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Al Cramer

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Everything posted by Al Cramer

  1. I just wanted to thank everybody who responded. Lots of possibilities to explore!
  2. Hi -- I was wondering what on-line classical stations people here listen to, and why? My wife and I like "classic praha". More Telemann, Prokovief, and Shostakovich than you get on our local Maine Public Radio; also MittleEurope baroque composers I've never heard of; also lots of film music, which is useful to me because I'm trying to write music for animations. Really interesting station! Also not much talking, and when they do talk, it's in Czech so it just rolls over us. O
  3. Thanks Marty -- Your observations are much appreciated. American history is littered with these amazing odd-ball characters. Mount is one of my favorites. His paintings are actually pretty good, and speak to a really optimistic social agenda. The guy makes me think of Walt Whitman. I'm pleased to learn that his odd excursion into violin making actually had some merit...
  4. Hi Marty -- Thanks so much for sharing the photo of the Mount inspired instrument! (Please excuse my posting -- I should have said "bent-flat-top" instead of "flat-top"). Am very curious: the stuff I've read about Mount instruments says they're extremely loud. Did you find that to be the case? Also, how's the sound quality? Years ago I had a record of some classical violinist playing 19th century fiddle tunes on a Mount violin (I think maybe from the Smithsonian). I seem to remember the tone as being quite nice, but I was distracted by the fact the player couldn't fiddle, he totally butchered the phrasings & bowings. (He sounded as bad as me trying to play Mozart, except our mistakes are the exact opposites).
  5. In addition to searching Marty Kasprzyk's posts, you might want to google "savart violins" and "trapezoid violins" (Savart was king of trapezoid violins). I just tried that and it was interesting: it seems the trapezoid people are intersecting with the balsa-wood top plate people. The 19th century American painter William Sidney Mount is also interesting re flat-topped fiddles. If you want to know about what he was doing, here's a place to start. https://www.rickertmusicalinstruments.com/2011/03/the-william-sidney-mount-historic-1852-cradle-of-harmony-violin.html
  6. Do take a look at cases: for 150-200$, you can get slender cases that fit in overhead bins on most flights, but are strong enough to endure pretty rough handling if demoted to baggage (just make sure you throw a damp cloth in because the humidity often isn't). For camping, my travel violin used to be a D pennywhistle. Then I upgraded to piccolo so I wouldn't be stuck in G & D.
  7. Many thanks Michael -- The idea of starting a connection hole with an exacto never occurred to me. I can see how an S-tool shaped like yours would work if you did that. I will definitely give this a try!
  8. That thing Wood-Butcher did -- I think some 3-string Crete lyras (folk instrument that looks like a rebec) actually are set up that way! They can do that because the f-holes aren't f.
  9. hi Michael Richwine -- Could you elaborate on how to shape the point of the S-tool? I'm currently setting soundposts starting with that spring-tool fiddlerman shop sells, then moving it around with the S-tool until it's in the right place. But the spring-tool is hard on chippy vanish, & I know I ought to be able to do it using only the S-tool. My problem is that the sound post falls as soon as I put it in -- it's not speared hard enough to get the initial placement. How should I re-shape the point of the S-tool so that this doesn't happen? (I have a bench grinder so I can re-shape it however is needed; problem is I don't know what I'm shooting for). Many thanks!
  10. Just wanted to thank Michael & Baroquecello for posting. Maestronet Pegbox is like a Wikipedia for violin setup -- I've spent hours reading thru stuff posted over the years. It's just tremendously good that people who have the knowledge are willing to share it.
  11. Ok it's fixed thanks to Michael. North front of soundpost is now 1.75 mm south of bridge and the sound quality of the A string is pretty much balanced with the others. I had not realized we could move the soundpost so far north!
  12. Hi Michael -- Thanks so much for your advice. I will try a northward adjustment tomorrow. But I'm already pretty north: north side of soundpost is a tad more than 2 mm from south edge of foot. How far north can we go?
  13. I'm trying to set up a never used, 2006 M19 yitamusic violin. The vendor (on Reverb) said it had been set up correctly, and they were generally right: neck scoop and projection looks great, bridge is really good, nut heights seem fine. But soundpost was insane (5.5 mm behind bridge, 3 mm east of bridge foot center). So I've been working to fix that. My latest attempt is much closer to nominal: north side of the post is 2-2.5 mm behind the bridge foot, and the center of the post is pretty much behind the center of the foot. This is good but not quite there yet: open A string (up to C#) have a nasal quality that bugs me. The other strings sound fine and the balance is good (except G# on the D string sounds a bit muffled). This fiddle looks promising. Varnish is nice & thin (though super-chippy). Voice is BIG. It's way better than the Stentors and Eastmans I've set up. Definitely a violin as opposed to VSO. Does anybody have any suggestions re how to reduce the nasal-ness of the A string in first position? (the problem goes away in 3rd position on up). Other data: I put medium tension Dominants on it. Also it feels pretty light: I have a feeling the plates are thin. Finally the arching seems slightly high. Thanks for any advice!
  14. I think you're right: this is a 1959 pop culture attempt to talk about gays. Stuff was so heavily coded back then, it's hard for us now to understand what was being said (like: violin = gay? What a weird idea). Reason I think you're right is: we're never told why the violin kid freaked out so much at the death of the guy who was killed. But we are told that the guy painted pictures, so maybe viewers back then would have reasoned: violin = gay and painting pictures = gay, so they must have been an item. If this reading is correct, I think the film is actually pretty courageous? Somebody made a TV episode in 1959 that was sympathetic to gays. It's obvious that the film should end when the violin kid plays "American the Beautiful" at the officer's mess. But some studio exec panicked at the idea of airing something sympathetic to gays, and insisted they add the violin-smashing scene. Again I thank you for posting. Semiotics of film is fascinating!
  15. Thanks. It fascinates me how cultural uses of images changes over time. I can't imagine David Burgess or Don Noon pasting a picture of himself on the back of his work!
  16. Very interesting, thanks for posting. I watched the whole thing. Up until the final scene I thought: this is the old stupid patriarchy, trying to reify itself and doing a pretty convincing job of it. Then the final scene where the kid smashes the the violin and announces he wants to be a soldier. Completely wrong for the dramatic arch established earlier, but I'd guess the studio exec's insisted on it. Because I suppose they felt like the people they served were threatened by people like us?
  17. What an amazing artifact! Could someone comment on the photo on the back? That's a tintype, right? (direct positive image on very thin sheet of metal, with lacquer coating, superseded in the 1860's by albumen prints on paper). Are there other examples of this? Would the face belong to the owner of the violin, or is it that of some famous musician of the time? This object seems deeply weird to me: your-violin-on-LSD, like something from a Ken Russel film. Thanks for posting the photos (though I fear I will have nightmares about this violin).
  18. That looks a lot like my fiddle, except the arching on mine (both plates) is higher. Also mine is just flamed maple, not birds-eye. I'm really happy with it. But that price sounds awfully high -- I got mine from reverb for 325$. Something I had to do with mine was shim the fingerboard, because the projection had sunk down too much and I don't have the skills to a neck reset. When you take your measurements, you might want to measure the fingerboard projection.
  19. Hi Musicmeister -- If you just bought the fiddle, why are you even worrying about upgrading? It takes a while to figure out what any given instrument offers. Just play it and see what happens. Best test of quality I know is: play some major& minor scales in 5th position and really listen to the sound of the G & D strings. If it's good you got a winner. If not -- explore setup options like bridge & soundpost. If those don't work, maybe it's time to get a better axe. Good luck!
  20. I read maestronet because I play fiddle, and want to learn more about them! Violin is such an amazing instrument. It's this perfect fusion of acoustic engineering, craftsmanship, and visual art. Just to touch on the latter: I love the conversations about scrolls. I'm still trying to understand why one person says one scroll is good, but another is bad. It's such a dynamic form, the way the lines flow together and gather energy as they move inwards towards the eye (and how should the shape of the eye reflect that gathering of energy?). But maybe I've got this totally backwards? Maybe the energy of the eye should flow around and down and animate the whole instrument? Apologies for writing too much about scrolls. I was just trying to show why people (who care nothing about the violin trade) find learning how to see violins interesting.
  21. I just wanted to thank Michael and Martin for expanding on their observations, also OP for the better photos.
  22. Interesting exchange between M.Darnton & M.Swan. I read postings here a lot because I'm interested in learning how to actually see these instruments, and these guys are masters. My question is: in the OP pictures, isn't the left instrument a single piece back, and the the right instrument a 2-piece back (which do look they're bookmarked, which I think I understand why that's weird, because if the log was thick enough for a single piece slap cut, why would you split it?). The other things I was wondering about the split-back right instrument concerns the button. It looks like split is canted so that the button is part of the left side. Is this something people used to do? Many thanks to michael & martin and sorry if I'm bothering you with stupid questions.
  23. I'm amazed that Martin Swan can pick that up from such terrible photos, but people like he & jacobsaunders are pretty amazing. Why don't you take some better photos and post them? If you're not sure about how to do that, Rue provided an excellent sticky article about how it's done.
  24. I just noticed your posting about cats and violins. Would that extend to cats and cellos as well? I've been struggling to figure out how to translate 3-4 panel comix into animations. This isn't very successful but it does have cats & bowed string instrument. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJz2EVhzI7s&ab_channel=AlCramer
  25. I liked this part of the article: The estate from which Kavalec’s partner made the purchase was that of Gerardi’s daughter, who Kavalec said experienced a struggle not unlike his own to convince others of the violin’s significance in an arena dominated by dealers motivated to keep price-tags low. For years, he said, the instrument simply sat dormant. I had no idea dealers were motivated to keep price-tags low. Live and learn!
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