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Everything posted by victor

  1. Hi to those who remember me, I have been silent for several months now because I was busy with the class I was taking along with my full-time job. It was sad to hear that Al Stancel passed away, and I know many of us will miss him. Actually, it is because of his diagnosis on my violin--that it needs several hundred dollars' worth of repairs--that I have gone back to playing the classical guitar and will be putting the violin aside for the time being. I'll go back to it eventually, but for now I'd like to focus on the classical guitar, which I played a bit in high school and which I like very much. Because of time constraints and because this board doesn't have many discussions on classical guitar technique, I probably won't be posting much at all anymore. But it was good interacting with many of you, and I wish all of you well with all your endeavors, music and otherwise. Take care, Victor
  2. I am sorry to hear of Al Stancel's death. I met him on this board about a year ago and got to meet him in person this past August--he examined my violin and rehaired my bow. It was a pleasure having known him. I hope the people at Casa Del Sol are okay considering the circumstances--I will try to visit them as soon as I get a chance. Take care, Victor : I want to share with all readers on this forum the : news I received this morning. AL STANCEL, of Casa : del Sol Violins, died on Monday, Nov. 29, 1999. : I was saddened to learn of his death, as he was my : friend and I know that he was always so open and helpful : to anyone who asked him questions. Al had a big heart : and his honesty and integrity was never in doubt to : anyone that dealt with him. We've lost a wonderful : luthier and he will be greatly missed. : Marsha Folks - Center, North Dakota
  3. I found that my violin sounded much better without a shoulder rest than with it. And I was using a Kun shoulder rest back then. I think the reason for the better sound is that the violin is now in contact with my collarbone at the bottom block instead of being held at the side edges. Apparently there is more vibration at the side edges than at the bottom wood block, hence the violin vibrates more freely (and therefore sounds better) when played without a shoulder rest. Note that the violin should be held up when playing without a shoulder rest--the scroll should be as high or higher than the bridge. Otherwise the situation that Kun describes will occur, but that is definitely not the norm nor is it the way a violin should be played without a shoulder rest. Victor : The Kun rest web site claims that use of shoulder rest : improves sound quality. That seems reasonable, because : without shoulder rest the back of the violin become in : contact with shoulder and therefore the vibration of the : back of the violin might get damped. With rest, only small : area of the side of the violin becomes in contact. : How do you think?
  4. : : I've never watched a live baroque orchestra with or without period instruments, but when I have seen performances on TV, the facial expressions on the violin and viola players resemble those of people suffering road rage - and I empathize S with them. You can almost hear them thinking of the problems they will have getting out of it after the next time they leave the first position. They must need the money awfully bad. : : At least they won't be tempted to vibrato too much as is the style of the music they play. : : Many changes are not progress, but I think chin and shoulder rests and the modern bow are - even for playing early music, call me "old fashioned." : : Andy : I used shoulder rests for 25 years then suffered through a miserable ten days without one on a dare from a friend. But after that time I felt a wonderful freedom - I can play 6-8 hours a day without stiffness or pain - and my intonation and ability to play in high positions is much improved. For me shoulder rests lock the body in one position and make the violin seem inanimate - without one the violin really feels a part of me and I can play it without worrying about "positions". But basically one must find what works for oneself - great violinists use all different accessories and styles. I do have a very long neck too - in high school I was know as "Stork-neck"
  5. I forgot to mention this one in my last message, but plucking the string you want to tune is better than bowing it (for beginners, anyway) because the bow affects slightly the pitch of a note being played (even on open strings). I tune the A string on my violin by plucking the string and adjusting the peg while the reference pitch is playing. Beats will probably be harder to hear in this situation, but at least the beats will be more consistent. Victor : Hi : I'm having great troubles tuning my violin with my chromatic tuner. If I tune my A to the green light (the one in the middle of the ten or so red lights), it sounds flat. And then when I get to my lesson my teacher will always have to sharpen it a lot. Is it the tuner that is faulty or something? I've had this thing over two years and I did give up on it a while ago, but now I find that unless my fiddle is in exact tune I can't play a thing properly. It is extremely offputting, and I look forward to my lesson each week for the big reason that I know that at least for the next few days (weather being stable) I am playing with a violin which is in tune. : The tuner is a Yamaha (haven't got the model details) and I'm ready to throw it in the garbage. The strings are Dominants. : How long until I can tune this damned thing by ear? (I've been playing 3 years.) I can hear when it's wrong, and I can hear when it's right. I just can't seem to bridge the gap and make the wrongs right. (Yeah, two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights made an aeroplane.) Would be interested in people's experiences: at what stage did you feel it becoming easy/easier to tune your fiddle. : Any advice is more than welcome. : Wanda
  6. My teacher had never listened for beats nor knew anything about them when I first started taking lessons with her. She was amazed at how accurately I could tune a violin using them. I think some musicians out there struggle with tuning instruments all their lives because they miss out on this excellent tuning secret. Victor : 1. Can you detect the "wow-wow" (sum-and-difference frequencies) between a reference tone (sine wave from a tuner or pitch from a fork) and the string you're listening to? : 2. Can you detect perfect fifths when you draw the bow across adjacent open strings, regardless of whether either of them is at exactly the correct pitch? : If the answer to either of these questions is "no", you need to have a talk with your teacher.
  7. Hi Wanda, I'd recommend getting a metronome with a (loud) A-440 reference pitch and tuning your A with it. You can use this reference tone to see if your tuner is out of tune and then return it as defective, calibrate it, or throw it out. A metronome is very useful to have anyway. As for bridging the gap between an out-of-tune note and an in-tune reference pitch, I'd suggest going slightly flat and then tuning up to the desired pitch. You will hear a wavering tone (a wah-wah-wah sound) if the pitch is out of tune, and this wavering will get slower as you approach the correct pitch (it will stop completely when you're dead on pitch). The wavering sound (called "beats") is quite subtle and you will have to listen carefully for it, but once you hear it the whole tuning process will become fairly straightforward. Good luck, Victor : Hi : I'm having great troubles tuning my violin with my chromatic tuner. If I tune my A to the green light (the one in the middle of the ten or so red lights), it sounds flat. And then when I get to my lesson my teacher will always have to sharpen it a lot. Is it the tuner that is faulty or something? I've had this thing over two years and I did give up on it a while ago, but now I find that unless my fiddle is in exact tune I can't play a thing properly. It is extremely offputting, and I look forward to my lesson each week for the big reason that I know that at least for the next few days (weather being stable) I am playing with a violin which is in tune. : The tuner is a Yamaha (haven't got the model details) and I'm ready to throw it in the garbage. The strings are Dominants. : How long until I can tune this damned thing by ear? (I've been playing 3 years.) I can hear when it's wrong, and I can hear when it's right. I just can't seem to bridge the gap and make the wrongs right. (Yeah, two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights made an aeroplane.) Would be interested in people's experiences: at what stage did you feel it becoming easy/easier to tune your fiddle. : Any advice is more than welcome. : Wanda
  8. She was borrowing the ex-David for a while from the Stradivari Society (when she was 10), but a few years later she bought it. It is the Jupiter Stradivarius which she has on loan for life, from a family friend. I got this info from Sheila's Corner. Victor : I read in a recent press release that Midori is using the David del Gesu. I forget the name of the person, but in the article it was mentioned that he placed it on loan to her, as well as a pretty good Strad, for 2 years! Is this right? How come she gets such privalege? I thought that it was to remain in the museum for the use of visiting artists when playing a concert at the nearby concert hall, not carted around the world for the exclusive use of one!!! Can anyone shed light on this subject.
  9. Hi, I try out strings by putting new ones on when the old ones are ready to be changed, and then I leave the new ones on until they wear out (unless the strings are so bad that i HAVE to take them off soon and throw them out). Because of this, I don't have to worry much about storing old strings (though I always keep the previous set in case a new string breaks). I can usually get a good evaluation of the strings within the first couple of days of playing them, but I leave them on the instrument for a long time because only then will I be able to know how the strings perform under all sorts of conditions, how well they break in, how they sound and play after they have broken in, and how long they last. Keeping them on for a long time also gives me better memory of how the strings perform, which helps me compare them against other strings. I would strongly recommend against putting the same strings on and off more than a couple of times because it weakens the strings and makes them more susceptible to breakage. Good luck, Victor : Hi : I would like to know how to try out a new set of strings just to evaluate its worth. I understand that it is unadvisable to remove more than one string at a time. How long do i have to wait to change another string? Will the former set of strings deteriorate in quality? How long do i have to have a set of strings on in order to really tell how good they are? Will the new strings ,on removal and storage, deteriorate after i've tried them?
  10. I put my Tourte mute over the D string on my violin. A cellist I know uses a wire mute over the D and G strings. Anywhere around that area should be fine, just experiment and see what you like best. Victor : Okey dokey. I'm back on here after a nice long vacation of practicing my violin and (tadaa!) cello for about 2hrs. every day. Yes, my mom finally gave in and let me get a cello, and I'm thrilled. I play 1st violin in school for two pieces and cello for one. Anyway, one piece (concert piece for strings) has you put on a mute, and, this is kind of a dumb question, but what string do I put the mute on? Any (nonsexist)[that means you, adean] comments would be appriceated. Thanx, love ya bunches, : Katie
  11. by the way, it is my understanding that bass amps are more efficient than guitar amps, so comparing wattages between guitar amps and bass amps doesn't work well. -v : Hello you guys, : Are you both deaf???? Ouch!! My son't 25 watt Fender Bass amp (BXR 25) is plenty loud. : AB
  12. having a solid-state power amp means you don't have to worry about replacing expensive EL34s (as much as i may like them, they are a bit pricey), just 12AX7s for the preamp. and i do agree that 60 watts is enough for small gigs, even for metal bands! -v : i still think 50 watts is enough (or sixty-basically were talking about two output tubes here), and i'm in pretty good company here in the professional world as long as were not talking about a metal band, but lets consider the fact that 4-6 output tubes not only increases reliability problems, but means doubling the cost of tubes (6l6,el34, 6550, kt88,...). you are looking at an increase of anywhere from $30-75 more for a retube, plus bigger amps also often have more tubes in the driver/pregain stages that could add even more complexity and cost. stick with a tried and true good quality 2 output tube head or combo and you will be fine. : mike
  13. I said 60-watt minimum, not 100; 60 is loud enough. In my experience, you can't get a loud, *clean* sound over the drums under 60 watts, especially with a tube amp. But then again, the drummers I've played with have been so loud as to force me and fellow band members to wear earplugs. I agree with you for, say, a jazz band, but not a metal band. For a long time, my rule has been to never get an amp smaller than 60 watts. I currently play on a 65-watt amp, and it has just enough juice for my needs. Victor : the 100 watt neccesity just has not been my experience in over 20 years of gigs. think of all those people out there with 40watt vibroverbs, bassmen amps, bandmasters, marshall 50's, vox ac50's...were not talking cream at the royal albert hall, just normal gigs. heck i play swing dances as a bass player in large auditoriums with a 45 watt ampeg portaflex and you can definately hear me over the drummer. very few bands ever used more than 50 watts until large arena playing became the thing. anyone that can stand in front of a 50 or 60 watt 2x12 or 4x10 tube amp at high volume and tell me it's not loud enough is nuts. : mike
  14. A 65-watt or 100-watt Marshall Valve (or Valvestate) combo amp should do quite fine for small gigs. The valvestate amps have a tube preamp section and a solid state power amp section, hence the valvestate name. I think valve combo amps are just a shorter name for valvestate combo amps. A combo amp will be fine, but definitely get at least a 60-watt amp, and preferably a 100-watt amp with one or two 12-inch speakers. Anything less and you won't be able to keep up with the drummer volume-wise, but anything more will be tough to drag around from gig to gig (or rehearsal to rehearsal). Check out other brands too, Mesa Boogie, Fender, and the like; play them, and see which one you like best. Check out stores and listen to amps, then grab a Musician's Friend catalog if you don't have one (www.musiciansfriend.com) and check out their gear as well. Good luck, Victor
  15. The chromesteel A has a brighter timbre than the regular Aricore A, which is aluminum on perlon. The Eudoxa Aricore has a darker sound. Yes, the chromesteel A will probably best match the Dominants, but because of that, it may not solve your "screechy A" problem... I would just get the standard Aricore A and then move to the brighter or darker version of the A as necessary. Since all instruments react to strings slightly differently, you will really have to experiment and see what works best with your setup. Good luck, Victor p.s. the chromesteel Aricore is also faster to respond than the other two, and this might also make it a better match for your Dominants. Aricores tend to be a little slow to respond. : In my Dominant set, the G and D are very pleasant sounding, and the Gold Label E is wonderful, too. But the A is simply horrible. It screeches like an alley cat! Upon hearing of the subtleness of Aricores, I've decided to get an Aricore A. : My question is this: Of the three types of Aricore A's: : Chromesteel/Perlon, : Aluminum/Perlon, : Eudoxa Aricore : which one would I most benefit from? I would think that the chromesteel/perlon would sound similar to the Dominant A, but that's just my assumption. Should I get the regular Aricore, or go all the way with the Eudoxa Aricore? How does one justify what is best? : Any help would be very much appreciated. : Sincerely, : : Joey
  16. Hi Erica, I think an ideal bow for you given your current situation is a Codabow Conservative. It is a touch lighter than usual but has fairly average balance and flexibility, it plays great and its sound is decent. It is also fairly inexpensive. If later on you want something better, you can go for a Berg bow, hopefully then knowing more precisely what you want in a bow. You could then either sell the Codabow and get most of your money back, or keep it as an excellent second bow. You might also want to try talking to Michael Duff, explain your situation and your playing style, and he'll probably be able to make you a Berg bow that will closely fit your needs or otherwise be able to work something out with you. It'd probably be worth it to talk to him and at least find out what he'd recommend. Good luck, Victor : Hello all, : As you might have gathered by the subject line, I need a new violin bow. I want to get a top quality composite, but I am in a unique and difficult position - I live out in the bush in Australia and am a long-term chronic invalid, mostly bedridden and unable to leave the house. Neither Berg nor Spiccato have dealerships in this country that I know of anyway. For these reasons it is not possible for me to audition any bows. I would not dream of purchasing a wood bow under these circumstances, but feel that a composite, being a more reliable and standardised product, is worth the risk. I don't really have any choice in the matter, anyway. How then to choose between the two? : The Spiccato is adjustable in stiffness, and would therefore seem to be a good choice under the circumstances, but I have read so many good words about the Berg Bow on this BB and elsewhere, that I don't know which way to turn. There is not much written on the Spiccato in the archives here, as compared to the Berg and others, which makes me wonder - are the Bergs more popular? If so, why? : With regard to the Berg bow, I emailed Berg and they said they make each bow individually to the customer's requirements re weight, balance point etc, but due to my isolation and inexperience, I haven't played enough bows to know what to ask for. Of the two bows I already own, my light, flexible, soft pernambuco one wobbles and bounces and drives me mad however tight or loose I have the hair, and my cheap, heavy, clunky brazilwood one is stiff, dead, clumsy and unresponsive. I end up swapping from one to the other in frustration, but they are both a battle to play and both represent major obstacles to my progress. : I have a fairly lively and expressive style, I am physically very slender and lightly built, and also quite weak due to my health problems and general build, so I guess that I would be better off with a bow on the light, flexible side (but without the wobbles). The Berg comes in a lighter, more flexible model and a heavier, stiffer model. How does the Spiccato compare with these? I have emailed Spiccato and received no reply as yet, but I want unbiassed opinions as well. : What about balance point of the bow? I don't know what to ask for? Does it matter that much? : I tell myself that they are both excellent bows and I can't go too far wrong whichever I choose, but I still want to choose the best one for me. : Thanks for any advice, : Erica Mackenzie
  17. i emailed them asking if i could go see it, and they said to call and "make an appointment" instead of just telling me then when it'd be a good time to see it. too presumptuous! at least they're asking way too much for the violin and thus they're not going to rip off the poor innocent trusting buyer. -v
  18. I live in Pittsburgh, so I'll go see this great and awesome violin. I mean, how often does one get to see and hold a $500,000 (minimum bid) violin? Victor p.s. i'll take $5 with me when i go see it : Have you got $500,000 to spare?
  19. It sounds to me that one of the two violins (the one that makes your fingers get tired) is more difficult to play than the other, and thus it forces you to play with more effort and more expressiveness. So this would suggest spending most of your practice time on your more difficult violin and performing on the violin that's easier to play. This doesn't sound like a bad approach, and I've heard of players who have done this with excellent results. Victor : I have been thinking of this a long time ago, and I would like to share it to the board and see what thoughts people here may have. : I have 2 violins with quite similar set-up, except for some minor differences. Now, when I use one of it to practice for some time, and shift to another, I notice that my finger tire initially for the first few practice sessions, although I can execute the music just as satisfactorily as the other. Now, when I shift to the other violin again after some time using the other one, I notice that the tone that I am producing are far better than before, especially in tonal expressiveness. I mean the vibrato character, and the tonal variation of passages. : Now, my theory is this: While some finger and hand muscle groups are strengthened in common using the 2 violins, there may be some smaller fibers that are uniquely strengthened and developed for each. So, what does that have to do with practice? Maybe, practicing on another violin with similar set-up (proper set-up of course), may have a salutatory effect on the sound production since it practices some minute muscles group that are not used, and working of these minute muscles, which we might not at all notice, may help us play the notes and passages more expressively. Playing a passage expressively definitely involves the bowing hand too, but the left hand is just as important, and I suspect that this mechanical thing of producing the sound to give expressiveness is a mixture of different muscle group and fibers at play. This I guess have a lot to do with the unique sound production of different artists. I am thinking, maybe a good way to put these small fiber groups that affect our sound production without our knowing it is to practice on maybe 2 different violins with 2 different set-up. Since I am just an amateur violinist, I have the luxury to experiment, but maybe this is not for professional before performing a concert, when they need just to be thoroughly familiar with the music to be played on their frequently used violin for that particular piece. For amateur, maybe this is a good experiment. Does anybody have any thoughts on these? Or maybe, is it just pure nonsense!! By the way, maybe this concept applies to the right hand too, using 2 different bows. Thanks for any response.
  20. ... it is now clear that Linda is doing some serious leg-pulling, and many of you are falling for it. If she were serious, she would have listened to you and would be questioning the luthier's claims, but she's not doing that at all. Now give her a good handshake and tell her to let go of your leg... -v
  21. : Hello. I just got my new coda bow. I got the "colours" : model, being a sucker for color in general. : It is actually a very beautiful bow. Unlike my : Glasser, which looks like a low grade student stick, : the Coda has lovely lines and fittings. : And, to my delight, it makes my violin sound better. : Another interesting observation, it handles better too. : You know, I'll probably never be able to afford the : kind of bows which people like to talk about, in : the thousands, you know, but I think these carbon- : composite type bows are just the way to go for : a lot of people like myself. : Mimi
  22. : If I had it, I'd set it so the angle the D string made over the bridge was 158 degrees--maybe plus or minus one degree would be OK if the neck was already in. Get out your protractor, and see what you've got! There are a LOT of different ways to get this measurement, and though a 32mm bridge is nice, it might not be what you want on this violin. I find the 158 degree measurement to be a lot more accurate, and independent of the many variables that could possibly mess up simple height measurements.
  23. And here is Steve's: Clearly, Steve has a bad copy of the picture. The original looks much better. Victor : The instruments appear very UNCONVENTIONAL, if not down right lumpy. : His construction methods are UNUSUAL : The finish is UNPROVEN : I don't know about you guys but the instruments look "lumpy", as for useing a water borne urethane, (actually that product started out as a water based epoxy in order to meet California Air Quality laws, I worked on the development of the product when I was in college. It was never intended for muscial instruments, it is too rigid, and very hydrophillic. Water is constantly evaporating and adsorbing into the film, so the tone consistancy must be questionable) I pity the person who has to work on that finish in 25 years. The water based products will eventually dry out and crack off. they are not soft enough to wear away like an oil or soft spirit varnish. link to the original pic
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