used worldwide. He recently published a video Watch Me Make a Cello, Step by Step. Born in Indiana in 1936, he had a first career as an electronic design engineer, and was one of the founders of Digital Telephone Systems, Inc. in California, which manufactured transmission and switching equipment. He served in the US Air Force service in Scotland as a communications officer. He studied violin as a schoolboy, made his first over thirty years ago, and has had his own violin business for twenty years, fifteen at his current full service violin shop in Oregon, where, with his wife and sons, he also makes violins, violas, and cellos, and writes books.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Preface to the First Edition
This is the fourth in my series of books for violin makers. It considers the Art and Method of the Violin Maker as both artist and artisan. It is not a manual for making a violin, but rather "continuing education" for the working violin maker. Violinists and collectors will be interested, too.
Many readers will be more expert in certain areas than I. Nevertheless a book like this presents organized, reliable information from a conservative, mainstream perspective drawn from many colleagues and schools. And of course it is based on years of professional experience in the violin shop. The presentation of principles is interleaved with common sense and practical procedures. I try to build on, not repeat, material from my previous books. Thus there will be some apparent gaps in this book if you don't have the others. My objective is first to provide select, compact, information for readers without a lot of time or much of a library; second, to point out where to find more. Instead of a "further reading" bibliography I have used footnotes throughout for reference, citation, and clarification. Read the footnotes; they offer some of the best information in the book. I learned a lot in writing this book, and was continually reminded of how little I know compared to the specialists, and how little it is possible to put into one thin book by one ordinary violin maker.
The chapters follow the general sequence of violin making: design, making the mold, wood selection and working, assembly, finishing, fitting up, etc. My aim has been to elaborate some points of the luthier's work that may not appear in the ordinary manual, or that may be missed by the student or apprentice. And to encourage originality within the classical context, never implying that there is only one right way. Some information is included about antiquated methods of construction. This is not a recommendation for present practice but to help the reader appreciate these things if he encounters them in old instruments. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. The first chapter, on design, was fascinating for me, and I hope it is readable and useful in spite of abstract and historical aspects. It is not intended as literal instructions, but for insight into the original design process. And throughout the chapters you will find reflections on the philosophy of the artist maker as well as on the origins, form, and functions of certain features of the instruments.
Other topics are treated variously. Some will seem short; I either treated these previously or simply had nothing more to say. What you read here is basically what I took time to write down since Violin Maker's Notebook. In a busy violin shop I have had to accept some compromises in the illustrations and organization. One can publish or perfect, but not both. Carpe diem.
Writing a book is different from making a violin. Each violin, although patterned after an original, is labored over individually, but a new book becomes a thousand overnight, and the chaff is multiplied with the wheat. I wrote this book with care, but anticipate and welcome constructive advice from others who are laboring in the vineyard if not struggling in the wilderness.
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