Andrew Victor

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  1. You sound much more dedicated than I ever was, however my suggestion is this: Since we only have one brain and it has a lot of different things to do when playing violin --> if you find playing any of the bowings to be more difficult when playing specific scales, concentrate on those. (I have found for myself there is a definite connection between what my two hands are doing and if I have to concentrate more on one hand it steals concentration from the other.) You might divide your practice time into 2 or perhaps 3 segments: 1. Warmup, which includes scales and etudes. 2. "Rehearsal" that includes "musical pieces" you are learning 3. "Reminiscing" that involves playing things you once "mastered." When I had lessons in my childhood they followed a similar pattern and so did my practice. When your time is limited just start from #1 and play through the standard routine to the end of your available time. I think this is the approach I took (for 5 years) 45 years ago when trying to increase my "chops" 35 years into my amateur violin "career." I still tend to take that approach every day now when my time is essentially unlimited but my endurance is not.
  2. One approach is an Adjustrite Folding Musician's Chair Standard available at Amazon, among other dealers Another way to go is with a WENGER Cellist's Chair. Both of these have angled seats that do the job that a wedge does. I have both so I know what they doI always carry a wedge when I play away from home to have some control of the chair I will get to sit on. I also have a folding stool in my vehicle just in case a "proper" seat is not available. The Adjustfite chair weighs about as much as a full cello case. I was 15 years old and 6 feet tall when my cello lessons started and I remained that height for the next 50 years. However I have shrunk 4 inches in the 20 years since then and it definitely affects my cello playing. My legs are still the same length they were so I have to wedge my torso higher to compensate. It's really not difficult to resolve the issues of fitting oneself to a cello as long as you can find a cello that fits all the issues brought up in this thread and find a proper height/angled perch for your legs & bottom. I recommend reading the book "New Directions in Cello Playing" by Victor Sazer.
  3. To my eye the Fibonacci sequence creates the perfect scroll pattern and if the maker carves scroll widths of 1, 2, 3, 5 back and forth across a diameter it will appear!. I have one violin that measures that way and it is surely the most attractive.
  4. I don't have any idea! However, if you look under the frog you may find some code numbers and letters and if you report those back here someone might have "the book" about Hill bows to decode them. I know I have the book somewhere.
  5. I first tried Dominant violin strings 50 years ago when they were first introduced but they were crap on the violin I had been playing since 1952. I had been using Pirastro Eudoxas. However, when Pirastro introduced Tonicas shortly after that they were quite satisfactory on that violin. Since then I have obtained and used additional violins that were quite satisfactory with Dominants. And I use Dominant-weicht A and C on my main viola that balance perfectly the Pirastro Permanent D & G. Thomastik does produce a really superior E string (Peter Infeld Platinum plated) in my opinion for those willing to play the price. However, it can be overpowering when mixed with some other sets, such as Tricolore gut. It is really great with Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold medium. For a player it can be hard to tell if one should blame the strings or the instrument for string rankings. In the past 50 years I have probably tried most of the new string offerings - in fact I have even gone back to my earlier Eudoxa and Olive choices and even gave Tricolore/Goldbrokat a shot. (It's been an expensive proposition since I also searched for optimum strings for my violas and cellos.)
  6. If I were desperately craving new violin music I would google "IMSLP violin music" and pick something with an interesting title: likewise for any other instrument of vocal range. Or I might google "youtube violin" to see what things sound like first for a direct mental link to what the music sounded like (if I could not devine it from the score).
  7. Andrew Victor


    The "pips" add nothing to ease of tuning and if the peg is at all difficult to turn (which they all are at one time or another) you will wish your wish for them had not been granted. Voice of experience - especially true if you play cello.
  8. Could it have been the Artino BF series? Or was it "CF" ? - and in that case the CF Durro bows?
  9. Istvan Konya! But they have been exhibiting with the "traveling Cremona show" which I managed to attend and sample 3 times. Opinion unchanged. Both father and son attended the Cremona school Father taught there for a while.
  10. There is no "inflation rate" for violins, etc. One example I note, Ifshin VIolins' Jay-Haide instruments are the same price they were in 1997 for the same model. The subsequently issued, more expensive models are sold new at their original issue prices. For antique instruments the price tends toward some relationship to the highest price that maker "made" at a recent auction, but seller need and buyer taste will tend to balance - even in retail sales where negotiation goes on. In 1951 my father bought me a brand-new beautiful antiqued copy of the Emperor Stradivarius - from the maker. The "list price" was $500, he got it for $350. Even now, almost 70 years later the highest auction price for that maker's violins is only around $2,000. I tried one in a DC area shop about 40 years ago priced at about $2,000 retail. Today I think they are selling for about $4,000. . In 1974 I tried out Stefano Conia (a Cremona maker) Strad-model violin from SHAR priced then at $1,500. Conia (and his son) have since become quite popular and "papa's" auction prices tend to range between $7,000 and $15,000. BUT when I was able to compare my 1951 violin with that Conia in my home for a week there was no question those two violins sounded exactly the same on the E,A, and D strings - but the G string on my violin was far superior.
  11. I am not a violin or bow maker or repair person of any sort. However I have done minor things, like moving soundposts, installing geared pegs, or gluing openings of glued seams (likeribs to the top or back). But I did have a violin bow that I got in a "trade" and some years later the head cracked and separated from the rest of the stick. Not having any idea of the value of the bow, I had read of a way to repair such a break using epoxy and clear (i.e.., transparent) fiberglass tape. The repair is quite secure and rather invisible from 2 feet away. Unfortunately, I later realized the bow is stamped "H. R. Pfretzschner." It was probably worthy of professional repair.
  12. Is it possible that the near ubiquity of shoulder rests among professional violinists has made it possible for more of them to use their violins and bows in optimal ways that yield more similar sonic results? Perhaps shoulder rests are the Great Equalizers?
  13. By modifying the elliptical curvature of the neck's cross section to account for the position of the player's thumb an effectively narrower neck can by accomplished without narrowing the fingerboard at all. The neck cross section must not by circular!
  14. My experience with CF bows has been that they do not change their basic characteristics in at least 20 years - that's about as long as I have had any of them. Good then - good now. With pernambuco bows good then - good now (but that's been 70 years. I would bet the CF bows will follow that pattern too. A good rehair can bring a bow back to its best behavior. Good rosin helps too!
  15. Andrew Victor

    Bow hair

    Although you do not need to remove old rosin before changing rosins (as GeorgeH said), if you wish to remove most of the old rosin simply bowing across a microfiber cloth will remove much of the excess old rosin - OR you can just use a retired toothbrush to comb through the hair. This next is controversial, but you can dissolve and remove much more of the old rosin by 1. grabbing both sides of the hair ribbon with a folded alcohol pad and wipe the hair with the pad from frog to tip and back to frog. 2. then immediately repeat the process with a clean cotton cloth (diaper quality) to remove dissolved rosin. 3. reverse the alcohol pad and repeat step 1 with the clean side. 4. repeat step 2 with a clean area of the cloth. I have found that if I repeat this process with 3 rosin pads I finally get to the point that the dissolved rosin is no longer visible on the cotton pad. The alcohol pads are sold in drug stores in boxes of 100 for sterilizing skin injection sites. I've been doing this for years and have not noticed any hair degradation - no more than the hair on my head suffered from using alcohol-containing Vitalis when I was a teenager 70 years ago. I still have a full head of hair - just white now (like my bows) instead of brown.