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Strings How to make a cheap violin sound like a Strad

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
"A wood scientist has discovered a way of making a relatively inexpensive violin sound like a Stradivarius by treating it with fungi."

Any bets on how long it will be before this treatment is available for your Chinese horn - and by whom it will be offered?



 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
This whole Stradivarius thing is a can of worms. I read in the Cambridge History of 20th Century Music that in fact only about seven of the exisiting 200 or so Stradivarii have not been altered in some way in the 19th century, some of them in a big way. Fungi may work. A competent violinist would be safer bet.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,625
Combining the last two posts....."A wood scientist has discovered a way of making a relatively inexpensive violin sound like a Stradivarius by treating it with a can of worms".... I like the resulting concept. :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Why - when we already have necks, mouthpieces, reeds, pads, reflectors, delacquering, choice of body materials, choice of plating materials, sound enhancing stones and weights, and all the 'innovations' on the TW sax - do we need worms for saxes? Maybe it's time for a Formula Ford or Fromula V type of competition... Take the top players, give them a standard sax, standard mouthpiece and let them play against (not with) each other. Pianists have to do it, why not sax players?
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
A link to the article.

Pretty interesting IMO. Anything that can make better instruments cheaper is probably a good thing. We do like to complain about the price of vintage Selmers, but we've got it easy compared to string players.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
And so we'll get invites too all the jamm sessions. Because we're sax player who's the fungi to be with.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,946
Interesting subject this and one I find curious.

Generally with musical instruments, hand-made and new = good. There seem to be two general exceptions: stringed instruments of the violin family and saxes!

Now, I don't think I'm experienced enough yet to comment on saxes, but I'll have a go at stringed instruments.

First - my instrument the viol (aka viola da gamba). Since they basically ceased to be fashionable around 1700 there are very few original instruments around. Many bass viols were heavily modified to turn them into cello-shaped objects and the great bass (violone) lost its frets and two strings and became the doublebass. There are some in museums. So, all viols are modern replica instruments. They are either Czech, Chinese, or hand-made by a luthier. The Chinese instruments are hand-made and very good, albeit slightly inconsistent, so you need to try them out. A Chinese bass will set you back about £2,500. Luthier made instruments are in a different league and expect to pay £6,000 upwards.

So, why does everyone insist on having antique members of the violin family, to the extent that most people buying a new instrument from a luthier will insist on it being 'antiqued'? A modern Chinese 'factory' cello is about £600 upwards. I have a fully hand-made Chinese cello and that was £1,600. A luthier made cello would cost about £10,000 upwards (there is a local luthier about 5 miles from me and he quoted "from £12,500"). A "cheap" German cello from say early C20th will be about £5k up and anything decent C19th £20k+. The luthier/dealer where I bought my instrument stocks items in the £100k bracket.

There is a suspicion that the reason that Strads etc sound good is that the wood for the sound board is particularly finely and evenly grained.

I would really like to see a proper double-blind test comparing old against high quality modern hand-made instruments. I suspect some aspects of the emperor's wardrobe are threadbare...
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Why - when we already have necks, mouthpieces, reeds, pads, reflectors, delacquering, choice of body materials, choice of plating materials, sound enhancing stones and weights, and all the 'innovations' on the TW sax - do we need worms for saxes? Maybe it's time for a Formula Ford or Fromula V type of competition... Take the top players, give them a standard sax, standard mouthpiece and let them play against (not with) each other. Pianists have to do it, why not sax players?
Kev,
Concert pianist often pick the hire model that the they will play and a piano technician is brought in to adjust it to their requirements.

Sorry Kev, your theory won't work.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Kev,
Concert pianist often pick the hire model that the they will play and a piano technician is brought in to adjust it to their requirements.

Sorry Kev, your theory won't work.
The top ones can - like Barenboim, Argerich, Lebeque sisters etc. Zimmerman travels with his own in his van, and has multiple keyboards set up to change the way his piano plays, depending on what he's playing - takes his own technician with him as well.

We've a really interesting DVD (Pianomania, soundtrack's in German sadly, although parts are English where people like Lang Lang are being filmed) documenting/following Steinway's top technician in Vienna Stefan Knuepfer, as he helps Alfred Brendel and others by selecting the pianos and setting them up. A lot of the DVD was spent in selecting and setting up a piano to match the concert hall where a Bach recording was to be made by Pierre-Laurent Aimard - and the work involved keeping the piano absolutely right during the recording. Names escape me, but part of the DVD was an accompanist being told that a partcular piano that the accompanist wanted was reserved for Brendel. And the accompanist had to use a house piano, albeit a perfectly maintained steinway concert grand. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pianomania
- highly recommended if you can understand German, but no English subtitles...

But most just have to play what's in the hall - including talented players entering prestigious competitions.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
The top ones can - like Barenboim, Argerich, Lebeque sisters etc. Zimmerman travels with his own in his van, and has multiple keyboards set up to change the way his piano plays, depending on what he's playing - takes his own technician with him as well.

We've a really interesting DVD (Pianomania, soundtrack's in German sadly, although parts are English where people like Lang Lang are being filmed) documenting/following Steinway's top technician in Vienna Stefan Knuepfer, as he helps Alfred Brendel and others by selecting the pianos and setting them up. A lot of the DVD was spent in selecting and setting up a piano to match the concert hall where a Bach recording was to be made by Pierre-Laurent Aimard - and the work involved keeping the piano absolutely right during the recording. Names escape me, but part of the DVD was an accompanist being told that a partcular piano that the accompanist wanted was reserved for Brendel. And the accompanist had to use a house piano, albeit a perfectly maintained steinway concert grand. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pianomania
- highly recommended if you can understand German, but no English subtitles...

But most just have to play what's in the hall - including talented players entering prestigious competitions.
They should have been touring the west of England in the 60s - that would teach 'em. Pretentious sods!
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Kev,

Suggest you alter your signature to:-

Man is limited by his ears.................

Charlie Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenberg-Mountbatten-Windsor is a classic example.
 
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