Kallie

Being able to play the instruments you make

Recommended Posts

It could also work the other way, in that the physical motions of making might help one's playing. For instance using a small scraper on the inside of a front or back is similar to a short bowing motion for a cellist. Perhaps it's my imagination, but I feeling my control of the bow is better when I have an instrument in process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It could also work the other way, in that the physical motions of making might help one's playing. For instance using a small scraper on the inside of a front or back is similar to a short bowing motion for a cellist. Perhaps it's my imagination, but I feeling my control of the bow is better when I have an instrument in process.

I don't think it's your imagination. The teacher I studied with in grad school was a master with movement in general and I'm convinced could teach anyone how to play any instrument better. I found his ideas for playing actually translated quite nicely to working on instruments.

I also think the brain processes involved in playing and making complement each other. I find that if I spend an evening in intense piano practice, the next day I am much sharper mentally and my luthier work is better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a luthier your job is to satisfy the customer.  This requires an understanding that different customers have different needs. My first requirement for a good luthier would be a sensitive character with regard to this 

Playing the violin well is a lifelong vocation requiring a few hours of daily practice. I am not aware of any serious pro luthiers who could seriously call themselves virtuoso violinists or cellists. 

If you want to form an opinion on what the great fiddles can do or what they might be then you must actually  play them and interact with the players who play them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a luthier your job is to satisfy the customer.  This requires an understanding that different customers have different needs. My first requirement for a good luthier would be a sensitive character with regard to this 

Playing the violin well is a lifelong vocation requiring a few hours of daily practice. I am not aware of any serious pro luthiers who could seriously call themselves virtuoso violinists or cellists. 

Do we always have to be virtuosos?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a luthier your job is to satisfy the customer.  This requires an understanding that different customers have different needs. My first requirement for a good luthier would be a sensitive character with regard to this 

Playing the violin well is a lifelong vocation requiring a few hours of daily practice. I am not aware of any serious pro luthiers who could seriously call themselves virtuoso violinists or cellists. 

If you want to form an opinion on what the great fiddles can do or what they might be then you must actually  play them and interact with the players who play them

Do pro players take new bought violins made by you to other people to adjust?  I understand you have been doing this since you were a youngster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do pro players take new bought violins made by you to other people to adjust?  I understand you have been doing this since you were a youngster.

Yes of course. Sometimes I will send to another Pro if I run out of ideas or feel they might find a solution better than I can

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think having a good ear and understanding of what a client wants is good. I look for feed back from people who can pull the most out of an instrument and push it to it's limits. I know what to listen for I just, as a player, can not push an instrument to maximize it's potential. So I work with several professional violinist to finalize my set ups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a very poor violin player, but the little ability I have I find useful. 

 

I know a fantastic bowmaker who doesn't play a note. Yet his sensitivity and his ability to make a bow for a particular player is astonishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[...] 

 

I think of it as another tool in the toolbox.  If you don't have that tool, you have to figure out ways to get around that. 

 

[...] 

 

 

If you are a luthier your job is to satisfy the customer.  This requires an understanding that different customers have different needs. My first requirement for a good luthier would be a sensitive character with regard to this 

Playing the violin well is a lifelong vocation requiring a few hours of daily practice. I am not aware of any serious pro luthiers who could seriously call themselves virtuoso violinists or cellists. 

If you want to form an opinion on what the great fiddles can do or what they might be then you must actually  play them and interact with the players who play them

 

I'm sure one can work around not playing, or playing in a very limited way. 

 

For myself, I love playing.  And I think it helpful in making.   But as Melvin says, every customer is different.  I think my own playing, and what I've learned from friendships with other players helps me understand each customer's unique playing style and needs more intimately, rather than hinder that.

 

And even at a modest semi-professional level, playing takes time.  I can't imagine giving less than 12 hours to playing in a week.  But to me, it all seems connected and beneficial.

 

But I don't go to Manfio's extreme and avoid making cellos because I'm really only a violin player.   I can still manage to draw a cello bow well enough to sound the instrument, and to test and understand the color range and response of the cello in hand. 

 

How an instrument sounds and feels in hand to play, and how it sounds when someone else plays are different.   And each player is different, so how it sounds and feels for them to play will be different than for me.    My own playing can only tell a small portion of the story.   I need other good players to play the instrument to hear how it sounds at distance.  And I need my customer to play the instrument and talk with me to learn how it sounds and feels in the hand for them.

 

I assume that most makers play at least a little?  It isn't so important to play fast or fluently.  But to learn to draw a tone in different dynamics and different colors seems very valuable, perhaps learning to cleanly stop a note in various positions and to add vibrato and perhaps a trill to hear notes change. If one doesn't play at all, then setting out to learn to play concertos or chamber music, or even an in tune scale is probably too much.  But a few basics of tone production learned from a good teacher might be possible.  Perhaps it could be regarded in the same light as learning to sharpen blades?  Wouldn't any maker benefit by learning enough to test tone and response? 

 

 

The more you know about what you are making, the better will be the final result.

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like I mentioned earlier, not that it matters to a few, a maker really should strive to be the best player they can be.  Semi-pro at the very least.  I understand some make for the love of the violin, or a hobby, or to put food on the table.  The advantage of being a player will be in neck construction shape, fingerboard radius and relief, nut shape, slot height from the fingerboard and bridge adjustments.  I need to mention sharp edges throughout- lose them.   All other aspects of a build are probably better or at least equal to a player, I'd hope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting twist to this would be the view of the customer. Question to everyone. Regardless of whether you think it is helpful to play or not, do you find that customers care if you play or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My answer to my own question is yes. It seems to me that my customers find it important that I can play the instrument. In most cases I find the instances where they value my ability to play don't really matter. Meaning, the fact that I play wouldn't make me do the job any better in most cases, but they have a perception that it would.

I have gained customers from my competition just for the fact that I could tune their instrument in front of them, where the competing shops could not. Actually the tuning part is big for some people. I know some violin making students who don't care a bit about learning to play even a little. I tell those students to at least learn how to bow a few notes and tune competently. You wouldn't believe how much faith a customer will lose in your ability if you cannot tune the darn thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My answer to my own question is yes. It seems to me that my customers find it important that I can play the instrument. In most cases I find the instances where they value my ability to play don't really matter. Meaning, the fact that I play wouldn't make me do the job any better in most cases, but they have a perception that it would.

I have gained customers from my competition just for the fact that I could tune their instrument in front of them, where the competing shops could not. Actually the tuning part is big for some people. I know some violin making students who don't care a bit about learning to play even a little. I tell those students to at least learn how to bow a few notes and tune competently. You wouldn't believe how much faith a customer will lose in your ability if you cannot tune the darn thing.

The ability to pull a soulful rendition of "Shenadoah" or "Ashokan Farewell" or whatever out of the expensive little box they are contemplating buying also reassures beginners and their parents that you are not selling them a lemon (despite the discouraging noises that they coax from it themselves).  This can be a major selling advantage.  :)

 

The ability to pull acceptable Vivaldi or Sarasate out of it, however, should allow you to jack the price a couple of hundred more, at least... ;)  :lol:  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ability to pull a soulful rendition of "Shenadoah" or "Ashokan Farewell" or whatever out of the expensive little box they are contemplating buying also reassures beginners and their parents that you are not selling them a lemon (despite the discouraging noises that they coax from it themselves).  This can be a major selling advantage.  :)

 

The ability to pull acceptable Vivaldi or Sarasate out of it, however, should allow you to jack the price a couple of hundred more, at least... ;)  :lol:  

 

I should do some Vivaldi next time I try to sell. What about Paganini and Bach? Jack up to 5 figures? :D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should do some Vivaldi next time I try to sell. What about Paganini and Bach? Jack up to 5 figures? :D

If we put all of our answers together for making, set up and basic playing after set-up things should be o.k..  DGV's last comment can change things dramatically-  mostly fattening the wallet just a little bit more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think violin/viola/cello makers should be able to play their own instruments for optimum sound adjustment? Or for better understanding how to improve their instruments?

 

 

No, they should never be allowed to play their own instruments and especially not for optimum sound adjustment.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should do some Vivaldi next time I try to sell. What about Paganini and Bach? Jack up to 5 figures? :D

Burgess could play Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze".   :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to discuss being able to smash instruments you make. I know I have the arm strength, and the will, but the public just does not understand. It would be a wasted sacrifice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to discuss being able to smash instruments you make. I know I have the arm strength, and the will, but the public just does not understand. It would be a wasted sacrifice. 

Have you tried raffling off tickets to take a sledgehammer to them?  Aren't gambling and audience participation popular where you are?  :P  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to even out the score a bit.

I'm no professional player, but I still always play the violins that I make... or that I repair... or that I adjust.

Both to adjust them, and to play them in. I've been doing this so long, that I can do exactly what I want and hear exactly what I need to hear.

 

I play any and every violin that I come across - in any case. I've been playing them for the last thirty odd years. All of them. Every violin that comes in for adjustment, or for repair, or that I make, as I have said.

 

It's not difficult to determine the quality of the violin by playing it. In fact... there is no other real way to tell.

Listening to a violin being played by someone else is, of course, another way to tell. But putting a bow to an instrument oneself, is the best way to determine such a thing.

In my opinion, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to even out the score a bit.

I'm no professional player, but I still always play the violins that I make... or that I repair... or that I adjust.

Both to adjust them, and to play them in. I've been doing this so long, that I can do exactly what I want and hear exactly what I need to hear.

 

I play any and every violin that I come across - in any case. I've been playing them for the last thirty odd years. All of them. Every violin that comes in for adjustment, or for repair, or that I make, as I have said.

 

It's not difficult to determine the quality of the violin by playing it. In fact... there is no other real way to tell.

Listening to a violin being played by someone else is, of course, another way to tell. But putting a bow to an instrument oneself, is the best way to determine such a thing.

In my opinion, of course.

Nothing wrong with that Craig.  One difference maybe is like when I go to play a violin.  I just keep going and keep going and keep going......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.