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About Zeissica

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  • Birthday 10/28/1966

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    Violin & Viola playing, astronomy, audio, family & friends.

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  1. Do not use cork please.

    Thanks for posting this info. I do only use a microfiber cloth, but now I'll certainly avoid using cork. I use Warchal strings on both my violin and viola BTW, and recommend them often!
  2. Amazing Wood! Some Bow!

    That IS a pretty bow - curious how it plays, considering it is slightly on the heavy side. However, I've played "heavy" violin and viola bows that feel light due to the balance point and stiffness.
  3. R.I.P. Anna Karkowska

    Very sad. I met her and her sister when they played here in the Albuquerque area about 10 years ago, before the CD and all the brouhaha. She had amazing technique, although perhaps unorthodox. She and her sister were very lively and funny. Wow. I didn't realize she was even sick.
  4. viola string question

    I suggest Warchal Brialliant G & C strings, "short" scale. I used them on a 15-1/4" viola I played some years ago, when nothing else was very good. I still use them on my 16-3/8" viola now, with an Obligato D, and a Larsen "soft" A.
  5. What the heck type of wood is this?

    It looks like Pernambuco to me, but just not darkened, stained or otherwise colored. It may not be the highest grade of wood, though. There are others here that are far better than I am at ID'ing these things, though.
  6. String gauges; light - medium - heavy

    Mainly for me it is about matching sound primarily, and perhaps playability second. On my viola, I've ended up using the "soft" Larsen A string, since the "medium" was not a good match for the other 3 strings (Obligato D, and Warchal Brilliant G and C). I found the "medium" to be too aggressive sounding, where it was most obvious during string crossings. The "soft" A is also easier to play. Years ago I tried the Jargar "Forte" A strings on my big viola, and it was more clear than the standard one, but hard on the fingers due to the higher tension.
  7. Stonger G string required

    Take a look at the Warchal Brilliant Vintage strings. They are lower tension than Evahs and sound really good IMO, especially the G. An alternative might be the Pirastro Obligato. I've used both on my violin with excellent results.
  8. Bonmusica Shoulder Rest?

    FWIW I tried a Bonumsica shoulder rest on my viola for a few weeks and ended up getting rid of it. I found it too "fiddly" (no pun intended). It just didn't seem "finished" or refined in the way that Kun models do. There were little caps over some of the screw ends, and they came off a time or two, and I was worried I would scratch my instrument. I went back to my ancient Kun but got the taller feet. I am, however, planning to make or buy a custom chinrest that is a bit taller than the one I have now, but the exact same cup shape.
  9. These videos by Julian Rachlin might be helpful as well:
  10. The most fundamental approach to drawing a rich tone and getting a good volume is understanding the "sounding point" where the bow contacts the strings. In a nutshell, when you are closer to the bridge, you need more weight and less speed, and then as you get closer to the fingerboard, you'll need more speed and less weight. One exercise that is useful for developing good tone production is "son filet" which involves drawing your bow across the string and increasing the amount of time as much as possible. I would suggest starting as follows: set your metronome at 60 bpm, and aim to get a "decent tone" on one stroke lasting 10 counts. Find the sounding point for this, and the correct amount of weight. Then increase it to 15 counts, then 20, and so on. This is VERY challenging and takes a lot of concentration. Don't overdo it and wipe yourself out. I have heard that some great players can get to 60 seconds per stroke... I have made it to 30 or maybe 35. A great book on bowing fundamentals is The Secrets of Tone Production by Simon Fischer.
  11. some gorgeous bows

    Gorgeous stuff! No Tubbs, though?
  12. Violist Marc Sabbah

    Nice! I haven't heard of him before. And I haven't heard the Telemann since working on it in college. That instrument sounds nice, too. More of an "alto" viola than a "tenor" viola, but I like it.
  13. Bow Purchase Indecision/Regret

    Hi Jeremy, As I was reading your story, I realized you fell in love with the Tepho as you went along, and while you were playing a lot. I've also had the experience of thinking "I can't play at all" after taking a break from the viola during a business trip, or sometimes even after playing the violin for a week or two. I suspect that once you get back into the routine, you will fell more comfortable. The other thought I had is that you mention early in your story about your general indecision and doubt. This is part of your personality and it is something you alone can deal with. It is easy to obsess about "the gear" and wonder if there is something better out there (there often is) and whether or not you made a bad decision. I think you were methodical during the process, and picked out the best of what was offered. My personal opinion is that you feel your bow technique is weak, then work on that. I think part of you knows you got a good bow. Now comes the task of getting the most out of it.
  14. violin ID, handwritten text inside, can you read it?

    That does hurt to see a nice fiddle broken up like that. I wish I had more to offer than my sympathy!
  15. Fast string crossings

    One approach is to isolate the issue and practice *only* the string crossings on open strings, to take the left hand out of the equation.