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Everything posted by Cincitaipei

  1. I have a 2nd hand codabow gx I got for my son. It plays well. It is loud, but perhaps that's just because the other bows hadn't been rehaired in a while. I did look at an sx someone was selling locally and was surprised by how beat up it was. There was a spot on the frog that was starting to wear way and the winding had come unwound. This is just to say that even CF bows need basic care.
  2. It's funny to see this discussion as a recurring theme on the player side is "when do you volunteer your playing?" or "how much is enough to do a gig?" I also always enjoy the stories on here. I honestly don't know what the profit-makers are for most luthiers. Bow rehairs? Regular maintenance? Repairs for damage? Rentals? Sales of student instruments? Accessories? As always, I'm learning a lot here.
  3. I bought a Guldan violin that came with an old GSB coffin case. The outside is flaking and the inside fabric is worn out. Hinges are okay. I found a cheap protec case on Amazon for the violin so I'm trying to decide what do with the case: (1) restore (or in some way make usable), (2) throw out, or (3) stow the case. Any thoughts? I'm not even sure what the outside is. I think it's paint but it may be some other kind of coating. Questions: (1) Has anyone ever stripped and repainted a violin case like this? What do you use? (2) Is there anything I can do with the inside short of getting it fully reupholstered?
  4. The case it came with is a GSB and apparently they were manufactured 1880-1920ish, so I am wondering if this is an earlier Jackson Gulden. Based on the appearance I figured it would be a post-war instrument. The violin seems a little on the lighter side, which I think is probably a good sign.
  5. Belatedly replying to say that it I feel like it is a decent violin. I have some helicore heavy tensions on it with the original tailpiece (no tuners) and it is quite loud. It is polishing up pretty well. I bought a tailpiece with tuners that should arrive tomorrow. For touch up there are a couple of scraped parts on edges, but I probably won't deal with them yet. The pegholes also seem to be fairly worn with pegs sticking out a half centimer. I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm getting peg compound and hoping the new tailpiece will slow wear and tear. I'm also trying to figure out what to do with the case, whether to just toss it and buy a new one or save it if I resell it or try some type of treatment (which would probably be sanding it down and a recoating of some type). Right now the original coating is pealing. It definitely will do for a fiddle for the kids when we're visiting family. Thank you for the earlier advice here.
  6. I won a bid on ebay for a set of $35 knilling pegs for cello. They seem to be an older set, so there's no B/T (bass/treble) on the pegs to tell which goes in which direction. Question 1: Is there an easy way to test which is the correct direction for installation? I have a violin reamer and have put in a pair of violin pegs, but on this set I'm not sure which ones go where. They're the right size and all seem to function. Is there a way to eyeball the thread direction, or would stringing them help me know which direction turns best? Question 2: They're really close on size and won't need much reaming to fit. I have a violin peg reamer. I believe it's big enough to do the job (needs to be able to do 13mm). Any tips? This is not an expensive cello. It's a $200 Taiwanese full size. The current pegs tune fine, but are creaky and clearly aren't ebony. The tailpiece is an older ones and the string balls seem to barely fit, so I am also thinking this might let me take out the fine tuners. So grateful for this board! Thanks for any advice!
  7. This is very helpful. I know that these violins don't have the best reputation, but hoping it will be fun to play with. It looked like it may be potentially playable at least. If I wanted to touch up bare spots on the violin (under the bridge, chipped areas) do you have any thoughts on an appropriate material would be? (I am curious what this alcohol friendly coating is!) Thank you for the help!
  8. I bought a Jackson Gulden violin and had it shipped to family. I am planning on it being a "summer project." Depending on the condition, I may just put new strings and maybe a new tailpiece on it, but otherwise I may also play around with the bridge, nut or more radical interventions. I also may put a lower bridge on it and try it as a fiddle. I am curious about the varnish. Is the black on the front and bouts part of the company's varnish, or is it from years of rosin? I am wondering if it will clean up more or if this was their style? Is it worth messing with, or will I likely just make things worse?
  9. I think your initial instincts weren't bad to look for a reasonably set up factory violin being sold used. I'd look at the haide/cao lines, 300 and above Eastmans, yamaha v7 or v10, or some of the reputable Chinese brands. I'd get a nice bow (maybe a $500 codabow) and good strings. That can be their school/knockaround violin and in a few years they can upgrade. It also can be nice to have a backup violin if one takes a tumble before the concert, or if they don't want to carry it back and forth every day, or if they need to play out in the sun/rain. The advice to family members to go to shops and to try out violins is good advice only if they have good ears. The dilemma for a lot of us is that we (and our children) can't really distinguish a great violin from a loud violin or just a pretty looking violin. It takes time to get there. I recently took my eldest to look at violins and they consistently picked the violin the shop rated lower. For a lot of us it can also feel like a lot of pressure. If we use several hours of someone's time, we feel obligated to buy, but we also may not really know what we're getting. At some point it's worth it for kid and teacher to go try out multiple violins, but OP may not be there yet.
  10. I read the book and really enjoyed it. I thought the sections on her progression of teachers, her family life, her relationships, was all very interesting. Tarisio comes off looking very poorly, but they also probably deserve it. She was definitely used as a vehicle to resell the violin and the role of her boyfriend in the deal seems to have made things more painful. To me it is a bit unseemly to make money off of the tragedy. Part of the book's appeal to me is how she tries to make sense of several struggles (violin loss, boyfriend, struggles of performing life). I don't know how much of a "celebrity" player she was, but part of the challenge seems to be the people in her orbit who were using her or dependent on her success for their own sense of worth. I also thought it was funny how she trash-talked the buyer, who indeed seems to be a kind of popular player whose main claim to fame now is that he has a very old violin.
  11. I placed mine using the tuner and that seemed to work. In tune with the tuner is better than my ears and I couldn't find an internet guide like the one you had. I wonder if how/where you place fingers has an effect, and how this changes among specific violins (i.e. should not apply to fractionals, which would need different guides).
  12. Good luck! Hope to hear about it when it arrives
  13. Greg F's experience is similar to mine. I've ordered several ebay violins and put new strings on them and some are probably better than the instrument your son has now and a couple were clunkers. (My approach is pretty straightforward: I order instruments from the last 20 years that were $1500 new, but can be found for several hundred, usually Yamaha or shop-adjusted Chinese brands.) It's a gamble, but is sort of the "poor man's approach" to getting an upgraded instrument. You're in that awkward phase where he probably won't be happy with a student instrument but you also aren't ready for the major outlay for a professional violin. It sounds like reworking the violin is a gamble and you'd already like a second instrument for him, but it's hard to know what's an improvement. Your auction choices also look like gambles that will require more setup than what you have now (only one has the bridge and four strings, and you again don't know about soundpost, fingerboard, pegs, unseen cracks, tone, etc.). A new bow is solid advice. I'd also encourage you to visit string shops and have him try some. Many shops may let you try violins for a few weeks. A teacher or music director may also have a line on a good instrument. Other options are to do what I did (try several 300 pound used instruments and stay with the best) or to kick the can and stay with the current instrument longer, or to bargain for basic repairs but not a major rework. He could also try classmates' violins and see what they're playing on or where they bought. Don't be depressed about it. It sounds like he's at a really good level for his age and this is a chance to learn more about violin.
  14. Dear All, The violin arrived. There are some funny things about it. It came with an optimistic price label attached for $600 labeling it a little strad ¾ v-22. It looks like a modern, early 20th c factory violin. First, the good: -The pegs are good -The fingerboard is off but in good shape and can be reglued -The cracks look “closed” -The sound post is up -The bridge is “okay for now” -From plucking the strings it sounds nice The negative: -The sound post has a fairly huge piece of string attached to it, so I’m assuming someone else started a home repair -the nut has some rough patches -The violin feels light, which could be good—I wonder if it’s been regraduated Questions on varnish. As you know, I’d been thinking of letting my son sharpie the top and then shellac. Some caveats: -Should I try to stain the top and then do a layer of whatever comes next? (Maybe with coffee or tea?) This would give the top a darker, more natural look. -I am reading that alcohol-based finishes will dissolve the sharpie. I think this would include either shellac or spirit varnish. Woodworking sites have mentioned either a powder coat, a water-based clear coat, or a poly coat. What do you guys think? If I were doing it I'd probably do a paint pen instead and then do shellac, but I think my son would do better with sharpie and then whatever comes next. -If we decide not to do sharpie and then do shellac, I saw that the recommended bullseye comes in spray and brush formats. Any recommendations? Will eventually post before-/after- pictures, but this is probably a slow, summer project, so it may be a while.
  15. Hi Brad and Nicolas, thank you for the encouragement! Are there strings I could put on without changing the tailpiece? Synthetics of some sort? I'll probably get a 3/4 wittner, but thought I would ask. I was thinking about what to do with the unfinished top. At first I was thinking of a stain and a simple varnish and figured it will just be one ugly fiddle. Then I saw some guitar/violin sharpie art and wondered if maybe it could be an art project for the 9 year old. It might be an incentive for him to practice if he could sharpie it with his own drawings and then we could varnish it. He's really into sharks lately, so if it went well, we would be the proud owners of the one-of-a-kind "Megalodon Strad." Another question: the back looks dull and worn. My wife's grandma actually had an old German violin with a back like this. Is there anything that can be done to polish it? This is truly a nothing-to-lose violin, so I'm curious if a wax, oil, or something else might make it look a little nicer.
  16. So I got a $25 violin on ebay. I have a son heading into a 3/4 size and have also bought another, newer shop-adjusted Chinese violin that should be more immediately playable. This violin should arrive in a week and I can post more pictures then. The person selling the violin is interesting--he's out of Texas and seems to mostly sell used violins, in various states of repairs. I'm guessing not a luthier because some are like this. At first I bid $15 but didn't make the reserve and then he offered it for $25, which I thought was friendly. He said it definitely "plays." Most repairs I probably flat out couldn't do (damage to peg box or new pegs). Some would be fun to try but I may well fail (anything involving opening up the top). I'm thinking I can probably do a chin rest, a new bridge and strings. It looks to me like the nut is bone or ivory, which would mean it's probably pretty old and the back seems to be one piece (but maybe painted?). The top (and ribs?) look like maybe they've been stripped. My 9 year old is excited about us just playing around with it. From reading here, I'm assuming it's an old factory violin. It sure looks like it hasn't been played in decades. What do you think is the best case/worst case scenario? It sure looks like the top is unvarnished, right? Do you think it's the original or is this mix-and-match?
  17. I'm learning a lot here. Pretty sure spouse's grandma's thick violin must be a BOB. I wondered about why the ribs extended to the edge of the top and bottom and now I know why. I assumed it was mail ordered sometime in the 1930s, but could also have been around earlier. It doesn't sound great. I know some luthiers will take these older models and thin out the belly. How big an operation is something like that? Is improving the sound on an old violin like this a $500, $1000+ operation?
  18. Maestronet is a lot more of a DIY site. I think the general tendency is 'if it's a cheap fiddle, go ahead and give it a go.' On the other hand, If it's an old violin, you want it to look like an old violin. Say a little more about this violin and maybe add some pictures and you'll get better advice. I confess to be curious about what low level repairs are worth doing on a student violin. The 1/2 violin my son plays sounds great but it has some scrapes on the side and under the tailpiece/fine tuners and I've always wondered if there's something clear I could put on to offer a little protection.
  19. What I'm leaning towards is getting him a used Yamaha v7 or Eastman 305, since those seem to be a step up and can be found for $200-600 used. At the same time, it might be fun to get a mid-century violin or buy one of the older German violins that often surface on ebay for a few hundred dollars. Either way there's some risk. With #1 it's quite possible I'd need a replaced soundpost, rehair and new strings, but so far I've had no problems. With #2 there's a good chance I'd be buying something that's basically unrepairable. This board seems to have some hobbyists, so I was also just curious how they got their start (helping with school instruments, ebay violins, thrift store).
  20. Motivation is another good topic. We're in Asia now and I'd say most of the parents just force their kids to do the practice. I admire it in one sense, because I think music is like language and a lot of it is practice over time. On the other hand, my parents never forced me to do much and just let me chase my interests, for which I'm grateful. He's kind of at the end of Suzuki book 1, but not playing it smoothly. Right now he's doing a 50 minute lesson/week + probably 15-25 minutes/day. I do think it's helped his musicality a lot--he likes singing and stays on pitch. At the end of this semester, we may let him try something else, maybe singing or piano. I have a music teacher I know who said her son in twelve years of playing violin literally never said he enjoyed it (but he took his violin with him to college so she took that to mean he'd really gotten something out of it). I still don't know what to make of that... Her son is good--he was his high school's concert master--but he also looks kind of oppressed whenever he's around mom. Son's current violin is a nice one. I'm struggling with whether to make him keep going. Either way his school does violin in first and second grade so younger siblings will do at least a couple of years on it and current instruments will get more use. Ironically, I've come to like violin, in part just because they are really cool. I think for him what he probably needs for motivation is a public performance. I think he can probably also stay on his 1/2 for a while, but it's not a bad time to move to 3/4. I hear some people also just skip from 1/2 to 4/4. This isn't really relevant to the discussion, but as a parent there's some dilemma in choosing between any instrument/a good instrument/a cool, old instrument.
  21. Thanks All--- Don, I think I'm still not up to my ten moderated posts before I can probably send/receive pms. Once I'm legit, I'll send you a pm. Thanks for the posts you do here! I may take you up on the offer--I've seen some of those listed on ebay but don't know the company well. Craig and Rue--thank you for the balanced take between the two of you. And Franciscus, there's definitely some combination of learning curve + cost/benefit analysis. What my initial foray into buying violins / messing around with family members' old student violins is that there is a fair amount of variation. I've bought a half dozen fractional violins for our kids, usually cheap on ebay. I have a couple of knillings that sound good but don't tune great and came with soft bridges. I really am fond of my son's 1/2 size violin, so for now what I may do is just keep an eye out for a nicer used 3/4 violin (maybe look for an Eastman 305 if I can find one since they seem to be a step on). On the last trip home I saw grandma's old factory violin, probably German, with a very thick belly and muted sound, so it gave me a sense of how older does not always equal better. On ebay I've been eyeing a mix of violins and just struggle with when it's worth it to give it a go. I may end up doing both--look for something in the last 15 years from a major brand and then try out some older violins just to see what they're like. Bill, he has a pretty good teacher but he is getting bored with it. Ironically, one of the reasons I thought it might be time to move up is that sometimes an instrument is a motivator. I have probably six months before I need to do anything, so no great rush...
  22. I'm really grateful for this forum, which is full of people who just clearly enjoy playing with violins. I have an 8 year old who will move up to a 3/4 violin in the next year. I've been trying to figure out what to do with buying him a violin and I am basically looking in two directions. (Some background: he's not a great player, he may not do this forever, and we don't have/want to spend a lot on the next violin, probably $300-500 in initial outlay). 1. Option 1 is basically try to buy a nicer 2nd hand violin made in the last 15-20 years. He currently has a Yamaha v7, which we quite like, but we'd be happy to do a mid-level Eastman, Cao, Haide, something in that genre. 2. I do often see older 3/4 violins made in Germany that are on ebay for $100-200. For instance, when I look at ebay I can search 3/4 violins that are supposedly pre-1930s and I get this list. There are often Stainers in what looks like decent shape. There are some violins I'd have no chance repairing (missing pegs, cracks, detachments). There are some that probably just need a bridge and strings and--I don't know--maybe I could swap out the tailpiece and the chinrest. There are some that (to me) look good but where pegbox issues, fingerboard, or post would double or triple the cost, or just make it a wash. So here are my questions: -How many of you transitioned to violin work dabbling with student violins? -Did you feel that a workable student set-up was something you could learn to do on your own? -Is your success:failure rate buying ebay violins better than 1:1? Partly, I've enjoyed fiddling with the violins he had--so far it's been minor bridge adjustments, swapping strings, changing chin rests, that sort of things. But if I could find a decent older violin with some personality I'd be game for putting some money into. They are beautiful instruments and I enjoy playing with them/learning about them.
  23. Very cool! How does one fix broken bows?
  24. I'm new to the forum but just wanted to say I feel some sympathy for the OP. A former band kid, my school often had better instruments than parents could provide and my guess is many play on instruments that don't belong to them for a while (they may play for years on a school instrument). Family will often buy one step-up instrument, but it sounds to me like many violinists spend a good decade finding a good violin fit for them and at some point you are on your own. Violin is also hard because "intermediate" instruments are fairly pricey. And let's not forget that in the arts world there really are foundations that provide instruments for great performers to play on and a lot of making a go of it is asking for help, scraping by, and hoping for wealthy benefactors. I've seen other posts (I think here and on other forums) on how to move up to the "professional's" instrument. I don't know how many violin shops offer financing (perhaps in some cases you could finance an instrument via the online presence of a physical store?). On another board, I've seen an early career teacher trying to figure out how to afford a better instrument, and I think there are a number of people figuring out "how to make the jump." It's also hard for a college student, because their future isn't set. (I remember my trumpet performance brother trying dozens of instruments and buying B flat, C and piccolo trumpets, but 25 years later and working in computers I think he maybe has just one trumpet left.) "Sacrifice" is also a hallmark of music performance, but I sympathize with a generation that is taking on a lot of loans for a (probably) low-pay career. Sympathy, at least, is free I think the OP has gotten some good advice. Now may be a good time to keep shopping for the dream instrument, but knowing it's not yet affordable. Talking to profs at school or a department chair may yield some good results. It may be there are classmates who could lend a 2nd violin or cheaper used instruments that isn't perfect but would let the OP do things that his current instrument can't. Trading in the current instrument and making payments on another instrument may also be a route. It also sounds like this is a good age to just try a ton of different instruments and keep working on what you want/need.
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