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About Scoiattola

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  1. I think there is a whole art to tuning! It's far more important than many students think initially. It's basically one's calling card on stage; it is also the first thing the audience hears (and also that we hear ourselves play). We "practice" it every day, perhaps more than any etude that will cross our music stands. It pays to make it a functional part of one's concert performance toolkit. It helps with initial coordination of left and right arms, and helps us to get accustomed to acoustics as an accepted part of the pre-concert ritual. Whenever I've sat on audition committees, I notice that the people who tune well, generally play well too! Not to mention replacing strings that break in concert!!
  2. My feeling is that while they may be appropriate for certain musicians (ergonomics, ease of use, etc), I vastly prefer regular pegs, as the geared varieties do have a (negative, IMHO) effect on sound. It just seems to damp everything up, and I don't feel the vibrational feedback I rely on as much. Another thing: on stage, a smoothly doped peg is much quicker to tune! Hear me out I always tune from below the pitch, where the pitch drops about a whole tone under, and then smoothly tunes up to the desired pitch. If I did the opposite (something a lot of my students do initially - before their inaugural lecture on tuning!), the greater tension on the string nut side would seek out an equilibrium in the speaking length of the string. In my experience, if one tunes too close to the interval at hand, static tension cannot be easily overcome and a lot of energy is expended fighting over the smallest movement. Which is a bit of a coin toss anyways! It's better to aim a little lower, and "control the landing". If the pitch slips too much (it happens), that will mean at least 10-20 minutes of volatile open string intonation, so it's wise to avoid going too far. Thing is, that slight half pitch to whole pitch drop in pitch seems to be important for "resetting" the tension of the speaking length, and guaranteeing stable intonation for a longer time. If I use geared pegs, it takes a lot of time (and several turns, IIRC) to gradually tune down to the desired pitch and then back up again. I can do it with a standard peg in a microsecond. Different strokes for different folks? Cheers, Scoiattola
  3. Whatever gets one through the lockdown, eh? While the sounds of the "sound library Strad" are a far cry from MIDI, give the actual Vesuvius Strad to any real violinist, and have them play the same passages. You will hear the difference Cheers, Scoiattola
  4. That's terrible Nathan! Wishing you a speedy recovery! The whole pandemic situation does seem to bring out the crazy in some folk. Then again, some were probably pretty crazy to begin with. Your attacker sounds absolutely pathological! Hope the doctors rounded the cleats on the seam . Best, Scoiattola
  5. 2 cups baking soda, 3 Tsp sugar, 2 egg yolks, beaten, sprinkle some vanilla, add cloves to taste. Mix until frothy, pour in F-holes. Viola! No more "mold smell".* *Individual results may vary... :p
  6. Hi Marty, That's really interesting point about impedance mismatches having uses as well! Since a wolf-tone is the system working "too well", I guess it follows that having impedance mismatches would keep that from happening. Fascinating! How does the bridge fit in with all of this? Is there a general rule of thumb about bridge densities, matching impedances with strings, etc? What if I want to prioritize response, tone variability (as in your first example)? Thanks! Scoiattola
  7. Could this possibly be the late Bill Watson's work? Something about the tortoiseshell looks right, also the head/pernambuco, and the wrapping is identical to one I have on my desk right now. (Totally agree with fiddlecollector; the black and white wrapping looks cheap! Question: is it authentic whalebone, or some kind of imitation?) Of course the brand is different... Cheers! Scoiattola
  8. Ok, and I just read this; Don, please disregard my previous question. Apparently saddle height doesn't make as much difference. It could have been simply moving the bridge around while accessing the saddle. Cheers, Scoiattola
  9. Hi Don, Wouldn't saddle height have a pretty significant impact on downforce at bridge? (I guess also tailpiece rocking, other modes, etc?) Enough that even marginal changes could have an effect on the sound? I'm curious, because that was among recent adjustments that seemed to really help. (The straw that broke the camel's back, as it were). Anecdotally, and back on topic, I have noticed that Kevlar tailgut makes everything sound tighter, more wire-ey, and maybe ever so slightly louder. Perhaps useful for a particular, very dark sounding instrument, but in general, nylon & plain gut will get a better result.
  10. I once saw a Vuillaume viola with asymmetrical bouts that bore a passing resemblance to the above blueprints... Somebody should fix the tailpiece length over the saddle though. That's going to be uncomfortable. Or is it an endpin?
  11. I believe that is a matter of perspective
  12. As a player, I am interested first in a tool that can recoup the initial investment. For me that means, can I earn enough income playing on the instrument to make it a reasonable investment? Obviously, for certain multi-million dollar instruments, that isn’t practical (unless I win the lottery - which I don’t play in the first place!). I am familiar with the work of the old guys (Tony, Joe, et. al.), as well as the new guys (Sam, Joe, et. al.), and I have to say the new guys have made fiddles that would be great instruments to play on in halls across the world - one can make a (hopefully financially viable) career on these instruments, and from this perspective, they are all “undervalued”. A few mentions (by no means complete!!!) of some instruments that stuck in my memory: Colin Gallahue’s VSA gold fiddle of a few years ago A George Stoppani copy of the Titian Ted Skrekko’s personal model a George Yu copy of an Amati an Alkis Rappas violin, that went to a member of the Dallas Symphony A violin by Justin Hess, which won a VSA gold A violin by Stefan-Peter Greiner, belonging to Deutsche Stiftung A violin by Ryan Soltis, which won a VSA silver (tone) A violin by Phillip Ihle, which won a VSA gold A Bergonzi copy by Masayuki Komatsu from Vienna (which I believe won some kind of European award) Looking at the list above, I notice a great number of competition winners. I suspect that the things that juries look for in terms of craftsmanship (?effective ground/varnish, appropriate arching and graduation, etc.?) are all things that have a great (cumulative) impact on tone, playability, output, etc. At any rate, the setup on all the above fiddles was superb! Cheers, Scoiattola
  13. Hi Phil, Until more professional advice arrives, here's a quick video link to tide you over: Acoustical phenomena: production of wolf notes Scoiattola
  14. More relevant to the topic at hand: was Leonardo da Vinci left-handed during his brief stint in Cremona? Important question for the experts. In our current market, fields like dendrochronology seem to provide the most support for accurate appraisals and opinions...
  15. Michael, One more thing (in case you haven't tried this already) - try heavier and lighter tension E string - see how things change, if at all. Cheers, ~S