Carl Stross

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About Carl Stross

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  1. He gets it perfectly. His "tone" bit is hidden in the difference between trade and retail price - you did notice all his violins sound good to downright Strady. And he knows tone - he's got a special area on his site, all about tone evaluations. Your idea that I can't ask you 15000DM for a violin Martinvalued at 250DM because I think it sounds "great" ( whatever that is ) AND that should you later discover it to be "worth" much less than that would mean I defrauded you is complete bollocks. But this new idea of the Violin Dealer as caretaker of a client's financial interests is a nice nuance. I believe Danube Fiddler describes pretty accurately a chunk of the violin market from the '70s and up to mid/late '80s when a lot of violins would change hands at often unrecoverable prices based on some perception of tone and mostly directly amongst musicians and in particular Conservatory students.
  2. You would be very hard pressed to find three Top Players of the past 100 or so years who did not chose their instrument based on the opinions of their colleagues. Of late, the opportunities for "choosing" have greatly diminished if not completely vanished and they make do with what they can lay their hands on, for as long as it lasts.
  3. Carl Stross

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    "Concert soloists" is very vague and absolutely no guarantee for any competency besides accurate, quick and vigorous manipulating of the instrument. I knew few people who were not "concert soloists" at one time or another. That aside, the statements you seem unable to find do exist in the form of newspaper interviews, personal letters, third party communications up to the beyond debate act of using a modern violin for most of one's concert activity. You are unfortunately some 50 years removed from the times these things were rather more openly discussed.
  4. Carl Stross

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Both statements are complete nonsense. A Guadagnini in particular, is a pretty unsophisticated violin a good modern maker wouldn't find much of a challenge to beat. Interesting that while having a noticeable curiosity for these violin things you asked for no assistance on how to improve your competency. Makes me wonder if you think this is an intellectual pursuit.
  5. Carl Stross

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    I'm not following. Could you re-word this it, please.
  6. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    1. I think it is "hugely relevant" but that's only my opinion. 2. I've no idea what properties Galileo attributed to cycloids and if those ones are what got the Cremonese makers to start using them. I'd suspect not. Some cycloid properties were known empirically and used long before violins showed up and they were used a lot. Also, if you read the book I mentioned you'll see that most if not all interesting cycloid properties are a matter of or can be reduced to skillful application of rather elementary geometry - 2000 years old stuff. Nowadays, we like to see analytical formulas for everything but they weren't obsessed with that. I'm not saying that they could not've used cycloids in a scientifically incompetent manner while still reaping the benefits of some property they weren't aware of. Euler constructed half of the modern mathematics like that, with little concern for what "convergence" really means. In modern times we had an excellent working grasp of electricity without knowing what really is. An intuitive grasp of how stuff works was all what was needed until pretty recently. But it had to work.
  7. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    The cycloid has a couple of interesting properties of which two or three ( one might speculate ) have a direct relation with the functioning of a violin. "Strength" is not one of them. There is a book by Richard Proctor on cycloids should one wish to get an analytical grip on the subject. Book is excellent and pretty elementary.
  8. Carl Stross

    Best contemporary luthiers

    1. In my opinion and after a lot of listening and some chatting with the owners, that would be Roger Hargrave. Hargrave violins are used constantly in first line recordings and live performances. They hold their ground in large halls and in front of substantial orchestras. 2. I would guess they're better than most. Of course, if what you want is something like Francescatti's Strad then talking to the Bank is probably the best option. But then, that'd be the top of the food chain : From 7:07 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyx1qruT6rI
  9. Carl Stross

    Violin wood material

    Yes, in a very general sense it is true - narrow grain sounds different from wide grain. Which one is better is a matter of opinion more so as differences in construction will wipe out grain contribution.
  10. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    Here's an excellent example :
  11. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    You need to be more specific. Otherwise you're just stating the obvious. What exactly is "the subject of violin sound" ? What does it consist of ? And within the groups you mention the expertise varies a lot. Driving for 40 years doesn't make one an expert in cars. Same goes for violins. Without specifics, the paragraph I highlighted means nothing - it only fills the page with characters and ads to confusion. The quality/suitability of the brush Rembrand used is not a matter of blind testing or public opinion. There is no conceivable way a blind test could prove anything - it is "the best" because Rembrand used it. It is irrelevant if you can come up with a better one because in part, Rembrandness comes from working around the idiosyncrasies of that brush inside Rembrand's artistic concept, there and then. Sure, you could make a louder violin than The Soil but then the problem is not that The Soil is not loud enough but that the modern symph orch is twice the size it should be and in hall some eight times the proper size.
  12. Carl Stross

    How Do You Make a Violin More Responsive, More Expressive?

    This is not an intellectual problem, it's a problem of perception and you won't solve it here. Even with mountains of personal experience you may still not be closer to a solution because in the end it's your perception which is the deciding factor. You may be a wonderful musician and indifferent to fine tonal differences. Plenty of those. In your case, it's going to be a very long learning curve because you don't know what to listen to and there is a long list of things one listens to in order to figure out if a violin is good or bad while ( !) trying to remove the player factor from the equation. It helps a lot if you know the score in detail and it helps even more if you could play the piece. I very much doubt you can tell if a Steinway has one action or the other or if Szeryng plays his DG or his Strad. Both exercises are pretty trivial, by the way. To my mind your only options are to either trust our top soloists for the past 200 or so years or all the well intended people who claim there isn't much of a difference. If any. There is another very remote option, you practice 10-12 hours /day for the next 10 or so years with the help of an expert teacher by the time you can play one of the easy concertos, like Bruch, things will be clear one way or another. The reputation of Stradivari has no pernicious effects on the acceptance of violins from modern makers. Quite the contrary, it greatly helped modern makers - on who's shoulders do you think they climbed in order to ask $30k for $500 in materials and two weeks of relaxed work ? Remove the Strad myth and a violin becomes a $150 utilitarian object. Which is what it actually is for most intents and purposes. But not for all.
  13. Carl Stross

    How Do You Make a Violin More Responsive, More Expressive?

    If I may venture a suggestion, you should make your questions more specific and limit to one question per post. That way you have a slight advantage in obliging the knowledgeable members to actually say something. "How to make a violin more expressive" is at the core of violin making preoccupation and those who have some idea of that might not be inclined to share it freely. In the end makers need some competitive advantage. And here's some food for thought : for the past 200 or so years the instruments of a Symph. Orch. have become less and less expressive. Pianos are an excellent example though not the most extreme. This was not an accident, it was intended. Sometimes went a bit too far but in general it was done in response to audiences. Audience was not happy with something, fixing that changed other things and audience might not've objected to those etc etc. The very general trend was to make the instruments louder and this happened at a cost towards expressiveness. There are ways to change certain expressiveness aspects of a violin's tone, to the point of getting too much of those. It won't make it a Strad though. There are also ways to "stiffen" an otherwise excellent violin though again, if you started with a Strad it won't complete kill it's character. In the end, modern makers make violins which need to be sold to specific markets. And for example, the market of hard working teenagers is not that much into expressiveness. It's into loud, clean and accurate.
  14. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    1. Well, there used to be a bloke who thought more or less on the same lines and made for great entertainment during concerts. 2. Your ears are probably just fine. You seem quite discriminating. 3. I don't know which recording you heard but Menuhin played in all probability one of five violins. All excellent, none "blah". One is a tad quiet and one a tad stiff and young people such as yourself are mostly used hearing him on the DG which is neither. 4. Hard to believe but not impossible. I'm not familiar with Szeryng's violin but a pro of his standing would surely keep the violin in top shape. There is however, a modern player who took some four years to have a tonal issue attended to - it can happen. 5. Possible, but I doubt. It's what you heard objectively at that moment. 6. Hillary Hahn does not play with a smooth creamy tone. She's an artist of great sincerity.
  15. Carl Stross

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    Understood. My sincere apologies for any disruption caused.