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GoPractice

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  1. This reply is not directed at Maestro Saunders, but there are many of us who were initially intimidated at cutting at crucial spaces or points. I still tend to use a scraper rather than a knife ( or a knife as a scraper ) when there are close tolerances. Of course, I approach both as a cut. In two instances here, there were "first timers" doing excellent work. Several, have done very good work. My cuts are ( more ) decisive now, but when starting, inexperienced, it was not easy making decisive cuts, with strength and control. There are also the artistic choices. I enjoy mutilating scrolls, but that is a personal issue. For those who have the personality to play it safe, learning to use a file and later a blade, makes sense to me. A good file will clear material, or at least start removing material. Once there is more space, the blade can do its work.
  2. Mr Harrison, would you mind re- posting this in a forum above? I am not sure that many venture down here to the Happenings forum.
  3. Thanks for the info! Had not known they still operated. My knowledge of Vitali is that I went there as a child and to a home to pick up various supplies. Not just for bowed instruments. Should have picked up more books and paid better attention to what was going on. Met with Ms Craven later in Whittier. She would also pick up the phone quite a bit. It was a scrappy outfit that did pretty good mail order services. I used them until about the 2010s until purchasing my first apple 2. The hours were also limited at the store so relied heavily on their expertise as opposed to interactions at the shop. Cool to know they are still operating. Should stop by. Not sure about the neck angle based on the photos. I have not had to reset my instrument yet. I have a Weisshaar workshop instrument from that era ( maybe a bit later ) and no one has been willing to reveal the source, though have not questioned anyone directly. The particular instrument I own looks very similar, but for some details and stylistic differences in the scroll. But like mine, the work is clean. It's still around because it sounds very good. Perhaps mine might be a bit more artistic? less perfect in the corners and around the eyes. In travels up and down the westcoast shops and in meeting players of various genre, there were similar instruments. Again, can not tell you the source, but with similar clear, clean factory three part purfling, color, varnish. There are many more experts here familiar with instruments of the era, but my guess is, that the instruments were sourced from the same region. Yours is more student- ish than mine, but I have kept these because they play well and sound quite good. Mine is beat up a bit from some youth orchestra play, yet would be a great loaner for a student moving up from a 3/4 as a first fullsize. The sound is big and reasonably sensitive. There are no dots to connect based on what is written here. I am sure to have passed up many like it with lesser sound qualities. Based on the photos presented, the instrument is more of a student model, but the details are ok and condition is quite good. Paid a bit more than the price you stated almost 20 years ago for my instrument. As for actual Vitali instruments, the ones that are encountered have been abused. There are still a few in schools but they have held up to this point. These were with more traditional darker varnishes, fractional sizes.
  4. Sorry to hear. Very layered, complex and extremely knowledgeable. And yet, friendly. If she had 2 minutes to make a suggestion, she was direct with very understandable language and concepts. If she had an hour, she would broaden the concepts and how one might apply, very efficiently. She had so many modes of response when interacting with people. Not familiar with her earliest professional career, but by the time she was with San Francisco, she had waded through quite a bit of mediocrity. Having met her a few years before her tenure at Minnesota and not knowing her before, meeting her years later surprised me at how much she had to offer. Her knowledge was so deep and varied, that there were layers of musical exceptions. Execution, convincing and deliberate playing were essential, and yet if something else were musically developing in the phrase or ensemble play, she would explore. It seemed she was also the first to notice when there was a change. Not impatient, but also recognized when the situation or suggestions were not working. I have stolen from her a few techniques and concepts that were far more clear when communicating to students. Detailed use of vowels and consonants in phrasing being one. And grateful for any moments offered by her. I hope more share.
  5. As I was reading Mr Suave's post, I thought about the Corradi. Then Maestro Maberry's post popped up. I have only a few, but the Corradi are excellent. Need a new set but nurse what I have. They are not perfect, but are more intuitive than other tools or mods that I had created.
  6. So these are the bridges we gap. Cho- Liang, one of the most important artists to bring Stern to the new, between the older and newer and possibly the new. I show Mao to Mozart about every 10 years. Maybe it is time again. Articulate, charming. I make enemies, he promotes the art. He must have a great nose. Have not had a wine conversation with him. But the next time he is out here, will gift with him a red, not as full bodied as the French reds, but narrower, more in the breath. Between the fires and droughts the wines are limited and perhaps suffering.
  7. Me too. But the lack of availability makes it more difficult to assess. When it comes to form, I advocate many other types. But the flagship in my collection is a non- Strad form. Do I wish to own the Michael Tree Busan? Well yes, but can only afford something closer to home. For student instruments, especially under 14" or smaller, is it fair to say the Strad form is desired? It is not about rib height. I would argue that it is not. My experience is that the Strad form is obviously worthy. If I lean back and look up, there are two in a box, 15.5" and 16" which sound fine. As a working musician, who would less likely purchase a Strad viola, the role is very complex. I have very little desire to play viola if the position is for vln 1, unless for Lyric. Or for an summer festival, still not for vla. In a quartet, the role becomes far more difficult/ complex. For viola with piano, another different texture. Amati. Various forms. I love viola. More than most. But at festivals, is there a violistic presence? Generalizing the form is unkind. But the Ehnes example is also unfair. He is one of the most under- rated players of the generation. If I were to say that Oistrakh is amazing, then Repin follows and then in the next bunch, Ehnes, as violinists. Tabea, Kim? They are favoured for reasons. I have a friend with a Cison, who is remarkable, but lazy. Wish that he plays as much as he talks, as he could make converts. The role we play is far more complex as a musician. Many violists can not make up their minds - or cynically, there are those who will not be decisive. Yuri ruined it for me. So back to this particular viola. Spectacular? "Pretty good." Not to pull Shelbow's comments out of context. And I might agree. But the complexity is that there are those of us who collect and those of us who play. I look forward to Halloweeen. Let me stop here.
  8. Would it be possible to exploit this time to have and educate students not to tighten bows using the frog to gain mechanical advantage, leverage? I lent a player a wonderful "Voirin" copy and he rounded the facets in just 6 months. I asked him to be careful as the facets were slightly worn and obviously he was not. If the button does not tighten gently, smoothly, please have it looked at. Yes, the screw worked well. He was never educated, in that an expensive bow should be handled carefully, lovingly. He pinches the button and ratchets the frog/ bow around in a circle. This guy is supposed to be a professional. Also, let's try to get teachers to purchase better rosins and get them started with bow hair. Kids are starting to scratching old/ cheap rosins with the buttons to get them "started." I have seen so many scarred rosin cakes that it makes me sad. I have loaned better rosins to students ( because I tend to buy stuff in bulk and they sound better ) but if your children arrive home with mysterious cakes of Andrea rosin, please return them to me. More classroom theft than ever. PSA done.
  9. Much will depend on the customer. The grain orientation matters. I would think that the slippage is less likely to occur. The work is small. I like the spline, but it takes more time. And it is not so much about the cost, fee. It's likely the more "organic" fix, though that might not be the best use of the word. Replace the screw. I have used powder to fill. If the bow is brazilwood, the fix is cosmetic. Likely no pins, the work is simple. The fill will not be complete unless placed into vacuum bag ( and still not 100% ) but will likely not completely come apart as the bonding agent flows everywhere. Dremels and Foredoms will work quickly, or I can spend a better part of a day with a jeweler's saw. Depends on the value of the button.
  10. The traditional incandescent bulb was/ is a good tool. Inefficient. Can be time consuming. Available in various watts ( there for heat output. ) When I was a kid, there was a thing called an Easy Bake Oven. It was a "toy" that allowed kids to bake very shallow cakes in an aluminum? form. The heating element was a light bulb. When a friend's sister allowed us to watch the process, I was blown away. Anyway, the bulb offers way more control than an oven. When it comes to humidity, one might have to try many experiments. There is the side of the bulb, the top of the bulb, below the bulb. Maestro Blankface's soldering tool proces is what I use. It can localize heat. But with an expensive button, start next to bulb, but not above it. If it's an issue of breaking a simple glue bond, the process takes time but is not so drastic. Helps to use a fairly cheap IR tool. The better ones are more.
  11. It may not be about the bows but the experience. ( no purchase in life has made me truly happy* ) And I beg to differ, that not every good looking head repair returns the bow to a complete recovery. But close enough. But if I were to purchase one for a fraction of retail? Would it not make sense? That I could learn, were it to have a fine repair? * there are somethings that monies cannot purchase, directly. My father purchased a Hot Wheels kit - something more than a car - once and it had an immense impact on my person. It was not the joy from the toy. Without being coy, support worked better during the age of impressions.
  12. Thank you. I have not seen one like it. Was the cover outer material removed? and then finished? Did not think about the order.
  13. Not yet. It's on my list. During the past few years, it was difficult to get into bigger spaces, so did not really upgrade many strings. The current situation has evolved to where somethings are not as critical. There are more pressing issues. Yes, many people have gone Pi crazy. Attending an event before the pandemic, almost every male conservatory level student was playing Pi. ( how's that for specific? ) I sound pretty bad with them on most of my instruments, but may sound good on the old French? That might be a good pairing. They can be articulate, dynamic, clear, sensitive... all valuable qualities. Might be lingering a bit too long on every note as one might have to with the Pirazzi. Since the Pi are ( so ) responsive, I might be squashing the new pitch with the smear of the previous note. And could not develop a rich vibrant midrange. Just have to learn how to play 'em. I will get another set of Pi and try the Rondo. Maybe next month. Thank you.
  14. Little effort was put into concealing the repair. Might depend on how cranky the repair person was. But looks significantly older and the work has held up. The stick is worn. It can be made to look better. You might have taken off the protector over the stick at the frog to reveal the condition. But something should ( needs - me being pushy ) to be there.
  15. Sometimes we borrow instruments on short notice for an event. There may not be enough time to swap chinrests or strings. But for those times when the metal of the clamps is pinching nerve endings between the collarbone, the use of an "band aid" or bandage from a first aid kit or an alert anticipating mother can get you through the program. It still might hurt, but a lot less. Sometimes it is symbolic as are nerves are fried before performing anyway... The "ouchless" adhesive versions work well and do not appear to leave much on the surface. Some brands also offer clear ones. The best have been ones that were larger and gauze backed and elastic. Some are cloth. Anyway, I have learned to tolerate and sometimes prefer the feel of the instrument on digging into flesh. So when I deliver instruments to be played, there are an assortments of bandages enclosed. Moleskin was popular too. It can get gunky. A touch of a citrus cleaner will clear the stickiness. But at the discretion of the owner of the instrument.
  16. The type of break matters. The rehair person should know the disposition of the break and perhaps return to that person. As for the stick breaks, which yours is not, the situation becomes more dire or at least complex. I have seen plenty of grafts under the wrap when the frog end has worn out. Often this was not disclosed to the buyer. If the graft was recent, I would inform the owner of the bow. Frogs can be swapped out. New ones made. I own several bows with stick/ head damage and they are great. They were purchased for their sound and feel. I also purchased them knowing that at some point, another part of the bow might break and would have to be repaired. Sometimes the cavity is weaker or there are micro fractures that would give way. But I am careful and until anything additionally bad happens to the bow, I play them and admire them. The seller also wanted significantly more than the fraction that we hear about. I bet on the retail going up and that the amount of play justified the cost. I paid close to 75% of retail at the time for one bow. I am sure that most dealers would not charge this amount. I have seen and heard half of retail at shops for broken heads. But there was no tax and If I were able to sell the bow 10 -15% of future retail, it would have been worth it. So far, the price of retail has shot up, so the bow as I play it, was a good buy. But back to the original point, that the type of break matters and amount of trauma the stick endured. We all do. You might have to run the bow through all the different techniques. I have a bow that can not spiccato very well but it has the creamiest sound. For lullabies, it's the best. But not for Hora Staccato. Most are concerned with the limits of bounciness in different parts of the bow, and if one has to overly squeeze the bow to make it behave. Slight quivering can be over come. But be sure to look over the entire bow. The stick does most of the work. Many technicians do amazing head repairs and the techniques have improved over the decades. ( most of my repaired bows were repaired 20+ years ago and they are still ok. ) As I was with limited funds, it was ( is ) a great option. But being cautious and smart is a good rule. Was the repair completed by a reputable or established technician? Would not likely have completed the work unless they had respect for the stick or viability... Bows with bad repairs were purchased many years ago, but I know now how bad the repairs were. The frogs and buttons were salvaged later, so were not a complete loss.
  17. Taught a student working on the Mendelssohn with the DPro strings. So loud that I found myself annoying. Student did not practice much over the summer due to travel. She was a bit hesitant to play. Every time a demonstration was offered, not being as familiar with the strings, had to re- state the demonstration ( crescendos, accelerated runs, arpeggios ) to make my point. The intent might not be to out play the students. I felt as if I were shouting at her as we stood 2+m ( with masks ) apart. The surface of the string is treated with? During some pizziacato work, how often do we do this? the strings made surface sounds when the finger made contact. Louder ( noisier ) than any other bowed string tried recently. She is not playing the Tchaik 4th, but I have to play pizz as a duet. The plucked sound is better. Still, useful set of strings. Will try to better understand.
  18. Just microwaved the Entree to lunch. I have not used the appliance for 2+ years, except for as a clock. There are books stacked on top. Had to get back to work. Had wonderful Mexican leftovers but the cheese would have tasted better heated. So, moved the crap infront of the door, popped in food. Press. I pressed a new button. The machine had a work cycle ( duty cycle? ) that was x seconds on then 5 seconds off. I had never heard that change. I was busy attending to other things. Had never heard this... The weight of the books on the microwave suppressed certain frequencies that I had not before.
  19. After completing a rehair, or restringing an instrument or post adjustment, there were rituals that were developed. Pre- stressing strings brings strings to pitch faster. Depending on how gentle ( or rough ) one was, the stressing can reduce "string life." Playing instruments to confirm post adjustments help. Selecting hair and planned prepping helps my rehairs. There are those who have no prep, experts that have completed thousands of rehairs who rehair bows way better, than any results from my prep rituals. Let me put in a plug for Triangle here. As a teen, I recall feeling the voice of instructors vibrating through the bow. The first was rather soft- spoken and a thoughtful person. Actually all were soft spoken. Most of my instructors were very articulate. Not like me. But when he laughed or was very direct - the bow buzzed. He was the teacher who selected the bow. Unfortunately, the bow was broken, decades later, by a student. In my naive process of trying to better student abilities by presenting them with better equipment. At the auction table ( or VSA competitions, ) way way back, I could feel such vibrations. But I could also feel how a bow behaved without the frog, without tension, by tapping the stick. How many of us sit on a broken early Peccatte copy? Do not throw it out... At my dealer visits, I rarely take a frog off a bow. They show me, I see, and the questions are answered after the bow is played. With employee turn over, I would assume that I have out lasted hundreds in half as many shops. The better dealers, unless pressed, mostly show the best of what they have. So after many auctions and visiting dealers across the world and techs and completing rehairs, I make my own evaluations. Some cities are more visit friendly. Get a rental car in Southern California. Generalizations are not intended here. I am at a part of my career where bows that are expressive and dynamic are a priority. Some bows behave horribly at low and max volumes but sound great overall - for my abilities. I live with these. Not a very good bow for most players. My knowledge and development grew on adapting. I play many bowed instruments and a need to explore "early music" required that I be purposed to learn. There is more to write but let me end here: with a very resonant instrument, somewhat peaky to its own favorite resonances, a better behaved bow helped. On more restrained instruments, the more adventuresome bow was fantastic. More thoughts follow.
  20. Third, Needed a day to sort some thoughts. At auction tables, so many of us are unscrewing frogs looking for details. I learned an immense amount watching others. Many waved me away when I casually asked questions. The newer generation has their approach when assessing bows, with photos and other data points. Of course, the old adage was, "time is money." It has always been that data is knowledge. Looking good also helps. Before we can go to the dry erase board of physics principles, bowmakers trained with other bowmakers. They must have a set of principles that relate to bowmaking. Sourcing materials must have been important. The internet was much slower then. Currencies were far from established forms like Bitcoin. Barter might have been involved? What would it take top get materials from the coast?
  21. Second, Better behaved bows rescue many of us who are a bit chaotic in our playing. Sometimes, fatigue sets in, or inaccuracies, but a silky smooth bow can be great for normal playing. For those who run closer to the edge of the cliff, the breeze and wind are overwhelmingly intoxicating. Some super awesome rehairs, all hairs working at once like sled dogs, ones that sound and feel uniformly creamy from tip to frog ( obviously on great stick ) appear ( to me ) to bring out or enhance uniquely powerful and sonic colours. A very underrated player who sounds this way gets monthly rehairs as the sound falls off. For students, I think a messier rehair is the better way to go. I think the effect of uniform tensions tends to notch and filter a certain frequency range. A peakier form of overall absorption in the higher frequency spectrum. The messier hair, a flatter, more vague curve. That is just the hair. When we start to talk bow tightening and tensions, there are sweet spots as to how tight. or loose. Camber, wood tapers, density changes, all fluctuate to a degree. It is difficult to CNC and bake uniform bows given a choice of woods. It is also difficult to convince players to change bow hair tensions and hand positions unless they arrive at them by intuition or practice. There is a young lady I teach who figured out at pulling the down bow and "pulling" the up bow by keeping flexible fingers in both directions produces a richer sound. Over the summer she slowly reduced the contact of the fingers to the index and ring finger because it sounded better on long bows. After working towards restoring a more normal touch on all fingers, it is likely she needs a better bow. The problem is that long bow is only one aspect or quality of many pieces. After improving other strokes, like Martele, perhaps we'll go shopping. Martele, is a stroke where the action is of a quick unspringing of the bow after loading ( gripping the string ) a bit. It can be easier with slightly looser hair as it grips and rotates/ grips most the strings better, but not necessarily for all bows. Once the bow is unsprung, it needs to be able to grip the next note and repeat. If it is still freely vibrating ( chaotically ) there is a slight delay in achiving the grip for the next note, reducing clarity and the immediacy of the note.
  22. First, In context of the post, I believe Mr Victor comments were about good bow behaviour. Chatter is never good. Mild vibrations are necessary for many of us. It's another sensory data point. The common thing that players might experience is the abrupt change of the smoothness of the bow stroke when trilling during a soft passage, often of longer bows ( upper half ) in lower positions. If the chatter occurs in the lower half, there might be arm weight and finger pressure issues. In the upper half, with a gentle hold, the bow is reacting to the energy of the quick changing of pitches. The tapping of the above note causes excitation up the string into the bow, on the other end of the string. A gentle shimmery effect is turned in stutters between the fast switching of two notes. Kids react to this by playing with a ( dull ) steak knife pointer finger and squeezing down into the string. At louder volumes, if the string amplitude is great a bit chaotic, perhaps with older strings, depending on the contact point or ever changing contact points ( ahem ) the badly behaving bow may not stay on the string very well.
  23. The range of the possible time of construction is great. Also there were many people who worked for the company. What is unknown to me: were there grades of instruments that were produced in the later era? The work is attractive, but from the best examples I have come across, the edges are a bit more abrupt and the arching, from what I can see ( there is not a shot from the side ) from the reflections is not as subtle. Many of the instrument I have come across had worn corners so the points of the purfling did not appear as deeply inset. The more symmetrical f- holes look correct. The scroll might have a softer look were it a higher grade? More of a surface/ facet for the ink? Not sure. The color indoors is attractive as well as the depth of the color outdoors. Love the case. Is that a shop bridge? This is a very nice instrument and the condition is remarkable. Likely the best condition I have seen for 20th century Collin Mazin. For my own knowledge, it would be interesting to see if there are other indicators. When you meet the expert, would it be possible to record the observations?
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