Quadibloc

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  1. Quadibloc

    Another violin ID quiz

    Well, I don't have a problem with Strads and del Gesus being slightly better than everything else. Nor with the big name soloists using them, whether it's because they're the best or because of the power of their names. However, at least a couple of soloists have claimed that Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesu, and Guadagnini were so much better than everyone else that the fact that they didn't make enough violins so that even upper-level students could have one... makes their progress much harder than it needs to be. That's what makes it seem like there's a crisis. One that only a hero like William Fry can solve by rediscovering the Stradivarius secret. However, I'm beginning to be convinced that people like Joseph Curtin, Gregg Alf, Sam Zygmuntowicz, and even our own Don Noon are perfectly capable of making violins that meet that need - violins that are, at least, not too far behind a Guadagnini. Then there's no problem? Well, those guys have waiting lists. And a violin takes about 180 hours to make properly - and luthiers have to eat. So, let's say that the least a well-made violin would cost is around $6,000, and one by one of the better makers is apparently around $45,000. Still a lot cheaper than a million dollars. A good violin teacher is also competent, from anecdotes I've read, to judge the merit of a violin. That is the one fact I've come across so far that gives me cause for optimism, that the right instruments have a chance of getting into the right hands. And so if Yamaha quit making the YVN500S and G because a Chinese firm was doing the same thing, cheaper, but with an end product of the same quality, that would be news leading to further optimism on my part. On the other hand, this article, which I came across when investigating whether Paulownia, a light and strong material in some ways even better than spruce at what spruce is good at, at the moment has me more skeptical than hopeful. I found further information on this page, which not only gave more detail on one additional distinguishing feature besides the use of Paulownia - the thickness of the ribs is varied between the bass and treble sides of the violin, but also showed that these violins have an unusual shape, and a different f-hole design; they're {-holes now. This video, while it shows some very impressive violin playing, did not lead me to think the sound of this type of violin is that impressive, but I cannot claim to be a particularly discerning listener in this field.
  2. Quadibloc

    E String scale not in tune?

    It is difficult to understand how such a situation could be physically possible. After all, the length of a string determines the pitch of the note that it plays. Where are your fingers on that string when you move them to the position needed to make the notes in tune? Of course, you might find that it isn't that you are misjudging the position of your fingers on the E string. Perhaps the peg is loose, so that it moves when you press your finger on a string. Also, you've said "the winding isn't perfect". So instead of the peg being loose, perhaps the string has slack because of that. So I would suggest fixing the winding.
  3. Quadibloc

    Another violin ID quiz

    I thought there were A list players who played Bergonzis and Montagnanas, because there just aren't enough Stradivariuses and Guarneris to go around any more. I hadn't heard of Lara St. John, but Vanessa-Mae, although she uses a modern electronic violin for her pop music, uses a Guadagnini for classical work. I've seen it written that the only three makers whose violins are "solid" choices, whatever that means, for a soloist are Stradivari, Guarneri, and Guadagnini. Since I've heard of A-list players using still others, I wasn't sure if that was really true. In the case of cellos, and maybe violas, A-list players may be using Guadagninis because of a more intense lack of alternatives. Checking, I see two other names that were somewhat familiar: David Garrett and Viktoria Mullova. This article lists five more, but two are cellists. The violinists listed there with Guadagninis are Simone Porter, Geraldine Walther, and Li-Kuo Chang.
  4. Quadibloc

    Another violin ID quiz

    That sort of makes sense. What others have said in this thread was different. For example, at least one post basically said that for that amount of money, one could get an antique instrument - and violin players want an instrument with a "name" on it. That I can believe, but I find it dismaying. So the question I'm left with from what you've said is, how different is what you've said from what they said? That is: for that amount of money, one can get not only an antique instrument, but one of fine quality. How fine? Better quality than the YVN500S? After all, their advertising did try to suggest they had comparable quality not to $10,000 master violins, but to the multi-million dollar Strads and Guarneris. If so, it was perfectly rational for Yamaha's product to be unsuccessful, and for violin players not to choose to purchase it. If not, then the issue is still preference for a "name" over sound quality.
  5. Quadibloc

    Another violin ID quiz

    Do they make special expensive razors for rich people that do a better job? I guess not being rich myself, I don't read the magazines where they're advertised. Mind you, your point is quite reasonable: maybe for a year or two, the Vienna Philharmonic did use them, but swiftly switched to antique violins as soon as the promotional contract ran out. On the other hand, supposedly only the soloist should be using a good violin... but I've probably misunderstood this as well.
  6. Quadibloc

    HELP WITH VIOLIN AGE--KLOZ FAMILY

    I notice that the linings continue into the corner blocks. That's kind of unusual; good old Tony S. did it that way, but I wouldn't try inflating your hopes by suggesting it was one of his!
  7. Quadibloc

    Another violin ID quiz

    I had been curious as to how good those instruments were, because when I saw the advertising, it seemed as though they were hinting, though not saying outright, that they had discovered the Secret of Stradivarius, and were making violins equivalent to those by either Stradivari (YVN500S) or Guarneri del Gesu (YVN500G). If these violins consistently deliver "amazing" sound, then, particularly if it is true, as many claim, that there is an exaggerated myth surrounding the old Italian instruments, then, who knows, they may have come pretty close. But then why aren't they making them anymore? I guess violins are not mousetraps, so if you build a better one, the world will not beat a path to your door... And I didn't know that it was known that their A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) process involved fungi. It was supposed to be artificial aging of the wood, so I was expecting some variation on stewing.
  8. Quadibloc

    Expensive wreckage of Hopf on ebay

    I see that there are in existence some master violins by David Hopf, although it is not clear whether they're by the first or the second David Christian Hopf, which actually are sought after. There were a line of 28 makers in the family, and the name was used for some low-quality trade instruments as well, so it gets confusing. So, at least, the thing this violin is claimed to be, actually exists, even if this violin is not likely to be it.
  9. Quadibloc

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    It's not hard for me to believe that either. But if people have looked at videos of him demonstrating the improvement in sound by removing material... and heard no difference, then they can certainly be skeptical of him without having to maintain that what he claimed to have done is impossible in principle. I suspect, too, that removing material from a certain spot might end up making a difference to some notes, and not others. As far as I know, all we have is tantalizing hints of his method. He did explain here and there some of the things he did, and some of the reasons why, but he did not leave behind a comprehensive guide to his technique. Given that, even if he knew how to regraduate a Skylark into a Stradivarius - or, at least, nearly so, as the wood wouldn't be as good - we don't know how to do it the way he did, and, therefore, except by assessing some of the individual instruments he modified, we can't tell if he could do it. Worse yet, he claimed that he had examined multiple instruments by Stradivari, and found complex graduation profiles which, while they differed from one instrument to another, followed a common scheme. Several Stradivarius violins have now undergone computerized tomography scans, and they appear to have very smooth and regular interior surfaces. One of his claims, though, a thin region on the bass bar side, could have some substance from what I think I've seen, although not consistently in every Strad. Not having a CT scanner available for his work, he measured the wood thickness of Stradivarius violins non-invasively using an apparatus involving a steel ball bearing, and a magnet which was gradually pulled away from the violin until the bearing was no longer held in place. This seems like a rather crude device, and so I would not find it implausible that his thickness maps were in error. However, the CT scans that look so smooth also look blurry - because their resolution is limited. So it's not absolutely certain, as far as I know, that the details found by him don't exist.
  10. Quadibloc

    Expensive wreckage of Hopf on ebay

    There was one of those travelling appraiser shows where someone had a "Stradivarius" that was worthless, but the bow turned out to be valuable enough that they had actually purchased the set at a bargain price.
  11. Quadibloc

    Expensive wreckage of Hopf on ebay

    I was just reading a paper which had, side by side, graphs of the frequency responses of two violins: a $30,000 Stradivarius, and a $50 Hopf. Had the values of both violins appreciated at an equal rate, the violin on eBay would only be overpriced by a factor of five.
  12. Quadibloc

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    Yes, that is true, but we can't let that prevent us from honestly attempting to assess their merit. As a naive outsider, naturally I started out with the assumption that violins by Stradivari, Guarneri, et al, were as unsurpassed as it is often claimed. Having read statements by acclaimed concert musicians that new, promising violin talents were not being developed properly because the supply of instruments of this high quality are so limited, I accepted their statement of the problem at face value. So when I hear about people like Fry - or Nagyvary, or Kreit - my interest is piqued. So is my skepticism, because they seem to be making big claims. On the other hand, many of the luthiers who post here are convinced, from their own personal experience, that making a fine violin requires good wood, craftsmanship, and hard work - and that these will produce results, without the need of any magic formula to bridge a stubborn gap that would still remain, fully comparable to what the old masters had achieved. If you aren't selling a magic formula, then you aren't selling snake oil - but if the claim "I can make a violin as good as Stradivari" makes us suspicious of William Fry, Joseph Nagyvary, or Anatoly Leman - then it ought to be understandable that the same will be true of those who aren't selling magic formulas... only violins. Even when it's clear that one is dealing with an able craftsman who is honest - perhaps he could be mistaken about what's really causing all the excitement about Stradivari. It's clear that modern makers can produce violins that project just as well as anything by Guarneri, and that sound as sweet as anything by Amati, Stainer, or Stradivari. So, if there's anything to the Stradivarius myth, it would have to be related to the side of the violin not experienced by the audience in a blind listening test. The claim has been made that the violins of Stradivari, Guarneri, and Guadagnini exhibit tonal changes in response to the way they are played to a greater degree than those by modern makers. If that were true, it would make it worthwhile to find out how to imitate what it was they did right. And if it's not true, it would also be helpful to stop this groundless worry among concert musicians, and connect violin students to the appropriate quality modern violins that will help them in their learning. And while it may not be as easy for scientists to devise experiments to objectively test and measure this, I don't think it's impossible. Frequency spectra of notes produced on diferent violins, in a test bed that draws a bow across them at different spots, at different speeds, with different pressures, and so on... that can be done. Of course, in the case of a negative result, it could always be argued the tests weren't sensitive enough to find the magic... but there's always the chance of a positive result that would tell us what remains to be done.
  13. Quadibloc

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    I'm not surprised, and I wasn't claiming otherwise. Even if Marty Kasprzyk correctly pointed out that there are plenty of other ways to get lower notes from an instrument than to make it bigger, though, making it bigger is certainly one of those ways. And, thus, although her followers have adjusted the sizes of the instruments in the violin octet, as this is relatively simple physics, I thought it would be safe to assume her suggested sizes were reasonable - even if one rejects all her work in plate tuning.
  14. Quadibloc

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    But if you solve this problem for a sufficiently small instrument, won't you create a new one, where the instrument is too fragile? As Stradivari is reputed to have made his plates rather thinner than other makers have dared, though, thank you for reminding us of his secret for achieving acceptable results from violas that, in some cases, were a mere 16 3/16 inches (411 mm) in length. And then there are the instruments that were 18 7/8 inches (479 mm) in length, sometimes referred to as violas, which were actually intended to be played as tenors - or tenor violas, one octave below the violin. In fact, we don't need to stop at violas and tenors. Carleen Mary Hutchins, again, felt the need to improve the violin by making it 14% larger, and then retreated to 8% because she had improved the violin so much, it was overpowering the other string instruments. If making the plates thinner is a substitute for making the instrument larger, then the fact that Stradivari's plates were unusually thin seems to be confirmed by this as a contributing factor to a better violin. On the other hand, enlarging the f-holes raises the resonant frequency of the violin, and thus would seem to be a bad thing, but then possibly it could still balance a higher arching.
  15. Quadibloc

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    Well, a bull frog isn't made of wood. The problem with string instruments that are too small isn't that they don't produce low-frequency sounds at all, but that they do so less efficiently. So the fundamental is under-represented in the sound produced.