The 17th and 18th centuries produced the Stradivariuses. But the twentieth and 21st centuries had the Chicago violinmaker Carl Fredrick Becker.
Chicago’s Fine Arts Building, a gem of the Windy City simply steps from Symphony Center and the house of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is home to Carl Becker & Son. The company now employs a 5th era inside the Becker own family, which makes pleasant violins, violas, and cellos.
But possibly fine recognized a number of the Becker circle of relatives is Carl Frederick Becker (1919-2013), who was the second one generation within the circle of relatives to become a violinmaker. His father, Carl G. Becker, changed into also a violinmaker (and who additionally crafted cellos) inside the rent of William Lewis & Son in Chicago. But even as the 2 worked aspect by way of facet for more than twenty years (1948-1968), they failed to open their very own shop underneath the Becker family name until 1968, simply seven years earlier than the elder Becker died. Together, they made more than 500 units.
Even even though Carl Becker Jr. Only made 13 contraptions by himself, he became renowned amongst violinmakers and stringed device players for his capability to restore and repair violins carbon fiber cello bow. He is famously credited for having restored the “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius, using a technique of making use of mild stress and tiny little bit of room temperature water to a bit dimple inside the center of the violin back.
Becker stimulated numerous tremendous present day violinmakers who trained with him before his demise in 2013, such as Peter Beare, Charles Rufino, Samuel Zygmuntowicz and Eric Benning.
“He made those little mini brass bars that would positioned a very mild stress on the dent, pushing it out. He would dampen it very gently with water and observe the tiniest bit of strain,” says Charles Rufino, a New York luthier who spoke to The Violinist upon Becker’s dying in 2013. “He didn’t have to heat it or do any sort of adverse or threatening issue. This become the manner he worked, all of the time.”
Over his 76-year career, Becker evolved a experience of the relationship among the human musician and the “residing” tool. Ruffino found that “Carl’s complete consciousness turned into: make it play top notch, and make it relaxed for the musician,” he says. “There’s an lousy lot of arcane knowledge that is going into making an device comfy.”
Becker’s terrific nephew, violinmaker Eric Benning, described his schooling with Becker as marked with a pleasant of exactitude. “One day I attempted to assure him with the aid of pronouncing, ‘I’ll be careful.’ Carl stopped me and stated, ‘I don’t need you to be careful. I want you to make sure.’ There’s a world of distinction among the two,” stated Benning. “It was a vital perspective to share at that second. I’m continually aware of the differentiation.”
Another guiding principle of Becker’s technique become to deal with a violin repair as an engineering challenge. He mastered the distribution of hysteria by way of manipulating the strain of the strings, converting neck angles, changing specific points approximately the fingerboard and adjusting the sound post and bridge.
The Becker family line of musicians and instrument makers dates returned to Carl Jr.’s grand parents, who lost their first violin store within the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, children and grandchildren of Carl Becker Jr. Paintings within the Fine Arts Building shop, some as luthiers, others within the business management components of the company.