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Roosje Urbach

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  1. Original poster's update + comments and previous experiments: Deans, it is a good point of bringing more of the violin in the animal free register (and I am dreading an animal free repair for this matter!). But the post was really about strings.. I can comprehend that even a vegan can accept that his/her maybe 100+ year old instrument might contain animal products. I am fully aware of titebond, which I use in many guitar repairs, but I always tend to use animal glue in bowed instruments or historical arch-top guitars. Personally I am a great fan of gut strings: Pirastro gold/eudoxa and olive I know well. For early music styles I adhere to gut strings made by Berndt Kürschner, which I can highly recommend. But the original post was about the most warm and complex sounding synthetic string on the market right now for a promising 12 year old vegan player. In the mean time we have already done some experimenting with single strings but we did not want to bias the forum. (We started out with a set of D'Addario Ascenté strings on the violin in question; an old, non figured wood bohemian violin that has been maintained and repaired over the years. No label, nothing special but well set up). First we changed the E string from D'addario Ascenté to Pirastro gold. The player liked the change, but there was no "wow" . Do not forget player is a beginner that has played for about 3 years! The A string (D'Addario Ascenté) was changed to a Thomastik Dominant A. Still no wow from the player, although he did not want us to go back to the old string for comparison. The D string (D'Addario Ascenté) was changed to Corelli Cantiga (medium) and there was a wow from the player, and his bystanding mother (pianoplayer and present at all other string changes). Personally I could also hear the big difference here, this was the biggest change and improvement in sound in this experiment. These experiments where done in april 2021, and the player has been playing a different string from a different manufacturer from a different company on each of his strings to this day. His favourite of these 4 is the Corelli Cantiga D. But this was his first string experiment, and he liked the set as it was. After reading your replies to this forum, I was expecting you to point me to Pirastro obligato, and hoping to see a comparison between Larsen Tzigane, Corelli Cantiga and Pirastro Obligato. But I heard nothing about the Larsen option (while I deeply love the Larsen cello strings), and do hear something positive about the Corelli Cantiga strings in posts by MBrancalion and Mr.Bean. These recommendations do seem to coincide with the experiments described above. In regards to your responses and our findings we will be changing strings shortly, and the change will be to a complete set of Corelli Cantiga medium light strings. (medium light gauge was chosen by player himself). I will update you with the findings, and thanks for all your input!
  2. Wow, I had never expected so many helpfull replies to my question! Thanks for all your advice. I think I will try the Corelli Cantiga strings here, but also leaning towards Larsen Tzigane. Obligato is also on the list here, but they are a bit on the expensive side. Not a problem if they are worth it though. Will make a decision next week, and the player will have to decide if he likes them or not. He specifically asked for warm and dark strings, and they had to be free of animal materials..
  3. Relatively recently we have seen the introduction of new synthetics besides nylon and perlon in violin strings. The most notable is the use of P.E.E.K. If I study the online literature I can only find Pirastro (violino/obligato and Evah Pirazzi) and D'addario (Zyex) confirming their use of this material. However I see many other manufacturers claiming to use "modern synthetic materials". I suppose these are also P.E.E.K. related, but never know for sure, and can understand the legal position of manufacturers. At the same time I deplore this, because as users (luthiers and players alike) this is just a legal reason to cloud our vision of what is physically going on with different strings on the market today. The reason for posting is this: I have a very promising young violin player as a client. He is asking for a very dark and complex sounding set of strings, but they may not contain any animal material, so gut is out of the the window here. I know a lot of gut types, but are lost in the modern synthetic types.. Do I need Larsen Tzigane or Corelli Alliance Vivace? And how do these compare to Pirastro Obligato? (or to Pirastro Eudoxa for that matter?). I am sure Thomastik also has some sets of interest here, but I am not sure which to choose. What is, in your diverse opinions, the most gut like synthetic out there? And which one has the darkest and/or the most complex sound? I would appreciate some help and (technical) clarification on this one!
  4. Perhaps this is made of amber, but there is no way this could be it's natural colour. It must have some (natural?) pigments added to it in the process of making it. Just study a thin chip under the microscope and you'll see. It's an interesting specimen nonetheless.
  5. I am a mere repair person/luthier in a string instrument repair shop in the Netherlands. Have been doing this job since 1993. Before that I was a student of biology, mainly specializing in plant physiology.

  6. This is roughly my varnishing procedure, as it is a hybrid between spirit and oil, I am very curiousto what you all think about it: I start off (ground) with a spirit varnish. I do this because a lot of natural colours can be dissolved in alcohol (I use Madder root, Brasil wood & catechu). I feel dissolving the colours in varnish gives better transparency than using pigments. About 50% of the binder resins I use here are mastic and larch resin. The other 50% are mainly manila copal, with a little kauri copal & sandarac. This way I can get a lot of transparent colour very close to the wood, and seal seal the wood at the same time. I spend a lot of effort to even out the colour. This spirit varnish layer is very thin, and just about seals the wood. At this stage the colour is not as even and complete as you would expect on a full spirit varnish. When the basic colour is even enough I let it dry and shrink for about a week. Then the instrument is gently rubbed with fine pumice to just rough up the surface. I then proceed using an oil varnish: Larch resin dissolved in a little turpentin, just enough turp to make a viscous but clear solution, a little mastic in turpentine, Stand oil and a drop of raw (limed) linseed oil. I may colour this with a little asphalt in turp. This layer is an interface between the spirit and oil varnish, as the mastic and larch resin in the previous spirit layers also dissolve in the turpentine, and combine with the larch resin and mastic in the oil coat. I use about three coats of this oil varnish with some UV drying for each. Between these coats I might use a light pigment (oil paint) glaze to correct the colour. I don't have an exact formula for this oil varnish, but I start out relatively lean, and add a little more stand oil with each coat. I use less turpentine for the two topcoats, these are quite viscous. Say the resin oil ratio is starts off with 55% resin and 45% oil, and finishes with plusminus 45% resin and 55% stand oil. After some hours of ultraviolet I let each oil varnish coat dry for at least a week, as I use no dryers, When completely dry, I very lightly french polish the surface with benzoe. Do any of you do something similar?
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