Roman Malamant

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About Roman Malamant

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  1. Hi! Magnus if you need also cello string's code (as it seems) you can find color chart for individual strings on Pirastro website itself. For example Evah cello chart is in the end of their flier here : http://www.pirastro.com/pdf/flyer/cello/celloflyer_eng.pdf
  2. You right,Nicolas, 3.5mm is a more "standartized" measure. However most players come to me to make it lower and I noticed that 3mm in most cases is what actually works for them. So, unless I see that player has a solistic playing style, has big fingers or just tell me he wants higher bridge (I always ask), I have decided to do 3/5.5 as a "medium standart". If you look at my bridge template you will see there are wings that I use to measure string clearance. The middles of the wings are 3mm and 5.5 mm, when I want higher bridge I use the highest point of the wing as a reference. I use the lower side of the wing to show customers that they cannot go below that point if they want extremely low bridge - the visual demonstration with the template in most cases convinces them much better than words .
  3. The "conventional" strings height over the Fb I use is 3mm for E and 5.5 for G...
  4. Just to illustrate what I mean by aligning the E and D in order to see clearance of A, here is the photo (I assume it's obvious but just to make sure - in order to see clearance of the D string you need to align A and G ): This is my template:
  5. The way I am doing the bridge curve is like this. First I make a bridge higher than what it is supposed to be. Since I don't check at this point the curve on top of the strings (I make the curve of bridge itself), my bridge template has a bit higher curve at the D string in order to make sure silver D strings will be high enough. Actually, I make the top of the strings curve a little bit higher at the D in final bridge too because D has a bit less tension than A. So, in order to have the same curve when playing forte, D have to be slightly higher (its especially noticeable when playing in high positions). With the higher bridge on the violin with strings in tension I measure by how much the E and G need to be lowered to make proper height over the fingerboard. It is very important to have, at this point, strings close to proper pitch as some violins tend to pull the fingerboard a little bit downwards when in tension. Sometimes by mm or even 1.5 (especially on violins with "bully" arch). I don't measure the height at the middle strings as this is a function of proper fingerboard curve. Bridge curve should take care of comfortable bowing only, it's the fingerboard curve should take care of making middle strings in proper height with relation to E and G. Next thing, I mark on the bridge how much E and G need to be lower, using previous measurement. I avoid method of cutting string grooves until string height is right, as some people do, because, while doing this, distance between strings can change. I just measure how much bridge too high at E and G and mark on the bridge. Than using my bridge template I draw the new bridge line aligning with marks for E and G and cut the rest of the wood away. Now that I have the right bridge height I make the last finish put the bridge on the violin, check the sound and do adjustments as needed. The last thing I check the curve on the top of the strings. Actually its not a curve, that I am interested in, but proper clearance for A and D. What I do, I look at the bridge from E side, with back of the bridge aligned flat so that you actually don't see it (the violin is in my hand in horizontal position, the bridge is on top in front of my eyes, the head to the right). When I look at it I align the tops of E and D strings at the bridge so that I see the D exactly behind E. When tops of strings E and D aligned you can see precisely the clearance of the A string above the E and D. Using this method I compare the clearance of the D and A. As I said before I give the D string slightly more clearance as it has slightly less tension. Clearance something like 2 mm for D and 1.7 mm for A (I do it by eye never really measure it) should be ok - but it can change of course, depending on player preferences. At this point I cut the grooves under strings deeper in order to adjust the proper clearance. The last thing, to make sure each string sits only half of it's diameter inside the groove, I file the top of the bridge to remove all the wood above that point. That's all, hope it was clear but please ask if something was not.
  6. Thanks Torbjorn! It was an interesting experience - I have never had to photograph as much as 52 violins in a row. I wouldn't be able to do it in that short time without help of the friends by the way. I need to thank for assistance in photography Dimitri Atanassov and Fernando Lima. It was nice to meet you guys (and others) and I enjoyed every second of it.
  7. By the way, it would have been nice to see my name mentioned on Christophe's website since I made all the photos at the exhibition... I am not connected to the exhibition in any way and I took the initiative of making the photos because I thought it would be pity not to have a record of these great instruments.
  8. Hi Torbjorn! Probably I shouldn't have given those to Christophe, but I thought he would be interested to have all the photos I made there. I guess you can ask him to remove your violin from the list. By the way, if someone interested to get full size photos of your violin from the exhibition, just send me a message. And by the way it was really fun to see all these instruments! Great job guys.
  9. Thanks, I see what you mean regarding the grain lines. Hoped I discovered your secret regarding bridge photo background, but was far from it . That woolen cover is also very good as a photography background I must say.
  10. Hi all! Bruce, I like your bridge, especially wood selection! I played a bit with camera yesterday and photographed an old bridge that was laying around and, funny thing, the background l used looks similar to yours. Was it back of cigar box by any chance )?
  11. Good to know! Now I got an excuse to ask my wife not to put orange or lemon peals and shaves in cakes. I don't like that taste!
  12. Magnus, Henry Strobel said he use Loctite X-NMS Solvent in a 2 oz. (59 ml) brush top bottle to dissolve CA glue (it was discussed on another forum I think). He said that it is less aggressive than acetone to varnishes he tested. Henry still advices to use it with caution as there might be some varnishes that could get damaged more easily. I personally didn't try this solvent.
  13. Somehow black and white pointers in levels never worked for me, although I know that most pro's do it that way... I am just too bad in finding absolute black and white places to click. I don't think it is my monitor - it is calibrated using Spyder3. What works for me to find blacks and whites is adjusting separate channels in levels using the histogram. On most photos, if you adjust histogram to touch the sides in all channels, it should not have cast, and black and whites will look good. I always have to be more careful with the blue highlights, somehow they never have to be all the way to the right, even when the reds and greens are. The medium gray sampling I do when converting from raw. I use white balance sampler on gray background. I have also calibrated my camera colors for violins using "camera calibration" menu in photoshop camera raw. My feeling that most problems with reds come from using in camera jpg converters that always has reds popped up by far too much to make photos "pop" :-D. I might be wrong about that though... Another work around that helps if prints come out with too deep blacks and clipped shadows (even if blacks were not clipped in the histogram). Open levels and adjust the left side of the "output levels" for a value between 4-8 (it is the number in bottom left field).
  14. Hello Alan, I have been photographing violins a bit and I can feel your pain. I never got as far as publication but color matching even for printing can be a very complicated process. One of the workarounds that helped me was using neutral gray as a background. Though it is not a perfect solution, I find it so much easier to get more accurate colors to set gray point using gray background. And it will not be croped in the publication, unless you mask it out. I understand that it is too late for that now and you are not going to start your work from scratch to change the background... but I wonder if you can add a photo of kodak chart (done with the same lighting as violin photos) to the book - so that publishers can color correct for it and than remove the chart from the book just before the final step? If all the photos were photographed and color corrected using the same setup, I would guess that this might work... Anyways, it's just my thoughts - I am by no means an expert... Roman
  15. I want to say something about the method of cutting the cleats into the bassbar (myself I usually replace the bassbar with cleats under). In my opinion it is very important to leave sufficient wood at the top of the bassbar, when cutting a groove under it to insert the cleat. As far as I understand, upper part of the wood in bassbar (if you look at it with varnished side of the plate down) is very important for sound. It is even more important for the stability of the plate. I have even seen bassbars that were cut all the way through in order to insert the cleat. This is especially bad idea as it can lead to all kind of problems - loosing sound, rattling and I don't even talk about deformations in the plate that may happen as a result... If its done right, the method of inseting the cleat into the bassbar can be most likely ok, as long as you can glue the crack properly without the need to remove the bassbar...