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Everything posted by Zeissica

  1. I don't have pictures like you do, and BTW great photo of your quartet on a canal boat! For both violin and viola I have BAM HiTec cases with Mooradian covers (sad they are now gone!). They don't have a lot of room inside but I keep two bows (the max for these cases), then the shoulder rest nestles in next to the neck & scroll (it is a tight fit!). Each case has a digital hygrometer attached to the inside lid to keep track of humidity ranges. In the inner pouch I keep my rosin, a chinrest tool, a pencil, my Korfker shoulder rest tool, peg dope, and a set of new strings. In the larger pouch on the outside, I keep a couple sets of used strings, some face masks, a roll of Scotch tape, and a small ziplock bag with some aspirin. These "super light" cases get a bit heavy with the cover and all the stuff in the pouches, but the backpack straps make it OK to carry these around for a good while. I like walking and usually try to walk from the hotel to the gig when I'm doing out-of-town jobs.
  2. Yes - the Korfker rests are insanely expensive!
  3. I used that very combination for quite a long time - Dominant D, G, and C, and the Jargar "Mittel" A string. Once tried the "Stark" A string and it was a heck of a cheese cutter! Very high tension and not well balanced to the other strings.
  4. FWIW I position my shoulder rests for both violin and viola at about 3 and 8:30. I've been using the Korfker Rest on both instruments for the last two years - the combination of very light weight, the ability to customize the shape somewhat, and the fact that they really stay put well is what sold me on them. When I changed violas last year I had to add a longer foot and one of the extensions on the chest side to get the proper angle back. Many claim that they "sound better" than other shoulder rests - I'm not convinced of that, but I do feel that once they are set up right, they feel good and don't add much weight, so it is easier to play - perhaps that's why people think they sound better.
  5. Michael, what you describe makes the most sense to me. Rather than "trying to blend" or match the sound of the instruments, most quartets would benefit from having each with a different voice. The Guarneri Quartet comes to mind - you almost can't think of four more different-sounding instruments. Even just the two violins came from different universes. When they needed to blend, they made it possible with clever fingerings, careful bow techniques, etc. But when they wanted to have an individual line shine - no problem! As a violist I think it is really important for the viola to have a voice distinct from the cello in the low registers, and different from the 2nd violin in the higher registers.
  6. I haven't noticed a huge difference in sound, although I'm sure it is there. But playability is hugely affected by the amount of hair on a bow. I have a very nice, but slightly soft viola bow - I think it might benefit from a re-camber. For the most recent re-hair, I asked for "slightly less hair" and it came out really nicely - the liveliness in the playing is back. It does sound better, which may be attributable to less hair, or it is just sounding nicer because the bow is responding better.
  7. What if you had a $30,000 violin? Or a $300,000 violin? It seems that so many cases are "low end" and compete on price per features rather than truly high-end like this one with high quality and innovative features. It looks really great.
  8. I don't see why not, but I do think it can be approached in a nice way, rather than being too aggressive. Something like asking "Do you have any room to move on this price?" usually works. They'll likely say either "no" or "what did you have in mind?" in which case you should be prepared with a concrete offer that isn't offensive. Something like "I was hoping to get it down under "$X,XXX". Or, they may say "let me take a look" where they look up their cost, make a margin calculation, and come back with a revised price, usually something like 10% off or maybe less, depending on what they have into it.
  9. Where are your A strings breaking? I've never broken an A string except when I got a new fine tuner and it hadn't been de-burred yet. The typical "Hill" type fine-tuners have a stamped part that can have an edge on it. By using a fine tiny jeweler's file, I carefully dressed the edges and have never had a string break since. Is it breaking at the peg or at the nut? Then look at those places for possible issues with rough edges, etc. If your string is breaking anywhere along the playing length - all bets are off.
  10. Don't do that! Playing the viola can be really rewarding. Rather than worry about "popular" sizes for the viola, just find an instrument that you like that you can also play fairly comfortably. It is true that when I was growing up, larger violas were in vouge perhaps because they generally sounded best, and that now people are usually searching for instruments in the 16" and below sizes. I've played on instruments from 15-1/4" (a lovely 1775 Gagliano) to a 16-7/8" John Honeycutt. My current instrument is a 2001 Bronek Cison at 16-7/16" which sounds incredible. I'm 6'1" by the way...
  11. I haven't yet found a viola A string that is better than the Larsen on any of my violas.
  12. The thing about the technology failing is one I've experienced way too many times and it is very frustrating! When I used to do more "home recording" I wanted to have everything set up so I could just turn it on and go. It rarely went that way, but that was the goal. Now, it's more about computer and digital hardware "updates needed" which takes time and energy, too, sometimes wrecking any creative energy one might have. But just plain bad practice sessions happen on their own without any technology! On days when I don't have a lot of mental focus to master tough passages, sometimes I give up early and just rest, watch TV or hang out with the wife. But other times, I just "play music" by improvising and messing around, or play with tone production, or something that doesn't take a huge amount of brain power. At least that way I'm playing "something" and keep the body in shape for playing/practicing, even if I can't get any "real" work done.
  13. The only Lupot violin I've seen/heard in person was the one owned by John Dalley of the Guarneri SQ. It sounded great in his hands - blending when needed, soaring when the time came - a lovely tone and powerful instrument to be sure. JBV violins I've seen & heard many, and played a couple of them - some have been extremely fine examples. I don't know if I'm able to compare the two makers based on any of that, though.
  14. God help you if you have... lol JK - if it works (and doesn't hurt), use it! Just like he said.
  15. Definitely some of my favorite Bernstein music, and some of my favorite "Broadway" music overall - just great stuff. I'm looking forward to seeing the new version when I have a chance - I've heard a lot of good things about it. The original is of course a classic of cinema.
  16. I know Julian Rachlan is a big fan of "always keeping the first finger down" and he plays both violin and viola. I think lifting fingers 1, 2, & 3 while playing the 4th can be helpful, but "it depends" on context. Galamian always taught students to always have at least two contact points between the left hand and the instrument, for orientation - knowing how it feels to be in 3rd position vs. 2nd, etc. But he also believed fully that everyone's anatomy is different and thus everyone has to arrive at the various solutions to these problems on an individual basis. My thought is that if you are able to play in tune on the 4th finger and have a good sound, with appropriate vibrato for the passage, or the the particular note, and you need to lift fingers 1, 2 & 3 to do that, then so be it!
  17. Thanks for the update - that's great to hear! Any progress towards playing in a quartet?
  18. I'm also not sure what the question is, exactly, but I do think it is important to *involve* the listener. Maybe "excitement" isn't always the right word, but we do want them to feel something: to reminisce, to feel love or loved, to bring about any number of emotions. And, while perhaps there are performers who outwardly exude emotion and perhaps are cold and calculating on the inside, I think the majority of great performers definitely feel something as they are playing or conducting. I saw a master class once where the teacher asked the student: "where were you just now? It looked like you left the room, and the music sounded like it, too". To stay "there", focused, in the present moment, and feeling/delivering the emotion is what music is all about in the end.
  19. Nice playing - thanks for sharing!
  20. FYI it takes a bit of practice to get it heated just right so that the brand comes out well. Practice on some scrap wood.
  21. Ditto to what Rue & smf have said. I owned a Coda Classic viola bow for several years. Good as an all-around bow and I used it for practicing, etc. But my $1,000 M. Raposo bow sounds better, and that's the "worst" pernambuco bow I own. I know CF bows have come a long ways, and several of my friends play on them for various reasons. Whatever the OP decides should be based on trying several bows within a given price range, and choosing what works best for them personally.
  22. Congrats on the violin! Always nice to see a good ending to one of these stories of "finding a cheap violin". As players, to a large extent this is what we want - an affordable instrument that sounds great.
  23. She is truly an ambassador for the arts - and very generous with her time. I watched a virtual master class she gave, perhaps 9 months or a year ago, and she spent time with each student, and gave positive and specific feedback to each one. Sure - that's what a master class is all about, but it was still impressive with so many kids. And she does this all the time!
  24. I was on the stage in the viola section - I thought she sounded great - wonderful interpretation of the Brahms concerto!
  25. It's comforting knowing that you speak for all of us.
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