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John_London's Achievements

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  1. The holy grail! As a younger man I fantasized that a great instrument would make me play better. It's too late for that. I want one thing from violin & bow: don't get in my way! That does imply amazing luck with cheap equipment, or a certain mimimum level of quality in make and materials which many participants on this board could doubtless meet. I read abstruse discussion about how violins "sound" because I find it fun. The gut strings (which do sound bettter, obviously) have tamed the wolf :-) Off to practice my first scale since recoveing (more or less) from Omicron.
  2. Very hard to know to who to go to. A good violinist or cellist might recommend a luthier for adjustments who is nothing special or sometimes who is downright bad (I speak from experience). Luthiers are pretty much a "black box" for violinists. I own two violins by a living maker whose name I mentioned elsewhere. I like his work a lot, obviously. But his core skills are as maker, not repairer or adjuster. A friend who had his cello adjusted by a well-known maker in London was over the moon, but was told "He won't charge, but he won't work on it unless he feels like it." Fortunately he was approached for a favour, and and took the opportunity. So we are mostly throwing the dice when looking for a local luthier to make adjustments. The Ida Haendel video is a case in point: her wolf note caused her great anguish, but in spite of her fame and contacts she did not find anyone who really fixed it. What are violinists lower down the food chain to do? I also wonder whether when buying a new violin, the more expensive instruments will have better adjustment. If more was spent on adjustment for cheap instruments than expensive ones, perhaps the cheaper instruments would have greater appeal to players? This is one of the reasons I am sceptical about shopping around for a violin.
  3. In the case of my newish Strad copy, the stiff Oliv G, and the extra thick bare gut D and A which few stockist carry, are a big improvement. But maybe the Eva Pirazzis had just worn out. I have no idea how strings wear out, unless they are getting unravelled or rough, but they say they do.
  4. Thanks for interesting posts. The "force window" reminds me that playing high on the string is harder for a clean note. We students tend to assume it is because we don't have a great instrument, but a lot of it seems to be technique.
  5. There are few things about violin sound which audiences and violinists can reliably hear and generally agree on. A wolf note in first position D on the A string must be an uncontroversial mark against an otherwise fine instrument. Its unsubjective character should make it an attractive area for researchers. Grant that a wolf on G string around high B or C is normal on a fine instrument. But it does not normally migrate to the same note on the A string. Why is that?
  6. Ida Haendel complains about the wolf on her 1696 Strad at 25:20 and 44:30 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fARPbGGbtE. She says that it appeared from nowhere. It is on the 3rd finger D on A string, not somewhere high on the G string. No wonder it drove her mad. If it appeared out of nowhere, it is perhaps not so much a feature of a fine instrument, as of a violin past its best? The luthier tries to fix it at at 47:20. He diagnoses by blowing into the bass F hole which gives a note around D, then holds the bottom and taps the scrolls and hears a B flat, and says these frequencies should be close and are too far apart.
  7. Dazio is one of the funniest stories. The book is full of instructive and amusing anecdotes about the violin trade. The most shocking is the Turkish dealer who bought a violin collection, and as the train was leaving threw all the French instruments, including a Vuillaume, out of the window, saying "you can't travel with ballast".
  8. The expensive Olive stiff G string tames the wolf, though it is still there, compared with my aging Eva Pirazzis. Just fitted covered gut G and thick bare gut D and A (custom thicknesses which can be ordered from Pirastro as "Individuelle"), and the violin sound sweeter (if a little quiet under the ear) and "works" to the top of the fingerboard on all the strings. Which I suppose is not entirely surprising in a violin modelled after and antique instrument designed with gut strings in mind.
  9. I think the maker was aware of the question, but could only guess the answer. I was being facetious about "error". Who knows. And I was being facetious about tonal copy, though snake oil finds plenty buyers. Set up, choice of bow, the weather, and the last player, change the sound of a violin. An interesting thought, which I spent some time thinking about. Much as I enjoy reading the conversation here, I hesitate to comment I've never really worked out what violin makers are trying to achieve, apart from happy customers. There is no doubt that some instruments made with conventional materials and dimensions resonate more freely than others. largely but not wholly due to setup.
  10. Anyone claiming to sell tonal copies will find willing buyers among violinists. And why not? With this particular Strad copy I was not offered anything so wonderful. The maker even admitted to not following Signor Stradivari's model, or error (if the Holy Father is fallible) in making the belly slightly thicker on the treble side.
  11. For most players, yes. Finger vibrato originates in the arm. Roth said what he called "impulse vibrato" originates in the arm--pretty much the kind of vibrato Perlman, like many older gen. players, tends to favour, only Perlman uses the term "finger vibrato".
  12. Why did I buy it? I don't shop around. I agreed to buy it before it was complete & have a DG copy by the same maker. I aspire to make the sound, whereas some (not all) players far better than me are looking for sounds in their violin and bow. A violin made of good materials, executed with great hands, eye and heart by an experienced maker who does not charge a "big name" premium, and without the headaches of a valuable antique, and I am 100% satisfied, as I am with the Stagg & Clutterbuck bows I bought unseen at auction (the Nurnburger was a bit of a miss, but still a decent stick for the price). Having said that, I do love the instrument's sound. It would be nice to fix the wolf. I've ordered an Oliv stiff gut/silver/gold gut G (expensive!) which might help. The orginal, the ex-Gibson/Hubermann, may well have a wolf there. The copy, whilst it would not fool an expert, is pretty close. Not sure which piece to listen to to answer that question? Moses Fantasy opening maybe, but I am not sure Mr. Bell has recorded it since buying that violin. Beare's would know if that Strad has a wolf on C.
  13. I struggle with a terrible wolf on high C and to lesser extent on high B on G string (Strad 1713 copy). This thread got me experimenting with a small bulldog clip on the G in the peg box, and below the bridge. It tames the wolf a little in the peg box and a lot below the bridge, but it also "tames" the violin in a bad way. I wondered about asking the local violin shop, or the man who made it for me, to rectify this fault. But I fear they might do something which diminishes the instrument in other ways. Is that fear misplaced?
  14. https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/ukrainian-cultural-association-uk I am not involved in this, I just happen to know the organizer who tells me the funds raised will go to a deposit on an ambulance for a Childrens' Hospital in Ukraine. The musicians she works with from Ukraine and neighbouring countries are usually very good. St Johns, Smith Square, London, 17 June, 7:30pm.
  15. Young people have different skills. On the whole the exams we took in Maths or French were harder back in the 1970s--but far fewer took them. Many left school at 16. However, your comments sound like a more generalized disatisfaction with the developing breakdown of Western society. There are not enough jobs to go round. The jobs which exist are not enough to live on. Young people who once would have taken blue collar jobs now go to university or conservatory, for steeply rising fees. Then what? I grew up in a world where we had never heard of a billionaire. Neither could we imagine that a hard-working skilled carpenter in the London area would be paid too little to buy an adequate house and garden for his wife and children. I won't say the world was better. It was less nutty, less distorted, less focussed on funnelling wealth upwards. Complex distortions in the money system (which started when Nixon divorced USD from gold in August 1971) have created very odd paradoxes, of which I see the lack of jobs for the too many skilled young musicians as just one manifestation. So it all seems to go beyond the world of stringed instruments. Though the price of Strads is another oddity...
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