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Found 7 results

  1. I remember reading a long while ago (source forgotten) about some very fine violins whose best tone and projection could only be brought out by the highest caliber players. In another context I overheard a conservatory student refer to a violin she tried as "strong," which I at first interpreted as a positive description of its sound - very good to my ear. It was later clarified that she meant "it took a lot of work" to make it sound that way. Is this use of "strong" common in describing a violin like this? Thanks, - Tom
  2. 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?
  3. Hi All, As a follow up to my recent acquisition, I was wondering if anyone could recommend recordings of real stainer instruments in both baroque and modern set up, solo and ensemble? I recently came across the clip of Jorg-michael Schwarz briefly discussing the different qualities of his stainer along with some lovely playing. I have noticed that my particular stainer-esque german violin has a bell like tonal quality to the A and E string. It is a very different to my ‘strad G forme’ copy. So wondering if this is a common quality found in the better Stainer copies. My friend’s Marchetti has a very similar quality on the A string so I was a bit confused how two very different patterned instruments could have similar tonal characteristics. Thanks,
  4. So..., The other day a very fine player was in the shop and we were assessing a violin I had recently completed a overhaul on for him. I had strung it with Dominants, a string that even a decade ago I wasn't a huge fan of. However, I had about 5 lightly used sets in my miscellaneous string box (because I never end up using them) but thought every once in awhile a violin sounds pretty good with them and I wanted to just put something on there to get a sense of the direction to go in. He played the violin for a few minutes then asked me to change the Dominants and I suggested Rondos (a bulk purchase only set also by Tomastik). The difference was stunning, where before it had a dull and grating sound, the violin now had a vibrant, colorful, and singing quality. This has played itself out over and over again over the years with many players and instruments. My questions are as follows; 1) why are distributors and many makers, shops, and teachers still relying so heavily on Dominants? and 2) is the Dominant domination coming to end? On that last question, I'm sure it is already happening as synthetic string technology has clearly come a long way since Dominants first came onto the scene and there are so many choices. I'm merely curious how others feel in general about this undoubtedly iconic string set. Love them? Hate them? Good for certain instruments? Do you use them much less now that there is such a panoply of choices? Any other comments about their continued success? Okay, unleash the hornets! Go! P.S. If anyone needs a bunch of hardly used Dominants cheap, I know a guy .
  5. Wondering what people listen for to guide tonal adjustments in setup? I know for myself, to a large degree I'm listening to brightness versus darkness in the tone. And I mostly associate that with a generally more tensioned and strong setup giving harder brighter results, and lower tension tending more toward dark. I know I'm trying to maximize power and response in the tone, while balancing other factors. I want to strike a balance making brightness or darker warmth available in the tone, and a balance between openness of tone and a more reedy firmness of tone. Presuming good fit of bridge feet and post, I think of tension as the first thing to adjust in the setup. Following Gerald Botteley's advice from the Courtnall & Johnson book, I move the bridge forward to test lower tension and back to test higher tension, and see which direction gives improvement in the tone and response. I try to work first from a completely standard, but somewhat beefy bridge, and a somewhat beefy and longish post a little bit closer to center line and further back behind the bridge than standard. From this start, I try to get the tension of the instrument setup as close a possible to right, but slightly over tight, as I work the post closer toward a 'standard' position. I prefer to work with bridge and post just barely thickish. Once the tension seems close to good, but definitely not too loose, then I try to refine the post position by listening to how it affects the balance of the response in terms of bass versus treble, and quick brightness versus slower warmth of tone. This things I mostly test by playing in low and high positions on all strings, and by listening to how the response changes near and far from the bridge, and with different pressures and bow speeds. I try to work with the bass to treble balance first. Mostly I adjust this by moving the post closer or further toward the center line. Since the fit and tension/height are affected by this kind of move, I might need to make a new post to get both the tension and the bass/treble balance working well. The nearness or distance behind the bridge foot also alters the effective tension, but less so the fit. So I'm happy if my fiddling around with the post ends with this last dimension. I feel like this distance most strongly effects the balance between hardness/directness versus openness/indirectness of response. It seems very similar to moving a microphone nearer or farther from the voice. After this, even though the general bass to treble balance should be good, the balance between individual strings might want some further adjusting. I try to do this last balancing of strings by trimming away a little in the bridge cutout just below the string that wants to be a little more present and open in tone. Once the strings seem as well balanced as possible, I consider if the tone wants more openness. If so, I consider trimming the other cutouts of the bridge further. But I don't want to lose strength in the bridge, so I'm least inclined to thin the bridge or post. Both these steps can lighten and open the response, but are too easily overdone. It seems that response can get mushy and slowed, and tone thin if either post or bridge aren't solid enough. But, response can be dampened and tone veiled if these have too much mass. I prefer to end up with a very standard post and bridge in very standard positions, but results matter more. *********** I don't think there's much out of the ordinary in what I described above. But I'm interested in hearing more techniques people use, and the things they listen for. In the part where I'm listening with different pressures and speeds and such, I do one kind of test that I haven't particularly heard discussed elsewhere. Maybe others do this to? I pay attention to how easily you can play a sul ponticello effect, and how far from the bridge you can be and still get that sound. As well as how close to the bridge you can draw a clear brilliant tone, and where on the string you can start to get a sul tasto kind of sound. I like it when all these colors are readily available. I like to see the sul ponticello available out mid way to the fingerboard. And a good sul tasto color available starting right around the fingerboard. Post to bridge nearness for example affects this greatly. Also, I want to see similar colors available for similar contact points across all the strings, as much as possible. More and more, I find myself using these tests as my main guide as I work through the setup. ************* I'm hoping people will share both their process, and the special things they listen for to help judge tonal setup.
  6. jowl

    Nasal tone

    Are there any tricks to avoid a nasal tone when constructing the plates?
  7. I'd love to see a thread develop a vocabulary for common aspects of violin tone. Further, it would be great to start associating such terms with their acoustic description/profile, and to whatever extant possible to associate the terms with physical attributes of the instruments. For instance, lots of us have thrown around a term like 'tubby'. I'm not the acoustician guy, but to me 'tubby' sound seems to boom at the low end and have very high partials rolling around, yet the middle range seems hollow and gutted. I also tend to associate this sound with an instrument/setup that are sort of flabby, not quit stiff enough or tensioned enough. I'd love to hear other folks take on it. Maybe the numbers and charts guys can actually identify tubby tone in their spectrums??? Similarly, plenty of fiddles present to me an overly tight and harsh tone that I tend to think of as 'boxy'. These typically seem over built and/or over tensioned. Then there are different aspects of excellent tone. In a good instruments with a wide range of colors available, I hear a number of particular sorts of sounds available. I'd love to see these discussed more specifically. For example, the middle strings when bowed with moderate strength and good bow speed, a bit far from the bridge, can go into a kind of tone that somehow seems very 'air' like, rather like a strong flute tone, or very clean organ tone. Is this literally an 'air' sound dominated by resonances from the body cavity?? In contrast, going up high on the low strings and playing heavy and close to the bridge there is available a very thickened and intense kind of sound that somehow seems less transparent. Then again, playing the upper strings with long string length (low positions) and quick bow speed firm and near the bridge a very bright almost trumpet like sort of sound comes available. I'm hoping people will use this thread to share observations, pet terms, nerdy tech analysis, etc.
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