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This auction is for 4 sets of two piece Engelmann Spruce violin tops, the actual ones in the pictures. Bookmatched. Item code: 216c
These tops are not high grade due to visuals, especially prominent grain lines. I call these "Utility Grade". These are great for using as repair wood, bass bars, sound posts, or as tops when you want to keep your costs down. Nice deal.
Acoustically these tops will be fantastic. They have no structural defects and any defects possibly seen in the pictures will carve out. If you want to keep costs down, these tops are a great choice as you are not downgrading your acoustic potential.
These tops come from old growth logs at 9,500 to 10,500 feet in the Colorado Rockies. All my wood is AIR DRIED. I do not use a kiln, never have, for any of my wood.
These tops are dry and ready to use. Moisture content about 7%. Remember, a moisture content of 7% is dry and ready to use. In fact the EMC (equilibrium moisture content) will likely rise in many areas as your average relative humidity may be higher than it is here near Denver.
Minimim dimensions in inches, approximate each half
15.3" x 4.25+ x (24mm center x 9mm edges) The template drawn on the unit is a 1716 Strad
Shipping cost: Actual cost based on 5 pounds 12 ounce shipping weight. International is actual cost plus $5
Thank you for shopping with me! I appreciate your support. If you like my products and the service, please support me and tell others. It is hugely important. ==================================================================================================================
How I ship to you:
I ship only via USPS. That is the United States Postal Service. This
works most cost effectively for the many small items I ship, as well as
2. I generally ship on M/W/F
3. I do not use tracking numbers on most small items.
To get the shipping discount wait for my invoice. DO NOT pay before
receiving my combined invoice if you want the shipping discount. That
means use "buy it now" (or win auctions) for all your items, then DO NOT
pay immediately. I then bundle the items for one shipping charge that
will give you usually a big discount. I try to charge the actual
shipping costs only. After you see the invoice in your "My Ebay" then
5. For orders under 13 ounces I ship First Class Mail. 13 ounces to about 5 pounds I use Priority Mail. If your total order ends up over about 5 pounds I will ship Parcel Post.
6. For international orders, over 4 pounds ships via Priority Mail International. Under 4 pounds via First Class Mail. If you buy multiple items, please allow 24 to 36 hours for me to pack, weigh and send the proper invoice. This will make sure you do not pay too much shipping. Then pay the invoice.
About the wood I cut:
If you have not read the text below and are looking for tonewood,
please read it. It explains what you need to know. Stop listening to
people that don't know what they are talking about! Engelmann Spruce is the best violin wood in the world.
2. I estimate that 90% of violin makers are using the wrong wood. They will NEVER get the results they want.
Don't be in that 90%. I select and sell only wood that works. If you
use my wood you will not have a bad variable in the spruce parts!
Concentrate on other variables.
4. The wood cutting I do is hugely labor intensive. Cutting, sealing ends, pealing, splitting, stacking, air drying, sawing, grading, handling and shipping. That is why I select the raw material so carefully.
5. Engelmann Spruce has the properties of the wood Stradivari would have selected.
There are several reasons why the instrument tops I produce are acoustically Superior.
First: Quality Control. I am very precise in my log selection, and how I cut each unit. I start with straight splitting logs with no twist. The log is the raw material, and the raw material has to be very high grade to produce superior tonewood.
Second: The sawing of each unit. Before sawing, it starts with the splitting of each 18", 24" or 36" round. To achieve acoustically superior tops, they have to start out as split "bolts". Skill and precision are used to clean up one split face of the bolt so it is perfectly parallel to the sawn face. This eliminates runout. Good raw material can end up with average acoustics if it is sawn wrong!
Third: Density. The Specific Gravity of my wood on average is .35. This is considerably less than European and Sitka at .38 to .48. This is a monumental difference. The physics of this disparity is one of the keys to building a consistent fine violin. Even most Canadian Engelmann is a fair amount higher in density. Some of today's best violin makers are finding that a key to making the best violins is low density spruce. Studies of the famous Cremona violins confirm this, as plates of violins averaged about 60 grams and most were not abnormally thinned.
Spruce is the best wood you can buy for violin family
instruments. I also sell several
grades of tops, so if you don't want to buy the best grade I have lower
grades that are still acoustically excellent and cost less. My
quality control and other factors allows for the fantastic results
are so happy with. Please read the testimonials below for an idea of
results some people are getting. Today is November 15, 2010. I have
not updated these testimonials in awhile because I think there are
enough for now.
People are using my wood around the world. From Brazil to Iceland to Italy to Singapore to Australia. Right here in the USA by many of the TOP contemporary violin makers. Some of these customers say it best with these verbatim testimonials below. The all upper case letters are as written. Thanks to all of you for the comments!
The 6 tops have just arrived. When I opened the box my jaw fell open as well, and I nearly fell over! Spectacularly beautiful spruce, I've never seen better. Thanks a million, they really are the business. Dave in the UK, September 2008 (my comment: these were some unreal one piece violin tops)
I took it to my 70 year old luthier friend who has studied woods all his life and normally imports from Europe. It was the finest spruce he has ever seen. David April 2008
Thank you for the amazing wood I got last week. I never thought a soundpost could make such a difference! Per in Europe, August 2008
I received the spruce billet and I wanted to tell you that it FULLY MEETS my expectations. It as just as you described. Ronnie in TN August 2008
I FINALLY got around to opening up the package you sent......Well anyway, WOW! The Spruce is gorgeous! John in the UK May 2008
I received my order today. I cannot thank you enough for providing such quality wood. To find someone who actually delivers on what they advertise is greatly appreciated. Stan June 2008
The practice top I bought from you has really sold me on your Engelmann...all the best...Dick, United Kingdom August 2008
Just a note to let you know I just finished the first White Violin purchased from you. The wood quality was better than previous whites I had made. What I did not expect was the OUTSTANDING mature and mellow sound that I got from this violin. The Engelmann Spruce top really made a difference. I will be buying more of these. Thanks once again! Dave in PA July 2008
"I frankly needed to replace the post in one of my violins - a 1984 Severin Shurger – American. This is a very good but not an "exciting" instrument. The post was placed by me on 1/26. The result was both remarkable and unexpected. The violin gained volume and clarity. Tonally the instrument was rounder and distinctly more pleasant. As previously, all 4 strings remained in balance.. I do believe the wood you are both using and selling is the basis for the virtual transformation of my violin. It could be argued that I placed the post in a better location. This is unlikely as I used a marked target to position the sound post. If this experience is repeated by others I believe you will be the distributor of one of the most valuable violin accessories money can buy,,,,,,,and how little money it is. Congratulations, Elliot Reichbach, MD February 2008
The wood you sent me for the last violin I made gave the instrument a great sound. It has been recognized as an outstanding violin by many professional players. I would recommend this wood to any violin maker. Thanks again, George B in MA December 2007
Love the wood, Thanks!! James December 2007
The wood arrived yesterday and I am very pleased. The spruce cookie looks great. Thanks again, A violin Pro in MD, December 2007.
By the way, I just set up a violin that I built using one of your low density 50 year old spruce units. Amazing tone and volume. Thanks, Ron in KY November 2007
The wood we ordered from you is the best we have found. Thanks, Doyle in WV, November 2007
I am truly amazed by the quality of the wood you sent me and it looks even better to hold and see first hand than it did in your pictures of it. I'm truly thankful to have dealt with an honest and efficient tonewood supplier. Thanks Again, Rob in the United Kindom, November 2007 (this wood was the Combo Pack Fine grade)
After 100 violins, I made my first Viola. An anniversary gift for my wife. Well, at the quartet party, with the best talent and instruments, this new Viola stood out. With the good ears of these professionals, (one pro in particular- with his $16,000 Viola by a well known maker) they insisted on a blind sound test. The first blind test ....my Viola won. The subsequent test with another player...and it won again! It's the wood. Thanks again, Gary October 2007 (Gary- Thanks, but you have to be pretty damn good at building, so it is a combination, Simeon)
I just wanted to let you know that I just completed my first violin with your wood. I was so impatient to hear the sound that I probably skimped on the finish, but WOW- this violin- the first I have ever made- sounds better than the Master Juzek, and even sweeter than the Hannibal Fagnola I have. And it is not even played in. It is a pleasure to have the best sounding violin be one I made myself, and part of the credit goes to that excellent wood you sold me. Thanks!! doubledave September 2007
The only thing your wood oozes is Quality! Cheers, Mark September 2007
I just wanted to let you know I recieved the Professional Grade Spruce Violin Top today and couldn't be more pleased. I just finished a Fiddle that was made out of your "lesser" grade spruce and it still made a good fiddle. Thanks again, Darrell August 2007
This is the BEST top wood I have used for mandolins. Thanks, Steve in SC, August 2007
My 100th violin was the best ever. There is no question that your old Engelmann is the key ingredient. My professional violinist spouse claimed this latest violin as her own. Her colleagues say it is very special and love to play it. Gary in IL, July 2007
Hi, I got the bass bars today and all i can say is "WOW". This wood is exquisite. I haven't seen any better in many years. David in NC August 2007
Thanks again for the great wood. Even the 5 violin sets for $50 I got on ebay is good. Nathaniel, August 2007
This wood is incredible! This is primo numero uno wood!! Thanks again, Jeff in OH
From William R. Scott, 2006 Gold and Silver Medal winner: I have been working with wood from Simeon Chambers for the past two years and have been extremely pleased. At the last VSA Competition, both medal winning instruments were made from spruce he supplied. Great Engelmann Spruce! I would recommend it to anyone. My best sounding so far. Photos can be seen at www.scottviolins.com/photo.htm.
This is the best top wood I have used for mandolins. Thanks Steve in SC, August 2007
Thanks again Simeon, still the best wood on eBay. John in VA
I just received the wood today and wanted to let you know how happy I am with it. I will definately buy all my spruce from you in the future. Thanks... Jason in CA
Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know I received the mandolin tops today and am MORE than happy!!! Thank you again, Jim in RI
I purchased before and you have the best wood ever. Virginia, NC
Yes, the wood arrived. Even better than I thought! Your careful selection and convenient cut sizes makes my life easier. The lovely fine even grain and sweet scent of the spruce, easily worked, not prone to splitting or cracking, is truly a pleasure to work with. Errol, CA
Hello Simeon, I just wanted to say thanks for the nicest tonewood I've seen! Also, I wanted to tell you and your customersof the fantastic soundposts that I make out of your Engelmann Spruce. They have greatly improved the overall tonal qualities of every violin I have put them in. Thanks again, Steve
The spruce tops you have sent me are the best I have used so far. I made one violin and one viola with your spruce. The sound was better than any I have made to date. I hope to make a lot more. George. in MA
Your wood is exceptional !! the tone is fantastic !!! I am a builder and experiment alot , I will send you pictures of a project that I am building from an Arch top set I got from you. As I carve and sand the tone just gets better and better . I recommend you to all luthiers if they want great wood at a good price .
I received the wood today, and it is magnificent, it's way better than the photos on ebay. Michael
Received top wood today. It all looks fantastic. The bearclaw is stunning. Thank you.
Even with an extra 17.5% VAT on top of the cost, they are a tremendous value and I am delighted with them. Ian, United Kingdom
We tested one piece with a Lucchimeter and it got the best rating EVER of wood in the school. Simon, United Kingdom
I got your wood yesterday....It looks GREAT.....Thanks. Dave in OR
The wood is better than I had hoped for. Virginia
Just received your shipment with the one-piece top and soundpost material. I'm in love! Rudy
I made one of my best sounding instruments ever using your wood. George
I'm making all my custome mandolins with your fantastic tone wood as long as the supply lasts. Bill in IN
I just strung up my F body mandolin, built using one of your one piece tops. This is my best sounding mandolin to date. Wonderful wood! Barry in PA
...Anyway, the spruce is fabulous! High grade tonewood; I will be ordering more of that stuff from you. Bob
I got the wood today, just fantastic! Thanks for the extra piece also. Bill
The spruce is fantastic, not sure I can stop admiring it long enough to work it at the moment.
I can't express how greatful I am for your kindness.....
I am very impressed with its tonal qualities and graining. The piece i bought was not your highest grade but is as good as anything the UK suppliers sold at a similar grade. David, UK
....my daughter's harp, it has amazing resonence. Steve in AZ
I received my tonewood today...I will be ordering more tonewood from you and not from other places. Lynn
I just got this F-5 strung up tonight that I made from your old Engelmann and man oh man what a sound this thing has!!!!!!!!! Tremendous bass and incredible volume!!!! This is just after being strung up for a couple of hours!!! I love this wood!!!! This is truly a rare breed of Engelmann. Thanks again for your experience, honesty and your knowledge of cutting wood properly!!! Jeff
I have never experienced a wood of this caliber. The Englemann Spruce that I recieved from Simeon was incredible. I made one violin and one A Model mandolin using this wood and both sold immediately. Against a Frailey mandolin, the analyzer said it was as good or better, and I can hear it! A music teacher friend of mine who has played mandolin for 45 years, including on the Grande Ole Opry, and he told me that he would never look for a mandolin with a better sound. (than the A model from Simeon's wood).
Thanks to those
that took the time to write. I really do appreciate it! It says
something about a person that takes time out of their schedule to do
this. For those of us that operate that way, we understand it. Telling
people that do a great job is important. Very important for all of us
who take pride in our work! THANK YOU!
Thanks for looking and bidding on my auctions.
Some thoughts on the wood you may be using now, or considering:
YOU, as a violin maker are looking for the answers to get you to the next level. You really want to make instruments that have a tone that makes you beam with pride and feeling of accomplishment. Imagine how it feels to be able to do this! The good news is you may have all the skills already. The bad news is you are likely using the wrong wood, and have a stockpile of obsolete and inferior wood.
The fact is, most violin makers are using inferior wood and are EXTREMELY
disadvantaged by it. What happens is that the maker thinks that a change needs
to be made on the next violin after there is an imperfection in tone. What inevitably
happens is that the maker starts changing things that are currently correct. It
is an infinite process. It will never end. The violin tone is overwhelmingly
made good or bad by the spruce top plate. The top plate choice is the biggest
key to good sound. The wrong wood selection just will not allow the maker
to "fix" the sound. The sound will never get there. You should not believe the fools that think they can make any top sound
good. They are alchemists. For hundreds of years alchemists tried
to change lead and other metals into gold. No can do. It was a
foolish pursuit. Lead or copper cannot be changed to gold!
You are also searching for an edge. The wood I sell will give you an edge. The wood is selected and cut correctly. The results speak for themselves.
4 of the 10 VSA Tone Awards for violin in 2010 used Simeon Chambers spruce.
After having 250 violins and violas made for me from Simeon wood, we have NEVER had a wolf note.
Read the testimonials above for actual results.
The data is for all to see. You have to break free of the wood stash you are using. Sell it to someone that thinks I am incorrect.
The number one goal for Simeon Chambers Tonewood is to produce the finest violin wood available. I only cut the best Engelmann Spruce logs, just the ones that are excellent. I handsplit all log sections before sawing them on my Italian made (Laguna) bandsaw.
I am a one man show, and take pride in what I cut and the quality that I produce. My number one mantra in business is this: Customer service problems cost time, money, and reputation. That is why I strive to make every customer happy by providing the very best units at my price points, and shipping it quickly. If I do that, then I avoid the anguish and wasted time of trying to rectify a situation that ....should have been done right the first time!!! This makes business fun.
My customers include world famous violin makers, as well as first timers. Either way, I always make my customers happy that they tried me as their wood supplier. The reports I get of the phenomenal sound produced from my wood makes this an extremely worthwhile endeavor. I specialize in the archtop instruments, especially the Violin family, but also Archtop Guitar and Mandolin.
If you are going to spend 200 hours or more on an instrument, is an extra $40 or $50 for the best top available too much to pay? I am sure that you can buy Sitka Spruce, Canadian Engelmann Spruce and even supposedly "decent" European Spruce for $20 or something around that figure. Well, occasionally some of it may be just dandy, but most of it will not make an excellent sounding violin, viola, mandolin or whatever you make. What really are they selling if they can sell it for $20? Tonewood that is acoustically high quality is actually pretty rare. A tonewood seller knows when something is exceptional or rare, and selling rare units for $20 is foolish, as they will not remain in business for long. Or, perhaps they mix in low quality with high quality units and waste 200 hours of somebody's time when they sell one of these low grade units mixed in. If you can tell the low from the high grade, and you only use the high grade, you have a higher cost anyway. You buy a bunch more tops and only use some of them. If a top wood unit is exceptional, it will not be $20, or $30 or $40. It will be more than that.
I will sell you a piece of wood for between $12 and $120 that you may spend 200 hours on. I will tell you that I am completely confident in the acoustic quality of my product. I won't insult you with your potential time wasted, by selling an inferior product. The wood I sell will not end up diminishing the effort and skill you use to make your instrument. You are not guessing when you buy wood from me. Perhaps you see what I am saying here. Why take the chance of putting in all those hours, and expert craftsmanship to make an average sounding instrument! It does not make any sense. Does your wood supplier have testimonials like those above or some data behind their product? I am not talking about the testimonials of "I get my wood from so and so, he's a great guy" If there is not excellent data or something compelling to indicate that you get wood that is similar to some wood that was particularly good or made an award winning instrument, you should consider at least trying a unit of my wood. You can also buy $25 and $30 wood from me if you like, acoustically excellent.
take it one step further regarding data, the 2010 VSA Convention in
Cleveland featured many entries into the competition using Simeon
Chambers Tonewood. In fact there were nine tone awards and one Gold
Medal awarded in the violin category. 10 Awards for tone of 238
instruments (the Gold Medal means the tone and workmanship both warrant
a medal, thus 10 awards for tone). Simeon Chambers Tonewood tops were
used in 4 of the 10 instruments getting those awards. Also, in the
viola category there was a Silver for Tone and a Certificate for Tone
awarded (2 tone awards using Simeon wood, 13 total Viola tone awards,
It is hard to say how many of the 238 violin entries used Simeon wood, but probably 12 to 20. In any case, Simeon wood works well.
Think about this:
is super tough out here. Small business in America is under pressure.
As an example, eBay now charges their commission on our shipping
charges, 10%! Another margin squeeze for us ebay sellers. This is
getting dicey for many of us out here. If you work in a corporate or
government setting, or have a pension from the same, think about
supporting us small business people out here by buying from us if we
have good products. Many small businesses in the USA that produce great
products will not make it. There will not be a substitute either.
Quality suppliers will disappear. We are getting squeezed out here.
charging their commission on our shipping charges is pathetic. What
will they think of next? Maybe they need the earnings to "beat" by a
penny to keep the ponzi stock game going. That is what it is about for
public companies, beat the quarterly earnings estimate by a penny. The
stock goes up, and generally the market gives it a higher P/E ratio as
well for the consistent "beat". Guess what? The executives are
compensated with stock options. The stock goes up, their options vest
and they make money. The whole game for public company execs is short
term stock price increases. They do not look at the long term
anymore. This is what happened in 2006 to 2008 in the financial
stocks. The commission eBay takes on the shipping charges will help
them for a quarter or two, but then the analysts will build that into
their earnings models and the effect will be gone. We ebay sellers are
stuck holding the bag. These ebay executives are creating the end of
For us small business people there is no safety net of unemployment checks, pensions or buyouts. We have to sell our products to get a check. As an example, in February 2009 my sales were off 75% from 2008. That is like a 100% pay cut, like being laid off or unemployed but still working. Fixed expenses eat up the sales at that level. I do not count in government unemployment numbers. If I sell 25% of what I was selling, there is no government stat for that. Thanks for reading. Simeon------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Satisfaction guaranteed. I combine weights on your items to save you shipping cost. So, if you buy multiple items, I total the weight that will fit in one box, then I calculate the shipping charge. (However, items longer than 24" usually ship by themselves.) I think you will be very pleased with any of my wood. Call me if you need further details. Simeon Chambers 303 507 5225. simc at Q dot com
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