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  1. I assume only the larger portion of the keys can be used for forming a block to carve. Have you thought about experimenting with the narrow part of the key by stacking them horizontally? Even if they looked a bit striped, it would possible result in a unique frog. My Hill Tortoise cello frog is very dark and it appears to show many, thin laminations. A friend is borrowing it but if I remember correctly, the sides of the frog appear as if the surface is rippled. Will try to get an image.
  2. Yes, to both replies. In this case, it is often smaller hands practicing faster passages or larger handed very intensely played and vibrato-ed slow sections, causing this sort of distortion in the fingerboard. During the strike the string is pushed outward during the strike or the player grinds the string into the fingerboard during intense vibrato. I think the latter in this case as there appear to be what look like serrated cuts diagonally across the fingerboard. The string is possibly rolling along the surface which indicates a rougher surface on the strings ( possibly brought on by reactive sweat ) and/ or slightly lower tension strings, which sometimes happens on high-mass strings. A Romberg style cut or a flatter radius on an overly radiused fingerboard can help, hence some very rare "Rombergs" or flattening on ( smaller? and huge - the ones i have seen/ felt ) some viola fingerboards. The "on fret" or "guitar-style" vibrato can be seen with some players. I have sort of tried an ovoid pattern incorporating the lateral movement across the strings, but it is actually rather difficult because the arm is twisted around in violins and violas. It is easier on cello and there are a few cellists using it. When one desires, really wants, to play a vibrato, the desiree can do amazing things. The key thing is not to overthink the process and just keep doing the model movement until it starts to feel natural. I remember explaining a vibrato in a middle school strings workshop and one kid picked the vibrato up in 5 minutes. It was a very natural cycle without much effort. He was worshiped a bit by his classmates and by the next week all the kids were trying some form of left hand oscillations in the class. If he continues to break strings after short periods of time... another "I do not suggest doing this unless you know what you are doing" suggestion offered: Give the young man some micromesh-ish material to smooth out the surface with long light ( do i need to mention, even, unless someone has insights on this ) strokes - a bit - before swapping out the strings. This is relatively easy beacuse it is on the c- string side and can be done holding the instrument like a cello on his lap. Burnish and re-graphite the nut. This will save him some money or a few days, but will making planing the fingerboard a little strange for the shop person later because the blade will feel like it does not catch right away, but it is likely producing a bit of powder. The mesh will wear away the soft spots a bit faster, especially if the fingerboard is moist from the sweat. This fingerboard does look a little soft but the wear on the other string appear to be holding up. The wolfrum ( tungsten ) is more likely to do more damage than a several dozen strokes of the mesh. Remind him to keep the mesh in a small, sealable plastic bag.
  3. Ok, outside the blind i place several ducks, cross-legged on a log. I also put many trout in a cask full of cold water. A largely arced, slow, underhanded toss of a softball just behind home plate...
  4. The use of Wolfram ( Tungsten ) in strings, i would guess is because of the mass. It is not necessarily a sound I like especially through double stop passages on viola, at times, but once the string hits peak amplitude it produces quite a bit of sound. I have silver wounds on my cello and they sounds silky. I think Thomastik is experimenting with tungsten-silver hybrids. Prof Denis, could it be that a viola student who comes to see you is a fine powerful player? Is he taller with bigger hands? on a large viola? Healthy nails with square edges? When using tools, my annular ( Ring ) finger on the left hand is rather useless, though overtime, i have learned to use the whole hand. But when playing any instrument, the ring finger can be exceptionally powerful due to it's speed when striking the string against the fingerboard, if the thumb is anchored rather far away. The Fa ( F ) note on the viola and many cellos - Do ( c ) on the violin - is not a ringing note and the point where the player's perception is that there is an unusual loss or intensity or quality of sound. These pitches are often played with the Annular or Secundus ( index ) finger in third position, a very popular position for it's flexibility, warmth or power. As a technique, some players might tap a note hard onto the fingerboard, just at the initiation of the attack of the bow, to make sure the sound is immediate. Often the pre-vibration ( moving ) string at pitch activates faster than a non-moving string. In the older sweeter playing days of cello, one might quietly pre-pluck a lower open string to start a soft passage on an up bow, so the bow starts vibrating at the necessary time. If i may guess, not the piece ( could be Hindemith, Bartok ) but that this young man is working on a work in D major or minor. During his practice this area of the string could be stressed repeatedly. The repeated striking of the Annular finger distorts the windings and the core, then the windings are agitated by the vibrato of the index finger. The distortion on the surface of the strings allows sweat and other contaminants in between the windings and further into the damping materials/ core. Also, if he is practicing 5 hours a day... Practice is usually non-stop playing unless they are my students. I have been experiencing practice-inflation for the past decade. ... that is 15 to 20 hours of possible abuse. My performance strings have optimal sound for only about 20 to 30 hours of constant playing, say in a piano trio or a duo sonata. By 40 hours the sound is warmer but has lost a lot of edge and brilliance where the musical passages are not as clear. I notice the added effort. Dominant strings lose their shimmer at about 8 - 10 hours. When these changes occur in the sound, i do attack the strings harder with the bow and the touch. I know you have a fine stereo microscope. I would take a look at the broken ends to see how the core is being damaged. Through my teens and into my 20s, i remember having to get the fingerboard planed and replaced many times because i would strike the strings with so much force. Aluminum a - strings would rarely last three weeks and e - strings would be changed around every 2 - 3 weeks as they would start the perfect 5ths would start to drift in the upper octaves. When passionate players are young, we can practice all day and night ( sometimes badly ) and with incredible energy. Would it be possible the string height/ gap at the nut is also a bit high to avoid string rattle with the fingerboard when playing open strings? The student might consider practicing on a less expensive c - string and switch to the Wolfram before lessons.
  5. Is there a picture of the strings on the instruments? The colors of the wrapping at the end of the strings help identify what they are. Most of the members here can help with the identification.
  6. Maestro Preuss, I have been wanting to ask this due to your proximity and possible familiarity. Would you know who is playing what on the the NHK ( nippon - hoso- kyoku? - japanese broadcasting company? ) programs? I saw an NHK documentary and the violin in question was close-miked and so very much beautiful sounding. This "resistance" i want to believe the experience is bow dependent, which if we slip further a bit is a feel related to rosins. When playing Opera, sensitivity in string playing helps the soloists on stage. That resistance in the softer range of an instruments dynamics is a priority for me. I have to describe this as a type of texture to students. Which brings me back to the question... I can not remember what the show was, but the string playing/ instrument was so high - fidelity that the immediacy made me focus on the sound rather than the images on screen. Would it have been about the "Silkroad" through China?
  7. Mr Noon's observation is correct, in that many players want to feel the instrument react to their ( the ) input. I actually give my students a hard time about this. So many things occur outside the sensitivity of most players. It is difficult to get my female students to play with more types of energy including pressure, speed and arc of bow. I want the male students to urinate within the functional confines od a toilet or urinal and stay focused, develop their range of force, bow more accurately. On some instruments the contact with the string can feel vague. It can be a combination of many things including the tensions of the bow or a tight right hand. But that feedback, here with another vehicle metaphor, is like that of feeling the road when one steers at high speeds. Without it, one is more likely to mishandle the "curve." The more the one feels the tire make contact with the road, or the contact point with the bow, the brain is more likely to push further driving closer to the edge of the instrument limits, its capability. Too many venture too quickly into higher speeds without taking their necessary practice laps. Boys practice less.
  8. Mr Swan, thank you for clarifying this detail. Would there possibly be a 2+1 star or 3+2 star rating anywhere? Or am i being the idiot? I have yet to see a five star brand. I contracted for an Asian company in the early 2000s. When I started, the name included the word, "million." By the time I completed my work, the company name was upgraded to, "billion." Rating inflation was popular then...
  9. You might have punk'd me here.... No no no. I apologize for the miscommunication. The cello was 10 years old - around 2008-ish if i remember correctly. The player was deciding where to continue on as a graduate student in his early 20s. I did enjoy the cello and that was my bias then and now.
  10. The anonymous calls in the middle of the night, "sorry, wrong number," in english... those make one think. Your Magnetism is global. Wherever you go, there are people interested in you. And your postings.
  11. The range of masses of the impact hammer ( the amount of energy introduced ) can show differing results in spectral plots. In 2d plots, it is possible to see peaks ( held data ) but the luxury of Fast Fourier Transform "waterfall" styles plots present where some of the spiked peaks in the 2d plots are mostly instantaneous and not as much a character of the bowed effect. For a violin, a more similiar output - flatter frequency response as describer in audio terms - in the the range/ octaves of ~ 220, 440 880, 1760hz ( those three octaves - which is really the entirety of its voice ) without extreme peaks appears to be the way to go for most players. These instruments are more predictable and thus easier to play. On the otherhand, many soloistic instruments often spike many times within that three octave frequency range ( not in predictable areas ) and it takes an exceptional player to make an instrument behave well at louder volumes To elaborate further... From a musical performance stand point, most of our older concertos are a combination of scales and arpeggios. Most are written in keys that are friendly to the instrument. The expressive notes, notes of colour, notes of tension are those outside of the normal harmonic structure, the dissonance creating a moment of tension that is released given an appropriate amount of time. The tension and release is the ebb and flow of a fine work. A fine player learns the score well enough to know how and when to be expressive, in addition to making the instrument work. Of course, in the study of music, expressiveness is not always the musical solution. I find that some fine instruments play themselves, not necessarily in a good way, but they control the sound and the notes. Some notes ring or intensify forever while other notes can not be shaped easily. The prancing horse, the symbol of Ferrari automobiles, is very much an appropriate mascot as a torque-y larger - not as linear -displacement engine was placed onto a lighter automobile frame with skinny tires.... more later as this is wandering. When it comes to projection, there are a range of instruments that sound better, with more conventional pieces and there is an additional quality? to that sound. While hearing Mr Tetzlaff tour with some of the more difficult modern works for the audience to de-cypher, it is the artist's responsibility to deliver the score the best they are able... I believe it is because not all notes are as audible on some of the older instruments. While on more traditional pieces, the audience knows the piece. On Mr Bell faking... not disrespectfully in his defense as he needs none of it, it is not easy to play a show-stopper encore after playing the Sibelius, etc. We know that a three octave tear up or down, scales or arpeggios are heard by the audience who want to hear them. We ( ahem, He ) just have ( has ) to land the expressive notes and passages, and play them with the finest quality possible because every composer can write scales and arpeggios and they are not as relevant as the greater moments of the musical phrases, structures or apogees. He does well within the limitations of a larger hall and a FX Tourte bow. Would anyone know his modern bow of choice? Anyway...
  12. It takes a man of some fortitude to order a gin - and - tonic in Moscow. ... very sensitive about their vodkas.
  13. It is an impressive shop. I was there about 4 or 5 years ago. At the time, many of the instruments had the Larsen treble/ Spirocore bass split and it kind of drove me nuts. I was a bit shocked to see how many were strung that way. They have very nice instruments but the string selection sort of biased the cellos to sound a particular way. In one sense, the instruments can be tested on similar strings so that might be the better starting point in making more familiar decisions. Many shops will work with the customers to get the ideal sound doing string swaps and am sure they would also offer choices. Your suggestion to try everything is important. More recently, i am afraid that many lack the stamina to play through 20 - 30 instruments in a session. It is not apathy, i do not think, but it is quite a bit of work.
  14. Sorry, the color on my monitor is off. Does not look green and light-ish blue. I do enjoying playing the higher end Warchal strings on older instruments, which I think they do better on instruments that "give" a bit. On finer contemporary instruments, i find myself fighting the strings to get the control i want. The Warchal e - string is definitely worthy of trying. For my style of playing, it beats most wrapped e - strings. On period instrument textures, wrapped strings are nice. There are some early production strings with different silk combinations that make for good mystery strings. Also, waxed silk looks weird. There was a shop that rounded the tailpiece slots and the owner used to wax the silk. Better than the shops that used to pour linseed oil into the f - holes. Thanks for the reply.
  15. I would consider this to be a "one star" brand. Recently, some people have been using the term "double star" and "triple star" in conversation when describing higher end bows, Silver, special edition or Gold.