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About pjham

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    The wet tropics Australia

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  1. pjham

    Perfection Pegs

    Here in the wet tropics, it was not uncommon to open the case and find all the strings either unwound or sticking with the large swings in humidity. This had a negative effect on the children's desire to practise when they had to spend time and effort rewinding or unsticking before they could start. (Usually involved finding me to fix the problem.) The mechanical pegs have solved this problem nicely. The only problem I've had is when the teachers are not familiar with them they don't push the head in and out to adjust the friction on the perfection pegs (not on the wittners which don't have this feature) and assume the pegs are malfunctioning. Also the wooden pegs go out of round quite quickly here. I suspect that the very high quality ebony would be resistant to this but alas most of our instruments are student quality. They also get around the problem of children not having the hand strength to turn stuck or stiff pegs, and I believe are especially useful in this regard for tuning cello's.
  2. pjham

    William Duke violin

    If I remember correctly (it was several years ago), they came from United States of America via eBay. To the naked eye of a non-expert they look convincing, I suspect even more so if they were in a violin. Note that I have them as an object lesson and don't plan on putting them in an instrument, unless doing it as joke. The same lesson applies with the bow stamp, except that you can get some sellers to stamp your bow with whatever you like, you don't even have to do it yourself. Here is a quote from a current eBay violin bow listing: 2. Stamp Your Name on the Bow----Want a personalized bow? This is the service you can choose! We can stamp your name on the bow or frog. Price is 3USD per Letter. For example: "John Tomas" contains nine letters, so the service fees you should pay is: 27USD. You will get a stamped bow and the iron stamp itself. Send us an email to request a revised invoice if you want to have this service. It will take about 1-1.5weeks to make the iron stamp. So please expect a little bit shipment delay if you choose this service.
  3. pjham

    William Duke violin

    Here is a packet of labels I ordered online. I keep them to show people how unreliable the label in their violin may be. Makes explaining the concept that labels are not necessarily genuine easier. I also gave our string teacher a bow with his name stamped on it as a humorous present. They can be ordered quite cheaply from China. I also have a bow stamp with our sons name on it to stamp his (cheap) school violin bows (when he was in primary school) which would otherwise go "missing". The bow stamps can also be ordered online from China.
  4. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    Thank you. For your interest, I can just get the Sensicore Octave strings into the holes in Knilling perfection pegs but not the Wittner. The "C" didn't go all the way through but jams in enough to be solid. The "G" is tight but makes it all the way through. Reg, I haven't tried to tune to a "B" string so am not of much help on that issue. What brand / type of C string did you use for your test? When I first set up the viola with Octave strings I had the C string on the C peg and the string did unravel at the nut. (Fortunately the retailer sent me a replacement C)
  5. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    For the 16 inch "Octave" Viola I still wind the C string on the higher G peg. I have used the Sensicore Octave Viola strings. If you do a search for "Chin Cello" or "octave Viola" on youtube there are examples of both acoustic and electric versions.
  6. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    No, but I do have a Tarle variation of this. See "METAL PIN UNDER BRIDGE FOOT" in The Pegbox. Although this gives the violin sound a bit more of a viola character, I doubt it would be useful for the Octave Strings as I don't think it makes the instrument louder (based on the Tarle violin which is not loud), and I think you need all the volume you can get when using Cello range strings on a small body. I do have a sixteen inch viola set up as a "Chin Cello" and this does sound nicer than the "Octave" violins, but alas the children play violins so they don't use the lovely viola.
  7. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    Dear reg, You may, none of it is original, most learnt from the internet prior to setting these up. ( I am just a hobbyist.) I have, of course, enlarged the grooves in the bridge and nut, as well as enlarging the slots in the tail piece. I have read that some insert a larger diameter sound post but I haven't bothered to do that. I have also read that a higher arch on the bridge makes playing easier but once again I haven't bothered with that. I also haven't bothered to alter the fingerboard scoop as on these instruments it seems to work OK with the standard violin scoop.
  8. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    Here are the kids violins, one set up one octave below and one set up as a cello. They sound surprisingly effective for their size. The thick 'C' string is wound on the 'D' peg to lessen the bend at the nut. Sadly I usually forget this when tuning. A heavy viola or light cello bow works well. We have found that the "baroque" snakewood cello bow works well. We use cello rosin. The Knilling perfection pegs work well for this application. This pair of instruments were particularly loud and harsh under the ear as violins. They produce a surprising amount of volume for their size with the deeper strings. They are fun to play, but hard on the fingers after a while.
  9. pjham

    New Helicore strings 'Octave'

    With respect to applications, part of my children's busking repertoire is playing The Pirates of Penzance from the vocal score on violin. They use Sensicore octave strings, one violin tuned one octave down for the tenor line and one violin set up with the low C string for the base line. The violin using the low C string is the same range as a cello. It sounds quite effective, the two violins set up with the octave strings were particularly loud and harsh sounding instruments (using regular violin strings) but work very well with the octave strings. Although it hasn't been particularly cost effective to set up two violins for this it certainly inspired them to learn the music.
  10. Here in the wet tropics it can be hot. (and humid) Unfortunately parcels in delivery vans and storage depots can also get hot. Here is an "oil varnished" Chinese violin where the cloth wrapping stuck to the varnish during transport. I know in an ideal world the varnish would be fully cured, the packages wouldn't get hot etc. My question is, is there some sort of wrapping (for example cling film or grease proof paper) that would stop the material of the case or violin blanket from sticking to the varnish despite getting warm during postage? Or clever packaging to prevent this?
  11. pjham

    Favorite Online Violin Teachers / Pedagogs?

    For a method of teaching very young children, I find the Mimi Zweig site useful, especially now it is free. https://www.connollymusic.com/string-pedagogy?utm_campaign=String Pedagogy&utm_medium=SP.com website&utm_source=StringPedagogy.com
  12. pjham

    What happens to strings?

    Dear Bohdan, Thank you for the interesting information. One of my children does seem to dissolve his A strings. I am currently trying an Avantgarde A. Assuming one hour playing per day (optimistic) and no obvious corrosion, how long should this string last before I should routinely change it?
  13. Dear Orry, This is my opinion based on my own experiences. I do not have specialist knowelege. I have four children on violin. (current age 10 to 16). I have found that the two most important factors for choosing an instrument are: 1. That the child likes their instrument. 2. That the instrument is set up well for ease of playing. Although I have gone down the auction route, it has taken many purchases and many mistakes to eventually find them all an instrument that they like. And it seems to be an individual thing as they all like their own violin and don't so much like their siblings violins. Unfortunately the nearest specialist violin shop is approximately 1500km from my location, hence the online route for me, and the need to learn to set up and do simple repairs. Overall it probably would have been more cost effective for me to pay more each but get them from a specialist luthier. If you are planing on purchasing only one instrument then my advice would be to try different violins from specialist shops and find one that your child likes before committing to the purchase. Unfortunately this takes time but in the long run I think you will find that it will be worth the extra wait and extra money to find an instrument that suits your child. My children don't care if the instrument is old or modern. One thing I have found is that the new violins, once set up, are less likely to develop problems than the old instruments. Also it takes time for a child to decide if they like the violin or not so if possible take some home on a trial basis.
  14. pjham

    Carving Violin Bridge for Violin with High belly arch

    https://www.swstrings.com/product/lutherie/any/GP-SAN2 For my interest, are the bridges with adjustable feet considered inferior and if so are they less good acoustically?
  15. pjham

    Tips for teaching vision impaired

    Thought I'd update that one of the students is now playing violin with their high school orchestra, while the younger one has changed to piano. Both continue to enjoy learning and playing music.