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Everything posted by Ernst

  1. This could be a pegbpx question and I am going to post it there, but I also would appreciate the opinion of the instrument players. Do you prefer natural gut or the newer synthetic tailpiece string? Why? Two obvious considerations would be tone color and stability. Others might be the type of violin strings used or the preferred style of playing. Perhaps tradition would also be a consideration but tone & stability (which really gets back to tone) are my primary interests. If you think of other consideraions please do share them. Last summer I experimented on a very poorly made low-end violin that had the expected "cigar box sound." Better strings, bridge, and setup made it a bearable violin substitute until a real instrument replacement could be found. One of my discoveries during this process was that a natural gut tail-piece string vastly improved the sound. It didn't turn it into a great or even good tone but it did accent the positive and mask the negative. Would this observation also be true on better quality instruments or is this another one of those "it depends on the instrument" scenarios. For the record, a professional musician who is also an importer/dealer told me that if the instrument were a cello that could be true but in a violin very little of the sound is transmitted through the tailgut.
  2. Ernst


    I've been told that a single layer of parchment paper wrapped around the button is an acceptable shim when a bit more diameter is needed for a secure fit. Any thoughts/comments on this?
  3. Even their lower priced instruments are beautifully finished and set up well. I have an Artist that cost about 1/3 of the price of the Bartok and was surprised to get such quality in that price range. It sounds like it should have cost 2 or 3 times as much. If that is any indication, the Bartok should be magnificent. I'm toying with the idea of trading up when their new Michael Todd line comes out. My only reservation is that in all honesty I don't need a better instrument; so I have to decide if just wanting it is reason enough.
  4. My deepest sympathies Crystal, and thank you for sharing the "glimpse" of your dear father. Both of my parents have gone on now and also a good number of my closest friends. I've experienced that empty-loss feeling far too many times in my short life but I believe it has changed me into a better man. Isn't life strange? We take it all for granted and never really realize that it could all change in a minute. That's why at age 49 I do crazy things like decide to study music and get into the violin. I probably have a dozen other intense hobbies that keep me hopping, and.... I remember to tell my wife, my daughters and their husbands, my grand-daughter, the rest of my family, and every body else who deserves it - that I love them and am proud of them. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I haven't played Amazing Grace in a while. It's such a simple sweet song that often I get tears in my eyes while playing it. I will play it tonight in memory of all of our loved ones, wherever they rest.
  5. There is a misunderstanding here. I just used PayPal to donate a little money to Jerry's site but I certainly did not use my checking account. I signed up to use paypal services last week to do an ebay purchase. When I enrolled as a registered user I did not have to submit any checking account information, I would never do that either. That part of the service is optional; I think it is required if you want to receive funds through paypal. I know it is required if you want the ability to use the service for payments greater that $1000.00, As I recall they called it "validating" your paypal account or some other such rubbish. There probably is some good reason for it but for my purposes I wasn't interested. When I signed up I used a credit card number. Besides my legal name and address that is all of the information I gave them. When I use the service I login with my user name and password and enter the $$$ amouunt I want charged to my card. I used it twice so far and there was no fee either time for my use. Perhaps the party receiving the payment is charged a fee? Maybe the credit card company pays a fee. Certainly somebody has to pay for the service but my interest in that part of paypal ended after I made sure that I didn't have to. I'm certainly no expert concerning paypal and am neither an opponent nor a proponent of their service. I just wnated to set the record straight in the event you do need to use it. Checking account information is not needed. If you use it at my level your funds are secured through your credit card, which cannot be accessed without your password.
  6. Both sites are dynamite and compliment each other wery well. [This message has been edited by Ernst (edited 04-01-2002).]
  7. When I read stephen redrobes post about string characterisitcs something clicked. In an earlier post I compared my experience with several diferent brands & models of strings. Concerning Violinos, I found them the easiest to play but preferred Obligatos because with my violins they produced a more colorful spectrum of tones. This makes sense as stephen's rating listed Obligatos as designed for a higher tension than violinos. My violins do tend to have heavier plates! Sounds like I'll have to try the Eva Pirazzis when my Obligatos kick. I have another violin arriving in a few days. This one was made before the advent of steel or synthetic strings so the violinos just might be the ticket. I think I'm beginning to learn a bit about matching strings to instrument characteristics. We shall see.
  8. Thanks, I got it. What happened is I failed to click on the link that gives their mission statement and offers the opportunity to be a supporter. I usually ignore these links as it seems they're always sendng me someplace I don't want to go; or they automatically begin down loading something I don't want. This one is legitimate, the contribution amount is very moderate, and I'll definetely become a supporting member. I'd love to hear your post when you get around to it. What I've heard there so far has just blown me away!
  9. In general what are the limitations of the Klotz violins for orchestra work?
  10. I recently signed up and it was a real pain butI don't believe there was any charge.(Yeah I bought on of those auction violins. I'll let you know how it turns out) I think you only pay if you go through the validation. That looked like a double P.I.T.A. so I skipped it. It seemed to me that the difference was that I would be limited to $1000.00 which is more than I'd care to speculate with on ebay anyhow. Now the real reason for this post was thatI read your mention of a person named Jerry who is connected with COTA and your intentions of sending along a few $$$ to help out with the site. I really like the site - and this board - and would like to help. Can you give me any details? Obviously I'm a new member here and I am prety much in the dark, as usual! Thanks for any enlightenment you can send my way.
  11. I've tried two brands of steel strings; Super Sensitive Red Labels which I found to be dull and shrill and D'Addario Helicores which were a very decent string, especially for fiddle tunes. In synthetics the four strings I've tried were all nice but different. They were Pro Artes, Dominants, Obligatos, and the new Violinos. I haven't tried gut strings so from my limited experience the synthetics are the best (that I've tried) for classical work. Everything I have read stated that gut is best for that classical violin sound but are also a devil to keep in tune. I used three violins of vastly different quality; from "el cheapo cigar box" to an advancing student model with an old American JGV in the middle. There's not enough room here or time for anything but some general observations. Obligatos - most colorful, greatest projection, greatest dynamic potential, also most expensive. Fairly easy on the fingers but I find them harder to bow, that is probably because Im used to Pro Artes. Violino, Dominants, Pro Artes, and Helicores are roughly the same price range. In this range I preferred Pro Artes because they were the most colorful, not overly brillant, easy to bow, and easy to finger. Dominant's - on my violins - were harder to finger and somewhat darker in tone but they were the best sounding on the "el cheapo." Helicores are very easy to finger and very easy to bow. They have a pleasant balanced sound but are a little brighter than Pro Artes, which is why I didn't stick with them. The Violinos are very easy to finger and very easy to bow. They are not quite as colorful as Helicores, Dominants, or Pro Artes, but they are sold as a student/pupil string and seemed to be the lowest tension of all and probably the easiest to play. All the strings I tested were medium guage. I've also tried quite a few e strings. A Tonica wound e made the "el cheapo" tolerable, but was not at all pleasing to the ear on my better violin. Plain old carbon steel seems best on that one but I am going to give the Obligato Gold another try as that is the instrument I have the Obligato set on. The reason I haven't tried it yet is that I discovered "bow control" in my case, does more to improve my e string sound than any brand of string I've tried. One last thing; I've read that very old violins were made for gut and might not be able to take the higher tensions of steel or some of the synthetics. I believe they were refering to fine instruments but I'm ignorant on that subject. Some of the pros on this board could answer that one. Two good resources to read are "Find Your Sound" at www.stringsmagazine.com/issues/strings95/CoverStory.shtml and "All about Violin Strings" at www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~leonid/violin_strings.htm Good Luck, Hope I typed the links right.
  12. I too am an adult (49) student so I understand your concerns. I'm fortunate that my teacher is very supportive and encouraging. Her usual critique after I've butchered a passage is "That was beautiful, what an improvement I especially liked your (intonation, dynamics, rhythym, whatever) but I am going to be very hard with you so that we can advance even further." She then points out my mistakes and demonstrates herself how the passage should be played. We do it in pieces and then assemble the whole. When I try to lean on my age and late start she gives me a skeptical look and replies "Well I really don't know anything about that but I know that you can master this."
  13. I am not Asian so I can only give my Polish/Russian-descent American opinion. I believe that different nationalities do exhibit their own unique blend of traits. I use the word nationalities in the traditional sense which does not refer to a physical country such as USA or China. A nation could be defined as a group of people bound together by similar goals, traditions, likes, dislikes, etc; in short they are bound by their culture. If I am up on my world cultures that would aptly describe Taiwan. If not please excuse my ignorance. So to a great extent it is cultural influence that produces the stereotype tendencies of each inhabitant of a nation. Thus the terms of USA southern redneck or the northern yankee or the American Indian. PLEASE, NO OFFENSE MEANT TO ANYONE! I use these examples only because all have at one time or another proclaimed their uniquenes; which is evident to outside observers. Now back to the individuals. The abilities of any inhabitant in a nation are influenced by a combinaton of nature and nurture. Nature being the genetics that HKV referred to and nurture the cultural influence that others have mentioned. Psychologists cannot agree on which influence is strongest. (Would a psychopathic criminal's child raised in a loving foster family grow up to be a model citizen? Or would a professional families child raised in a poverty stricken foster family turn to a life of crime?) Obviously the delicate nature of the subject prevents controlled scientific experimentation so the there are no examples that have not been tainted by extraneous influences. I believe the term is that the data would be skewed? But, psychologists do agree that both influences - nature and nurture - model the child, and at the time I studied it nurturists were leading by a little. I agree. So that is my answer to HKV's question. This is what your ancestors have handed down to you; it is your physical and psychological inheritance. As our world grows smaller and our cultures melt together we lose this individuality. Many times for the better, but quite often for the worse.
  14. Mr Victor; Ditto on the thank you. Your knowledge in this field amazes me. The Galser composite was my first trade up from a low end brazil-wood bow. The improvement in tone over what I had been using was immeiately evident. Although I've since acquired a sweeter sounding (still fairly low end) pernambucco and the Glaser is no longer my first choice for classicaL violin, I still turn to the Glaser at times - especially when fiddling at yard parties. I plan on trying a Coda and I'd like you to know that your many articles on the subject have been instrumental in helping me come to that decision.
  15. As the old saying goes "Some good always comes out of any situations" or something like that. So it is with the heated discussion that ran on a few posts earlier. From it I learned of the COTA site, and my heartiest thanks for the link. All of the performances there are far beyond my humble ability but the other areas of the site will be most benificial to my course of study. I took up the violin some ten months ago at the age of 49, when at a yard sale I found one of those violin shaped cigar boxes (with real bow and genuine plush case) of dubious oriental lineage for the amazing price of only $45.00 ! The fever instantly came on me and life has not been the same since that fateful day. My "Chinese Fiddle" has since been passed on to another aspiring soul (my father in law) and I currently play (I use that term liberally) a lovely "advancing student" model that I picked up new over the internet; for considerably more than 45 bucks I might add. My initial interst was in fiddling. I engaged the services of a great teacher; who for the record is about the age of my daughters, and is an absolute stickler on intonation. We hit it off well. But alas, she would not teach me fiddling, although she is an accomplished fiddler in addition to being a conservatory graduate and having experience in philharmonic work. Her theory was that if you learn classical violin you will be able to play anything. True or false, I bought, and am enjoying the rewards of her guidance. Progress is slow at 49 and my level now is but a decent Bach Minuet 1. However I do manage some fiddlin on my own and can crank out a few dozen that are tolerable. I actually get requests for my rendition of Arkansas Traveler, but of course this is from folks whosw senses have been dulled by a few drinks. I never touch the stuff myself but emphatize fully with their ambitions. I get my high from the music, and the fascinating study of this most perplexing instrument. Thus, once again my thanks for the link, and for all of the information contributed here. I have learned much and perhaps, if you consider my late start, have gone far in a short time.
  16. I could serenade my sweetie and then paddle back to shore.
  17. Thank you for the warning. I was not considering this violin but have recently bid on another at ebay. It was item # 852663755 a George Klotz model violin made in Czechoslovakia. (think they spelled it Csech u slovakia" I had a high bid of $157.00 but it did not meet the reserve. Was I saved by providence? It looked like a lovely old violin with good potential. The close up of the peg box looked like it had been reworked, but who can tell from a picture. The rest of the instrument was sound and supposedly minus cracks. I thought my gamble here was on tonal qualities, not on authenticity. You have opened my eyes.
  18. My limited observations indicate that too much rosin on the bow, aside from promoting chronic asthma, quickly cakes on my strings. That is, it will build up in layers until the bow no longer grips the string but is literally riding & gliding on a layer of rosin. I believe the afore mentioned frictio/heat theory has a lot of merit. To prevent this problem I have learned to "rosin up my bow" less frequently and much less enthusiastically. I dry wipe my violin strings with a clean cloth after each playing session and more frequently if I got carried away with the rosin. The same clean cloth can be used to wipe excess rosin off of tensioned bow hair. With the cloth covering your fingers simply squeese the bow hair (gently on the flat sides) and wipe the length of it back and forth several times. This helps distribute rosin from the less played frog & tip sections to the overworked center. I do this between rosin applications and have found that I need apply fresh rosin only a fraction as often as I used to. The most drastic cleaning I've done is to use a vacumme cleaner hose attatchment. I loosened bow tension until the hair was actually floppy and then sucked the excess rosin out of it. Perhaps I'm neurotic but I wouldn't dare rub the vacumme hose end up and down the bow hair. What I did was put it up against the first spot, pull it directly away, move down about an inch, push it back against the hair, pull it away, move down, push in, etc. It does a fabulous job. For obvious reasons BE SURE THE END OF YOUR HOSE ATTATCHMENT IS CLEAN BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT THIS! I am intrigued by the washing procedure that was mentioned. My favorite bow is 9 months old and as it gets closer to absolutely neding a rehairing I find that optimum rosin concentration is becoming critical. Would this washing buy me a little more time? I have heard of bow hair cleaners and conditioners but have not seen them advertised for sale. Can anyone educate me on this matter?
  19. Just replied to you on Stringworks board. The answer is ebay, ebay, ebay You caught my interst, I operate on junkers too. I've only done two so far but both turned out well. I gave one to my father in law and kept the other for my beater.The only pronlem so far is tuning pegs. Potential candidates for surgery are either so cheaply constructed or so old that the peg holes are oval instead of round. If I get into it further I'll have to buy a reamer and sharpener. Problem is they cost $$$ so I'd have to sell a fixed up fiddle to justify them.
  20. The topic "Codabow or Musicary" caught my attention. I too am considering a carbon fiber and would like to hear from anyone who has compared these two. I curently have a $180.00 J Krausch pernambuco which is decent for classical work on my better violin and a $90.00 Glaser composite which seems to be the best sounding on my cheaper fiddle, especially when playing fiddle tunes. The Krausch is getting to need hair, so I'm looking to try something else. By the way, any recommendations/suggestions on rehairing the J.K.?
  21. Haven't tried the Maestro but I am familiar with Stringworks. I bought an Artist last year and found it to be an even better instrument than was advertised. The staff was very helpful and quite knowledgeable. After my experience I wouldn't even consider buying from a different site. EK
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