Brad H

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About Brad H

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  1. Awesome idea! I will spread the word in my musical community.... I might even join FB just to check out some of the build.
  2. well..... One may believe in the democratic process yet sit by helplessly watching the results of that process become twisted beyond recognition by political hacks and special interests. Regarding the media, it is unfortunate that they have become obligated to bear sole responsibility for the oversight of the Executive branch; the Senate and other segments of the media are determined to ensure there is no accountability in the Executive branch. And, yes, the media has gone too far on occasion, but I am still thankful for their courage in spite of the constant, deceitful attempts to silence them.
  3. Most of what I am talking about are the prodigious number of plastic ziploc bags in which separate items are packaged; sometimes plastic bags are used to enclose other plastic bagged items. As Jim pointed out, reusing them is advantageous but, at some point, they pile up and one is occasionally reminded of larger pictures to consider. Those are some good ideas, Joel. I, too, know the occasional hazards of recycling packaging peanuts; a cello-size box full of peanuts scoffed at my tie-down attempts in the back of my pickup and tried to make it to greener pastures on a rural road. Of course, the box opened on impact with the curb of the road and I spent a long afternoon picking up peanuts in the ditch on the side of the road. I appreciated the comments, Rue and those posting on waste-to-oil technology.
  4. I finally contacted several wholesaler suppliers of tools and parts and asked them to refrain from packing items for my orders in plastic bags. One supplier received my request last year and my orders are now wrapped in paper or not wrapped at all. As a former environmental ed. field teacher of 6th graders ( Santa Cruz mountains), I still try to walk the talk and recycle as much as possible; I don't like throwing things away, especially plastic bags, which are made of fossil fuels, and often end up in unintended locations. The thought occurred to me that others might, with a prompt, ask the same from their suppliers. Then, there is the sad state of plastic recycling in general...sigh Signed, He who wants to live in a world which sustains the earth.
  5. There is also this Violin Spit by Stravari
  6. Regarding concerns about water on certain varnishes, I am now concerned about my draft instructions on cleaning which does include periodic wiping down with slightly damp cloth. Here is my draft section on cleaning. Opinions/recommendations welcomed. Cleaning - Start with your hands…how clean are they? Wash your hands before picking up your instrument and bow. Oily fingerprints all over a violin are a sure sign of neglect….as is rosin buildup on top of the violin, the bridge, and the strings. - Excess rosin is the enemy of your violin. Rosin that accumulates on the violin will eat into the varnish and become embedded, impacting the tone, beauty, and value of your violin. Rosin buildup on strings adds extra mass to the string and deadens the tone. Same story applies to rosin buildup on the bridge. - Wipe down your violin and the strings after EVERY playing session. Use a soft microfiber cloth (microfibers are more effective at cleaning – they pick up more dust, rosin, and dirt). In addition to the easy areas to reach, you should push the cloth under the strings, grab the cloth on both sides, and clean under the fingerboard, and then under the tailpiece. You can also clean the fingerboard and the underside of the strings using the same procedure. If there are exposed, rough areas on the violin’s top edges, be very careful when wiping these areas – you don’t want the cloth to get stuck in a rough area and pull off a splinter (have a luthier address the rough edges). - Wipe down the bow stick as well. Tension the bow hair, insert the cloth between the hair and the stick, and give the stick a good wipe down. (it is a good idea to have a separate cloth for the bow and to wash all cloths periodically) - You can periodically use a slightly damp cloth (a couple drops of solution* on the cloth, not directly on the violin) to remove dirt and oils. Don’t allow moisture to come in contact with any bare wood (it is a good idea to have a luthier apply some varnish on any bare wood). You can then wipe it down with a clean, slightly damp cloth and then immediately wipe down with a dry cloth. * Solution can consist of 1 drop of dish soap in a glass of water (distilled water is best, but can use tap water). Saliva, with its enzymes, is also a good cleaning agent. - Violin cleaners and polishes: Most luthiers frown on the use of these since they contain oils and waxes which can build up on the violin.
  7. Good point! Thanks for the feedback.
  8. With some patience and elbow grease, luthier's spit can be very effective at removing dirt/encrusted rosin. I was once shown how to rub a saliva-moistened finger over cloudy areas in the varnish where dirt and rosin have become encrusted. You have to rub with quite a bit of force, and do one area at a time, but eventually (10-15 seconds?) you can feel the dirt/rosin being rolled up into small solid fragments which can then be wiped away. My draft care sheet did mention saliva as a solvent but, with our current virus crisis, wonder whether I should remove it. Again, my care sheet is intended for students, not luthiers. I think I will amend my statement on cleaners/polishes to say: - Commercial violin cleaners and polishes: Most luthiers frown on the use of these since they contain oils and waxes which can build up on the violin's surface or impregnate the wood where bare spots or tiny fissures exist in the varnish.
  9. Yeah, I have seen my share of oily fingerprinted instruments. My first instruction in the care sheet was, "Wash your hands before picking up your instrument" Thanks for the comment, Duane.
  10. Thanks, Jacob, I did have quite a few suggestions for keeping the instrument clean.
  11. A teacher asked me to write up an information sheet on violin care and maintenance for her mostly K-12 students. At the end of my draft section on cleaning, I included the following sentence: - Commercial violin cleaners and polishes: Most luthiers frown on the use of these since they contain oils and waxes which can build up on the violin's surface. True or false? Or, are there suggestions for a more accurate statement and/or better advice for student?
  12. Ahh...yes...rather, .my concept of good wood, arching, etc., and the adjustments "I have tried" instead of "any.
  13. Being rather stubborn, I have often completely redone setups on problematic violins - sometimes multiple times - and often the uninspiring nature of the tone was still evident. That said, I have often been amazed at the positive impacts of small adjustments. Sometimes the adjustments are simply things that I overlooked in the initial setup, e.g., string height at nut, or bridge thickness, or optimum bridge placement . If there is a logical formula to apply, I haven't found it. I do usually start with SP tweaks and end up at string selection. Adjusting violins for optimal tone continues to be both rewarding and frustrating for me. I do spend quite a bit of time on each violin I own (which is too many) because they only sell if they sound good. Most of the frustration ensues when a violin that should sound good, based on wood, arching, thickness, doesn't, and won't respond to any amount of adjustments. Though they may not help you, I will share some of my adjustment ideas in hopes of eliciting more participation in this topic. Regarding E string tension, the other variable to adjust is the relative height of the strings on the bridge. Although there are limits based on standard string height above FB, there is a bit of leeway to make adjustments. I have found that bridges that are relatively horizontal in profile (E string not much lower than G string) tend to produce harsh, unpleasant E/A strings and weak D/G. Lowering the height of the treble side (or making a new bridge with slightly higher bass side) seemed to help string balance. Sound post tweaks are where I spend most of my time and I seem to go through phases where I like them closer to, then farther away from the bridge foot (even though each violin has unique "needs"). In general, I find that, in addition to the closer = tighter, further = looser/darker correlation, closer placement puts more emphasis on A and E and farther behind bridge foot seems to allow the bottom end to speak up. East/west adjustments seem to be more specific to each violin. One frustrating aspect of SPs for me is that the post can look straight one minute, then appear crooked the next. I find that tiny N/S adjustments to the bottom of the post can have significant impacts since they can correct a post whose top surface exerted pressure unevenly - not through the center of the post, but either through the top of the post closer to or further from the bridge foot. I know SP tension has been discussed before but I hope the discussion continues as I also tend to go in phases with that. With regards to bridge tweaks, I do know that the more time I spend on any particular bridge, the thinner the bridge and more open the cutouts become. Most of my tweaks are to the lower half of the bridge where I have been experimenting with ankle width, shape of bottom arch, thickness between bottom arch and kidneys. Most of the tweaks have produced positive results but most likely I am just moving towards better cut bridges instead of really finding out what does what. Moving the entire bridge east/west by even 0.5mm can sometimes make dramatic improvements in tone and I don't know whether it is due to a better relationship of bridge to bar/post, or whether the nut/bridge/end pin alignment was improved. Speaking of which, I will sometimes pull the tail gut in either east/west direction to see whether that improves the tone. If it does, I will take the setup down and check that the endpin is in the right place. This is a tough topic to articulate but hope others chime in.
  14. I am all for anything which might improve the task of leveling fill. How much aluminum hydroxide do you add per amount of fill varnish?