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About Zeissica

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  • Birthday 10/28/1966

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  • Location
    Albuquerque, NM
  • Interests
    Violin & Viola playing, astronomy, audio, family & friends.

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  1. Probably the best way to "electrify" it would be to get an LR Baggs bridge pickup system. It won't have a particularly natural sound, but you could certainly pipe it into a preamp and/or headphone amp system.
  2. Andrew - good point about ear plugs - I know several pro violinists around here who use either one (in the left ear) or two of the "musician's" earplugs. They are designed to give a neutral sound while reducing the level moderately - 12 to 15 dB would be a good range. Makers include Etymotic, Eargasm, etc.
  3. Mining YouTube will certainly increase... And, I've never gotten tired of watching/listening to this performance:
  4. BP - a few thoughts. First, it is true that most violinists are looking for a loud-ish, responsive violin that projects with minimal effort. It seems you have one of those. In some ways it is like driving a real sports car - responsive and powerful but not easy to control without learning how to drive it. One clue was in your post about your teaching suggesting more bow pressure: this can also lead to a harsher sound. I'm sure your teacher knows this and I don't mean to contract that person. But a real fundamental aspect of bowing is the "three factors": Bow speed, bow pressure (or weight), and contact point. The book by Simon Fisher "Basics" covers this very well. I suggest having a look at it. Your bow may not be ideal for that instrument, but it may be the least of the issues. You also mentioned your E string "sounding like a harmonica" - this to me says "harsh sound, with some 'grind' in it, which isn't want you (or anyone, typically) wants at all. Bowing is very challenging to learn. Most players spend their lives working on their bow arm & hand. There are dozens of strokes to learn and master. I do think gut strings like Pirastro Olive or Eudoxa (the old standards from 20+ years ago) or maybe Passione (much newer) will be better than Dominants in terms of a "rounder" sound, although I do agree that it won't be a night and day difference. It is possible that the sound post needs adjustment - this can make a significant difference. In my opinion, I agree with Michael Richwine and also skiingfiddler that probably the biggest key here is to learn to play softly with good tone.
  5. What a bummer! Will keep my eyes out. Please post additional photos - the scroll is distinctive, yes, but I'd like to see the rest of it for potential spotting purposes.
  6. There was definitely something very special about her and her playing. The sheer joy of music shines through. I love those videos with her playing chamber music with Perlman, Zuckerman, Barenboim & Metha from the early 1970s.
  7. I've been learning to make bows and am not aware of any treatment of the wood other than possibly staining it for a darker color after the bow is finished. For that, nitric acid and ammonia are the two methods I've heard of in wide use. Then, once finished and stained (if needed) then French polish (shellac) is used for the final varnish. I'm sure there are many methods & treatments I don't know about, but this covers the basics.
  8. Heritage for me - no complaints so far (haven't made any claims).
  9. 16 Strings Quartetto Amoroso The Don Giovannis Four Quarters Four by Four The Four Fingerboards
  10. I like Porteroso's description best, and Duane88 has some great points, too. When looking for a bow, the feel in the hand is the first thing that I notice, which translates to weight and balance. A finely balanced bow can be heavier but not feel that way. Next is how it plays and the control of the string. I call it "grab" and the bow IMO should have even grab from frog to tip. Next is flexibility or lack thereof - not too stiff, not too flexible. This is one of the things I think is very personal and changes over time. A lot of late 19th Century bows seem to be too soft (for me). Next is sound, and I believe it is a factor of the above attributes, plus the quality of the wood and the camber. And, a bow that does all strokes well is fairly rare. A heavy, stiff bow may give you great sound on the C string, but be too "rough" for the A string (on a viola). One that is light and flexible may sound wonderful but not have enough control or enough power. One that does everything right but is on the heavy side may be too fatiguing for regular practice and rehearsal. I can't imagine purchasing a bow without playing with it fairly extensively, at least for a couple of weeks.
  11. I recently went through several rounds of "try and find the buzz" on my viola, and it turned out to be the nut needed some work, and the fingerboard needed dressing. Problem gone.
  12. I could be wrong but FWIW it looks like a viola to me - and the bow frog has the curved back of a viola bow as well. Not that this has any bearing on the value or the origin.
  13. A violinist friend of mine uses the Etymotic ones and likes them a lot. I just ordered the EarPeace HD ones, in the smaller size - hopefully they'll fit and work well. They have lots of good reviews online.