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CF Violins: MezzoForte, Luis&Clark, Gayford, Glasser, Elena


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4 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I have seen at least one string quartet where everyone plays CF. It was not a pleasant sight, but I got used to it. I was trying to judge the sound,  but it was a recording of a video, so I couldn’t really tell anything.

Alexander? not to "out" any particular string quartet but to praise them and their willingness to be an active SQ. I have a copy of there Beethoven SQ cycle in the car and one at home. Except for the fact that many homes no longer have disc players, there are thoughtful, expressive, brilliant and exuberant playing in all corners of their work. 

Also very thoughtful teachers from what I can tell having dropped in on master classes with the individual players. Contrasting ideas and fine examples for ensembles to develop both strengths and weaknesses. Never looked into what instruments they play ( which is dumb ) but their understanding of the works sort of transcends the earthly realms of a particular sound and it's perception. Have heard them in a large house and in large churches. They make use of the space and tempi and articulation appear to be compensated.   

Would be excited to know if there are other ensembles willing to try? Certainly, I have played in maker family SQs. Would be interested to join an ensemble of alt-material instruments. If Acacia and titanium work, why not other materials? Now if only Gilles would make me one. 

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4 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

That is an over-generalization. It depends on the specific bow-violin combination, and the wooden bows you're comparing with the CF bows. 

Yeah, obviously.  I recommend for my students to buy CodaBows because, for the money, you can't beat the performance.

 

25 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

Alexander? not to "out" any particular string quartet but to praise them and their willingness to be an active SQ. I have a copy of there Beethoven SQ cycle in the car and one at home. Except for the fact that many homes no longer have disc players, there are thoughtful, expressive, brilliant and exuberant playing in all corners of their work. 

Also very thoughtful teachers from what I can tell having dropped in on master classes with the individual players. Contrasting ideas and fine examples for ensembles to develop both strengths and weaknesses. Never looked into what instruments they play ( which is dumb ) but their understanding of the works sort of transcends the earthly realms of a particular sound and it's perception. Have heard them in a large house and in large churches. They make use of the space and tempi and articulation appear to be compensated.   

Would be excited to know if there are other ensembles willing to try? Certainly, I have played in maker family SQs. Would be interested to join an ensemble of alt-material instruments. If Acacia and titanium work, why not other materials? Now if only Gilles would make me one. 

Alexander use Arcus bows.  I've never tried one, I am eager to experiment at some point.  I am fascinated by how lightweight they are.

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18 hours ago, duane88 said:

And that is why Joseph Curtin made his cf topped viola with a wood veneer on the outside, and why certain cf bows are molded to look like they have wood grain, and certain cf bows have a cf core with a wood veneer wrapped around the cf core, appearing as if they are wood.

That said, you want to joint the ensemble, you have to follow the ensemble rules, unless, of course, you start your own CF Ensemble. No wood allowed.

I remember a time where symphony players of some rather famous cities were pressured into using older looking instruments even when their new instruments were champs. There must be some fine makes having to transform their instruments to look older for some professional players.  

Your comment about ensemble rules is important. Regardless of what I think of many of them, the organization essentially becomes the employer. The way some management view ensembles and the need for uniformity had me thinking too many unhappy thoughts. It was unfair who were let go, for what reasons. From then on, since there were choices, I played with those I respected. Sometimes there are no choices and one works hard to out grow such groups or institutions.

I recently met up with an assistant at a very prestigious institution and she told me that she was leaving. The present climate gave her an opportunity to remake herself into something she wanted to do. That it was a decent position, but the school did not align with her own personal goals and views. Nearly ten years, was a third of her life.

When a teacher is thoughtful and would like the appearance of uniformity, that is not so much an issue, especially if the player is performing in a group lessons that are also public show cases. Certainly, as adults we do have to conform. But if a student plays left handed or a viola or three play in a violin ensemble, the mature teacher would likely be supportive.

I have not taken time to set up a Glasser instrument, specifically, but the ones heard have been less than great. The worst performing kids at one school had them, but to the teacher credit the players were spread out equally throughout the ensemble and not stuck in the back to learn to become disruptive.     

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I'm still just not getting it.

There is a time to conform, there is a time to stand out and even a time to rebel.

But when you play in an ensemble, you follow the rules of that ensemble. End of story. You conform to that ensemble, they do not have to accommodate your personal taste or preferences.

You can't equate a logical conformity with some implicit tyranny of a teacher/conductor/organization.

If a teacher/conductor/organization abuses their power, that's a different issue altogether.

So, requiring a player to wear a nicely fitted black performance outfit and to play a functional brown instrument is entirely reasonable.

Insisting the player wear Dior and that the brown instrument must cost more than $$$ is entirely unreasonable.

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41 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Yeah, obviously.  I recommend for my students to buy CodaBows because, for the money, you can't beat the performance.

Yes, and though they are all subtly different, the playability is generally uniform without quirks. They are robust and wear well. 

Sometimes the composite are not so forgiving. They have not offers much proper mid-level "give" though the new bow they have coming out is quite good. So a wood bow does further a student's progress and ultimately, they do have to learn how to over come quirks of all wood bows which are the imperfections the bows and instruments develop. Quirks are not all bad, and some are lovely. 

Maestro Saunders ( not to pick on someone helpless ) articulates many of these qualities ( good and bad ) well in past posts. Some perceived weaknesses in a instrument, like brightness, can often become strengths. Likewise, softness in a bow might be the over-muscling arm or stick noise, the hard pinching in the fingers. Anyway, looking past the superficial is often important.

41 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Alexander use Arcus bows.  I've never tried one, I am eager to experiment at some point.  I am fascinated by how lightweight they are.

Mr Fine, you likely have longer arms and it is really a thrill watching how that makes a difference. As one with shorter arms, the top three inches of a bow is pretty reliably boring. I believe you'd be surprised with what the Arcus is capable of near the tip. Doubt it will break, but along with some cool col legno effects, the bow can bite.

It may not have the richness of a fine wood bow nor is that middle zone for tonal and textural manipulation very large, nor the sweetspots... but the longer the arm, better its abilities and the bow does open up. When I naively commented these points out to a very fine violist, she replied, " no duh." I tend to bore her. But she had two Arcus bows and a very light ( presumably ) Simon bow ( at home ) which could be a heavy violin bow. She has longer arms. She plays them all very well. The Simon is better ( bucket loads of everything more ) but the Arcus sounds like any other fine bow in her hands.

Yes, try one, at least for the experience. They vary quite a bit so learn from each one, if there is time.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

I'm still just not getting it.

There is a time to conform, there is a time to stand out and even a time to rebel.

But when you play in an ensemble, you follow the rules of that ensemble. End of story. You conform to that ensemble, they do not have to accommodate your personal taste or preferences.

Certainly for the performance, the players need to work together.

In a musical ensemble, conforming musically or sonically is paramount. Achieving that level of skill to play together can take several different paths as well as the sound of instruments. We do match match bows, shifts, vibratos and even page turns. Some orchestras use identical strings. But when the outside player ( especially if she is younger ) in the 2nd stand plays a Burgess and the CM a Strad, and those in the audience can hear the difference during the most intense passages... the former for the better. 

When one plays barefoot, aside from Evelyn Glennie, is that ok? Should one be excused because they are overweight? or pregnant? 

Presentation, like the holiday family photo, might need to be managed with some coaxing or alternately force.

1 hour ago, Rue said:

You can't equate a logical conformity with some implicit tyranny of a teacher/conductor/organization.

If a teacher/conductor/organization abuses their power, that's a different issue altogether.

So, requiring a player to wear a nicely fitted black performance outfit and to play a functional brown instrument is entirely reasonable.

Insisting the player wear Dior and that the brown instrument must cost more than $$$ is entirely unreasonable.

Your points are correct and I agree. Maybe I see that Art can be power, but power can ruin art, or reduce the opportunities for those interested in making it. My thoughts are ambiguous as an instructor, coach, conductor, promoter, fund raiser. Why is it that we have a formal performance? Like mini-graduations. I would much rather rehearse a series of works and perform them in different locales or venues. Performances do improve focus and ensemble communication. Most youth orchestras I was involved with performed a program at least three times over two weekends. We practiced performing and the concept became clear - for the audience. We were quite good by the end. 

The spectrum, not even in the extremes, tips towards the irrational on one side ( because the organizations are not transparent ) while tyranny-like leaderships holds the ship and renewed contracts for others. There are some happy, placid groups, but they generally stay to themselves and the leadership reigns until they retire or pass away. There is always a power struggle somewhere in these organization because they are so large and the pay not-so-great. It hurts the most people when the organizations are thread-bare and those on the sidelines will let them collapse. Passive, not-caring, many allow arts groups to slowly disappear. Some churches, where many performances were held, are shutting down. 

I do complain about boys not tucking in their shirts. It is so simple. The parents will not enforce the dress code. The kids generally become defiant because their parents will not enforce such implied rules. "Where is this written?" Generally self-correcting over time, as friends tend to hang out together and those friends tell them to tuck in shirts. The parents then praise their kids for being mature. ?? We hope that they learn to have better understanding as adults, when they become adults. I have no qualms with most parents who remain silent until after the foods eaten and only the remaining, clean up, speaking under their breaths while wiping tables.

Black sneakers, are reasonable?

My experience ( sic. - experiment ) in several "anarchist" ensembles where there is no conductor has been terribly fun. We individually try to out play each other within the sections without ruining the intent of the composer or overplaying other sections. The cellos can restrain the 1sts by steadying the pulse and controlling the intensity. The violas can stand and tower over the violins. The idea was from some of the touring "virtuosi" ensembles in the past. It's fun and though it is not a serious evening, the outcome is often exciting ending in cheers or laughter. An evening of fun for players but not for the stuffy. NO apparent leader, mutual goals, something new out of the old. CF instruments ok. 

Some of the best conductors trust their players to do the right thing. It is mutual and extends off stage. Highlighting the best qualities of the ensemble and supporting the weaker passages often delivers a good evening. Great works can structurally withstand many collapses and missed entrances, while getting off one note during a sequence of scales during Berlioz can be sonic disaster.

I have played in ensembles where that players are there only for the check - and that is the reality. Uninspired. Waiting for new blood, if the group survives. Most players were not this way, but eventually were beat down or were kicked down to the minor leagues. One might be carefully taught. 

But when the conductor or GM/ front office or the donors are bothered by issues of appearance... the problems are likely more complex and difficult to repair. Some ensembles can oust a conductor, make them look bad. it might be an issue of who outlasts the other. New instrument too loud? Too frisky? Too shiny?

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4 hours ago, GoPractice said:

Certainly for the performance, the players need to work together.

In a musical ensemble, conforming musically or sonically is paramount. Achieving that level of skill to play together can take several different paths as well as the sound of instruments. We do match match bows, shifts, vibratos and even page turns. Some orchestras use identical strings. But when the outside player ( especially if she is younger ) in the 2nd stand plays a Burgess and the CM a Strad, and those in the audience can hear the difference during the most intense passages... the former for the better. 

When one plays barefoot, aside from Evelyn Glennie, is that ok? Should one be excused because they are overweight? or pregnant? 

Presentation, like the holiday family photo, might need to be managed with some coaxing or alternately force.

Your points are correct and I agree. Maybe I see that Art can be power, but power can ruin art, or reduce the opportunities for those interested in making it. My thoughts are ambiguous as an instructor, coach, conductor, promoter, fund raiser. Why is it that we have a formal performance? Like mini-graduations. I would much rather rehearse a series of works and perform them in different locales or venues. Performances do improve focus and ensemble communication. Most youth orchestras I was involved with performed a program at least three times over two weekends. We practiced performing and the concept became clear - for the audience. We were quite good by the end. 

The spectrum, not even in the extremes, tips towards the irrational on one side ( because the organizations are not transparent ) while tyranny-like leaderships holds the ship and renewed contracts for others. There are some happy, placid groups, but they generally stay to themselves and the leadership reigns until they retire or pass away. There is always a power struggle somewhere in these organization because they are so large and the pay not-so-great. It hurts the most people when the organizations are thread-bare and those on the sidelines will let them collapse. Passive, not-caring, many allow arts groups to slowly disappear. Some churches, where many performances were held, are shutting down. 

I do complain about boys not tucking in their shirts. It is so simple. The parents will not enforce the dress code. The kids generally become defiant because their parents will not enforce such implied rules. "Where is this written?" Generally self-correcting over time, as friends tend to hang out together and those friends tell them to tuck in shirts. The parents then praise their kids for being mature. ?? We hope that they learn to have better understanding as adults, when they become adults. I have no qualms with most parents who remain silent until after the foods eaten and only the remaining, clean up, speaking under their breaths while wiping tables.

Black sneakers, are reasonable?

My experience ( sic. - experiment ) in several "anarchist" ensembles where there is no conductor has been terribly fun. We individually try to out play each other within the sections without ruining the intent of the composer or overplaying other sections. The cellos can restrain the 1sts by steadying the pulse and controlling the intensity. The violas can stand and tower over the violins. The idea was from some of the touring "virtuosi" ensembles in the past. It's fun and though it is not a serious evening, the outcome is often exciting ending in cheers or laughter. An evening of fun for players but not for the stuffy. NO apparent leader, mutual goals, something new out of the old. CF instruments ok. 

Some of the best conductors trust their players to do the right thing. It is mutual and extends off stage. Highlighting the best qualities of the ensemble and supporting the weaker passages often delivers a good evening. Great works can structurally withstand many collapses and missed entrances, while getting off one note during a sequence of scales during Berlioz can be sonic disaster.

I have played in ensembles where that players are there only for the check - and that is the reality. Uninspired. Waiting for new blood, if the group survives. Most players were not this way, but eventually were beat down or were kicked down to the minor leagues. One might be carefully taught. 

But when the conductor or GM/ front office or the donors are bothered by issues of appearance... the problems are likely more complex and difficult to repair. Some ensembles can oust a conductor, make them look bad. it might be an issue of who outlasts the other. New instrument too loud? Too frisky? Too shiny?

I don’t know which quartet it was, but them all using CF instruments was noticeable, and I wondered if it was an advertising ploy by L&C or some such.
At one time, there was a local gig quartet that all played David Caron instruments( yes, called the Caron Quartet) and I’m sure they sounded terrific.

The Yale Cellos Of Aldo Parisot ensemble included at least one CF player among the wooden cellos, and if I had been Parisot, I would have told him in no uncertain terms to get a real cello. It was really noticeable in a negative way.

I play in a pit orchestra, mostly, so conformity is less necessary, but no one cares what kind of instrument one plays. If someone showed up with a CF viola, there would be sideways looks, but no torches or pitchforks. If someone showed up with purple hair, or a nose ring, there would also be sideways looks, but nothing more.

and actually, one bassoonist did indeed wear black sneakers to performances for years and no one said a thing.

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11 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

Yeah, obviously.  I recommend for my students to buy CodaBows because, for the money, you can't beat the performance.

 

Alexander use Arcus bows.  I've never tried one, I am eager to experiment at some point.  I am fascinated by how lightweight they are.

I have a very nice French bow and bought an Arcus to use in hazardous situations. I like it so much that I play them both the same amount.

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There's nothing wrong with black sneakers  - provided they actually are black...and clean.

Which supports my point; no need to insist on something "different" when there's an almost unlimited choice of "same".

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On 3/13/2021 at 3:01 PM, GoPractice said:

Yes, and though they are all subtly different, the playability is generally uniform without quirks. They are robust and wear well. 

Sometimes the composite are not so forgiving. They have not offers much proper mid-level "give" though the new bow they have coming out is quite good. So a wood bow does further a student's progress and ultimately, they do have to learn how to over come quirks of all wood bows which are the imperfections the bows and instruments develop. Quirks are not all bad, and some are lovely. 

Maestro Saunders ( not to pick on someone helpless ) articulates many of these qualities ( good and bad ) well in past posts. Some perceived weaknesses in a instrument, like brightness, can often become strengths. Likewise, softness in a bow might be the over-muscling arm or stick noise, the hard pinching in the fingers. Anyway, looking past the superficial is often important.

Mr Fine, you likely have longer arms and it is really a thrill watching how that makes a difference. As one with shorter arms, the top three inches of a bow is pretty reliably boring. I believe you'd be surprised with what the Arcus is capable of near the tip. Doubt it will break, but along with some cool col legno effects, the bow can bite.

It may not have the richness of a fine wood bow nor is that middle zone for tonal and textural manipulation very large, nor the sweetspots... but the longer the arm, better its abilities and the bow does open up. When I naively commented these points out to a very fine violist, she replied, " no duh." I tend to bore her. But she had two Arcus bows and a very light ( presumably ) Simon bow ( at home ) which could be a heavy violin bow. She has longer arms. She plays them all very well. The Simon is better ( bucket loads of everything more ) but the Arcus sounds like any other fine bow in her hands.

Yes, try one, at least for the experience. They vary quite a bit so learn from each one, if there is time.

Likewise, softness in a bow might be the over-muscling arm or stick noise, the hard pinching in the fingers......   guilty as charged.  I just got a great teacher after a long time out of lessons.  She's working me through a whole bunch of tension issues.   I may need a thumb transplant, as the one I have doesn't seem to follow directions to relax.

 

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My old violin teacher was very "anti-CF" until she said one day the concert master walked in with one... and it sounded amazing to everybody; and so all of a sudden; not only was it acceptable; but she was even thinking of purchasing one.  I think if visually it bothers you; then I can understand that; but to brush off CF because it's a different material is like when Glock came out with a polymer gun; and everything laughed; now every manufacturer tries to copy them.  

$100 CF bows kick the snot out of $100 wooden bows... and I purchased a Fiddlerman $69 CF bow as a backup; which now my daughter uses; and it's certainly much much better than both the outfit wooden bows.  

 

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I think there are two (or possibly more?) discussions going on:

Materials and conformity.

There's nothing wrong with using new materials or producing a new product. Happens all the time. 

There's also nothing wrong with uniformity.

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Yes.  That is:

Quote

Laura Jean Goldberg leading the Luis and Clark Carbon Ensemble at Calhoun School, Luisandclark.com

Point?

BTW...it's a very 'thin', not 'rich' sound.  It's actually rather pronounced in this recording, which is odd.  One would think they'd adjust the sound to make it less obvious in promotional material.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

Yes.  That is:

Point?

BTW...it's a very 'thin', not 'rich' sound.  It's actually rather pronounced in this recording, which is odd.  One would think they'd adjust the sound to make it less obvious in promotional material.

You can't tell much from youtube.  But I mean there are Carbon Fiber groups..

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Are there?

This performance was sponsored by the makers of the instrument. Do these musicians perform regularly on CF? Does anyone book/pay them to play? Or was this a one-off advertising gimmick?

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Regarding managers requiring musicians to use, for example, wooden or brown instruments, has been known at every level of orchestra.  At the top level I have heard of players auditioning for the top orchestras being told by the music director to get a better instrument.  As for appearance, violists who play a Pelegrina, made by David Rivinus , have been told not to use that instrument because it looks so unusual.  I can understand that because management wouldn't want a single strange looking instrument to stand out from the orchestra.  As for blending and allowing a player to use any "fiddle" they might happen to have, how about an electronic violin, solid body or skeleton body, with amplifier and speakers?  Also, blending can be too much.  Some professional quartet had a matching quartet built for them by a well known luthier, all the instruments by the same maker and purposely designed to match.  Ironically the quartet members gave up their specially built instruments, partly because some individuals didn't like their particular ones but also because the instruments were too similar and didn't allow for variety in expression.

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If I planned on performing, I would use the best-sounding instrument I could.  Right now, that's a traditional wooden instrument.

I view buying a Glasser because I want to carry an instrument while on vacation, etc and it might have to be left in the car while on the road while we site-see, hike, and so on.  I don't want to get out of practice when I get to my destination--I would still like to have an instrument to practice on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back to topic, a little...

I tried three or four Luis & Clark violins at the maker’s house once.  One was pretty good.  That said, it still offered little support for tone production.  Especially on lower strings, you had to work for everything). If I really needed a carbon fiber instrument, that would have been a good choice, but it was overpriced vs a lot of wooden instruments.

Bows are totally different.  Cleveland Violins was selling a line from China for $500, and the best of those sound and behave remarkably well.  JonPaul is another source people praise, although I haven’t done a direct comparison.

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On 3/25/2021 at 8:00 PM, Flat_the_3rd_n_7th said:

I view buying a Glasser because I want to carry an instrument while on vacation, etc and it might have to be left in the car while on the road while we site-see, hike, and so on.

Has anybody stress-tested these instruments under temperature extremes that might be experience in a very hot or very cold car? 

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I bought a Glasser as a pit/outdoor/-20 below zero / >90 degree instrument. It plays well, is easy to play with good intonation, and can sound passable for a student. It will need a professional setup on the bridge and it can use a denser ebony tailpiece without adjusters as it already has geared pegs. They can also keep it as a back-up for when a better step-up instrument goes into the shop.

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On 4/12/2021 at 5:15 AM, GeorgeH said:

Has anybody stress-tested these instruments under temperature extremes that might be experience in a very hot or very cold car? 

Not a violin or cello yet. But the particular CF guitar I own has been through extremes. 

It sounds fine. It is more likely that I experience failures in adverse conditions. But the battery should be pulled if there is an active pre- amplifier in the instrument or case. Of course a strummed instrument would react differently than a bowed one. 

The resin- based instruments do take longer to warm up and/ or cool down. And anything on the neck, when too hot or cold, like a bit of sweat or oil makes playing difficult. I am not sure there is a matte finish for the portion of the neck, but have seriously considered taking some Micromesh to back of the neck as some texture might help.  

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