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    violin, mandolin, mountain dulcimers, romance, fiction, writing

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  1. Thanks! I've been kicking around writing a romance novel where the hero is a luthier. This short erotica piece was just some inspiration before tackling a longer piece. Obviously in a longer piece I would have to get into the details of violin making. ha, ha. I know first hand how hard it is to varnish with a brush [i.e the runs, etc, especially spirit varnish]. So I do have some of the technical background on how to mess things up, LOL, split wood, dull blade, etc. I've made 23 dulcimers, 22 from scratch and while it is a much simpler instrument, a lot of this still goes into it. I can only imagine carving the contours as being a much more sensitive experience. I also know what it's like to play an instrument and have all of the emotions going through me when playing, especially the tone and character of an instrument. I'm not a lesbian, but goodness, the violin is a woman I can imagine the way it responds or plays as a female response in other more passionate ways. Some violins are responsive and fast, others require more effort but can be worth it. I don't mean to say all tight violins are not good. Lots of new violins are tight, but they warm up with effort and can produce enchanting tones. I cannot picture a violin as male. So, in any romance it would be a female violin player with a male luthier. It would seem opposite to go the other way. I might have a love triangle, a male player who has a prized violin that the female player THINKS is the one that's going to make her a star. She finds a luthier and orders him to copy that violin. Meanwhile she tries to seduce the player into letting her play his violin. Only she finds out too late, it is not the violin, not the maker, but her own soul that makes the difference. Anyway, enough rambling. You guys are right. Women are probably the audience. Look at Fifty Shades of Grey, but unless the woman is a luthier, she won't get the nuances of what goes into making that magical instrument. In male fiction, I would agree [lose the adjectives and the adverbs], make it all action and dialogue. But I've learned that my prose is too sparse if I follow the constructs of male writers. Michal's Window was sparser than what females would like. So, now I make it lusher and maybe it's over the top, but I think or hope it works. thanks for the pointer to John Lott, ha, you never know right? that shy, retiring guy hunched over the plate holder might be a real passionate guy full of adventure and tone color.
  2. True... I think of the famous art work, the one where the violin f holes are superimposed on a woman's back on how music and touch are so related. And of course, there's that scene in the Red Violin. Those cliches are what we call purple prose.
  3. Hi everyone, I've been missing for quite a while. Hope all is well. I've written a short story about a luthier and thought I'd share some violin descriptions. I learned a lot while hanging out on the Pegbox forum and dreaming about making a violin. Since I never did do anything but make a mold, I figured I could write about it. The first one is called Angel's Breath: “She’s called Angel’s Breath.” He held the violin in front of the dim firelight and turned it to show her the back. Fiery, translucent stripes leapt off the deeply curled maple. Her fingers tingled to touch. She inhaled the resiny scent of varnish and admired the flawless handiwork, the slight corduroy effect on the spruce... Lady Amati. Under the Maestro's Hand (A Violin Erotica Short Story) (Kindle Locations 28-30). The second one is called Kitchen Maid: It was badly scarred, dented, dark brown and scuffed. A corner was chipped, and a crack ran from the shoulder to the top of the right f-hole. Salty grey tear marks streaked over the belly. The wood was warm to the touch, not shiny, but matte, like well-worn leather. She turned it over. Grime, the color of coffee grounds, covered the back, partially obscuring the pinwheels of birdseye maple. Lady Amati. Under the Maestro's Hand (A Violin Erotica Short Story) (Kindle Locations 55-58). --- If you're interested in the ebook it's available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Sony ebookstore. Warning: the writing is risque and for ages 18+ I'm also writing regular novels under my penname Rachelle Ayala and you can find me at http://www.rachelleayala.com --- Let me know what you think about my short story, or if it's too embarrassing, at least let me know what you thought about the violin parts.
  4. Thanks a lot jezzupe for the explanation. I will try it on test pieces. I have a dulcimer I'm making with mahogany and spruce. Usually I do not put any stain on it, just dewaxed shellac washcoat followed by 4-5 coats of Waterlox oil varnish. But I was curious about adding some color. One guy said to put a small amount of asphaltum into the Waterlox. However he's probably assuming no sealer coat of shellac, as he uses straight tung oil with the asphaltum. I don't want too much "stain" per se, but to pop the grain nicely.
  5. Hi Jezzupe, I'm a little slow here. If he wiped off the stain completely after applying it, then would he get any color from the stain at all? I don't see how the stain would get through the shellac to the deeper wood pits/pores, is that what "hot coat" means? How long should he leave the stain on before wiping it all off completely? Don't worry, no violin in question. Just learning about wood finishing.
  6. I agree, if the violin plays well, all cracks are secure, why remove the top just to find out about the kerfed linings and who the maker/repairer is? You also might run into pins, and then securing it back exactly the way it was will not be easy, especially as there are old repaired cracks there that should not be stressed. Sorry to be a spoilsport, but I also have an old repaired cracked violin that plays well and was advised to leave well alone. Congratulations on the soundpost setting, I think you did a good job, since you like the sound of the violin.
  7. Gee, I never heard of the spider rumor. I doubt this will become as interesting as swallowing spiders! But honestly. I've heard makers say their violin sounded more open when it was in the white. Seems like being in the white is the ultimate in worn varnish (i.e. no varnish). So there does seem to be an advantage in less varnish or at least not the heavy coat that acts as a strait-jacket for sound. I'm just making a personal observation, quite pleasantly surprised, and wondering if there isn't anything to rubbing off varnish a la antiquing, instead of just laying it on too thin in the first place. I'm sure the how many coats and how thin is also a trade secret as well as how exactly to antique and how many coats to rub off.
  8. thanks for the replies. this particular 2004 violin is the least played of the three, and that's why I was surprised that it had opened up only this year. Not saying I'm not happy. It's one of those serendiptious things in life I guess. All three violins sound good, they each have their personalities. It's not the quality of the sound per se, but the expansiveness that I noticed (what I call opening up). It's not a seller's gimmick because brand new violins do have to deal with some stuffiness and mutedness, just from the fact that they are brand new, no time to relax and adjust tensions. But there is a difference between an opening up. I have played awful sounding old violins that are quite open sounding, but still the quality of the sound is awful, although the expansiveness is there from the getgo. I actually don't know if the anqitued violin has thinner varnish. I just guess that in the antiquing they might have rubbed some of it off to get the patterns on the back. But maybe it's just artistically varnished, and has the same thickness as the other two. It certainly is shiny over the antiquing (if that makes any sense).
  9. I have three violins made in 2003, 2004 and 2005 that I bought new (first owner). All are benchmade, single maker violins. The violins made in 2003 and 2005 are non-antiqued and have their full coat of varnish on. The 2004 is antiqued but is actually a new violin made in a shop that emulates old violins. I usually play the 2003 violin the most. Lately I pulled out the 2004 and put some Visions on it, and was quite surprised to find that the sound is open and like an old violin. Definitely when it was brand-new, the sound was closed just like the other two violins. Now it just feels easier to play, the sound comes out clearer, and the violin speaks with less effort. I can't explain this effect, other than the 2004 violin is antiqued to emulate a Cannone with similar wear patterns. In A/B tests, I can tell that the 2003 and 2005 are more closed and tight sounding. And yet the 2004 is a Scott Cao STV1500, the least expensive of the three. How long will I have to wait for the other two violins to open up? Please don't say 50 years! Does antiquing take off layers of varnish, and if so, does it help a violin to open up sooner? Just curious.
  10. I'm sure the Strads and Guarneris being played on concert stages have super setup. They are old and thin, but still project and fill the hall.
  11. So what kind of setup allows the sound to be projected out to the audience but not hurt your ears? I have a French violin that can make my ears ring when playing the E major Partita Preludio. How will it sound under the ear? It is all very confusing. If it sounds muted under the ear, what is the guarantee it can be heard out there? If it screams under the ear, how do we know it is not thin sounding out there?
  12. It's a sweet supple string, very expressive and not one of those high power harsh strings.
  13. I came across this interesting article about Zyg in Strings magazine. In it he describes a New York Setup that includes changing things in the bridge, post, bassbar and strings. Does anyone know what the characteristics of this type of setup are? In terms of lower/higher bridge, thinner/thicker bass bar, post position, and recommended strings, action, neck angle. ----------------------- A parallel story of recent decades is the emergence of what Zygmuntowicz calls the New York School as the worldwide mainstream style for solo violinists. Zygmuntowicz describes its development as the product of "René Morel plus Dorothy DeLay's teaching, godfathered by Isaac Stern." Characterized by a forceful, percussive attack and intensely focused sound, the bowing style maximizes the high-frequency output of the violin in the range where the ear is most sensitive for a very projecting, penetrating sound. "People play to the ability of the instrument," says Zygmuntowicz. Morel developed a set up - bridge, post, bass bar, and strings - that maximizes the high-frequency response, coloring the entire sound. This supercharged set up delivers a shimmering intensity, especially in the highest positions.
  14. I think he is scared. There is a scene where he witnesses a knock-down drag-out fight between an elderly couple that he is friends with.
  15. Actually that would have been a good scene in the seduction. Have the luthier ran his hands over the violin while she looks on. Good idea, if we were the directors. I wish the violinistic parts were more realistic. It was too obvious that the tonal changes were just louder, and the actress didn't really play very convincingly. Her fingers were very stiff, bowing and arm position were off. And his tweaking was too quick and superficial. They should have spent more time, with adjustments, intense looking back and forth while playing and testing between adjustments, really savouring the music and using it to communicate. To me, that would be how unspoken love can develop between a player and a luthier. But I guess to the general audience it would be boring... Still a good movie though since it has violin in it.
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