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About EricSwanson

  • Birthday 05/16/1915

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  • Gender
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  • Location
    Midwest Hell
  • Interests
    Nomenclature, therapeutic cat shaving, sod busting

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  1. Publishing a membership magazine is a far more ambitious task than just transcribing and publishing presentations from convention posts, so I salute those involved in working on The Scroll. I myself have reservations about the term "Peer Review" - we're not the American Medical Association, The Bar Association or The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences after all, but I understand the drive and desire to present the best possible methods and procedures in an industry magazine. Whether you call it "Peer Review" or "Editing" this situation could have been fixed prior to publication. Live and learn!
  2. Bass Article in The Scroll Scary looking cast making process Cast too small and thin Bass not clamped to cast while fitting patch? Is he working in the cast at all? No cleats around patch Potential over clamping?
  3. David, I totally agree with that. I have no problem with the spirit of inquiry and quest to learn new things through experimentation. As a matter of fact the violin makers and their community are miles ahead of the bow makers in that respect, due largely to the work of people who attend the acoustics workshop at Oberlin. In an effort to take the Curtin study seriously I read through it and all its attendant documentation and letters. We can have a discussion about the methods used and the various results, but the fact remains at least somebody is pursuing their interests in an effort to learn more. That being said, I find there is often too large a gulf between people in the violin business. and the people they seek to serve, namely musicians. Bring a practical guy, I'm just saying, in addition to creating studies and tests, let's bring more musicians into the picture and learn from them and effort to be better at what we do . Merci.
  4. No, the study is not billed as a competition between makers, although it kind of is. It's really an attempt to see if musicians can tell the difference between old instruments a new instruments. I personally judge all instruments equally on their own merits and I'm not interested in how old they are or where they came from. However, I don't understand maker's mania for blind testing. I remember everyone talked about doing this in violin making school over and over again. Isn't the bigger question, "What are the qualities of a good playing violin? ". I think learning the answer to that question would involve interviewing and talking to musicians rather than testing them.
  5. Slightly off-topic. I read thru the PNAS publication of the study by Curtin et al focused on musicians comparing Old v. New violins and one take away was this: Since it seems that musicians can't tell the difference between Old fiddles and New Makers (according to the results), the next logical step is to compare these new violins by makers such as Curtin to, say some Jay Haide, mass-produced Chinese fiddles. If we go by the reported results, musicans won't be able to discern the difference!
  6. Sticks and stones... Name calling may be a waste of time, but it's perfectly fine to call a spade a spade.
  7. I am a totalitarian socialist - look out!!!!
  8. I've tried the UV light test myself, and let's just say it's far less then conclusive.
  9. It's ok to be angry about stupid laws, but we still have to deal with the reality that presents itself and take responsibility as professionals for the wellbeing of our clients and their equipment. The unfortunate fact is that for the folks tasked with enforcing these new rules, mammoth ivory is just too similar to elephant ivory. The same may even go for some of the new alternative materials available for headplates that are man-made. I don't know about you, but I don't want to risk that any my customers beloved, invaluable bows might be confiscated during an international trip. This reality stands outside of what we may think of the effectiveness or intelligence of the new ivory law. Maybe metal headplates would be best? Just my two cents...
  10. I think there are plenty of very talanted kids out there who are drawn to music as a profession. However, I believe that in many parts of the country, they are failed by the educators, institutions and the low standards required of them. The state of higher musical education is such that professors are responsible for recruiting and building their own studios, oftentime under heavy pressure by administrators who simply want full programs. This is a diservice to the teachers and the students and is fundamentally corrupt. There is also the new reality of professional employment in the classical music world. There are fewer and fewer well-paid, full time symphony-type positions available. I'm not sure that pumping out large numbers of ill-prepared performance majors does anyone any good. Also, the prices in the violin business continue to spike, at least here in Chicago - seemingly out of step with these new economic realities. Take a look at this post in my blog if you are so inclined: https://swansonbows.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/reconsidering-musical-training-in-modern-era/
  11. This is very general: From a technical standpoint, there are basic issues such as length, weight, the relationship of weight and balance, camber, stick graduations, straighteness and issues like twist. From a performance standpoint there are considerations of smoothness and strength of the draw across the string from tip to frog - considering weak spots where the bow might collapse or wiggle - and the bigger issue of spiccato, which is really a more generalized term encompassing a number of different bow strokes - where the bow needs to leave the string and return in a way that can be easily controlled and manipulated by the musician. Great players can do amazing things with most any bow, but a great bow will make their already difficult job a little bit easier.
  12. I don't think its likely that someone is faking Claudots. At least not yet.
  13. It's basically an unregulated field, unfortunately. I'm constantly amazed at the things I see. That said, there are many hardworking, honest folk in this business who are doing the best they can, day in and day out. There are workshops, etc., where one can learn how do do a rehair, for example, if you can afford it. I think the main problem in many shops is that doing a good rehair is taken seriously enough. The responsibility to learn how to do something better lies with the individual craftsman. I agree with Jerry about the journey of craftmanship - it never ends if one is honest with oneself. One must seek to evolve and continue to grow - even when doing rehairs!!
  14. Yes, its a percentage of the retail price. Regarding questions of experts and expertise in the violin business, I wrote this article on my blog if you care to slog thru it: https://swansonbows.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/on-experts-and-expertise/
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