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Everything posted by Steve_W

  1. quote: Originally posted by: Argon55 I'm not an expert, just an amateur player but the Wondertone whistles badly on my violin. Much prefer Larsen Gold E or the Hill E. Different instruments suit different strings I suppose. Maybe so. I'm not an expert either but I couldn't get it to whistle on mine, which whistles frequently with other unwound E's I've tried. In whistle resistance I would put it with the Pirastro No. 1 or the Kaplan Solutions (both are wound). I liked the string but found it to be too bright with the Obligatos I was using. [Not sure this is the same version that's in The Strad. Pirastro sent me this string last year for trial, when I asked about whistle-resistant Es that would work with Obligatos (I settled on the No. 1).]
  2. How much do you dilute the ammonia?
  3. quote: Originally posted by: magnus nedregard Well, I've tried these rosins, and I could not tell them apart from other allright rosins. I still stick to Bernardel or Hill or why not Larsen. But perhaps it's just me, and I'm not a player either. Could someone please tell me what's so special about these? For me, Tartini is just a rosin that suits my style and equipment well; nothing magical about it. I do think it's pretty pricey and was skeptical of the story about it being reformulated from a cake dating from Tartini's time, but it works for me better than anything else I've used; I find it very smooth-playing and it lets me get a wide range of dynamics. -Steve
  4. Yes, thanks allyxa. Nice to know that when I use up my Tartini there's something else out there that's similar. -Steve W.
  5. Andrea's grades are a bit different than Tartini. Does anyone have opinions on which Andrea rosins are equivalent to the old Tartini products? I'd especially like to know what's similar to Silkier Soloist. Thanks -Steve
  6. Yuen, it's not a matter of them being on the hair initially; they migrate in from the environment.
  7. I've been using "Moth-Away" satchets in my cases for a few years now (a couple get opened at very infrequent intervals) and have had no incidents of bow bugs. This is a non-toxic herbal moth repellent composed of peppermint, rosemary, thyme and cloves in what looks like a large tea-bag. It has a pleasant scent that is renewed by squeezing the satchet. I realize that the absence of bow bug attacks isn't proof that this stuff really works but at least it's non-toxic, so I'll keep using it until I have evidence it doesn't work! -Steve
  8. quote: Originally posted by: con_ritmo DPA is top-of-the-line for this sort of stuff. I use and highly recommend the DPA 4060. The 4061 is a low-sensitive version of the 4060. Since a violin will never overload the 4060, I'd go with the 4060. As far as small omnidirectional lav mics go...you aren't going to find anything better than a DPA. I don't know what else to say... I got the 4061 on the recommendation of a DPA support person; when I said that I was considering going wireless at some point, he recommended the 4061 over the 4060. I believe it's not as sensitive as the Crown GLM200 (which according to the sound guy I work with was really hot) but so far I've found it's plenty sensitive for my uses. I bought the IMK4061 which includes an XLR adapter (the DPAs use their own mini-mount which then plugs into a variety of adapters depending on what you need), windscreens and a variety of mounts for various situations, in a nice rugged case. Street price around $500. -Steve
  9. Hi Hank, the Crown GLM100 is still well thought of here; a lot of fiddlers I know use them (Crown GLM100 and Audio Technica ATM35 are the 2 most popular among the folks I play with). I recently switched from a Crown GLM200 to a DPA 4061, which like the GLM is a mini-condensor mic that requires phantom power--it's somewhat smaller than the GLM though. I've only used it a few times but so far the response from the sound people who have dealt with it has been very favorable; its flat response and great reproduction make it easy to work with. DPA makes a trick little rubber mounting bracket that hangs off the strings behind the bridge so that the mic rides above the top of the fiddle in front of the tailpiece; takes about 5 seconds to mount it. The mount plus mic is very lightweight and doesn't seem to dampen the tone (in that position it does pick up the sound of my breathing if I'm not careful, though). Downside of the DPA is that it's significantly more expensive than the GLM. BTW if you decide to go with a GLM, I'd recommend the 100 over the 200, especially if you're going to work with sound guys who are fairly inexperienced. The 200 seemed to be particularly efficient at picking up fingerboard noise, wind noise, breathing, etc., unless the bass was rolled off below 200 Hz, and because it was a cartioid mic, a small shift in its position could really alter the sound. I might have been able to work out the problems if I'd persevered but I got tired of dealing with it. I almost traded it in for a GLM100 but a couple fiddlers whose sound I really liked recommended the DPA. I hope this helps! -Steve
  10. I'd be very interested in seeing that document, Goose Bane... Don't suppose you could post relevant portions? It's curious to me that different airlines have different rules, though. Seems this should be something that's regulated.
  11. "The Montreal-based airline admits that its carry-on policy has not been consistent over the years, but says musicians and other travellers should get accustomed to a new reality." Note this incident happened back in July, so it's unconnected to the more recent extra restrictions. I had no trouble with Air Canada on my recent trip in August (with totally full flights); none of the airline personnel even looked twice at my violin, but it sounds from this like I can expect problems in the future! As others have pointed out, even though the airlines may allow you to carry on a fiddle, when it comes down to it, they may force you to check it and there's nothing you can do about it. When I started flying to gigs with my expensive violin I got a rider on my household insurance policy that covers full repair/replacement costs on my equipment; it wasn't that expensive, I think something like $90 a year for about $10K of coverage. It's very specific as to the list of equipment covered, however, and when I upgrade my equipment I have to remember to update the policy. This provides some reassurance although I'd still be very upset if my favorite instrument was damaged. This all makes me curious, how would you pack a violin assuming there's a good risk the airline would force you to check it? Is an Anvil case the way to go? Or something else? Is there anything that's small enough not to attract undue attention as a carry-on but that would provide adequate protection if it were checked? -Steve
  12. quote: Originally posted by: stevenwong quote: Originally posted by: lastchair Hmmm... I guess I would go through a ton of e strings if one squeak and off they come! My teacher insists that it is technique. In fact he can't get his e to squeak even if he tried. I observe that squeaks happen when I hit it too hard, and am not bowing exactly perpendicular to the string. If I amd perpendicular, and relax slightly just before hitting the e on a broken chord, no squeak. Hi lastchair, Yes, I have been told the same. Someone demonstrated to me that it is all about the technique. But, with the huge number of people here complaining about squeaking Es, I am wondering who's right and wrong or which is fact or fiction... steven It may be about technique, but I know from experience that one of my fiddles is much less prone to whistling E's than the others, so I suspect there's a component of this related to instrument setup as well. -Steve
  13. It's simply a matter of comfort and ergonomics. If you can benefit from a shoulder rest, use it. If not, don't! There's a good video giving some guidelines for when a rest should be used on the Violin Masterclass website here. -Steve
  14. quote: Originally posted by: reedman Once again, don't asume everything will be fine domestically. Delta has responded to me personally via email in June that "all carry-on items must fit easily through the Size-Wise unit (22"14"X9")." Unless you have a hinged neck on your full-size fiddle, there may be a definite problem getting your violin in the cabin on a Delta flight. Forget viola cases. In addition, the "customer care" person wrote that Delta flight personnel can make further restrictions depending on the circumstances of the specific flight. So, don't fly Delta, use your back-pack straps with the case riding low on your back (so that the case doesn't stick up behind your neck/head--it will appear to personnel more as a backpack, rather than an instrument case), and act confident... Thanks for this information. Delta was one of the airlines I was considering for my last trip but I'll avoid them in the future. I normally fly either Southwest or Jet Blue and have had no problems bringing my fiddle onboard (prior to the recent terrorism issues, of course) even though I generally take it in my oblong Weber case. It's worth remembering that regardless of what the airlines say, the staff at the gate make the final decision either way. -Steve
  15. I returned from Halifax through Toronto to San Francisco on Air Canada last Saturday; no problems carrying on my fiddle (in a Bobelock shaped suspension case with a Cushy cover) even though I was also carrying a smallish backpack (which could fit under my seat). They did run the violin through the scanner an extra time in Toronto because something about the angle of the case handle in the first image alerted their suspicions, but there was no problem. I normally remove anything "funny looking" from the case prior to flying but had neglected to do so going out; going through security at San Francisco (prior to the British incident) the security guy pulled me aside and had me open the case so they could take a closer look; the suspicious item was apparently my rubber practice mute! On the flight home, the attendant told us that the rules regarding carry-on items have been changing daily, and sometimes several times a day, since the recent incidents. I would say that it's probably best to check with the airlines the day before you fly to see what the current situation is. Currently it sounds like the severest restrictions are on flights to/from the UK, and that domestic flights aren't affected that much (except for liquids). -Steve
  16. quote: Originally posted by: Winston That set-up (using fine tuners on both the E and A strings) was very common prior to 1970 or so, especially with students. Unless you were using all-metal strings, the G and D were gut wound --and a fine tuner wasn't needed. The metal E always needed one, of course. But in the case of the A string, a few old-timers would still use plain gut, otherwise, it was either a metal A or a gut wound A. The gut wound A's typically had a short life span and required constant tuning. I began learning in the 1960s and used that setup for many years. It worked well but because of the steel A I never learned to tune my A string "properly" i.e., with the violin in position, manipulating the peg with the LH fingers. Still can't do it, but I use a Pusch tailpiece with 4 fine tuners with my synthetic strings so it's not typically an issue!
  17. While on a recent visit to Nova Scotia, a person I stayed with in Halifax showed me a fiddle that a friend had asked her to help sell. The story went that it had been passed down from a relative who had played it for many years professionally in a symphony orchestra, but other than that they had no further info. I couldn't tell her much about it. It was an interesting old instrument of a model I was unfamiliar with (it was not a Strad, Guarneri, Amati or Stainer model); it reminded me of an old Dutch violin I'd played at one point. No label or brand that I could see. It looked to be reasonably well-made, although the top had very wide grain on one side, and the sides and back didn't have much curl if I remember correctly. It had obviously been played a lot by someone who didn't use a shoulder rest or chinrest; the bottom third of the back had all the varnish worn off, and the top was missing quite a bit of its varnish in the lower left and upper right areas. Apart from that it appeared to be in good shape, with no open cracks or other problems, other than its soundpost was missing. The violin was accompanied by a no-name, apparently cheap bow that had been hit by bow bugs, but it was in a very nice old leather Jaeger double case that I really coveted; this made me think that the orchestra story might be true, although maybe the other violin that formerly resided in that case was the good one! I didn't think to get any pictures, but since they would have been poor quality at best given the camera I had with me, it probably wasn't worthwhile. At any rate, I guess this is a long-winded way of asking if anyone can recommend any shops or appraisers in or near Halifax that could take a look at the violin and give an idea of its provenance and value. Thanks -Steve
  18. Steve_W


    quote: Originally posted by: larakitten Has anyone any comments on the specific rosins that Pirastro do for each string type? For example, Im using Eudoxa strings right now, but find my Hill dark rosin just clogs them up too much so was thinking about trying the specific rosin designed for those strings? Is it worth it? Could it be that you're just applying too much rosin for these strings? I used Hill Dark with Gold Labels for several years (before I gave up on gut and switched to synthetics) and don't remember any issues. I've never tried the Pirastro branded rosins however it seems that a rosin specifically formulated for those strings would be a good place to start. Considering that a cake of Eudoxa rosin is only around $6 (around here, anyway), it's not a huge investment!
  19. Steve_W


    Oh no, not this again! Questions on rosin longevity always turn up an interesting variety of responses. My opinion is that it may depend on the formulation. I've used one brand where the performance of a cake that was over 20 years old was indistinguishable to me from that of a new one, and another brand that seemed to harden significantly in 10-15 years. (These were both "low-tech" inexpensive dark rosins.) After switching to Tartini last year just after it was discontinued, I'm hoping that its longevity is more like the former than the latter! [Which reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask: does anyone have opinions on how Andrea compares to Tartini, and which grades are comparable?]-Steve
  20. It's slower tonight than it was yesterday but still loaded in about 20 seconds for me just now (eMac, Firefox 1.5, cable modem). -Steve
  21. How about this: http://musicorum.apinc.org/article35.html . This applet has several options: it can accept input from a piano keyboard, or using a mouse you can input either by clicking the note on a keyboard or the note name, and it can run with sound or silently. -Steve
  22. Where I have mine done in Berkeley, prices for a "standard" rehair are similar to what stefan quotes, with a turnaround time of around 3 days. OTOH, my ARCUS bow came with super-premium Mongolian hair; there's apparently only one shop in the Bay Area that stocks that hair (from the same supplier ARCUS uses) and they charge around $80 for a rehair with that stuff. I suppose when it's time to rehair that bow I'll have to decide whether the premium hair's worth the extra bucks. (I suspect at my playing level, I'd never be able to tell the difference!) -Steve
  23. As a dance fiddler who plays "conductorless" either solo or in small ensembles I find a metronome invaluable for developing a steady tempo. I use it as bnewton describes, to get sets up to speed and identify any problems prior to performance. I have one of those little electronic ones that has a silent mode with a blinking light and when I'm playing solo for dance classes I often leave it blinking away on a corner of my stand to make sure I don't stray too far away from the standard tempi. It's a very handy device, not just for beginners! -Steve
  24. He didn't start playing the cello until after he retired in the 1990s (although he has been involved in music his whole life)! Now that's impressive, and inspiring! -Steve
  25. This may be old news to YouTube devotees but I just found this great video that cellist Ethan Winer made, playing 37 separate cello parts using an amazing number (at least to this violinst!) of different techniques: Ethan Winer: A Cello Rondo. (his personal website--without the video--is here: ethanwiner.com). Almost makes me want to take up the cello! -Steve
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