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About DeepBlue

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    Charleston, SC
  1. Interestingly, Machold was referenced in the Wall Street Journal today. Although the article is not strictly about violins, it does talk about the Machold case extensively. Collectors Intoxicated by Luxury Labels Are Played for Fools - WSJ The article may require a subscription. I'm not sure. If not (or if you're a subscriber), it's an interesting look at how industries with extreme levels of information asymmetry tend to work.
  2. Another thread reminded me of one of my other favorite apps -- Guitar World's Lick of the Day. You can download licks from rock, blues, jazz, country, and other genres. You get the guitar and standard notations and a video demo. It's really a great resource for playing alternate styles.
  3. You don't mention if you want to play acoustic violin or electric. I think it would be very difficult to play acoustic violin in a classic rock band due to the stage volumes and feedback issues. Fitting in is not really much of a problem. Just listen to what the lead guitar does. You're basically another lead guitar. Add a distortion pedal and some other effects and you'll be rocking in no time. If you have an iPad, I recommend downloading the Guitar World app, "Lick of the Day." You have to buy or subscribe to the licks, but if you download the Classic Rock licks you should get some good ideas. You'll find a lot more activity discussing alternate styles if you check out the Fiddle Forum ( While people here will discuss alternate styles occasionally, most of the conversations stick to classical topics.
  4. Although it's not a violin-specific app, by far the most useful music app I have is ForScore. I use it for practice and performance. The app has a built-in metronome that works both audibly and visually. Although the screen is just a little too small for me to use in an orchestral setting with a stand partner, I use it with my praise band at church every week. In the praise band I am the only violinist, so I don't share a stand. I have the Airturn pedal to turn pages. I create setlists for every performance and then use the pedal to turn the pages. This app has eliminated the paper explosion that happened every Sunday morning when I tried to wrestle multi-page charts with multiple repeats and jumps for verses, choruses, and bridges. This also means that I have all of my music with me wherever I go. I can annotate music at anytime, and if I arrive at a rehearsal early, it means I have other music with me that I can review if necessary. For example, if I arrive at praise band rehearsal early, I still have my music from the symphony with me to squeeze in extra practice time. It's the best $5 I ever spent for musical equipment. Ok, so we won't mention the cost of the iPad and the $100 for the pedal, but still...
  5. I'm using an iPad. Getting a screen shot may be a challenge, but I do love the convenience.
  6. I got a reply from customer service and my account is now working. So far the magazine looks great. I subscribed for 12 months and then bought one back issue just to see if it works. So far, so good. I've been trying to avoid paper magazine subscriptions for the last year or so. Electronic versions are so much more convenient. The Strad was one of the last legacy magazines I got in print. I'm glad that they've finally delivered a nice electronic version.
  7. I've been hoping for this for a while. Consequently, I jumped on it and subscribed right away. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see the magazine yet. The iTunes payment went through, but the subscription isn't loading. Moreover, the subscription double-billed my credit card and caused a fraud alert, which had to be dealt with by the bank. The magazine app is provided by a company called Pocketmags and the help desk communication is only via e-mail (no phone number), so I'm still waiting for a response. This is what I've come to expect from the Strad over the years. A great magazine, with terrible customer service. I should not be surprised. On the other hand, it has more potential than the ridiculous digital magazine provided by Strings Magazine. At least there's some hope for the Strad when the kinks are worked out. My recommendation is to wait on the Strad subscription. I'll post updates on my experience as this gets resolved.
  8. LeMaster, At first I thought, yes, you are correct. I forgot about the capital gains treatment of inherited property. However, a couple of things come to mind: 1) After looking around a bit, I'm not positive that the cost basis for the inheritance of business property is treated the same as personal property. Something to ask an accountant. 2) You may have to pay estate tax anyway. If your estate is larger than the estate tax exclusion, you would pay estate tax on the full value (the depreciated basis wouldn't make any difference). I think the current exclusion is several million dollars, but if the Bush tax cuts truly expire then it could go back to it's former level (I think around $600k, but don't quote me). Even current law changes the exclusion back to $1M in 2013. That's a lot of money, but if you have a sizable estate, the only way to avoid it is to avoid dying. Either way, we're back to the original point. You need advice from an accountant of some sort (not me). Good luck.
  9. I have no idea what the current depreciation periods are. Congress has tinkered so much with the tax code in the last few years that I can't keep up. My suggestion in the last paragraph is not meant to imply that I think seeking a specialty CPA is a bad idea. My intent is to say that it is likely that depreciating the instrument is a bad idea, and you need specific guidance to make sure you don't make a mistake. Sorry for the confusion. I've now updated the original post to make it clearer.
  10. Yes, they can be depreciated if you use them to generate income. At least three issues to consider: 1) Generally, you must show that your enterprise generates profits. That is, you generate enough income from music so that the depreciation does not produce consistent losses over the long term. 2) When you, or your estate, sell the instruments, the depreciated value (probably $0) will become the new cost basis. With assets that have low or no salvage value, this does not cause problems. With assets that actually appreciate in value this means you are just delaying your tax liability. Pay me now or pay me later. 3) If you are generating income as a professional musician, make sure that you have your instruments insured properly (i.e. not on you homeowner's policy). While homeowner's policy riders are much cheaper than specialty insurance, it may be a false savings if you incur a loss. Most homeowner's policies exclude professional use and you are creating a paper trail that proves you are a professional musician. Some people may freelance or teach occasionally and think that this does not meet homeowner's policy exclusions. In this case, the insurance implications could be costly. A depreciation example: Let's say that you have a $10,000 violin. If you depreciate the value to zero over several years, then when you sell the violin you will have to declare a $10,000 'profit' on the sale of the asset in the tax year it is sold. If you sold in the middle of the depreciation period, the you would have to adjust the cost basis accordingly. Moreover, this treatment may actually increase your tax liability. If you declare the instrument as a tool used in your trade, it becomes a non-capital asset. See This may mean that the sale of your instrument is taxed at a higher rate than traditional personal capital gains rates at the time of the sale. It depends on how you structure your musical 'business.' Your first inclination to seek a specialty accountant is a wise one. My gut feeling is that you may be creating many complications for yourself by depreciating the instrument, and in the end the tax bill may be higher. At first blush, it doesn't seem like such a good idea unless you have very careful guidance.
  11. Just to fill in some of the blanks here... Tom Florence was a violin dealer that lived in Atlanta. He worked from his home on the South side and I bought a couple of violins from him over the years. The first when I was in high school. Mr. Florence was a great guy that always spent time with me explaining the various ins and outs of the trade -- even when I was a high school student with no money. You could never just go see Tom for a quick visit. He always wanted to talk. His manual was originally just for himself. He used it to keep up with the market in the pre-internet days. Eventually, so many people became interested in his project that he began selling it as a stand-alone product. It makes sense that Tom and Donald Cohen would have had a connection, since Donald worked in Atlanta in the 70s/80s. I took my bow to him to be re-haired several times. I can see how Donald may have carried on the work after Tom passed away. Unfortunately, Tom smoked like a chimney. He never seemed in particularly good health to me, and eventually the lung problems got the better of him. In a lot of ways, Tom was ahead of his time. If he had lived to see the flourishing web today, I'm sure his entrepreneurial nature would have led him to create one of the first on-line auction results manuals. I miss Tom's chatty ways, friendly nature, and love for all things violin. I learned a lot from him.
  12. I glanced through this thread and didn't see any reference to the recordings by Ricci that were done for his Legacy of Cremona project. If you want to hear recordings by well-known makers for comparison, pick up this book and cd combo. You can hear samples of the recordings here: My apologies if someone mentioned this item and I missed it.
  13. I've got a Yamaha SV-200 that I like very much. The feel and set-up are very similar to my acoustic violin. I can switch back and forth without adjustment. I recently added a Skyinbow 5-string electric to my roundup. It has a nice acoustic sound and I really enjoy the added range of the C-string. However, there is some adjustment when moving from the 4-string to the 5-string. If I am preparing for a classical concert, I will sometimes revert to my Yamaha for electric performances to avoid the adjustment issues. Otherwise, I use the Skyinbow. The sound you get from an electric will be more of a function of the pickup the violin uses, than the body style. Many of the higher end electrics tend to use the Barbera pickup. It has a fairly electric sound, that responds well to effects. Most of the Jordans fall into this category. Most of the Mark Wood Vipers also use the Barbera. To me, the choice between these instruments comes down to ergonomics. Which body style meets your needs is a matter of personal preference. One of the reasons I chose the Skyinbow was that it doesn't use the Barbera pickup. Most of my electric playing is in a church praise band and I wanted a more acoustic sound. I can still use distortion and other effects pedals, but It's easier for me to get a warm sound from the Skyinbow. The Yamahas use a proprietary pickup system that, to me, falls somewhere in between. The NS Designs violins seem to be very popular and come in a range of prices, although I've not played one myself. I've bought all three of my electric violins from the Electric Violin Shop in North Carolina ( The guys at EVS are probably the most knowledgeable in the business and will take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of the models they sell. They haven't steered me wrong yet. If you want to see more discussion of electric violins, I recommend you check out Fiddle Forum ( FF has much more discussion of electric and alternative styles topics than Maestronet. Good luck with your search.
  14. If you want info about electronic instruments and pick-ups, I recommend you check out You'll find threads about this pick-up over there.
  15. My guess is that you can find a Sergio Peresson at the top of your range--maybe a little more.