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Okayadokari

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  1. Hi everyone! One of my hobbies is learning the Korean language, both for my own interest (my wife is Korean) and work. One of the assignments I have been given is to conduct a poll on a topic of my choice and then describe the results in Korean. Hence, I have decided to select "What instrument(s) do you play?" as the topic. I know "play" is subjective depending on the level of skill, but let's just say the level of skill required is that you satisfy both of the following criteria: Proficient to perform or teach other students, or are currently taking lessons Have the instrument in your current possession I am particularly interested to find out how many people play more than one of the instruments. I have listed some combinations; if your combination is not listed in the poll, please let me know. As for myself, I am currently taking lessons for viola and cello, but I can play the violin too. I will write up the results thus far on Friday 22 July 2022; however, I will leave the poll open indefinitely.
  2. I use Bonmusica for both my violin and 17" viola as I have slanted shoulders and a very long neck. No other shoulder rest can be further expanded and bent to fit my body shape. The Bonmusica will not fit in my violin case, but it does fit in my viola case. However, despite ordering the 17" sized Bonmusica shoulder rest for my viola, my viola (which has wider bouts and thicker ribs than most 17" violas) was still too wide for the shoulder rest to clamp on. I ended up having to replace one of the screws with a longer one, which then allowed me to "widen" the shoulder rest legs further. Prior to coming across this thread, it never came across me to angle the shoulder rest at a 10:00 to 04:00 position. I had previously had it at 08:00 to 02:00 and then later 09:00 to 03:00. I now have it at 10:00 to 04:00 which lets me play more comfortably.
  3. Hi @Andrew Victor, since you are one of very few people I have found online who has experience using Permanents for viola, how would you describe their tone compared to certain steel core or synthetic core strings (e.g. more overtones or darker than say Spirocores) that you have tried? Permanents are available in few online stores and the amount of information about them is even further limited. Permanents don’t even appear in most viola string comparison charts. The D is titanium plated which makes them quite unique. I too am interested in trying out the Permanent C, G and D, but I worry they will have a similar tone to my current Spirocores which to be honest I think there is something better out there for my particular viola (hence probably won’t use them again). My viola is very loud and clear thanks to its size, but I feel the addition of overtones and texture from synthetic core strings may help to colour the sound more.
  4. Hi deans, Thank you for your input. My luthier meant using strings that offer more projection or power such as Spirocores, versus using weaker strings in comparison such as Obligatos. He definitely suggested not to try with other gauges unless there was a particular string that was not balanced.
  5. Hi GoPractice! You are correct, I have very long arms. I also have long fingers too which have been a huge blessing playing my large viola and cello. I also have a long neck and play with a 4 cm tall chin rest and a Bonmusica shoulder rest, as there wasn’t anything else I could find that was large enough to fit comfortably. I will try your bow exercise out. I am just a beginner and am still working on my bow control to produce a better variety of dynamics. Thus far I have really enjoyed this and my efforts have been fruitful. The Wittner tailpiece on my viola appears to be a standard length only and as my viola has about an extra inch of body on the tailpiece end, the tailpiece looks proportionally short. If you mentally remove that extra inch of body, my viola is basically proportional to most 16” violas. I have not tried playing with the tailpiece though. I asked my luthier about it and he said it was fine, but could consider changing it later down the track if I wasn’t satisfied with the sound. My viola had not been played by the previous owner for five years and the bridge was unusually low at the time. I think adding a bright, new set of Evah Pirazzis by the shop just made my viola squeal. I decided to give it a go after I took the viola to play in a different room in the store and saw that it was not as shrill as I first thought. I just tried placing an order for a viola Aricore C, G and D from the Soundpost, but they e-mailed back saying that they are out of the C. I know it’s an odd choice, but I know that they are discontinued and it would be nice to try out a string before it is gone forever. Do you think steel strings are not worth trying if I am after a warm tone like the Obligatos?
  6. Hi GoPractice, thank you for your reply! My viola has a Wittner tailpiece with four fine tuners. I can now tune my instrument by myself, but I am lazy and the fine tuners require less effort than twisting the pegs. I guess I am looking for a string that is similar to the Obligatos, but is stronger. If there aren’t any, then I guess I will ultimately return to Obligatos. However, I do want to try playing other types of strings just for fun too. I am seeking a warm, powerful tone, almost like that of a cello. Should I still bother with steel strings for the C, D and G like the Pirastro Permanents, or just stick to synthetic core strings if I want a sound like the Obligatos? My viola is large, but it has an average vibrating string length of just 375 mm. I used long Helicores on it in the past and not the extra long. I play mostly classical, but the graded books are starting to introduce other genres too (such as Baroque, jazz etc.). I am not a picky player and find enough joy playing even scales and studies too. I hope to be able to play any type of music in the future. On an unrelated note, I recently replaced the Larsen Magnacore strings on my cello with a set of Versum.
  7. Hello everyone, It has been a long time since I last posted. I am still playing my 17" viola and last year started playing cello too. I have been reading through old threads on this forum, but now that there are some new string options for viola, I wanted to hear what people think. I am at AMEB Grade 4 level for viola and am interested in learning more about string options. I play for leisure and I currently do not have plans to perform in the future, but it is a goal I am working towards. I had my viola serviced recently by one of the best luthiers in the area (both my viola and cello teachers go to him) who increased the bridge height and fingerboard and replaced the sound post. My viola projects very well and now has a deeper sound, but is still on the bright side and not very mellow. I am seeking strings to help darken its tone and sound more mellow. I know I won't be able to get it to sound like my cello though. My viola has a vibrating string length of 375 mm, which is not much longer than most violas. On this viola, I have tried the following combinations (all medium gauge): Full set of Evah Pirazzi Full set of Helicores Full set of Obligatos Spirocore tungsten C, silver G, chrome D with Jargar A Spirocore tungsten C, silver G, chrome D with Karneol metal A Evah Pirazzi was absolutely awful. I can't say that I actually "tried" them properly as they came with my viola when I first bought it from the old owner, but I quickly had them replaced. They were so bright to the point that I almost ditched the instrument altogether and I was going to consider a different viola. The Helicores were okay, but I don't think I will use them again since the Obligatos are warmer and the Spirocores are stronger. I like the Obligatos the most; however, I do like the Jargar A more than the Obligato A, as the former is more louder and clearer. I also prefer the Jargar A over the Karneol metal A when matched with the Spirocores since the Karneol metal A seems to ring too much in comparison. I like the power of the Spirocores; however, they sound a bit cold and one-dimensional. When comparing the Spirocores with the Obligatos, the Obligatos are much more warmer and ring more, but they pack less of a "punch" than the Spirocores. Currently, I also have a Larsen A in my reserve, which I have yet to try. I still have all of the above strings in my possession except for the Evah Pirazzi and Helicores. My luthier said to take advantage of a viola as large as mine, powerful strings such as the Spirocores would help bring out its potential. I told him that I preferred a warmer sound, so he said Obligatos were okay, but they tended to be a bit weak and preferred the Evah Pirazzi Golds. What are your thoughts on this string chart from Shar? If this chart is "true" for my viola (I am aware that strings will sound differently depending on the viola), "Warm" and "Direct" is what I like. After reading through other people's posts over the years on this forum, I am considering trying out the following strings (in no particular combination): Full set of Evah Pirazzi Gold Vision C, G and D Vision Solo C, G and D Full set of Permanents Larsen Virtuoso Solo D (to use with the Larsen A I have already) Aricore C, G and D Superflexible Stark Obligatos I have tried Evah Pirazzi Gold on my old student viola and I did like them, but am not sure how they will sound with my current viola. From Shar's chart, Vision appears to be worth trying as it is near the Obligatos, but in other string comparison charts, they suggest that Vision Solo is warmer and more penetrating than Vision. What are you experiences with this? I got the idea of using Permanents from @Andrew Victor (I love reading your posts sharing your wisdom). I wonder if these will have almost the same power as the Spirocores, but sound warmer due to the lower tension? My viola teacher suggested trying out the Larsen Virtuoso Solo D; hence it is on my list to buy and it is a popular choice. I know in this day, Aricores might be an odd choice given that Pirastro has discontinued them, but I see they are still available for sale in some websites and they are apparently a "dark" and "warm" sounding string. I got the idea of trying out Superflexibles from the Thomastik website, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of mentioning of them by violists online. The Permanents and Aricores don't appear in any viola string comparison chart; hence I'm not sure how they would fair against the rest. I will mention the stark Obligatos since I was previously considering giving them a try, but I might be dwelling into dangerous waters as trying light or heavy gauge is a bit of a hit-or-miss according to my luthier. Please let me know what your thoughts are.
  8. I don't have anything in particular to update on other than Pirastro, Larsen and Thomastik did not respond to my e-mail asking if they do custom cello strings with a vibrating string length of 373 mm. I came across a company called Aquila which makes a lot of custom Baroque gut strings; I have just e-mailed them to find out if they can assist with my odd request, but steel or synthetic core would be preferable as I am not an advanced player. Did anyone else here have issues with the Super Sensitive Sensicore octave viola strings snapping? 26 March 2021 Larsen, Pirastro and Thomastik have replied saying they don't do custom strings. I am still waiting to hear back from Aquila. I know even if I use a ZMT tailpiece, the playing length (373 mm) on my viola remains the same, but what implication would it have if I put Larsen's Aurora 1/16 cello strings on it, which are designed to have a vibrating string length of 420 mm? 31 March 2021 Aquila replied that they won't do non-gut custom strings. I guess I've run into a dead end with custom strings. I was mucking around at two luthier shops recently and discovered that I can actually play a 1/10 cello in viola position; it also had a vibrating string length of 420 mm. Alternatively, how many people here played violin or viola and then later decided to buy and learn cello too?
  9. Hi everyone, Topics about octave violas have appeared on this forum in the past, such as Viola to Chin Cello and "Octave Violin" & "Octave Viola"; however what is now available on the market appears to have changed. I have a Yamaha SVV-200K with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, which the Electric Violin Shop modified for me to be able to play on the Super Sensitive Sensicore Octave Viola strings and tuned exactly like a cello. Initially these strings were fine; however within months, they would repetively snap by themselves inside the case (either at the ball end or the peg end) unless I loosened them a few tones down during storage. I did subsequently have the octave viola examined by two different local luthiers here; the second who further smoothed out the grooves in case the strings were being pinched and resulting in breakage. Although Super Sensitive kindly sent me free replacements, they did snap and I currently have one full spare set and a spare C and D string. I had a look for alternatives online. D'Addario only makes octave violin strings. From memory I found these 1/10 cello strings online, but quite frankly they are rubbish to play on and the vibrating string length is too long for my octave viola. These 1/16 cello strings were even longer than the 1/10 cello strings; hence I didn't even try them on. Any tiny adjustments either via the pegs or fine tuners results in an unusually large change in the pitch of the string. Without any viable options left, my octave viola was left sitting in the case unplayed for several years. Recently having started practising regularly on my acoustic viola, I curiously decided to check out the current market situation for octave viola options. The Sensicore options have seemingly completely disappeared from Super Sensitive's product catalogue, which makes me wonder if they have been discontinued. Larsen recently released their Aurora line of cello strings, the smallest size which is 1/16 with a vibrating string length of 420 mm (this information was accidentally omitted from their information PDF; hence I had to ask them via e-mail what the vibrating string length was). Currently I have e-mailed Pirastro and Larsen to see if they can make custom extra small cello strings with a vibrating string length of 373 mm, but I have yet to hear from them. I figured it would be cheaper to get custom strings rather than a custom-made large electric viola with a vibrating string length of 420 mm. I can probably play a massive viola since I have long arms and fingers though, but I have not seen any viola in Australia thus far that is bigger than my acoustic viola. Or as my friend says, just buy a good, old fashioned cello and learn how to play it, hahaha! Does anyone else here have any tips or ideas? 16 March 2021 Jargar has replied saying they were unable to help. D'Addario replied saying that they have actually acquired Super Sensitive and there are currently discussions on which strings they will continue manufacturing. I have yet to hear back from Larsen, Pirastro or Thomastik.
  10. Despite its large body size, my viola actually has a short vibrating string length (from the bridge to the nut) of just 365 mm (14.4"). I currently have the standard long (not extra long) scale Helicores on it, but upon inspection this morning, I think the worn A string looks like it'll need to be changed soon (shows I've been practising enough hahaha)!
  11. Hi all, This was David's reply and has kindly given permission for it to be shared. "Okay here’s what I have. Peter Gallagher was active as a luthier between 1930-55. He output includes violins on various forms, cellos and violas on two sizes. Red and yellow oil vanished instruments. According to the 1930 Edinburgh Postal Directories his address was at 19 Haddington Place, Edinburgh. As I recall his profession was not given, so likely he was making on a part time basis. You have a handsome example from what I see made to a professional standard, although for most a little on the large side! Hope this is useful information. All best David"
  12. The feedback I got from my viola teacher was that the viola does sound great and excels in projection; a feature that most violas apparently struggle with. I guess as martin swan suggested, it wasn’t the work of an amateur. On my previous viola I only used Dominant and Tonica strings. For this viola, I decided to try Helicore strings on it since I recalled them sounding amazing on a viola in a luthier shop many years ago. My current viola you see in the photos sounds a bit bright despite its size, but I will try other strings on it such as Obligato to darken the sound.
  13. Hi everyone, In late 2019, I decided to upgrade to a better viola. Fortunately as I have long arms and fingers, I wanted to try playing a larger instrument and that was when I stumbled upon someone selling his 17" viola. He was a retired man of very tall built and former professional player in an orchestra. The label states "Peter T Gallacher” from Edinburgh back in 1942. I tried looking this up, but could not find much information about the origins of this viola other than it originated in the UK and the previous owner brought it to here in Australia decades ago. Would anyone here have more information about this viola?
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