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Famous lesser Strats?


polkat
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I've heard the instrument on various occasions and I think there are a number of musicians out there who wouldn't protest to having the instrument for their music making.

Unfortunately today everyone is interested only in NUMBER 1 . I suppose everything else, the Amatis, the Stainers included, should just be thrown into the dustbin? :)

I haven't heard the Clisbee being played. But, a friend to whom it was offered a few times before it was bought by Axelrod, told me that it was the only Strad he could not get a good sound from.

I don't have any problem with the Amatis, Stainer and others (except maybe with the Testores from an aesthetical point of view...)

Matthias

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Strat, like most luthers of his time I suspect, made some...ahh, less then desirable sounding instruments, or lower of quality. Have any of these also become well known, and has there been any research as to why they sound inferior compaired to his better known violins?

+++++++++++

Are you kidding? Any Stradivarius instruments, violin, violas or celli will be priced very high. Imagine

if a musician who owns a Strad will automatically and immidiately be known.

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I should add - one thing that bothers me is the emphasis on maximal dBs for 'projection' - when really it's all about getting frequencies out to the audience.

Although his LongPattern instruments may not have the measured dB-kick of other designs, somehow concert Listeners manage to enjoy

their tonal experience.

Jim

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I haven't heard the Clisbee being played. But, a friend to whom it was offered a few times before it was bought by Axelrod, told me that it was the only Strad he could not get a good sound from.

I don't have any problem with the Amatis, Stainer and others (except maybe with the Testores from an aesthetical point of view...)

Matthias

Mattias,

Your comment is very interesting but don't you think it tells us only half of the story regarding the sound (what the violinist feels, hears and perceives) the other half being the audience perception. Of course, ideally an instrument that is "good" should have both. To make sure that the opinion is valid however it would be interesting to get feedback from various musicians who play in different ways and have different needs from the instrument. I'm not interested in defending the Clisbee as it was a gift to the City of Cremona. Something like, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.". It is a fine example of Stradivari's early work and I would be surprised if he had not experimented in his lifetime to improve upon what was already done.

I have seen so many instruments overlooked because of ingrained prejudice, or generalized heresay judgements passed on instruments coming from a certain maker or a certain period. Stradivari wasn't a God and he wasn't perfect.

Bruce

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Original poster here. Yes, I meant Strad, not Strat. Perhaps I'm not yet educated enough in violins to ask the proper questions, but something about Strads has always bothered me a little. I have read in many sources, including here, that over the centuries many Strads, after having left Strads workshop, have been repaired, modified, regraduated, even (sadly) revarnished, and of course most of them have had the necks replaced to the modern size. I'll assume that most of this past work was done by highly reputable repair people, although surely some shops of lesser repute were involved as well.

I am wondering how much of the better or lesser tone quality of these instruments as played today has accidentally been at least partly the result of this work, beyond the original sound that Strad acheived? I've read that if we could travel back in time and play the instruments just after completion, we'd hear a different sound then we do today. I understand that age alone is no doubt partially responsible, but I think that the above has had it's effect as well.

Maybe I'm just not sure what I'm asking.

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Original poster here. Yes, I meant Strad, not Strat. Perhaps I'm not yet educated enough in violins to ask the proper questions, but something about Strads has always bothered me a little. I have read in many sources, including here, that over the centuries many Strads, after having left Strads workshop, have been repaired, modified, regraduated, even (sadly) revarnished, and of course most of them have had the necks replaced to the modern size. I'll assume that most of this past work was done by highly reputable repair people, although surely some shops of lesser repute were involved as well.

I am wondering how much of the better or lesser tone quality of these instruments as played today has accidentally been at least partly the result of this work, beyond the original sound that Strad acheived? I've read that if we could travel back in time and play the instruments just after completion, we'd hear a different sound then we do today. I understand that age alone is no doubt partially responsible, but I think that the above has had it's effect as well.

Maybe I'm just not sure what I'm asking.

Hi polkat,

A good start would be to read the Hill book on Stradivari because I am sure many of your questions will be answered. The book is not the Bible but they made really very few mistakes considering the book was published in long ago 1902.

Happy reading.

Bruce

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Your comment is very interesting but don't you think it tells us only half of the story regarding the sound (what the violinist feels, hears and perceives) the other half being the audience perception.

I have seen so many instruments overlooked because of ingrained prejudice, or generalized heresay judgements passed on instruments coming from a certain maker or a certain period.

Hi Bruce,

I'm not saying that the clisbee isn't an interesting instrument and that there couldn't be players who are capable of producing a good sound on it. Good players are able to accomodate to the characteristics of violins and to compensate certain weaknesses to some extent.

( I just recently heard an interview with a concertmaster of the vienna philharmonic in the radio. He stated that his Strad, which is on loan to him from the OeNB, is a fabulous instrument but it took him three years to learn how to play it.)

It is just that my friend, who is collecting violins, had the chance to test many Strads and in his opinion the Clisbee was what could be called a "lesser" Strad compareed with the others. I have to trust his expertise in this regard.

However, it is still a Strad and nobody would be tempted to throw it in the dustbin.

Matthias

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I should add - one thing that bothers me is the emphasis on maximal dBs for 'projection' - when really it's all about getting frequencies out to the audience.

Although his LongPattern instruments may not have the measured dB-kick of other designs, somehow concert Listeners manage to enjoy

their tonal experience.

Jim

..................

Hi Jim

I am a bit surprised from my own experience that you would say this re the long pattern violins but always learning..please could you quote your sources. Thanks

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I am a bit surprised from my own experience that you would say this re the long pattern violins but always learning..please could you quote your sources.

Hi Melvin,

Actually, I'm the guy who asked why Long Strads haven't been included in modern acoustic analysis in the Thread: Long Strads ... "deeper, fuller tone".

I like what I've heard of them [too]. :)

Anders Buen responded with an old Frederick Saunders study including only two Long Strads. These two were strong but showed an appreciable midrange 'dip' but no conclusions should be drawn from that [alone].

So comments in my previous Post were alluding to two separate things: (1) insistence that Golden Period Strad designs 'project' better due to their

higher dBs; and (2) pointing out once again there isn't much that's been measured for Long Strads [acoustic-wise].

Jim

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Hi Bruce,

I'm not saying that the clisbee isn't an interesting instrument and that there couldn't be players who are capable of producing a good sound on it. Good players are able to accomodate to the characteristics of violins and to compensate certain weaknesses to some extent.

( I just recently heard an interview with a concertmaster of the vienna philharmonic in the radio. He stated that his Strad, which is on loan to him from the OeNB, is a fabulous instrument but it took him three years to learn how to play it.)

It is just that my friend, who is collecting violins, had the chance to test many Strads and in his opinion the Clisbee was what could be called a "lesser" Strad compareed with the others. I have to trust his expertise in this regard.

However, it is still a Strad and nobody would be tempted to throw it in the dustbin.

Matthias

Hi Matthias,

I probably exaggerated with my comment and if I had to choose only one violin among many Stradivaris I may not choose the Clisbee either (even between violins of the same period with equivalent value, to be fair).

The comment of the Concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic reminds me of an episode when Simone Sacconi was helping Henryk Szeryng when he was still undecided about choosing the 'Le Duc' Guarneri del Gesù over other fine instruments. - "...instead of choosing a beautiful instrument that can be played without attracting attention, one which doesn't give the violinist a chance to affirm his superiority over the instrument - not with brute force, naturally, but with patience and familiarity with the instrument etc. - we chose this Guarnerius together, and I have it with me all the time. It isn't the easiest of violins to play, nor is it the most stable because it is capricious, but in reality, it is perhaps the most human of all the ones I have encountered during my lifetime."

Bruce

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