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Joseph Liu

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Everything posted by Joseph Liu

  1. There are more and more players who realize that some contemporary instruments offer great quality and value. With Strads and Del Gesu in the millions of dollars, it's not realistic for most players to own or play on one. However, most of the players who appreciate new instruments still prefer old looking (antiqued) new instruments. I have not seen a major concert artist brave enough to take a new instrument on stage that is not either an exact copy or heavily antiqued.
  2. I use pressurized air at 40 psi through a 4 mm diameter tube to clean the dust out of violins that haven't been cleaned in a long time. Then I use tweezers to get the dust ball out if there is one.
  3. Thank you all for your help! I live in the Valley, so Glendale is pretty close. Peonymusic, I don't see your email address in your profile.
  4. Does anyone know any community orchestras in Los Angeles for amateur musicians? I play the violin, but not too well. I would like to play in an orchestra for fun. I'd appreciate your suggestions.
  5. My first violin was a Knilling violin made in Germany. I bought it in 1991.
  6. Hans Weisshaar Shop in Los Angeles sells a polish that is made from the original Sacconi polish formula. You can just call the shop to order.
  7. The two different styles of fingerboards present interesting and different playing possibilities. If planed well, the round fingerboard should provide continuous string height at all playing positions ( the string height off the fingerboard should rise gradually from A to C as well as from lower to higher positions). The technical challenge lies in the following situation: If the finger board roundness (using the same curvature or the same fingerboard pattern) should remain the same from low to high positions, the fingerboard scoop must have a linear change (continuous and gradual) from A to C strings or vise versa. For players who wishes to draw a big sound from the lowest notes on the C string without having very high playing action on the other strings will find the Romberg? fingerboard useful (provided the luthier planes the fingerboard with precision). Because the Romberg fingerboard pattern is not continous, the fingerboard under C string can have a slightly larger scoop than normal which will prevent buzzing from the lowest notes. For a visual view of the theory behind all this, either plot the fingerboard with strings in 3D AutoCad [the "Round" pattern should have a clock needle action with the pivot point to the treble side outside of the pattern (moving the pattern up or down the fingerboard), and the "Romberg" pattern should have a roller coaster action rotating counter-clock-wise going from the bridge to the nut], or put fingerboard patterns on cello strings (on a cello, preferablly gut or loose) and push down slightly. The "Romberg" pattern is less precise as far as continuous string height across strings and positions is concerned, but you can pull the C string slightly towards the treble side with only slight pressure on the rest of the strings which provides a little more scoop under the C. It is, afterall, the player that plays his or her instrument. Whatever the player has more confidence in will show in the performance.
  8. Joseph Liu


    Rivolta has great Italian spruce! Since shipping tonewood is kinda expensive, you can buy a bunch and wait a couple of years before using.
  9. I agree with La Folia. According to a study in the CAS Journal Vol.3 No. 7 (SeriesII), "The E string string whistle is caused by exciting the torsional modes of the plain steel string. Experience has shown that the whistle can be avoided by either using wound E strings that have high torsional damping, or by slowing the bow and attacking the string firmly, so the torsional mode cannot establish itself in place of the desired transvere mode. The damping for wound E strings is generally much greater than that of plain E strings, as shown by Pickering(1985)." (Stough 1999) The article also mentions that thicker or longer strings have positive effects toward solving E string whistles. Apart from correcting the playing style, wound strings or thicker strings seem to be the best solutions. I had a chance to apply the theory a few months ago when a customer came into the shop complaining of a similar situation. She had a Olive E medium. I first inspected and file the string grooves to the desired shape with no effect on the whistle. She mentioned that she did not like wound E strings, so I placed the plain Dominant E medium on the violin. The plain Dominant has a large diameter compared to most other plain E strings. The problem disappeared, but like a lot of players, she did not like the sound of the string. I then measure the diameters of several strings using venier calipers. I chose the thick gauge Olive E, which is in between the medium and the Dominant medium in diameter. She liked the sound of Olive E stark, and the whistle did not occur again. The problem was solved. Since both the materials of the strings and the thinkness of the strings contribute to torsional damping, it requires patience and careful selection. A micrometer or a pair of venier calipers will make the selection process easier.
  10. Did you guys see the US/Portugal game? I watched it on a Spanish channel. It was a great game! The US team is unbelievably good and fast. I hope they go all the way. Go USA!
  11. It is possible that the E string groove at the nut is not in good shape. If the ends of the vibrating length are not very secure (string moves even just a 1/100 of an inch in the grooves), the sound can be suddenly dampened.
  12. I am a big Kennedy fan! His Del Gesu sounded great when I heard him in Chicago. It's much better suited to his bowing style than his Strad. Does anyone know which shop did the setup?
  13. Thank you. That was fun!
  14. I would suggest going to different shops in Chicago and its neighboring cities and ask the owners what they currently have. You can also call the Chicago School of Violin Making at 847-673-9545. Since there is no set price, pricing depends on the instruments and the shops who sell them.
  15. Thank you Jeffrey for the detail pictures and explanation. It's hard to guess what violins those were. At first glance, I even thought the third one (from the first picture of backs) was a Tschu Ho Lee Amati pattern. After seeing the enlarged pictures, it's still hard to decide what each one was. I have only seen 2 F. Rugeris, 2 N. Amatis, and 3 A. Guaneris, so I couldn't really tell from the picture which one #2 was. Is the Hamma book a good comprehensive guide for recognising italian instruments? It's black and white, only a few examples of each maker, and not high def pictures. So I never bought one. Plus, violin books are expensive. Or should I save some money and wait until someone like C. Beare, D. Rosengard, or P. Kass to write a new comprehensive book?
  16. Nicolo Amati, Francesco Rugeri, Leondro Bisiach Sr., George Gemunder [This message has been edited by Joseph Liu (edited 04-23-2002).]
  17. It's probably more important to look at what caused the string to break. The fine tuner frequently have sharp edges that can cause E strings to break. Makers and repairers file these sharp edges off when they install the fine tuners. Sometimes it's just the strings. If it happens again, you might want to bring it to a shop to have the fine tuner and the violin looked at. Broken E strings can sometimes be quite dangerous. I got a broken E flew right into my arm and stuck under my skin once. Only a few drops of blood, but imagine if it hits your face! I would not recommend using a fixed broken E.
  18. Raw wood harvested from the bottom of Lake Superior did not show any decay either. I haven't read enough to know why. Maybe from the lack of oxygen? I am planning on reading "Wood Microbiology : Decay and Its Prevention" by Robert A. Zabel, Jeffrey J. Morrell. If anyone knows more about wood decay or has read the book mentioned, please share your thoughts. By the way, I suspect micro-organisms developed in the wood with the help of sweat, moisture, varnish, glue and dirt will change the wood structure and sound over time that can make a difference between the sound in new and old instruments. I have heard some good makers using an "organic process" to treat wood. Although I do not know specifically which process. p.s. Two instruments I am working on smell really bad when the wood and varnish come in contact with any kind of liquid (Glue, cleaner, water...). One has the smell from the owner's perspiration and aftershave. The other is probably from sitting in a garage for 50 years. It was really dirty. Who knows what had been cultured in the wood! [This message has been edited by Joseph Liu (edited 04-19-2002).] [This message has been edited by Joseph Liu (edited 04-19-2002).]
  19. A Sony representative came to the violin shop where I work to borrow instruments, cases, etc. for use in a new movie based on the book "The Far Side of the World". Its director is Peter Weir (did I spell his last name right?). Russel Crow will play a ship captain who plays the violin. He is taking violin lesson in Australia. I just thought I would share this for those who are intereted in movies.
  20. I believe Bernard Millant told me about that company. Jerome-Tiberville-Lamy was a french violin making firm. I totally forgot whatever else he said about that company. I was concentrating on the bow discussions. I don't have a Henley dictionary either. Maybe someone will be able to look it up?
  21. Since I just graduated last year, my information should still be useful. It's a full-time course. A lot of the students do take part-time jobs outside. Tuition is a bit less than $3000 a semester. There are about 30 students. Current teachers include Tschu Ho Lee, Fred Thompson and Rebecca Elliot. If you need more detailed information, you can email (csvm1@aol.com) or call (847-673-9545). It's a good program. Before I entered the school, I hadn't even sharpened a knife or a plane blade. I certainly learned a lot in four years there.
  22. Hi everyone! I just started posting last week after visiting for several weeks. I am a repairer/maker in L.A. Here is a question I have. I used a set of Otto Tempel boxwood pegs on my first violin several years ago. I remembered the boxwood pegs seem quite soft (the e string left deep impressions on the peg after a couple of days) and the wood looked different from other sources (Gotz, Harmonie or cheaper brands). I am thinking about getting some fossil ivory boxwood pegs from Otto Tempel. The prices are quite good for ivory collared pegs. I was wondering if it was just that particular set I used that was softer boxwood, or if most boxwood pegs from Otto Tempel are softer. Has anyone used Otto Tempel boxwood pegs before?
  23. I like Milstein's recording as well, although I don't like the sound of his Strad that much. To me, Perlman has the best sounding Strad by far. Menuhin used the same violin (Soil Strad 1714) for most of his recordings.
  24. Pietro Guarneri of Mantua produced some high and full arched violins. My coworkers and I had the opportunity to examine the 1703 violin, that belonged to a customer, illustrated in color by the Hills and compared it side by side with a 1708 violin by the same maker. The 1708 had high and full arching while the 1703 had arching more like a Strad. The dimensions across the upper, C, and lower bouts of the 1708 (high arching one) were quite a bit narrower than the other. I was wondering if deformation and subsequent arching corrections had something to do with the differences between the two instuments. The shape of the outline otherwise looked very similar. By the way, the 1703 violin was in extremely fine condition. It retained the original neck with stains from nails. The neck was lengthened like the Harrison Strad. All edges were sharp, and tool marks were like the way they were left by the maker. I personally liked the sound of the 1703, but I was also obviously influenced by the looks of the violin.
  25. Gary Garavaglia is definitely one of my favorite cello makers. His cellos are interesting to look at and sound very nice. He received a tone certificate at the 2000 VSA competition for a cello he entered.
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