UncleDave

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About UncleDave

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  1. So, how exactly does one achieve a matte finish? Admittedly, I've only used commercially available oil varnishes (considerably thinned, of course) from places like Intl Violins and Intl Luthiers Supply, etc, and they always appear too glossy for my taste...
  2. Now I remember!! Yes, "Fat Cows Get Drunk After Eating Breakfast!" Or, "Fast Cars Glide Down Avenue, East Bound," But for flats, my high-school stand partner (a real clown) used to say: "Bride Eats Arsenic, Dies; Groom Cries Foul!"
  3. I remember a few acronyms that were taught during the course of music study, such as "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge," and the like. Wasn't there one for remembering key signatures, something to do with 'cows eating breakfast' or something? (No, I haven't been sipping ol' Granddad's 'cough medicine,' honest! ) Just curious... I'd really appreciate it if anyone can give a jog to old Uncle D's memory.
  4. I've reverted back to Eileen Ivers a couple of days ago. We attended a small fiddle-fest over the weekend, and our 14-month-old absolutely loves to "dance" to fiddle music! I love watching him kick his feet in time to the CD while sitting in his car seat, giggling the whole time. We might have to sign him up for Irish step dancing in a couple of years...
  5. I would love to find this out as well, along with why this affects some instruments more than others? Perhaps the better the instrument, the more sensitive it is to such things? My Y2K Korean-built clunker doesn't care what chinrest I use, let alone where it clamps on, what strings are used, what bow is used, even where the soundpost is; it sounds equally nasal no matter what, and time spent on adjustments is in vain. But the violin in question varies quite noticeably with any type of adjustment; even the weather. I borrowed a side-mounted rest, but find it uncomfortable and annoying, as I am not used to it; and, the low-frequency fullness I found so appealing has diminished (could be the effect of perception due to altered playing angle?), although the ring is back. Perhaps, with this one, the best chinrest is none at all...?
  6. Fiddlecollector, that does not sound stupid at all! It is a very good suggestion. Alas, I already did check that very closely, and there are no open seams or loose glue joints. There are 2 poorly repaired saddle cracks (they are very solid, just ugly) and this was my first area of inspection after removing the chinrest -- they were so visible, they caught my eye. I am also going to have the bridge checked out, on an unrelated tangent; to my eye, the feet appear to be too thick, as does the waist. Am I mistaken in believing a bridge that's too thick can 'mute' an instrument?
  7. I did a little experimenting, with the limited resources at my disposal... You are all correct, of course. Here's what I found: There is plenty of clearance above the tailpiece. I had my wife check as I played and there were no parts contacting. My wife stood some distance away as I played and could tell the resonance was gone, the sound was choked, with the chinrest on. Loosening the clamps to where they were just gripping enough to stay on helped some. Clue number one, there is some damping occuring. I noticed the Hill-style clamps contact a portion of the top and back that's well inside the purfling. Thinking this may be preventing a portion of the top from vibrating freely, I adjusted it so they only grip the outer edge (above the ribs) and the sound improved. I replaced the chinrest with a lightweight plastic version of the same style, but with the smaller type clamp, and the sound improved further. Perhaps a side-mounted chinrest really would help?
  8. I know first-hand the affect simple alterations can make to an instrument; however, I have never experienced as dramatic a change as installing a chinrest on one violin in particular. This instrument is not especially strong, but it has a very pleasant tone -- with the chinrest removed. I install the chinrest, which is an over-the-tailpiece model with Hill-style clamps, and it "clamps" the fiddle's tone severely! She sounds like she's choking to death, and no amount of bowing finesse can 'heimlich' the sound out of her. The only hope is chinrest-removal surgery. I did a search, and Mr. Victor states that replacement with a side-mounted chinrest can possibly remedy this ailment, and that makes sense to me. I'm wondering, though, if something else may be going on here that makes the difference so profound on this particular fiddle?
  9. Hey, thanks guys! I'm going to be out of commission for a few days, but I want to give a holler to Brian Bender when I get back. There is the annual fiddle contest at the Glastonbury Audubon Society next Saturday, and we plan on checking it out also. We plan to attend the Big E next week, don't know which day, but while we're in the area I'll see if I can hook up with someone. I also found a violin teacher here in my hometown (!) but she's mostly classical, and very formal...
  10. I enjoy many different styles, and if I could choose one, I'd immerse myself in Norwegian folk style, but - alas - I can't afford a Hardanger! It would be great to hook up with a local mentor. I haven't noticed any jam sessions geared toward 'beginners,' nor have I gotten the impression that any others would tolerate a rusty classical snoot who would have a hard time following the groove! There have been sessions at a couple of pubs here and there, and all participants seem to have a decent enough grasp of synchopation and ornamentation to jump into the flow with very little trouble. I have little knowledge of the technical definitions of fiddling terms like "shuffle," etc., but I do find that simply listening - a lot - tends to instill a cetain sense of rhythm that I find myself unconsciously, although ineffectively, replicating. When I listen, I can "see" the dance. I'm not yet able to reproduce the effect with my own playing. That's why I agree with Donna Hebert on the page Russ posted (thanks, Russ) that jam sessions are the best way to learn, as they allow a person to not just listen, but watch and participate. I wish I could find a beginners workshop somewhere close by.
  11. While attending a local fair this past weekend with my wife and 13-month-old, we had the good fortune to enjoy some good ol' Irish dance music. Now, I've always played classical violin (not very well, and not for 20 years, mind you!), but my wife is into Irish dancing, and my son just loves fiddle tunes (he does some 'step-dancing' of his own! LOL). This weekend, I was pushed over the edge, and I'm dying to transition from Classical (which I still love) to fiddling. I'm inexorably drawn to the purity, the straight-from-the-heart quality of a good fiddler. Can you blame me? I live in Eastern Connecticut, and I'm wondering if anyone knows where I might find a fiddle instructor nearby? I'm willing to travel just about anywhere east of the river, or just over the border in MA (Longmeadow area). I thank you in advance for steering me in the right direction. ~Uncle D
  12. I've seen some handmade Chinese fiddles with gorgeous Himalayan wood. Sound-wise, they're okay. Perhaps if they boiled or smoked their wood, they'd have Strad contenders...
  13. Did anyone watch this? Our local station aired this at 1am, so had to record it. I've not had the chance to review it yet...
  14. I agree with Carl-Victor's reasoning. Beyond that, the most important musician in an orchestra is the concertmaster -- just ask him!
  15. I have one of these. A violin, not a viola. I recall someone stating they were a trade name, imported from East Germany(?) which struck me as odd, as the date written in was 1947. I remember doing a search on the name and came up with the author of Pinocchio... In any case, it's a decent student fiddle. Mine has a striking one-piece back, and 'okay' workmanship. Rather smallish Strad model. The corner blocks are hollow, BTW. The original varnish appeared to be a dark reddish-brown (mine was revarnished, after someone had polyurethaned the poor thing!). It sounds surprisingly nice, though, but not too powerful. If I saw another one up for auction, I wouldn't bid on it, JM2C...