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strungup

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  1. I believe Arnold Steinhardt's Storioni violin is a cut down viola. Does anyone know just what would be involved in cutting down a viola this way? It seems to me that just about everything would have to be changed: plates, ribs, graduations, arching, bass bar, neck, etc.
  2. The Strad is available at my local violin shop. Have you tried that sort of source?
  3. Maybe the fifth string is a B string, higher than the E???
  4. Learning to make a good sound with the bow is complicated. Basically, as someone else said, you're using your mind to train your body. There are so many interacting factors that you can't specify exactly what to do. So you have to have an idea in your mind of what good sound is. You have to pay attention when you play and listen to yourself carefully. That way you'll hear when you make a good sound and sub-consciously you'll remember what you did right and little by little you'll get better. That's how it works. Good luck!
  5. I imagine one of the reasons the pristine condition of the instrument is so valued is the opportunity it offers to see everything just the way Stradivari made it. Most old Cremona instruments have had major changes made to them, such as changing the neck angle and fingerboard. Also various repairs or restorations have been done. In some cases of del Gesu instruments they have even been regraduated. Consequently, for the study of Stradivari's methods a pristine, unchanged instrument is especially valuable.
  6. Viola sound gets a lot of metaphorical description, too. For example, Brescian-style instruments tend to sound "chocolate" while Strad or maybe Andrea Guarneri instruments have a "honey" sound.
  7. At a concert by the Guarneri String Quartet I noticed that Arnold Steinhardt's chinrest was rather tall. At the reception after the concert I asked him about it and he said he had a long neck and had neck pain so he had the high chin rest custom made. I'll bet any good luthier could carve one for you.
  8. Michael Darnton's instruments are excellent and in your price range.
  9. I recently had some very good South African wine, a Shiraz from Onyx winery, so not everything has to have it's taste disguised.
  10. It's not a shopping mall The Mall in DC is the long park-like area between the Washington monument and the capitol building where the big Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art are located.
  11. This "pooling effect" is interesting. In the case of goods for which there is no objective standard of measurement I think the pooling effect would be strongest. That might be the case for state college grads vs ivy league grads for their first jobs but after that I imagine that for the most part real ability will prevail. For instrument prices I think from the buyer's perspective, assuming the instrument is being bought for use and not to join a collection, the correct criteria would be does it do what I need and is it worth it to me.
  12. Yes, "urushi" is the Japanese word for lacquer.
  13. People say they want to get the sound quality of the instruments made by the great masters and ask why there isn't more experimentation with alternative woods to reach this goal. One thought regarding this is that it seems to be extremely difficult to reach that level of sound no matter what materials are used. And we know it can be done with the traditional materials and techniques. So I'm not surprised that makers striving for the highest sound quality would restrict themselves mostly to the traditional ways. A lifetime of effort might be needed to succeed with methods and materials we know can work. Why waste time trying something we don't know is even capable of working? Now, I don't mean that it is fruitless to work with non-traditional materials; beautiful things can be done which might work as well as anything a non-genius type maker could achieve otherwise. Finally, we have a good amount of information about the long-term behavior of the traditional materials. I think less is known about how non-traditional materials age. That factor, too, might inhibit makers from experimenting with alternatives to the usual woods.
  14. No one is going to give a "perfect" performance of this great music. It's impossible. My favorite recording is the Grumiaux, but I learned something new that I like from every recording I've heard.
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