Best glue for wood, a luthier choice

The world of chemistry has revolutionized the concept of adhesive and glue in all trades, including the sector of violin making. Until the early 1900s, animal bone glue by bone (strong) or by tissue (weak) was used, so the classical lutherie of the 1600s could only adopt this type of solution.

The animal glue has no excellent properties, since it is an organic glue its use is to be limited to some works. In violin making, it is recommended to use in certain types of restorations, especially when you do not want to mix two different compounds (an organic glue may not react well with another synthetic one). It is a reversible glue, it is cleaned with water and it melts with little heat. It is therefore necessary to be very careful with instruments glued with this type of glue, summer heat can cause the adhesion to come off. The animal bone glue or bag tissue, prepared at home, can mold up after 2 days, should be kept in the fridge, but its strong odor does not allow it. One of the best products on the market, ready to use and that does not spoil off the fridge is the Titebond hide glue.

The glues that are subsequent to the animal glue are the vinyl glues (polyvinyl acetate, Vinavil), rubbery glues of little use in our work. They are mainly used to glue chipboard or veneer. They have a good resistance to water and heat, but being rubbery they are not easy to work with. Not to be used in classical violin making, while in the electric one they can find some applications. If you need to use it other than violin making, buy it, because it is a glue that resists moisture (from outside).

 

Aliphatic glues (Titebond original and similar) are the American solution to the problem. They solve the weaknesses of animal glue, having a strength and elasticity equal to a vinyl, but retain the characteristics of reversibility. They are cleaned in water and melt (slowly) with water and heat, but a greater heat, which we will not find easily in the environment. So you can rest easy, without exaggerating. I remember using aliphatics on guitar bridges, which were then unstuck for leaving the instrument in the car in the sun. Available in three dispenser.

The polyurethane glue, is in the Titebond version (which I know) an exceptional glue, but with targeted and considered uses. It is not easily found and since it comes from America it is often found a glue already hardened and with a very short expiry date. It is a glue that inflates and attaches to everything it finds, adhering to almost all types of materials (not just porous, wood type). I recommend the use in operations made in economics and unlikely, for example pasting a broken pallet into a thousand parts (of which 50% are absent) of a tool of little value. Swelling can fill like a stucco. Be careful to close the cap well!

I advise you not to exaggerate in ordering large quantities, the glues dry up with time, even when they are closed they harden. Especially polyurethane.

Bonus Stradivari – 2018

We can guarantee the BONUS STRADIVARI 2018, until funds run out (10 million euros). The plafond is little compared to possible questions, so we advise you to immediately request a quote from Atelier Cesarini, starting already from January to look for your instrument.

Bonus 2018:

  • Extension of the Bonus to students of all the courses of the Conservatories, ISSMs and organizations authorized to issue recognized Afam qualifications: preaccademici, triennio, biennium and previous regulations. In addition, complementary instrument courses (excluded in 2016) are also included; Extension to the students of the Music High Schools;
  • The terms of the Bonus change: no more than 1,000 euros, but a 65% contribution on the purchase price, up to a maximum contribution of 2,500 euros;
  • The law will come into force from 2018 (still needs to be confirmed in which month), you can already book your instrument in January.

To know the sound of our instruments we recommend our Youtube channel, where there are many visual audio tests.

How to buy a violin or other musical instruments

This argument is certainly very long to deal with, I will only give some guidance indications that can be an help especially to musicians, music lovers and parents of music students.

violino antico
old violin

Giving value to old instruments, luthier’s services and other is an objective that Atelier Cesarini pursues from the beginning, the first step was to create a very detailed luthier price list of the most demanding services.
It was not a very first absolute, but certainly one of the first listprice to have a remarkable specificity, without leaving free interpretation.

Now let’s see which parameters are reliable to give a value to an bowed instrument or a bow, then we’ll try to figure out what we can buy with a certain budget.

Continue reading How to buy a violin or other musical instruments

Restoration of a musical instrument, antique violins value.

Comparing the opening of a violin to restore to a complex surgical operation, which is the opening of the chest, is it right? I would say no, but many similarities can be found.

Violino restauro

The opening of an instrument is always possible, sometimes uninvited because it is invasive, but which, on the other hand, is often indispensable, and above all, can be an improvement.

As a surgical operation that wants to restore the functions of the heart, similarly to the violin to be restored, it is intended to restore its “voice”

Continue reading Restoration of a musical instrument, antique violins value.

Children’s musical instruments, how to buy

The question is, how much to spend for a children’s musical instruments? 

50,00 euro, 100,00 euro, 200,00 euro, 500,00 euro, 1.500,00 euro, 2.500,00 euro, 10.000,00 euro, 20.000 euro?

An example of studio violin 3/4 size on pic.

violino da studio
studio violin 3/4 size

Parts of the instrument that need to be standard and well-regulated are not few. As a result, an bowed instrument, beyond its cost, must comply at least with some rules for being used in the study.

Do not value the instrument, it means not giving importance to the study. This can be considered as a general rule, which can surely lie in many other areas of study.

But how is it possible to understand what is the musical instrument that can be a good quality compromise? Surely the times change, the prices accordingly. A Chinese industrial violin 10 years ago cost 300 euros and was a trash , while an industrial violin today costs 200 euros and it’s done better.

Industrial production requires us to spend less, but we react accordingly, we want to spend less and less.

 

violoncello da studio

I look at some families that want to get a good timbre, a decent playability, a good reliability and a low price, from an entry level instrument set. These are things that unfortunately do not go well together.

My advice is to buy the second studio band, where we will begin to find a better quality instrument, better woods, more than sufficient playability, better strings, a true ebony keyboard and parts and a usable headband.
The Stentor II violin is for you, it is not the only one, but it is one of the most reliable along with Soundsation. Then a tune-up is always easy on those two. In the size 4/4.




In the size 3/4:



 

 

 

 

 


In the smaller sizes all the violins 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, look alike, you can spend less. Soundsation offers a low cost for “small sizes”.


 


Let’s have a look here to which are the characteristics that should have a entry level musical instument.

Ebony pickup frame for a Fender guitar (Fender fail)

A simple realization of Cesarini Custom Shop, an ebony pickup frame for single coil mod. Telecaster, on Fender guitar (DOBRO style).The end of the intervention is to raise the maximum possible pickup height, given the constructive lack of Fender on this model we will remedy.

Fender Resonant
Fender Resonant, errore di produzione

This is a constructive fail on Fender’s building, that is quite serious

The use of resonant winding cords (bronze or phosphor bronze) actually requires a smaller distance between the rope and the magnet. In this guitar this distance is too much (over 20mm), preventing the output signal from having attack and volume.

Gibson comparing, guitar care is a must!

Even between two Gibson LP models of the same year (1992) the differences are well noted. The guitar care is important, let’s see why.

les paul Gibson
les paul guitars Gibson ’90 Studio

Setting up regularly is perhaps the most important variable, to have a performance guitar or bass that does not lose value over time

 

These two Gibsons have been changed the frets (the same dimensions for both) we reviewed the setups pretty much the same, but the playability of the instruments is still very different. The non-care of an instrument leads to make it less efficient at the fingerboard, neck and timbre.

Gibson truss rod,broken
Gibson truss rod,broken

A neck left untouched over time, can become very tenacious, but in the wrong position (upbow, backbow, or worst). Wood, by its nature, can bend in various points and can twist itself. The pickups can be demagnetized or broken. The metal parts (bridge and tuners) can oxidize to the point where they can no longer be used. And we could go on like this, listing other degenerative possibilities.

Crime scene on the bench, an antique violin

Discovering a true antique violin from the 1800s or 1900s can be very interesting.

We need to consider that almost all the old musical instruments have now been undercovered, due to the strong interest of a multitude of people that want to take possession of them. So we need to be realistic when we find something, that maybe can have value. A real antique violin of 1800, for example, it can come real damaged, rarely in good condition, expecially the top spruce and varnish.

antique violin opening
antique violin opening

Be aware of flea markets, or not very transparent luthiers, who try to delude you of having a rediscovered a “pearl in the desert”, dated two hundred years. More plausible it is instead a violin that an old owner wants to undo it and then sells it, perhaps through an intermediary.

In the downer photo, the instrument in restoration, has just been rediscovered in an attic. This is a bit the clichet of classical lutherie: “Nonna told me that there is a Stradivari above!”.

It is not “Stradivari“, but a copy of an old German violin with a label bearing “Stradivarius Cremonensis, etc.”, is a copy, but it retains its interest. The woods of this instrument will certainly be very seasoned, even if a bit “bruised”. Finding it partly destroyed is the least that can be expected, we consider that almost a hundred years have passed, they are not few.

Violino rotto
Violino antico, ritrovato. Restauro presso Atelier Cesarini

Atelier Cesarini buy old violins and other antique instruments (also bows) during the year and we restore them. We call those “Cesarini Collection“.

 

Chinrest, how to choose it?

The chinrest is a wooden part (ebony, boxwood, tamarindo, rosewood), which is mounted on violins and viola, through metal clamps that tighten by threading. It was invented in the early 1900s, so by many past interpreters it was not used. With the request for a repertoire, increasingly difficult to play, the chinrest has become an integral part of the instrument, only a few do without it, thinking of ruining the vibration of the instrument with its presence.

Postura esempi
Position examples

In our opinion, the chinrest for violin and viola does not ruin the sound, being cantilevered (which can therefore ideally oscillate on vibration) and being placed on a low resonance area. The two clamps in fact tighten on the ribs, near the bottom block, non -“pulmonary” area of the picea soundboard.

 

 

The structure of the chinrest and the wood used, must respect the principles of vibration, certainly will not have to rest on “pulmonary areas” or on the tailpiece

THE DIMENSIONS (THE CONCAVITY AND THE HEIGHT) ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUONABILITY.

Mentoniera Guarneri ebano
Chinrest Guarneri ebony

Continue reading Chinrest, how to choose it?

Fake violins – fake old and new false

Pay attention!

False bow instruments and fake violins are circulating in Italy, with a non-real material value attributed to them. Violins and viole without an internal label, sold for the ancients of the ’40s and’ 50s, while in reality they are common entry level violins (Chinese or Romanian).

violino ed arco dal valore falso attribuito

Accompanied by “artisan” bows of quality and suspicious veracity, given the low cost. Data collected from our customers, who came to us to solve the problem.
The sales value of the set in the picture, which serves as an example, is about 400.00-600.00$, price too low to be goods of quality.

Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis
Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis

If you are looking for an instrument on a low price line I highly recommend the music stores, at least you will also have the invoice and the guarantee. 
A good old violin or viola it can cost from 800$ to 1500$, a good old cello between 1500$ to 3000$.  A better old instrument can reach also higher values.
Remember that it can be really easy to do a false label, pay attention during your purchases.