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Everything posted by andy989

  1. Hi, I'm learning the cello (I've been a violinist and violist for years), and won't see my teacher for another couple of weeks. Could you please tell me where your pinky contacts the stick when you're at the frog, say on your A and D strings (where your pinky has to do more work because of the angle of the stick vs. the string)? Mine tends to slip forward (toward the palm). Should it contact the stick at the base knuckle (the closer of the two to the palm)? Thanks!
  2. I can't directly answer your question, and I haven't tried the Violino E, but I'm convinced that the Obligato plain steel E is different from the Gold Label E--on the two violins I tried it on, it sounded quite a bit darker and fuller, compared to the brighter and clearer Gold Label E.
  3. Hi everyone, I've played viola (picked up violin a few years ago, as well) and have suffered from chronic neck problems, and have been considering switching to cello, as even though it seems to put more pressure on some other joints than violin or viola does, it doesn't appear to directly involve the neck. Any comfortable violin/viola (I'm originally a violist) position also seems to require my neck to be bent (I'm just referring to the same motion that one would make if they looked down at the floor--of course, to a lesser degree) at an angle that worsens my pinched nerve symptoms (or it could be something else that I'm doing with my neck...I have herniated discs at C-5, C-6 and C-7), and bearing the weight of the instrument more with the left hand (instead of just the head) seems to make a relaxed and agile left hand impossible to achieve, at least for me). My mom's a cellist, and I play every now and then for fun, albeit with a not-so-correct bow grip and an atrocious left hand position... Did any of you originally start on violin (or viola), and later learn cello (Andrew Victor, I have you in mind, at the moment)? How long did it take you to become as proficient on cello as you are at the other instruments? Thanks so much for your thoughts.
  4. Good suggestion...tuning up much more than a quarter tone might be a problem (the string could break...then again, sometimes it seems ok--I do the same experiment sometimes, and tune up a full tone--it probably really weakens the string, though), but to my ears and hands, a full tone, up or down, seems to best approximate the tone difference between gauges, in most brands of strings.
  5. If you thought the Evahs weren't warm enough, have you tried them in weich (light)? I swear by them on both a violin and viola in my posession. They won't seem much different from most strings in medium--since the medium Evahs seem pretty 'heavy' for mediums, it makes sense that the weich Evahs seem pretty 'heavy' for weich. On my instruments, they're not quite as brilliant as medium Evahs, but there's more of a transparency and warmth to their sound, they modulate much better, and they're still plenty powerful, brilliant, and very refined.
  6. Thanks for your answers, everybody-- Andy, I too, am always trying lots of different strings on many instruments----and had you in mind, actually, when I asked this question, since you like Visions so much. I am very aware that different strings will produce different characteristics on different instruments---but in general, but is it about Visions that makes you think they're the best, on many of your violins? Or, if you can't answer that, what is the best, to you? Thanks!
  7. What are the general differences in characteristics between Visions and the other Thomastik synthetic strings? Thanks, Andy
  8. If you want to try it, Inderol (Propranolol is the generic name) can be very useful when nervousness inhibits your performance. You may still have nervous thoughts, but your physical reaction to them will be inhibited. Most times I've used it, all I've noticed is that my playing isn't a nervous disaster, when it otherwise might be--no real noticeable side effects. It seems important to use the drug in moderation, if you decide to try it--It's hard to describe, but it can even have too powerful an effect, and at times I think I've sounded weak when on it.
  9. Advantages of synthetics? Even though Olives (the most synthetic-like of gut strings, from what I've tried) appear to be as brilliant and responsive (not to mention as flexible, warm, and powerful) as most synthetics, they still have the flexibility of gut--which I could see translating to mushy on some instruments--but I can't say for sure. It's interesting to me that so many people like Evah starks--they must be very heavy in tension, even compared to other heavy gauge synthetic strings, as the mediums and lights seem heavy compared to other medium and light synthetic strings. I use light Evahs on my viola (a beautiful, refined, and resonant sound, with better modulation and transparency than the mediums, for me), and find that they, especially the C, (the C is extremely powerful, and even a bit edgy--probably because of the tungsten in the winding, and a bit more aggressive in character than the silver D and G) don't feel much less tense than medium Dominants, for example.
  10. Thanks to everyone for their ideas. I ordered a Mach One rest to try (and will probably need to buy the longer legs), as well as a Vermeer and Mulko chinrest to try, both of which seem relatively tall.
  11. Interesting that you don't like low-tension Evahs, Andy...I think they're very good in general, on the few violins and violas I've tried them on. I think medium Evahs tend to be more tense than normal for mediums, and that they don't always modulate well. The lights seem to be more resonant, and in fact don't feel much different in tension from most other medium gauge synthetic strings. Do the light Obligatos feel noticeably lighter in tension than the light Evahs? I wonder if I'd find them too light.
  12. I play violin and viola, and have always had trouble finding a comfortable shoulder rest/chinrest combination, partially because of my long neck and the resulting requisite height of the shoulder rest. I'm currently using a BonMusica rest, which I've been using on and off for years, and I find that while the shoulder attachment is a nice idea, the shoulder rest is not contoured well (it's not really contoured at all, actually), and the shoulder attachment tends to slip off my shoulder. I have a Dresden chinrest that I like the shape of, but it is relatively short in height. The BonMusica's set relatively high to compensate for this. What have the rest of you long-necked players found works for you?
  13. I think there can be exceptions--on a couple violins that mostly seemed to prefer relatively tension strings (Obligatos, Tonicas, etc.), heavy Helicores were indeed darker than the mediums, but punchier, without really being less resonant than the mediums.
  14. Hi Andy, I use a full hair most of the time for a fuller sound. As Marie Brown notes, placing your pinky where Galamian preferred, in combination with a tilting forward of the bow to ensure that the pinky remains 'on top' (not the top-most side of the octagon) of the bow, seems too easily to produce a col legno. However, I haven't recently found a good place for it on top (the top-most side of the octagon) of the stick, because it tends to slip off a bit as I approach the frog. This is what Galamian predicts can happen when one places the pinky on the top-most side of the octagon of the stick--but placing it on the upper side of the octagon, of course, isn't congruent with using full hair. What in fact do most players do in this regard? I haven't paid attention recently. You noted that "All aspects of the posture work together, so if you cite that one aspect of the Galamian posture, you should cite them all." So, here is a short description, in his words, of what the other fingers do: "The basic grip as given here permits the flexibiility of the hand to develop rather quickly, because it is a natural position of the hand. This manner of holding the bow is designed chiefly to release the springs of the hand and fingers so that the bow can settle deeper into the strings. It is the best grip for the achievement of fullness and roundness of sound." "The first finger is placed at a slight distance from the second finger and contacts the stick of the bow a little on the nail side of the middle joint...the second finger will be curved over the stick opposite the thumb and will contact the stick at the joint nearest the nail. The third finger reaches over the frog. The fourth finger is placed on the stick rather close to the third finger. The section of the stick immediately above the frog is always of octagonal construction, even when the stick itself is round In placing the fourth finger, its tip rests not directly on top of the stick, but instead on the inner side of the octagon, contacting the flat surface just next to the top. In this position the fourth finger does not slide over the frog nor off the stick. This placement is important, because it facilitates the handling of many of the active controls in the various bowins in adition to its fundamental function of counterbalancing the weight of the bow." (from his book, Principles of Violin Playing & Teaching, pages 45-46)
  15. Here's another technical question to ponder--where do you place your right pinky on the octagon of the bow? Galamian advises placing it "on the inner side of the octagon, contacting the flat surface just next to the top," because this positioning prevents it from sliding off the frog or the stick. But is this practical when playing with full hair, when the bow is perpendicular to the string? It feels very uncomfortable to my hand.
  16. Hi Joan, Thanks for your response! For me, using a Flesch chinrest and placing my chin on the chinrest under the tongue, as you stated, without leaning one way or the other, caused me to clench an uncomfortable amount in order to support the viola's weight with my chin. I found that with a side chinrest, and leaning my head to the left a bit so that my jaw, and not my chin, was supporting the weight of the instrument, I didn't need to clench nearly as much, perhaps since my jaw was more spread out. Do you have any problem with clenching, with your setup as it is? If not, is it because you support the weight of the instrument with your left hand much of the time? Thanks! Andy
  17. Purflingz, You're right, it shouldn't be that frustrating...but hopefully once your setup is improved, you'll be fine...in general, your neck shouldn't be bent much lower than it is when you're doing anything else. If you find yourself craning your neck uncomfortably far down or lifting your shoulder to support the violin, that means you have more space to fill with a shoulder rest, chinrest, or both. Don't worry about what's popular--do what's most comfortable for you. I don't like any of the very popular chinrests much myself. That being said--a lot of experimenting can be necessary, and you might want to try a well-stocked violin ship--but it's well worth it.
  18. I noticed that on a viola of mine, the "B" (first finger on the A string) and all subsequent notes are higher than the "E" on the D string...does that mean the D string is false?
  19. Ann, I couldn't find anything on a search engine for "fiddlefaddle" and "torn rotator cuff." Could you please describe his technique? Thanks!
  20. I remember Synoxas being very sweet and bright and having lots of power...I thought they were rather stiff and unforgiving though...very different from Tonicas.
  21. Joan-- It depends on the instrument--some may lose projection with lower tension strings, and some may actually produce their optimal sound with them. I had a wolf on my viola D, and tried a Dominant silver light-gauge string instead of a medium. The wolf was almost gone, but I wound up going back to the medium because the light-gauge string sounded noticeably brighter, and not as powerful, as the strings surrounding it. But I've had good experience with them in other cases--a viola I just sold sounded by far most resonant, if not necessarily loudest, with light-gauge strings. Try lowering your G a pitch and see if you like the results--this may approximate reasonably well what a lighter gauge string might sound like. Also, you might want to try a thinner string, such as Helicore. Gauge aside, a thinner string seems to help sometimes. And, if you haven't already, tinker around with the soundpost--this helped fix my wolf more than a string change did. Good luck, Andy
  22. Hi 4strings, Thanks for your response...how do you position yourself on your Flesch chinrest? Is your head positioned neutrally, with your chin flat on the rest? Or does your jaw lie on the rest (making it look like your head is leaning a bit toward your left shoulder)? Andy
  23. Hi Jesse, What do you mean by coarse? You mean the workmanship is poor?
  24. Forgot the link--here it is... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...me=STRK:MEWA:IT
  25. Doesn't the back's wood look like Chinese maple?
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