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More alternative health care for violins.


Andrew Victor
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We've had massage/chiropractic, Henry Strobel's attached variable-frequency vibrator and as an alternative, this afternoon I tried the business end (hard side) of my Sonicare toothbrush, covered with a cloth - against my bridge. What an incredible perfect C (about 250 Hz) it sounded - almost with the power of a low siren. It can be appleid to top or sides or front or bAck of the bridge; top seems to cause the loudest sound, indicating the violin top is moving the most.

I suspect this is an alternative way to do a very fast massage, with a lot less potential hazard to the instrument.

Another reason to buy the gum massager your dentist recommended!

Andy

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Thanks Andrew,

I tried the thumb massage on my new instrument and the bridge collapsed twice. It made me nervous. You've hit the perfect combination for me.

I was considering the Sonicare but thought the $100 tag a bit high. I also read about the Strobel gadet and thought $50, hmmm. But now it's like 50/50. I'm headed to Costco today. It's great to have justification in buying a toothbrush costing $100.

But hears my question, what is meant by the "business end?"

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Tenor1-

If I've caught you in time, the Sonicare is on sale at K-Mart this week for closer to $50.

Having tried two more violins, two cellos and a viola - nothing sounds a Sonicare like a violin (the viola and cello are weeker on that stimulated middle-C), and nothing sounds it like a violin with really rich lower tones - it's scary. One of the violins was definitely many times louder (conceivable 10 db or more) than any of the other instruments - it is also the most resonant of my violins, from a distance, often admired for the sound of its lower strings. (Strung mostly with Infeld Red, which should have nothing to do with its Sonicare response.)

So far, I have not the slightest idea if this gum massager is doing anything at all for the violin, but I don't see how it could be hurting it.

Andy

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Andy, I tried it and I agree. I put the bridge between the bristles coming at it from the side (like a bow), and found it quite stable enough to just let it sit there by itself and vibrate. I believe the resonance mode of a balanced violin is around that frequency isn't it? very interesting observation Andy. Thanks.

Bud

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Greta,

Serioulsy - I don't move it - I just place it on different parts of the bridge and let the sound soar. I'm going to try it on some cellos shortly - middle C is within their range too.

Bink,

It's not really "ultrasound" apparently just middle C - but it does buzz one's mouth doesn't it (250 vibs per second is 15,000 per minute - faster than your average dentist, I suppose). I always thought "ultrasound" was beyond the frequency range of human hearing - whcih would not be heard - even amplified by the violin body. There seem to be no audible frequencies but the middle C fundamental.

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jon,

The "idea" is that you can substitute for playing by vibrating the instrument some other way and "break it in." (Continuing the smoking concept, not as a finé but as an analogy, in days when pipe smoking ws more popular some people would drive along in their cars holding a lit pipe out the window to pre-smoke it without burnign their tongues - they "smoking machines" became available for the same purpose - and to avoid brush and forest fires.)

I've tried things to enhance instrument tone, but after having had new setups done on 6 instruments in the past 8 months (and about 3 more to go in the near future) I've concluded that once that is done, you will not bother to mess with vibrators, etc. Nor are you likely to vibrate an instrument into a good setup.

My most recent new setup of an instrument only 6 weeks old was concluded, less than a week ago, with the opportunity to try it and a real (and very valuable) 303 year old Stradivarius violin in the same room, one after the other, with the same bows. And I came away, anxious to get home and work on my newly setup violin, and more wealth envy than Strad envy. A good experience, all in all!

No more Sonicare for this violin!

Andy

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