Mysterious violin: Garret Gourd
There is just one violin shop in Saigon (many musical shops but only one specialized in Violins). Almost everything for sale are violins for different grades of students, manufactured by a locally famous luthier (he lives now in USA and the shop is run by his wife). On the higher quality section there are some franken-violins. Old instruments restored by that luthier, built from the back from one, the front from another, etc. There are also some "master" pieces made by him which are actually quite good. However, the point of this thread is one instrument that buffles me:
This is the most expensive item in the shop. The label is a handwritten flourished signature which reads "Garret Gourd, Luthier". No date.
The sound of the violin is a different level of any other I have heard, though I don't know if that level is up or down. The point is that it has so much reverberation, harmonics, overtones... however you describe them, that it sounds more similar to when you pass a wet finger by the rim of a fine glass. And it is EXTREMELY sensitive. If you are playing another violin less that 2 meters away from it, it also emits sound, noticeably. Any vibration in the shop... just walking near it, makes it buzz. That also means that it is unforgiving. The slightest hesitation or imperfect bowing gets amplified.
Curiously, it is not very loud.
All that has made me look for any information on the name "Garret Gourd, Luthier", but I got nothing. I know that labels mean nothing and it could be sticked there unrelated to the maker but why would they put a label of a completely unknown artisan?
I am aware that there are thousands of violin makers that have never been registered but just in case... has anyone any clue about this name?
Hi Carlos, My house has string instruments all over the place and some of them do ring faintly from a cough or sneeze or people talking, my dogs barking, and clapping of hands together. I cannot tell if I am playing one instrument whether that is causing another instrument laying around to resonate.
Ah, I didn't know that such resonance was so common.
Does the Gourd violin have an unusual shape? ;-)
Following on from David's post I wonder if "Gourd" is not the name of a person but a reference to either a gourd-like shape of the instrument or the resonances you could expect from such a shape. And as for "Garrett", could that have been the attic where it was made?
Ha! Since I started looking for this elusive luthier, lots of Gourd violins come to the screen. And Google insists that I meant Garrett (instead of Garret), for David Garrett.
Sometimes when I make noise near an uncovered violin, the D string rings. This phenomenon is only true when the sound I make is the same pitch as the D string. Part of the reason the violin the OP describes is not very loud could be due to inactivity, as it takes violins (violas and cellos for that matter) a fair while to wake up fully from inactivity. Plus, the strings may be old.
Ella, that's my experience too. I have two violins, and when they're both out and I'm playing the D string on either one, or that same note on the G string, the D string on the idle violin will vibrate sympathetically. Can any makers here tell us why that string is so much more reactive? I'm guessing that other strings are reacting too, but not enough to be easily noticed.
It could be because D is the air resonance.
Huh. You might want to research air resonance on this site. I remember Adrian Heath has written a lot about this. I could be wrong, but this was what I remember from his posts. Maybe you're talking wood resonance...
I did look it up and you're right Ella. Airspace resonance is closer to the D string pitch. I'll correct my previous post so not to leave factual errors around.
This violin resonance was from the whole instrument, not just the string. But I don't know if it was buzzing directly from the soundwaves around or from its strings... It would be interesting to see the behaviour with different setup.
That just sounds like a really good violin to me. How much was it?
Have you tried posting pics on maestronet?
I don't think there is much to upload. It is a very normal looking violin, nice, but nothing to say wow by the looks. The only distinguishing feature is the name and the signature. Of that, I tried a pic...
What is the price?
I don't think I should post a link here but if you google maestronet, you can find the site. Posters over there specialize in solving violin mysteries. Now, it's not exactly a civilized board so be aware.
Maestronet is not exactly a civilized board? As in Neanderthal and Cro Magnon folks? Hmmm.
As in luthiers.
I do not want to appear as rude or uncivilized in your eyes but pointed out that you had made a humorous blanket statement covering a lot of people on another site. Three or four years ago someone on that site made the statement that this site consists of armchair violinists which made me smile.
Maestronet will tell you that you are wasting their time unless you post high quality detailed pictures. And when you do they often say the instrument is dreadful. That could be construed as uncivilized...
I have browsed maestronet often and I actually like the direct tone they have. It is like visiting an old fashioned pub with lifelong regulars pulling each other's legs, which I find nice.
Buy it, Carlos! it is calling to you! it is looking for a new and proper home.
It was a ding intended to be in the spirit of Maestronet. I have been visiting that site for 17+ years, kind of like a quiet love affair no one knows about but not exactly a secret. It's a wonderful community and quite helpful but I wouldn't send anyone over there without a fair warning.
I think a lot of the top experts of the violin world hang on Maestronet and i do not consider it unreasonable if they ask for clear pictures in order to make an accurate assesment free of charge for anyone that wants to post pics. If you are the type of person that does not want to hear that your precious violin is "rubbish" if it truly is then you are better off not asking in the first place. I do find it quite interesting when they argue over whether a particular instrument is French or German and these experts that live repairing and making and researching violins make these distinctions from the tiniest details.