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When someone "disses" your instrument


Archinto
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Hey everyone,

I have a sortof depressing story to share. I was at a music festival up in Anderson AK. I had brought my old fiddle to play, let others play, etc.....

I didn't have any violin bows at the time, so I had to use one of my really nice viola bows. It works great on my viola, but kinda muddied the tone of my fiddle.

Anyway, I let other people play it, and I continuosly got bad feedback about it. frown.gif It's really a good sounding fiddle, but no one would try a violin bow on it.

By the time that my own boyfriend told me that it wasn't good (even though he said it was awesome when he's played it in the past) I couldn't take it anymore. I was so bummed about it. It took me so long to fix that violin, and I felt like I did all that work for nothing.

I wanted to smash it. Smash it to pieces and throw it in the river. I wanted to do that terrible task SOOOOO bad, until one thought came into my head. "I'll miss it if I do this" So to ease my anger, I put about ten pebbles inside and shook them around, then put the fiddle away.

Well, today I still have the violin and it has a good violin bow that my boss gave me for Christmas. My boyfreind is using it because I'm fixing his fiddle. It sounds REALLY good now that I've got the right bow.

Do any of you have stories kinda like this?

-Archinto-

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I have no intention of smashing it now. I love that fiddle! It was all in the heat of frustration.

I couldn't play in the jam sessions because I was unable to. (I didn't have my banjo at the time) And the moment my boyfriend said "this violin #*%&@! Why didn't you bring the maggini instead?" I got angry and had this debate with myself. I'm so glad I didn't break it.

-Archinto-

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I'm almost at the point where i'm going to smash my viola...(and maybe one of my violins too). My viola is steadily declining, for the past couple months its gotten quieter, and more raspy, granted its still decent, i think it sound like a log, and have been calling is such since 2 o'clock today...i'm about to smash a violin i have, its really pretty darn nice, good aged tone, prejection is measured in city blocks and not feet, and it has decent response, and i cant for the life of me sell it. Its worth $2000 and i cant even get rid of it for $500, its driving me nuts. I think the reason i cant sell it is because it isnt the most beautiful thing out there. It has beautiful wood and its well put together, but it has some ugly (well done, solid, but ugly) repairs, and because it looks its age (100+), i personally think its lovely, but errrrr....just had to get that out of my system, if anyone wants a violin...i'll take a thousand for this one, email me....

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Primrose84, what does your luthier think?

I've seen thinned-out violins and violas that do what you've described your viola doing, though I obviously won't say that YOUR viola is thinned out.

Archinto, maybe that old fiddle of yours might do better at the hands of another luthier - and that's not meant to belittle your ability.

Might a different approach may result in a different sound?

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hi HKV, good assesment of the situation, you know your stuff very well it seems. My luthiers want to "take the top off and have a look around", i havent let them yet for fear of them screwing it up mortally, (kinda like pulling the plug on the respirator). My private teacher, another violin/viola teacher i'm friends with, and another luthier (who plays for wayne newton with my teacher) thinks that it definitely is thinned out too much (it has a horrible wolf too, the 4 lowest f#s). I'm not worrying too much, as i'm in search of a new viola anyhow, and i have a pate coming (to tide me over till i have the money for a $10,000+ viola) sometime this week or early next, but in the meantime its driving me nuts. It used to be a darned nice viola, but its just getting worse and worse lately. I can barely tune the thing its getting so quiet and raspy, this is a viola that used to sound like anything at $5000 (it was $3000). arg....i'm just so depressed...:crying:

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i'm going to keep my viola until i get a new one, then consign it (take my $2k and run). or, if i keep it even after i get a new one, then i'll let my luthiers take it apart, veneer the inside where its needed (when they told me this was needed i almost fainted at the thought of my baby having this done to it), and have it set up baroque style just for fun. Or i could as you say take it to auction, but where??

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HKV,

Well, you requested the "repair list" Here it is:

almost a soundpost crack,

new bassbar,

new end block,

new "compensated" fingerboard w/ an inlay(the neck is a might crooked),

remove machine pegs and bush the pegholes,

new pegs,

new post,

new bridge,

major varnish touch up,

regraduate lower bout on back,

shim under the finger board,

new endpin,

I think thats it..... I'd have to have the violin in hand to be ABSOLUTELY sure. It was what I learned on. I gained alot of repair knowledge on it. Even worse, I had to fit the bridge feet to the valleys in the top of the instrument from the old bridge! Yeee

-Archinto-

Greta,

Putting those pebbles (miscellaneous granite and quartz) in the fiddle kept me from changing my mind and smashing it to pieces. laugh.gif

[This message has been edited by Archinto (edited 02-09-2001).]

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Wolfnote,

Even I didn't know that viola bows dampened a violins tone until my boss told me.

A violin bow weighs about 59 grams. A viola bow weighs about 69 grams and is stiffer than a violin bow. They are designed to draw tone out of thicker strings. It'd be like trying to play your violin with a cello or bass bow. You can do it, but it's not recommended.

-Archinto-

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I never give an honest opinion on a bad fiddle unless it's asked for by the owner. The fiddle is too personal a thing. My violin has never been criticized by anyone I've let play it (and twice I've had offers to buy it on the spot), but if someone were to insult my instrument, that I know very well is a fine violin, I would be a little perturbed with them. I have a friend whose instrument will only make nice sounds when two people play it, the owner and me. It's difficult to draw a good sound out of a difficult fiddle, if you're trying it for the first time (or at least for most people it is). Don't despair, they weren't using the right bow, they hadn't practiced with it, and you know it to be good.

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There is always something to be learned from negative comments that apply to something we hold dear. The new knowledge may or may not be exactly what the "dissing" is about. It may be about the "disser' or about ourselves. But chances are there is also something to be learned about that which is dissed - so just take it in, don't take it personally, don't lose sleep over it and gain a new perspective from which to observe the surrounding and inner worlds and all they contain.

From such are new paradigms born!

Andy

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A dealer friend of mine, commmenting on how hard (impossible) it is to sell a violin when the purchaser feels he has to get the positive vote of everyone he knows in order to make the purchase: "You don't pass your girlfriend around to your friends for them to judge if she's OK for you--why would you submit your violin to that?"

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If your instrument sounds good to you, and you know it was just having an "off day" (i.e. wrong bow/other problems) on the day these other people played it, then don't get too frustrated at their negative comments. They played it for a couple of minutes each with the wrong bow and dismissed it. You've spent ages getting to know exactly how to get the best sound out of it. Who is the more qualified judge?

I like Mr. Darnton's comment--I doubt there is a musical instrument in existence that pleases everybody who hears it.

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Brad, no, I wasn't being very diss-respectful.

I was just trying to open a diss-cussion because I've really wondered in my many wonderings about the derivation, or diss-covery, of diss.

It's probably there in the leaves of my good ol' American Heritage dictionary, but I figure with all the collective intelligence and experience on this board, someone would cue me in readily and with some interesting sidelines as well.

But, more on topic, Michael Darnton, that is so absolutely true about passing one's girlfriend around and the violin connection!

If anybody said anything against my violin, I would be ready to fight and I don't even fight. She's so pretty; she's so fine. I hold her above all material treasures on this earth. Really. In a time of great escape, I know she is the first thing that goes with me, and you can bet all your money on that.

Best regards,

Theresa

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Theresa! Look at me. It comes from the word "disrespect." Don't diss-respect my instrument.

If anyone "dissed" my instrument, it would raise my hackles, elevate my blood pressure, and generally aggravate me for about a half minute. Then I'd get over it, because I have come to the point that I don't really care much about what most people think about most things anymore.

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I've been in a very few violin shops where the dealer has taken a delight in being snooty about customers instruments (not just mine). These have varied from small local shops to a very well known and well advertised West London shop, and it always makes me decide never to darken their doorway again. One made the fundamental mistake of being snooty about the maker of one of my violins when he saw it and praising him 15 minutes later because he was showing me a violin by the same maker and had forgotten what I had in the case.

Another downer I expect others have encountered is when a dealer starts to run down your violin as soon as he suspects there may at some time be the possibility of trading it against one of his. Suddenly there's no demand for them, they're never much good, are unfashionable or whatever. This tired old device is so transparent it's laughable.

Thankfully these shops seem to be in the minority, and the fact that many shops are remarkably honest about their instruments makes this kind of dishonesty (that's what it is in the end) even more obvious. These were also sometimes the shops where I have been recommended unnecessary work...

Max

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Brad, is that true? Diss comes from disrespect? I think that is very, very funny.

Everytime I hear that word from now on, it's going to make me smile.

I may be in trouble here. One day some person may telling me I'm dissing him or her, and I'll break out laughing because I'll have this little mental tape playing, "The derivation of diss comes from disrespect..." and I'll stand there with this angry person, big grin on my face, laughing even, and I'll get punched in the face. Body language really can be dangerous in an atmosphere of vast assumptions.

Best regards,

Theresa

PS: My violin is a jewel, but nobody else needs to know that. Archinto, I would have felt the same--honestly.

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I heard a viola player Diss-ing ALL violins a couple of days ago....not trying to start a war or anything. It seemed this particular person immensely preferred the sound of the viola to the sound of the violin...nothing wrong in that...it is a matter of personal preference, after all.

She had been introduced to my band leader as a possible addition to our little group. Our band director told us that he already had someone playing violin and asked how the sound compared

to the violin...(he had only ever heard a violin before and didn't know the difference). She then replied to my friend that The viola was a much more superior instrument to the violin in every way (this having been said in a very superior tone, as she played the viola)and that it had a much richer tone than any violin ever would have.

I may be an ignorant bumpkin, but my assumption was that the two instruments complimented each other...and what would be wrong in having both....I am just not sure I would want to have to be around such a superior attitude as this...have any of you come up against this sort of attitude among musicians before? this was a first for me. :roll eyes:

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