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Al Cramer

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  1. Wow! Thanks for posting. I had no idea this was such a problem. Am 100% in support of the elephants, but confiscating old violin bows isn't going to help them much. I hope US customs has got its act together. I guess I have to give them credit for trying. Would you happen to know what responsible bow-makers are using now for the plate at the top? I studied my one good pernanbucco bow (contemporary, purchased in late 90's) and it looks like ivory. My other bows (ipe wood, carbon fiber) look to be some kind of hi-density delron-ish plastic.
  2. Was just curious -- have there been any actual cases where people traveling with their instrument were hastled at customs because of CITES? I ask because the issue crops up here periodically, and am wondering if we're worrying about something that never happens (of course, no one wants to the first).
  3. Excuse a stupid question from the peanut gallery, but isn't the neck really short on that instrument, which would be why the OP thought it baroque? (Maybe I'm just misreading the photo...)
  4. This is great! I'm going to try 1/8 cello Helicore strings for my G,D,A; and get a normal Helicore viola D string & tune it 1 step to get my E (again: I'm trying to turn this unusually wide 16.5 viola into an octave-violin). Marty, it was super kind of you to include that formula. Even a small cello is way bigger than a viola, and I was afraid that the viola couldn't handle the string tension. But I think your formula says T is proportional to L^2. On my viola vibrating string length is 14.25. 1/8 cello Helicore specs say they're for a vibrating strength length of 18.5. So that means -- when I put them on the viola -- I will only have to bring them to .6 the tension required for the small cello. Am pretty sure the Yita viola can handle that as it seems like a pretty solid build. I will try this and report back in a couple of weeks. Thanks to everyone who gave advice.
  5. Just wanted to thank deans for his additional posting, and also Jackson for suggesting a useful strategy. The octave-strings thing is a weird world. If anyone's interested, I got into it because of this youtube video: She wanted to turn a viola into a cello. I wanted an octave violin, so I got a viola & set of sensicore octave viola strings. I tossed the the low C and bought an "E octave-viola-string" that sensicore offered (I guess for 5-string violas?). Result was a very nice instrument for recording. The voice was small compared to a cello but still bigger than that of my fiddle. It's a pity nobody's making octave-viola strings anymore! Thanks again for the suggestions, I will soldier on and see where they lead me.
  6. This is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. Re string length: the instrument is a pretty normal 16.5" viola, except unusually wide. I use it as an octave violin (not an octave viola). So if I understand correctly: Dominant vd'amore A and D should work; also their A(7th), which I can tune down a step to get my low G. For the top E: could I just get a standard Dominant viola D string and tune it up a step? Many thanks for your suggestions! This stuff seems like it ought to be simple but it makes my head spin a bit.
  7. They make octave violin strings. As I understand it, they acquired Sensicore a couple of years ago (who made both), but seem to have discontinued the octave viola strings. Derek, it would be lovely to play cello, but my wife has threatened to leave me if I clutter up the place with more (big) instruments. I was kind of hoping somebody who has experience with the viola d' family of instruments (braccio, amore) might have some suggestions. Thanks!
  8. I have an abnormally wide 16.5" viola (Yitamusic) that I set up as an octave violin (G-D-A-E). It's not going to fill any concert halls but works great for recording. When I bought it a couple years ago, I strung it with Sensicore octave viola strings. The strings are kind of dead now and I want to re-string, but the Senscores are no longer available. I could buy octave violin strings, but this baby is a lot bigger than a violin & I doubt they'd work. When the A string broke I replaced it with a Helicore 1/8 cello string, and the result was ok but kind of dull. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
  9. If for some reason you want to learn how to play, the instrument might have some value to you. Go to some site like fiddlershop and get a low-end carbon fibre bow. Also some strings like Corelli or Dominants, then put them on so the strings lie in the grooves on the bridge. (And don't forget to get some rosin!) Then check out some of the approx. 1 million videos posted on youtube for beginning violin & see what happens!
  10. Hi JacksonMaberry -- Just wanted to check re undiluted turpentine -- what you wrote would be true for spirit-varnished instruments as well, no? Thanks!
  11. Just curious -- why did you replace the tail-piece?
  12. Many thanks to GoPractice for such a thoughtful posting! I think we're wandering into territory that more properly belongs in the fingerboard thread. I'll keep my eyes open to see if GoPractice opens one (it would be fun to talk about downshifts: I can make an argument that for people with short necks, downshifts are easier without shoulder rests, because you get more neuro-muscular feedback as your hand whips down).
  13. By "easy to play", I just meant it's easy to run up and down the fingerboard. I play folk and jazz, so it's all really in the bowing. I never go above 5th position. But I need to get up there and back in a way that's quick and accurate and fluid. Which is where the chinrests & shoulder-rests come in.
  14. Would much appreciate it if David Burgess were to expound a bit more on this. As a player, I focus on what makes the instrument easy to play (especially as regards shifts) So I'm short, broad-shouldered, with some neck but not much: I don't use shoulder rests, and use small low-rise chinrests for violin; on viola, no chinrest. Could I get a better sound if I did something different? Also I would like to know more about clamping pressure for chinrest. Am going for minimum possible: is that wrong? Thanks!
  15. Could someone help me understand the scroll? I see a line on the side view that looks like it was grafted (am I misreading that?). But it also looks like it was bushed, drastically correcting way too big holes --maybe it used to have those ceramic/metal geared pegs from 1900? Thanks!
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