KB_Smith

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About KB_Smith

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    kevinb.smith1@verizon.net

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    Chantilly, VA - a Washington, D.C. suburb

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  1. I can tell you that for my own situation, the price of strings was definitely a factor in my waiting 7 months to try another set. I had just recently purchased my "naked" violin (no strings, bridge or tailpiece) a month or two before I started this topic. I never even considered buying cheap strings. I put on a set of Dominant strings, per recommendation of my instructor. After all the feedback I received to this post in Dec, I knew I would want to try Obligatos next, but I was not about to spend another $90 until I felt I had gotten my money's worth out of the Dominants. I, for one, don't care to change strings that often at $70 to $100 per set in a trial and error attempt to find the best strings for my instrument. That process will just have to take time. Eventually I will find the strings that work best - and who knows, by the time I do that, perhaps my playing will have improved to a point that Dominant's or something else I already tried, and maybe did not like so much, will end up sounding great! After all, the "bow actuator" certainly has much to do with the sound that is ultimately produced, and my bow actuator still needs a lot of adjusting.
  2. Thanks Rue and Violadamore. I appreciated your comments on my other posts when I first bought my violin. You both gave me very sound advice and maybe a lesson or two about how easy it is to be duped on eBay! I'm learning though, and it is certainly encouraging to have support from people like you. By the way, I also put a similar post about my bow in the Fingerboard forum, as the bow topic relates as much to playing the instrument as it does to the construction elements of the instrument. Maybe I'll connect with a few more mentors on that side of the issue. But truly, thanks again to both of you, and Martin, and a few others who have helped me learn and grow. KB
  3. I learned an interesting and important lesson this week - just how important your bow is to the quality of your play and practice. I am a novice student, having just finished my first year learning to play a violin. I bought an "Old French Violin" last year on eBay. And, as you might expect, it is a German trade violin from one of the many workshops in the Markneukirchen/Shoenbach region with a fake French label in it. It is genuinely old, but just not a very high-quality violin. But it plays nicely and sounds beautiful in my instructor's hands (a professional violinist in the Washington D.C. area). So now about one-year into my playing, my bowing has improved significantly, but I still struggle with getting nice clean & clear tones from the instrument. My instructor suggested I go into any of the violin shops in the area and try some better bows. My bow is another $100 eBay purchase - supposedly an "Old German Bow" that is more likely a Chinese product according to my local violin shop. Shocking, isn't it (said in sarcasm)?! So, two days ago I went into my local violin shop to try bows. I noticed an instant improvement in the quality of the sound from my instrument. From the very first bow the dealer handed me to try, the feel of the strings under the bow was better - not grinding. Much smoother feel as the bow more easily flowed over each string, and with much less vibration (that grinding, growling kind of vibration) from my G and D strings. I tried 8-10 different bows, eliminating some quickly, then playing again the best 2-3 bows in a "playoff." I was absolutely amazed at how much better the violin sounded under these bows. And interestingly, I tried bows ranging in price from around $1,000-$5,000. The $1400 bow I finally selected actually sounded and felt better to me than the $5,000 bow I had tried, and I had no idea of the price of any of the bows I was trying until I made my final selection. So, I think the price of the bow is not as significant in determining the best bow for you as is actually playing your instrument with various bows and selecting the one that works best for you and your instrument. The sound from my violin is so much cleaner, and there is much more clarity in the tone. I know I'll enjoy practicing much more when the instruments sounds better. Lesson learned - the bow is the "other half" of your instrument, and probably just as important to your ability to play it well.
  4. So, here's an update on this thread. I started this 7 months ago by asking if string selection can appreciably change a violin's tone. I think my violin sounds too bright and I wanted to warm the tone. The answers were generally yes, strings can change the tone, but but not as much as setup can. I was told that in priority order, tone is determined by: 1) the instrument, 2) the set-up (bridge, sound post), and 3) the strings. I had several suggestions for warmer sounding strings, which I very much appreciated. So, now 7 months later, I finally changed my strings. I went with Obligato's, which several people suggested for the tone quality I want. I just put the new strings on two days ago and they are getting settled in. They do indeed sound better - cleaner, clearer, and just a bit warmer. But I think what made even a bigger difference in the sound of my violin is that I also bought a new bow when I was in the violin shop having the strings changed. My instructor suggested I try a better bow. I tried 8-10 different bows, eliminating some quickly, then trying again the best 2-3 bows. I was absolutely amazed at how much better the violin sounded under these bows. And interestingly, I tried bows ranging in price from around $1,000-$5,000. The $1400 bow I finally selected actually sounded and felt better to me than the $5,000 bow, and I had no idea of the price of any of the bows I was trying until I made my final selection. So, I think the price of the bow is not as significant in determining the best bow for you as is actually playing your instrument with various bows and selecting the one that works best for you and your instrument. The sound from my violin is so much cleaner and much more clarity. I don't know if the bow helps the tone, but it sure makes the instrument sound better.
  5. Preston, I called Brobst Violin shop today out of interest, because I am also interested in buying a Roth violin, although not in this price range. The guy at Brobst had the violin in hand and told me it does not have a Roth label in it, but "looks like a Roth violin." He said there is a label, but it is not Roth's label. Also, it does not list the maker and year of the violin it copies, and it does not bear the E.H. Roth Brand and serial number inside. He said he would not attribut it to E.H. Roth, but thinks it was made by someone who worked in the Roth Workshop. And when you look for this violin on Brobst.com, you have to select E.H Roth Workshop, not E.H. Roth to even find it.
  6. I emailed E.H. Roth Violins yesterday about gradation of their violins and received a very nice response directly from Mr. Wilhelm Roth. He sent me the following gradation of Roth violins (from lowest to highest quality): - 120-R: copy of Stradivari 1700 - IR: copy of Stradivari 1714 - IIR: copy of Guarneri 1734 - IIIR: copy of Amati - IVR: copy of Stradivari 1718 - VR: copy of Ruggieri - VIR: copy of Guarneri 1732 - VIIR: copy of Stradivari 1722 - VIIIR: copy of Stradivari 1724 - IXR: copy of Guarneri 1736 - XR: copy of Stradivari 1725 - XR: copy of Stradivari 1725 "with other labels it is only to be found out via the serial number with our archive documents." - Wilhelm Roth According to Wikipedia, the higher the roman numeral model of the violin, the higher the quality of the instrument. So, Brobst does not happen to provide any information online about the model or maker/year that this particular violin is a copy of. If you call Brobst and ask them what maker and year or model number is on the label inside this violin, you should be able to determine the grade of this instrument from the list above. If there is no label or the maker and year or model number don't match anything in the list above, then if you can get the serial number of the violin, you should be able to email Roth at e.h.roth-violins@t-online.de and ask them to look it up in their archive documents.
  7. According to the E.H. Roth biography posted on Tarisio.com - Cosio Archive, Roth started his firm in 1902. So, I think it is certainly possible this violin was made in 1910. You can read more about him and his company here: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=628 You can also find a price history of what his violins have sold for at auction here: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/price-history/?Maker_ID=628 Also see this link and scroll down to the section titled Gradations. I'm sure the grade of the Roth violin will affect the price. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Heinrich_Roth Another interesting note in the Tarisio bio is about Roth's interest in countering the unscrupulous counterfeit labeling practices rampant in 19th century Germany. Every authentic Roth instrument bears a serial number and the brand "Ernst Heinrich Roth" to the inside back, and a certificate of authenticity indicating the serial number and model accompanied each example. You should ask Brobst if they have the certificate of authenticity for this violin. Here is an example of one of his instruments with the certificate. https://fineviolins.com/shop/ols/products/eh-roth-1961 If you search the internet for Roth violins, many will come up and most sell for under $3000. I live in Northern VA and have been to Brobst Violin shop. I think their violins tend to be priced on the high side compared to similar instruments you can find online. I think it is because they are in Alexandria, VA, a very wealthy suburb of Washington, DC, but perhaps they only sell higher quality instruments after careful selection for their inventory, and maybe this violin is one of the higher gradations mentioned in the Wiki article at link above. They do have a wonderful selection of violins and an expert luthier. But I did not find the sales guy I spoke with to be particularly friendly. I was not in there to buy a violin, so he did not want to spend much time helping me or answering my questions, even though there were no other customers in the shop at the time. If you live in the area, you do have the advantage of seeing and playing the actual violin - getting to feel the strings under your fingers, feel the vibration of the strings and how they react to your bow, and hear the tone of the violin, and compare it to other violins in the same price range. I think that is a huge advantage over buying a violin online and hoping you like it when it arrives.
  8. I took Tamiya's advice and bought a violin & bow stand on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Stagg-SV-VN-Foldable-Stand-Violin/dp/B003ZUCGWW?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_1) for just $28. There are many different styles available, but this one works well for me. I leave my violin and bow on the stand and pick it up and play whenever I feel like it. It's always there, ready for me. The one pictured below is not exactly the same stand as the one I bought on Amazon, but shows the same general design. Might need to put it in an out-of-the way place if you have dogs or other pets that might knock it over.
  9. Very interesting and helpful comments and advice. I'm not in the market to buy another instrument, so I'll go to order of proceedings 2 - set-up. A couple of you have mentioned the soundpost. It could very well be that the set-up won't make a big difference on this instrument, an early 20th century Schoenbach trade violin, but worth discussing with the luthier. I just bought this set of strings a month ago, so I won't try another set for while, but will likely take the collective advice here and try Obligato's when I'm ready to change them again.
  10. My instructor told me not to bother with a viola smaller than 15 1/2 inch. It just won't have the powerful sound. Besides, I love bluegrass and Celtic fiddling - and that's violin. It might be a while before I can do that. Maybe a year from now I might be able to do some simple fiddling, but good to have an objective to work towards. And one day I'll get back to my 16 inch viola. I might just have to learn to shift to second position to cover for my short fingers! But now we're moving this discussion to something more for the Fingerboard forum - sorry about that.
  11. Okay, I'll talk with my luthier about the soundpost. He told me to let him know if I needed any adjustments. I also have problems bowing the D string cleanly. Seams like I almost always catch the G or the A string with it. I'm wondering if he puts a little more curve on the bridge for me if that will help. But my instructor does not have that problem on my violin at all. He says it is a good setup and I just need to learn the correct bow angle to play that D string cleanly. I don't have that problem on any of the other strings.
  12. I went with Dominant G, D, and A and Pirastro Gold E because that is what my instructor recommended I start with. He said we can try something else next time if I wan to "fiddle" around with different strings (my words, not his). I actually started learning on a 16 inch viola and I loved the deep, rich tone, but my hand and fingers are too short to comfortably reach the 4th finger on C and G. I had quite a bit of strain and pain in wrist tendons, and invariably my other three fingers would creep forward on the fingerboard whenever I had to reach for that 4th finger. So my instructor suggested I try violin. So I rented a violin for a month to try it and it was instantly easier for me to reach all the finger positions. So I went all in and bought a violin. I kept my viola and hope that after I get reasonably good at violin, I'll give the viola another shot. I love the deeper, richer tone of the viola. I know the violin is not going to sound like a viola, but I'd still like to get that full rich sound from it. I'm quite sure my bowing is the real culprit right now.
  13. My current setup is Dominant G, D, and A strings with Pirastro Wondertone Gold E. It was set up at my local violin shop with a new sound post and an Aubert Luxe bridge. I think it sounds bright, although I must admit it sounds beautiful when my instructor (a professional violinist) plays it for me. I can't seem to get a full, rich tone out of it, but I just started learning a few months ago and my bowing is not very good yet, so I imagine it is more the violinist than the violin. But would you say Dominant with the Pirastro Gold E is a bright set of strings? I'm just looking for advice for the next set of strings, maybe a year from now. Thanks.
  14. I'm not sure if this question is better placed in the Fingerboard or the Pegbox forum, but it seems to be more of a hardware question to me, so I'll place it on the Pegbox. I see violins described as having a "bright" tone, or having a "rich" or "warm" tone. I don't think I've seen them described as having a "dark" tone, which in my mind would be the opposite of a "bright" tone. Anyway, I'm wondering how much a violin's tone depends on the string selection, as opposed to the instrument's actual design, the qualities of the woods used its construction, and setup (tailpiece, bridge, etc.). without making changes to the setup, can one significantly change the tone of the instrument simply by putting on a different set of strings? If the violin sounds too "bright," can you "darken" the tone just by changing the strings?
  15. By the way, JW also makes a Carbon Fiber version of this case - more expensive ($283 on Amazon and 159 EUR at www.thomann.de). I asked JW about that case. They told me it is just a Carbon Fiber foil, rather than the fabric finish of the non-carbon version, as the outer finish of the case. JW told me it is just for looks. It does not offer any additional protection to the violin.