George IYC

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About George IYC

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    Junior Member

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  • Location
    San Antonio, Texas, USA
  • Interests
    Violin technique and instruction. Qualities of instruments and bows that contribute to a great violin for performance, both for the violinist and audience.

    Primarily interested on behalf of high school age daughter who plays the violin. I may resume playing actively again later in life if and when work gets to be less intense.
  1. I don't think Baker's is a gimmick. It applies with significantly less dust than other brands, and it is easier to get a nice, consistent application across the entire bow. It also seems to adhere better over time, don't seem to have to rosin quite as much, so it's one less thing to have to think about as often. While I'm not allergic to rosin dust, I don't like it so a brand that produces less dust is a good thing in my book. I do like tone production with it better, but that may just be subjective. The observations above aren't.
  2. In your price range, I think your main concern is getting something that won't require a lot of additional cost to fix, which is where buying something off the Internet - be it new Chinese or vintage German or Romanian - can be risky. Most of the new Chinese require additional investment to make right, and the vintage instruments can have unexpected repair needs. It is a lot better when you can see the instrument and try it out. As to your comments about condition, normal wear is fine (and good for a vintage instrument since it shows its been played), but physical damage is to be avoided. If a vintage instrument is really stained or dirty, you may not want to go through the hassle of getting it cleaned. If you don't want to go to a local shop, then the fall is the season when a number of people try to sell student instruments they or their children won't be using any longer. Some of these are pretty beat up, but there are others that people buy that get very little use and are in really good shape - a new set of strings and a bow rehair, and you're good to go. In my area, we have Chinese and some Eastern European instruments sold by 2 local shops (quite a few under their labels) and these come up for resale all the time, well within your price range - if you live in a big metro area, you probably have similar student instruments available to you. You wil have to look these instruments over and try them out, but perhaps you know someone who can help you if you don't feel confident on your own. All of the labels you mentioned can be fine, it really depends on the individual instrument. I bought 1 instrument for $200 and put another $150 into minor fixes recommended by my luthier and it sounds much better than 30 other instruments that we tried out at the local shops in the $1000 to $3000 range. Of course, I have other "bargains" that are not worth repairing, so if you don't want risk, you really should look over a potential purchase before you buy it.
  3. After spending a couple of years getting ready for my daughter's next jump in violin needs, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be able to come up to speed enough to go to auctions and have a great chance of doing well. If you read through enough threads (I.e. here on Maestronet and on, you come to realize that the odds are very much against novices who are looking for a great violin at a bargain price at an auction. The tried and true route for those of us who want to focus on playing the violin because that is what we love is to work with shops we trust and where the owners and staff have the expertise. At some point, it will make sense to consider commissioning or buying a new violin from a modern maker. There's a great thread about buying a great modern instrument by Smiley Hsu on another web site that I may end up following in about a year or so. I work in the financial services industry, and there are many "auction" environments that I would never go into on my own in my industry because the disparity of knowledge and relationship means that I'll lose my shirt to the experts. I feel the same way about most auctions that involve the real pros when it comes to instruments.
  4. Thanks - nice behind the scenes look. I always enjoy hearing about luthiers who also play the instruments they make or repair. I enjoyed seeing the instrument posters too!
  5. See Post #9 in particular indicates your violin isn't from JTL if the label is genuine. It probably would be best if you were to post pictures.
  6. George IYC

    Vladik Tkac

    Thank you very much for your posts and updates on Mr. Tkac and your work honoring him. Since Mr. Tkac spent some time supporting the youth orchestras here in San Antonio, do you and the Tkac Foundation have any connection to the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio? Also, do you know if any of the museums or other organizations in San Antonio have examples of Mr. Tkac's work on display?
  7. It doesn't appear that he tried to bring a violin with him. Probably a good idea not to given the conditions that he describes. Quite a contrast from the recent thread about taking a violin to Afghanistan.
  8. Norton, Can you hold the violin in place without using your left hand? If not, then part of the problem may be that you're having to use your left hand to support the violin, so the skin/index finger problem may be a due to the grip you have on the violin neck trying to support the violin. The violin is a pretty difficult instrument to learn to play on your own. If you're not starting out right, which includes how you're holding the instrument, then practicing will teach you a lot of bad habits. Regards, George
  9. Larry, After your daughter plays for a few months and decides if she thinks she'll continue playing, you may want to buy an inexpensive violin rather than continue with rental fees. In my city, we have two violin shops that rent the bulk of the student instruments used at the local schools. They're all Chinese, bought in bulk, and then set up by these shops. The teachers in school and violin instructors generally see no problem with these basic instruments, they're fine to learn from for the first couple of years. Due to the quantity rented and then sold, these violins show up all the time on sites like Craigs List for a fraction of the price when purchased direct from the shop. If the shop you rented from rents and sells a lot of student instruments locally, and if you think the instrument you've rented is OK, then you can purchase a used comparable instrument, and then resell it later after your daughter decides she needs a better instrument. Our shops don't put a lot of time and effort into these violins. That said, if the instrument is OK, you can take the money you save on rental fees and put it into improvements that you might not put into a rental instrument, which is why I suggest you consider buying one. For example, a good set of strings and a decent bridge can improve the tone considerably if the shop's original set up is cheap. If your daughter gets private lessons, her instructor can help provide specific suggestions. I hope these comments are helpful to you. Regards, George