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Rix2357

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  1. It is interesting how time changes things... I bought a viola from china back in....94'. Back then, you couldn't get anyone to buy one of those things. Luthiers would say it wasn't work their time and money to work on them just by looking at them, nevermind the sound. I took a chance on one and it still plays great. I really think it is all in the setup. If it is setup well, it can compete with any of the european instruments. I can list plenty of oddities about it such as a D flatish wolf note, a lower body that is kind of narrow, a scroll that looks a little bit weirdly carved, or f holes that are a hair out of place, but in the end, it still performs very well. I remember comparing it to a 16.5" viola almost quadruple its price. The viola is a smallish 16" as far as size goes and tonally sounded a hair better than that 16.5" viola I was really wanting. It's aged beautifully and I recently went browsing at some instruments and I feel the sound from my viola is even better than an instrument from a maker here that does custom instruments...I still get comments about how good the instrument sounds, perhaps that is why I am still loathe to part with it although I don't use it as much as I did before. As far as maintenance, I've had two seems open up that got fixed. My luthier says it is due to my sweat and that I really need to wipe it off after each playing session. Strings....the best still were dominant C, G, and D followed by a Jarguar A. I've tried lots of stuff including obligato's, evah's. I think my luthier did a really good job with the bridge carving to get the strings at the right tension. As for decorations...plain ebony pegs, a regular flesch chinrest, and an unadorned ebony tailpiece....
  2. I use it as a regular music stand in order to save some money and space instead of buying a regular manhasset stand. Compared to the wire hamilton stands. The weight is about the same. Comparing sturdiness, these are worlds beyond those wire hamilton stands. The legs of this stand spread out further and lock into place more securely. The music shelf itself is a little less wobbly and has the added benefit of adjustable shelf angles. The angles that can be adjusted are a bit limited since the maker chose to use big secure stops rather than finer adjustments. However, these stands take up a little bit more room because the legs use tubular steel and the stem that leads to the shelf is also tubular and bigger in diameter. It takes a little longer to setup since it uses screws to tighten everything up rather than quick adjust latches.
  3. Well, I do like the intentions of this thread which is to spotlight relatively "newer" composers as opposed to the stalwarts of Mozart, Shubert, Beethoveen, Haydn, and etc (not that I don't like any of their works). If nothing else it helps people like me realize some of the more modern works. I've heard lots of Ennio Morricone's works, but I never realized who composed the music. I had thrown them under the general category of "movie music" of which, the only composer I know of is John Williams. In fact, after watching the Oscars and the sound bites from the show, I realized just how many movies I had watched which must of had Morricone's influence if it wasn't composed by him.
  4. How did they get that last plucked D(I think)? I didn't see any fingers/bow so I'm suspecting it might be a prerecorded track?
  5. Make your pinky a little flatter to get the extra reach that you need or practice on a larger viola then go back to violin and I bet you won't be telling me that you can't reach it anymore :-p. In all seriousness, I am a viola player and I have small hands, but I am still able to do an E major scale without using half position. It took a lot of practice of just constantly working the pinky till it was sore after each session, but I did eventually get it. It usually isn't that we can't reach it, but rather we get tired too quickly and start not being able to reach that far anymore. Second thing to watch for, maybe your holding the violin too flat and also need some work on the range of motion for your elbow. Remember to move your elbow into position that prepares you for jumping to the lower string beforehand and move it enough without adversely effecting the current string your playing on.
  6. I think it is ok to have the tapes as a beginner, but as soon as you can get the feeling of the tape under the strings without looking is when most of the tape should be taken off except for maybe the third finger tape. Practicing scales, arpeggios, and other variations on them is the way to ween yourself completely off of the tape. Remember to check how your fingered notes sound in relation to open strings (a perfectly tuned instrument is a must). Eventually, you will be able to hear and feel(if your the really sensitive type) if the note is out of tune.
  7. I'll just chip in on how I learned how to vibrato. I did do all the stuff pigcat mentioned, but it never "clicked" for me. One thing I had to learn was the actual vibrato motion. My teacher made me do a really wide one in time with a metronome. After I got it smoothed out, I had to increase the tempo until I just couldn't keep up with the metronome. I had to back it down in speed and try that for my scale playing, while everyday trying to push the vibrato tempo as fast as I could go. Finally, one day, I was playing in a slightly different position than normal and the vibrato just came out. I had to position my wrist so it was at a straight to semi broken position. Before that, my wrist was pushed out to far away which hindered the vibrato from coming out. Usually, this is the stage you learn to vibrato almost every long note. It took me over 10 years later (off and on playing/practicing) before I realized that I really shouldn't be using vibrato on every single note and that if I chose certain notes to do it on, I could add a more dramatic effect to whatever music I was playing. But in general, using vibrato on long notes in a slower piece of music is generally ok from a beginners point. Now I may end phrases with a vibrato and change vibrato speeds in the music and the note itself depending upon the mood I would like to project. I basically only use wrist vibrato because I have enough control over it that I can make it sound like an arm vibrato even on the lower positions.
  8. Personally, I think the luthier and the instrument he recommends or is similar to one that he is best at makes all the difference. This was 6 years ago for me when I bought my viola but I think similarities still applies. At that time, I auditioned a lot of 1500 to 2500 violas. In the end, a 16.25" viola, which was 1/4" bigger than than I should handle at the time sounded the best. That costed around $2200 for the instrument. I finally went to the same first luthier that gave me a $1500 viola to try out and commented that I liked the bigger viola's sound the best. Anyways, he played it for a moment, then went back to his store room with a bunch of still not setup violas and started measuring and measuring until he found one he approved of. Anyways, the sound of the new instrument he setup sounded really similar to the 16.25" viola that I tried and he offered it for $1500. It was a chinese viola, but I didn't really care about the future value of it. What I learned from this is that how a luthier sets an instrument up can change the tone of an instrument. Beyond a certain price point, all you are really paying for is the ornaments on the instrument. I still play the instrument at a community orchestra and I still get comments about how good it sounds. A lot of players make a comment that it really needs to be dressed up quite a bit because the quality of sound doesn't fit how cheap it looks. It basically has plain ebony pegs, chinrest, and tail piece. The varnish is a light orange color. It really does look pretty generic.
  9. Rix2357

    rosins

    I've had a Milant Deroux Dark Rosin for over 5 years. I think it's gotten a little harder than when I first bought it. When it was new, if I pushed really hard with the bow, I could leave grooves into the cake of rosin, but now it doesn't.
  10. A bigger viola tends to sound better on the lower strings. That's where the real challenge for most violas are. Most viola players play an instrument around the 16.5" size. A 16" would be on the smaller size, but good for shorter people and a 17" is usually the maximum that people will play with. You have to remember that the viola is much heavier than the violin so play it for long periods of time is also more tiring. The longer the viola, the more weight that is on your shoulder.
  11. gostrings.com seems to have the Jargar A in stock. Their Dominat C is really cheap compared to all the other online retailers. Of course, they are still pricey compared to the Zyex.
  12. Try this....Evah C, Evah G or Dominant G (they are similar with a slightly brigher sound with Dominants. Dominant D(slightly darker sound than the Evah D) and a Jargar A. Priced like that I think the set comes out a little cheaper since the Dominant C is really expensive and the Evah A's are really expensive (even the steel A). I think the Jargar A is actually warmer in tone than the Evah A. The Larsen A(in medium for me) is good and warmer sounding than the Jargar A, but it is ridiculously expensive IMO. Plus the tension on that string is the highest I've ever played for an A string. The Evah steel A was second highest and the Jargar A is the lowest tension A of the three. The Dominant A was even lower tension, but it was just way to dull and didn't last very long since it was the only synthetic A I've tried. Up next on my list is a Evah synthetic A. Maybe one of them will be the winner out of my current Larsen A.
  13. I found the C and G to be pretty good. The C was a little darker sounding than a Dominant C, but also played at the same loudness. The G ended up being a little brighter sounding than a Dominant G. But on my instrument, the D and the A string just overwhelmed me by sounding way to bright too sudden. Actually the D and the A string match pretty well, but since the G and the D string didn't match at all I had to compromise. The A string was brighter sounding than a jargar A. Since the Jargar A is much cheaper I'd just go with buying a Jargar A instead of shelling more money for the steel evah pirazzi A. Someday I'll get around to trying the synthetic A string from evah pirazi.
  14. Vibrato....this is how I got/learned from teacher how to get it to work. For the vast majority of people it is a natural motion that just clicks and most people just do it well instantly at one point or another. My teacher told me to practice by wiggling the wrist back and forth with a metronome. Start with the second/middle finger because that is usually the easiest. The metronome would be set on 50 and I would just try and wiggle back and forth in beat with the metronome. You can do a back and forth on one beat or move the wrist back on one beat and forward motion with the wrist on another beat. The thing was to set the metronome at the fastest speed you do it back and forth. Practice for awhile. Eventhough I did this exercise it took me about 3 weeks to get it. The turning point came when I found out that I was already bending my wrist forward too much which was away from a more natural position. The suzuki method was what I first started and the thing that was stressed was that you should never have a "broken wrist" playing position. I took that advice a little too far and one day while I was just messing around and not holding the instrument haphazardly the vibrato just naturally came. Of course, I've since refined my vibrato quite a bit since then. I can do a very fast vibrato or a wide and slow vibrato. I've also learned an arm vibrato, which I find is the widest but it is pretty tiring to do. I suppose there might be some songs that could find use for that type of vibrato.
  15. The trick about avoiding the iron fillings is to turn the instrument sideways or upside down when doing it ;-)
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