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Suite Jane

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Everything posted by Suite Jane

  1. I have a bright French fiddle, and I just made the switch from Dominants to Tonicas this past weekend. The Tonicas are warmer and fuller sounding, and also very responsive (I am talking about the G, D, and A only---the E was a disaster and came off after only a few minutes of playing). In addition, the Tonicas solved a G string problem I've encountered every winter---when the humidity drops here in the cold weather, the G stops sounding when the bow moves across the string. I thought it was my bow and had it rehaired. It was the Dominants. SJ
  2. Hi, My first violin was a Paesold. I think it was a 950, but I could have the number wrong. It cost about $900, and I bought it from a general music store, not a violin shop. It had a nice tone, but it was very heavy and the top was very thick. Therefore, it didn't have much projection, and playing forte was nearly impossible. One of my teacher's other students recently purchased an instrument from Shar for about $1,100 that is vastly superior to my Paesold (at least in my opinion). Also, you might look into Scott Cao instruments. Do a search for past comments. Most folks appear to love them. My luthier told me that the cheaper Paesolds were made for children playing in student orchestras. They're made heavy to be as indestructable as possible, according to him. But maybe you're buying one made by Roderic Paesold himself, and if so, these comments don't really apply. SJ
  3. Hi, Just in the last three weeks, my A and G strings have developed a lot of surface noise. Even my teacher can hear it, and it's driving me crazy when I play. I haven't changed rosins or changed how I apply it. My bow was rehaired six months ago and has been sounding great up until now. This week I put new A and G strings on, and still I can hear the noise---especially above third position on the A string. I'm using Dominants which I know a lot of people don't like, but they've been fine until these past 3 weeks. No changes in humidity that this instrument hasn't faced before without a problem. I've had the violin for several years and have always loved its sound. Now I can hardly bare to practice. What would bring on this sudden change? It is very unpleasant!!! SJ
  4. Hi Journey, Yow, this is my first post on the new board. It takes me a while to get used to new stuff, but anyway here goes... I'm getting my wood bow rehaired this week. The shop loaned me a Coda Aspire bow---sells for $199. I have been playing with it for 2 days now, and I have been very impressed. It is wonderfully balanced and plays incredibly easily---even spiccato. Honestly, it is really easy to handle. And it draws a nice smooth sound even up in the "nosebleed" positions, you know, way up there. No scratchiness--very mellow even on the g string. My only complaint is that the sound does not seem as rich and complex as the sound I get with my wood bow. I would almost call it "hollow"---at least that's how it seemed at first. Now that I'm getting used to it, I don't mind it so much. All in all, I think this is a great bow for the money. Good luck in your search, SJ
  5. Hi, Last night I was at a small, informal concert, and the violinist made some interesting comments about a baroque bow she was using. She had it made by someone named Jose Rodriguez Carrington (I think I got the name right---he works in the Hague). Instead of putting the bend into the bow by using steam heat, he carves the curve into the bow. I'm just curious: Wouldn't carving the bend cut and shorten many more of the wood fibers in the stick? It doesn't seem like this would be desirable. But I don't know a thing about bow making. Any comments by knowledgeable folks? The bow sounded wonderful. She switched to it to play Mozart after using a longer, harsher sounding bow for a Schubert sonatina. The contrast was remarkable. She says this bow-maker only agrees to make bows for folks if they take him to dinner and convince him of why he should do it! SJ
  6. I agree. Keep using your fourth finger. Don't try to shift to avoid it. In my first year of lessons, I couldn't get any kind of a decent sound out of notes played with my fourth finger. But now after a few more years of playing, that finger is almost as strong as the others. I don't even think about it any longer. Your pinkie just needs some additional time and practice to get its act together. SJ
  7. Hi again, Thanks for all the advice. I've been working with this stroke on a simple scale for the last day or two, and I find that I do much better. It sounds almost decent. When I go back to more difficult note combinations in the etude, however---not so hot. I think the suggestion about memorizing the etude is one I will try next, based on my more positive experience with the scale. BTW, I think my bow is not the problem. My teacher tried its bounce and thought it was fine. She sounded great...as usual, sigh... Thanks again, SJ
  8. Hi, I'm just learning spicatto bowing---for a Mazas etude. I can get the bow to bounce easily about a third of the way up from the frog. In fact, it bounces so much that I can't control it. I'm using very short strokes. My teacher has told me to loosen my knuckles on my right hand, but that just makes the bow leap off the strings even higher. I find this stroke so distracting that, although I can play these 2 pages of 16th notes quickly and accurately legato, when I bounce them I can't even get past 2-3 bars without falling apart. After two weeks, I'm feeling pretty stupid and frustrated ! Any advice???? SJ
  9. You are so lucky! I have several of his CDs, and I am dying to hear him live, but no such luck so far. Do you know what his performance schedule is for the US this year? Fat chance that he'll ever make it to central NY..... SJ
  10. Ha, ha---my husband is trying to learn how to play the Scottish bagpipes. We are always kidding him about getting a kilt. I see this new interest of his could be a whole lot more interesting than I first thought....
  11. Thanks everybody for the advice. I'm off to the local music store tomorrow to check out the possibilities you suggested. Also thinking about himidifying my little practice room. SJ
  12. Hi, Every winter here in upstate NY I have the same problem: my bow suddenly quits drawing a full sound out of the G and D strings. No matter how much rosin I apply (Bernardel), the bow slides across the lower strings without drawing much of a sound or, in the worst case, any sound at all. I have to push down really hard with the bow to play low notes. In the past, I've wondered if I need to rehair or change strings, etc., but now after 4 years, I know that's it's a humidity problem---it's very cold and dry from Jan-April. Every spring, when the humidity goes up, this problem disappears. Can anyone recommend a stickier rosin than Bernardel that I could experiment with? Probably something darker? I've never used any rosin but my current one. I need something sticker, but I don't want to ruin the sweet ringing tone of my fiddle. Thanks for any suggestions you might have to solve this small but very annoying problem, SJ
  13. Hi, Rachel Barton does a nice job on the Handel sonatas, and her ornamentation is nicely done---very clean and articulate. She uses a Baroque violin and is accompanied by a harpsichord. SJ
  14. Point well taken, Dr. S. Now that I think of it, my teacher plays piano accompaniment with all her violin students (even on Twinkle-type stuff). Unless we enjoy sounding truly awful, we soon learn to listen for the correct intonation rather than madly trying to locate a particular place on the finger board by sight. It's funny---I hated having to play with the piano in the first couple of years of lessons. But now, I enjoy it, and I think it has been a huge advantage in training my ears to hear accurately. (Not that I play very well, but at least I know when my pitch is off...) So, okay...no tapes. SJ
  15. Hi oldsubguy, I don't think tapes are that big a deal. My teacher insists that all her students start with them (including the adults). After a few weeks, I was simply ignoring them, which she noticed, and we took them off. I would be amazed if anyone became really dependent on tapes for long. How can you read music and keep looking at the tapes for finger placement at the same time? As you progress, you will naturally listen for the correct intonation rather than seeking out the tape positions. Just my opinion. I don't see this as a deep philosophical dilemma....Do what you personally feel comfortable with! SJ
  16. Hi, I know there's been discussion about high chin rests on this board before, but I can't find them using the search function, and I really need tbis info. I've been struggling with tendonitis and neck/shoulder pain due to having a very long neck and too-flexible joints for 2 years---off and on. Jacking up my shoulder rest to accommodate my neck length creates terrible problems for my left arm (and please don't tell me to go restless....) If I keep the shoulder rest at a normal height, my neck begins to have problems. I would love to try a high chin rest, like the one Arnold Steinhardt uses. Where can I get info about purchasing one or having one made? I live in a small town, so local resources are fairly limited. Thanks very very much for any and all help! SJ P.S. (I have been working with a physical therapist and am getting appropriate medical care. It just seems that as soon as we correct a problem in one joint, pain crops up in another place. Very discouraging.)
  17. Been on about 4 years. Was in the Old Dog orchestra on the old board as "DJ".
  18. Hi Squawker, This topic has come up on the board before, and you might find some interesting suggestions in past posts if you do a search. I've suffered from tendonitis in my left arm/elbow for 2 out of the 3 and a half years I've been playing the violin. Physical therapy has helped, but just as soon as I'm pain-free and I stop doing all the stretching, etc., the tendonitis returns. The main cause (according to the PT) is tension while playing. That's why new, unfamiliar pieces and difficult bowing techniques make your problem worse.I suspect that you are tensing up when you face a challenge while playing. As a test, the next time you're trying to play something new or particularly difficult, stop suddenly and see if you're clenching your jaw and squeezing the neck of your instrument with more force than is necessary. If you take a break from playing for a few weeks, when you start up again you should build up your practice time very gradually---the PT had me work up from only 15 minutes/day at first. Good luck and don't give up the instrument. You can get better, SJ
  19. Hi, I'm looking into forming a string quartet composed of adults who've only been playing string instruments for 3-5 years. It would be just for our own enjoyment. Can any of you give me ideas for music that wouldn't be too frustrating or difficult for us to handle? Thanks, SJ
  20. Really lovely! I would give anything to be able to play as well as you do. I agree with the criticisms of the vibrato, but it really only bothered me at the beginning of the piece---especially the opening bars. I enjoyed listening so much, however, that carping about the vibrato seems petty from a rank beginner like yours truly! Good luck. You sound great. SJ
  21. Hi dobro, My teacher finds French instruments too bright for her taste, and she's made comments about their supposed "nasal" sound. When I was trying out instruments before I bought the Buthod, she kept trying to get me to choose dark, "chocolate-y-sounding" German violins. I never felt that these intruments were really singing under my ear or when she played them either. I loved the Buthod from the first minute I played it, and even the untrained ear (my husband and daughters) could pick it out of a group of instruments when I played it. This same luthier tried to sell another of my teacher's students a wonderful sounding French violin, but my teacher vetoed the purchase. C'est la guerre! SJ
  22. Hi fiddle4fun, See my description in my first reply to you: my instrument in from 1885-1890. My luthier seemed fairly certain of that because my Buthod has a blackened scroll (which dates it to that time period apparently). I would call my violin bright and clear across all the strings, too, though not at all harsh or nasal. I find its clear, bell-like tone very appealing. SJ
  23. Hi, I play a violin with the same label. The luthier I bought it from said it was a shop violin, probably made by one of Buthod's students by hand, but definitely not by Buthod himself and also not one of the later mass-produced factory models. I was told it was made around 1885-1890. It has a really lovely one piece back, a beautiful full sweet tone right up into the high positions, and is very easy to play. The condition of the instrument is very good (a couple of minor cracks out of the f holes), and I paid $2,300 for it. Even my teacher who usually dislikes French violins, really likes this instrument. What do you think of the sound of the violin you're considering? SJ
  24. My violin (late 19th century French) has what is called a blackened scroll. Some of the French makers copied the blackened scrolls of Strads. My luthier told me they used "lamp black." (I have a feeling there's not a lot of it around now that we use electric lights.)SJ
  25. Never mind. I found it! It doesn't have the info I want anyway. Oh, well....
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