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Everything posted by Steve_W

  1. I have the same issues, off and on since the last site redesign, using FireFox on both Mac and PC. Doesn't appear to be either cookies or security settings. This site will remember me for weeks then all of a sudden, show me as a guest (like today). I don't have these problems with any other websites so have to think it's something with the site itself.
  2. I don't know if this is true of South Koreans but in his autobiography pianist Lang Lang said that the Chinese in particular are very focused on music competitions as proof of who's the "best" player. After he came to the US to study at Curtis his teacher Gary Graffman convinced him it would be best for his development as an artist to quit competing but when he returned to China he was belittled for that.
  3. It always takes me at least a half hour to get in the groove. For a while I thought my violin needed that long to warm up but now I'm pretty sure it's me!
  4. I had the same problem with Obligatos (flabby A--it wasn't just one bad string, it seemed to be a characteristic of the brand on my violin) and I switched to Infeld Reds with good success. Sound similar to Ob's on my instrument (modern bench-made Strad copy, bright and loud) but without the weak A. I don't know how they'd perform as a soloist's string; I should think fine. -Steve
  5. Object away, but I believe that using quotes in this manner is a standard and accepted style--at least in the United States. Apart from that I believe using single quotes to enclose a term containing an apostrophe would be confusing to the reader so I wouldn't do it anyway!
  6. You would probably enjoy the book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves". Very funny book about the misuse of punctuation. My biggest hot-button (well, apart from all caps) is misuse of apostrophes, particularly writers who forget that "it's" always means "it is" and "you're" always means "you are". But believing that the internet forums should be treated as conversations rather than serious writing, I don't feel it's worth making a fuss over. However I do get annoyed when I see that misuse in newspapers or other publications that employ editors!
  7. Rule 1: double-check your thread title for misspellings.
  8. I've had several periods in my musical life where I considered guitar my primary instrument. I've learned a number of different styles of guitar, from '70s rock through electric and acoustic blues, folk and bluegrass, and classical (mostly renaissance pieces; I love the polyphony). I wish I could work on both guitar and violin but I know I don't have the time to concentrate seriously on more than one instrument, so for the last 10 years or so have been concentrating solely on violin (which was my first instrument). The guitars come out occasionally but usually they just remind me how much I've forgotten! Maybe when I retire I'll work on my classical guitar chops again.
  9. I did American Civil War reenacting for a while and found that funnily enough, the guys who were rabid about accuracy in military matters didn't know enough about music to have a clue about what was period and what wasn't! I kept trying to educate my audience, but they'd always ask me to play "Ashoken Farewell", etc.! At any rate, I agree that if this was my goal I'd try to find a teacher who specialized in folk fiddling. You probably would not need a lot of classical violin technique, just the basics, and would probably want to spend time learning to pick up tunes by ear, as well as from sheet music. I know a couple teachers who work that way in my area, teaching Scottish fiddle to adult beginners, with good success. I think what you want to achieve is definitely doable with some work. Good luck! -Steve
  10. Ummm... Adam? Is that you? I guess you WOULD be a fan of your bow, then!
  11. OT, but I had one of Adam's Betas (which later became the Fiddler's Bow) and could never get it to work for me; the balance point was too far forward and always screwed me up. I believe this was by design, from his observation that most fiddlers like to play in the upper half of the bow and deciding he could get more power and control in that area by moving the balance point towards the head an inch or two (I can't remember the exact number any more). Assuming the Fiddler's Bow has the same weight distribution as the Beta I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who had substantial classical training (and like me, is apparently too old to learn new habits). Interesting that it worked for you, crossingthepond! I know a number of fiddlers who love this bow, so it obviously fills a need. Personally, my favorite bow is an Arcus Sinfonia (around $1500) and if I had a few K$ and needed a better bow I'd probably splurge on one of the higher-end Arcus models. -Steve
  12. I read one article where someone conjectured that the area they were in was heated somehow, however I haven't heard that repeated elsewhere. I don't blame them at all for using a recording given the circumstances. I still wonder what Perlman used at the inauguration though. Doesn't he have a copy of his Strad made by Sam Zygmuntowicz, or am I mistaken?
  13. I found Blum's book on The Guarneri Quartet quite enlightening. f you're interested in them there's also Helen Drees Ruttencutter's book "Quartet: A Profile of the Guarneri Quartet." An expansion of a profile piece she wrote that appeared in The New Yorker. Probably long out of print but shouldn't be too hard to find used. Definitely a fun read.
  14. Hi Amanda, I first thought you were referring to Mark Salzman's novel The Soloist and was going to say that I thought An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth--which has a somewhat similar theme--was a more satisfying read (although they were both "worth it" in my opinion). However this one looks very interesting; I'll have to look for a copy! Actually your other recommendation sounds intriguing as well--I recently saw it in a bookstore and didn't buy it but I may have to find it again. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm currently re-reading Arnold Steinhardt's book Violin Dreams, which caught my eye since I've been following him and the Guarneri Quartet since the '70s. And along that same line I recently finished Con Brio: Four Russians called the Budapest String Quartet--a bit lightweight but informative. Also Barry Green's The Mastery of Music which I thought had some good insights on whole the process of performing music (he also cowrote The Inner Game of Music which I read a number of years ago and have somewhere; I'll have to find it...). I also found a copy of Artur Rubinstein's "My Young Years" for really cheap on a clearance rack in my local used bookstore, and it looks intriguing but too heavy to carry on the train where I get most of my reading done, so it'll have to wait!
  15. Steve_W

    Lang Case

    LeRoy Weber used to have a picture on his site of him and his wife both standing on one of their cases. I have a Weber case from the late 1980s and it's one of the best I've seen for instrument protection. Not sure I'd risk standing on it with my violin inside but it's very sturdy! Weber retired and closed his case company in Sumner WA several years ago but I understand he's actively building cases again in GA I think. He's an innovator and is always thinking about how to improve protection and utility.
  16. I'm almost positive that this question has been discussed on Maestronet at some length before; you'll probably find some info in the archives with a bit of searching...
  17. Wow, you're right. I thought they'd just added the Diamond series as an additional line but their website has dropped all mention of the previous models... I have a Diamond SX which I use as a backup bow and think it's a great bow for the price, although I've found that individual examples can vary a lot in their playing characteristics. However I still love my Arcus Sinfonia, which I tried and bought several years ago after reading Andrew's reviews. Glad to hear the website is available again! -Steve
  18. I think that the ball ends aren't totally standardized between manufacturers. With my circa 2001 Pusch I found that Pirastro's ball ends--I tried Tonicas, Obligatos and Eudoxas at various points--would fit through the holes from the top with a little work but Thomastik ball ends (Dominant, Infeld) were much more difficult to fit. But it also appeared that Pusch tuners weren't all that well standardized either; a friend who had one couldn't get Pirastro Tonicas to fit from the top either! I didn't try to modify my Pusch, although I thought it should be possible to take it apart and ream out the holes with a needle file. I eventually gave up on it and switched to a Wittner Ultra, which makes changing out strings a lot easier.
  19. My first thought was that "carbon fibre baroque bow" was an oxymoron! However I do know some Scottish fiddlers who like the shorter length and performance of a baroque bow, and use them to play trad. tunes on modern instruments, so maybe there is a market there!
  20. Yeah, but think about it; these guitars are only 40-50 years old and could easily be reproduced today (and have been). They were designed to be manufactured cheaply; there's nothing really special to them. I love old guitars too but that market's crazy!
  21. Everybody's different and it comes down to what fits you best. Regarding cups with high edges, I have a Teka on one fiddle and its deepish cup with the high back edge is a bit uncomfortable, it presses into my neck behind my jaw. Other players like this style a lot, though. I use a Guarneri on my main fiddle and it's fine although I do tend not to use most of the cup. My favorite chinrest is what I've seen referred to as a "Hollywood" rest, which came out of Weisshaar's shop in Los Angeles a number of years ago; side-mounted, medium cup and height, fairly small with a small extension that curves over the tailpiece. It fits me really well. There are a bunch of styles similar to this that might be worth looking at.
  22. I'm not positive they're period-correct for the mid-1800s but you can certainly still find unwound gut strings--Pirastro Chorda is a brand that's pretty common and reasonably inexpensive, for example, and the strings I used when I set up a fiddle to take along to US Civil War reenactments. One thought is that gut is somewhat prone to breakage due to humidity/temp changes, and thus may not be the best choice for a violin on static display, unless the museum has good climate control.
  23. In my opinion it's worth investigating playing without a rest even if you eventually decide it's not for you. I learned with a (crescent-style) rest and I've used a Resonans and then a Kun-type rest for many years. Several years ago, as an experiment I decided to try to learn to play "restless", and spent a Summer working on this. At first I had all sorts of trouble with the violin slipping around but finally found a position that worked for me, with the violin more flat on my shoulder than I was used to, sticking out more to the side, and the neck partially supported by my left hand. I realized that this position actually was the position that many professional violinists used, and that the Kun rest had been aiding me in my sloppy positioning by allowing me to support the violin with my jaw with no help from the left hand, and too far to the front of my body which affected my bowing position. (I'm sure a teacher would have seen this and corrected me but it's been a while since I've had lessons!) I eventually decided that I needed some support to allow me to play comfortably for long periods of time so went back to the Kun rest but adjusted it so that I could keep the violin in the same position that I'd identified when playing rest-less, and think that my playing has improved as a result of this. Polkat, you might want to look at the Viva La Musica rest (the all-plastic version). I have one that's several years old and it adjusts more closely to the violin back than the Kuns because of its curve. Looks like they may have revised the shape since then, though.
  24. If anyone remembers the story of the San Francisco Bay Area violinist who defrauded a bunch of dealers and collectors around the world, disappeared, and was finally arrested after a concert in Oregon, here's the denouement: SF Chronicle Article. 3 years in prison, ordered to pay restitution of $436,000 (the value of the instruments he stole apparently approached $1M) and likely deportation to Canada. -Steve
  25. Very nice! I also agree that the above-referenced whisky is nearly a perfect fifth, although I think their burgundy finish is even better!
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