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Mendini MV 500 / 650 by Cecilio
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MrYikes
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April 17, 2018 - 8:25 am
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Hi Irv, Congrats on your new violin. That you said it was lighter than some others caught my eye, because mine is heavier than others here. I have owned mine for approx. 3 years and it was pre-owned for 2 previous years. The label starts 2000.
They stopped selling 650 after FMs video. Mine has been my most consistant go-to violin. Humidity has very little effect on it, or at least less than on the others. Response is slow, but since I only play slow tunes, it doesn't bother me much. The varnish is hard enough that you won't need to worry about chipping. I would suggest using one of the E strings that FM likes to get a sweeter sound. I can't go very high on the G string, but I never have a need to do that anyway. I have sanded the neck a little and of course changed bridges, sound post and tail piece.
I loved this violin from the moment I saw her and she has earned the name "Vanessa". I treat her with much more respect than that given to "Jane" (my plywood violin).
I was excited to see Mad Wed posting in this thread because she never posts anymore,,,,and then I saw the dates of the posts. It would be really cool if those people would someday come back to say hi. Have fun Irv.

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Irv
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April 17, 2018 - 6:20 pm
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Hello MrYikes (and others).  I think that this violin deserves "the treatment" (Fiddlerman strings that I got on a Black Friday sale, Knilling Perfection Pegs, Wittner Isny Shoulder Rest, and an Old Flesch chin rest).

Did Cecilio make a viola version of this?

The serial number on mine is 200053967.  And I am going to have to sand the neck of mine too (did not notice that before).

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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MrYikes
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viola, yes they have one.  I bought one but sent it back.  It was not comparable in quality (I just remembered that it was a 300 and had that 300 tone).  I also have a cello 650 which is good for what it is (student quality) but that is about all, if I was really into cello it would be time for me to upgrade, but I don't have the time to mess with it.  These are all price point products, but the 650 violin is to me a big step up in quality.  Don't get me wrong, they don't compare to FMs soloist.  But I do pick it up and play it more.  One thing you might want to do is record some very simple tunes right now, so that you can compare each change you make.  I would be interested in your thoughts, especially if you change the tailpiece with the heavy fine tuners to a very light weight tail.  On some instruments a heavy tail is a good thing for the sound.  Its been so long I cant remember and my playing has changed enough that I can't compare with the old recording.

I saw a wholesale catalog from a china factory once that had 40 different price points on violins ranging from $9 up to $19.  They also had some higher (top was $250).

I practice on tenor sax the most now, about half hour on french horn, and then cuss for a while on oboe, once in a while I'll toot the trumpet or trombone, I seldom pick up the clarinet, then I play at keyboard.  The flutes and alto saxes do not work well yet.  My sledge hammer may come in handy there.  Mandolin and guitar just sit and stare at me,,,and I stare right back at them and thumb my nose.  I got behind the drums last week and 3 minutes later I walked away from them.  I can kinda remember what i usta coulda but I sure can't now.  I save cello for the end, because my thumb gets sore on it and I have to stop, but I still find time for violin.  I just don't get technical with it anymore, I just play.  I sound terrible on all of them and that's okay with me...not so much my wife,,,but hey she married me for better or worse,,,this is the worse part.

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Irv
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April 25, 2018 - 1:14 pm
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I have been working on my Mendini MV650 for the past couple of days.  

I replaced the ebony pegs with a set of Knilling "perfection" pegs.  The only problem that I experienced is that the threaded upper part of the peg (where it meets the turning knob) on one of the treble pegs had poorly supplied paint and the underlying metal is exposed.  Easily fixed with hand applied paint, but I never experience that problem before (and, no, I can't return it since the set of pegs was an eBay purchase).

The original bridge had a nice arch in it which provided good action heights, but it was very thick and I wanted to try one of my roasted maple (with ebony inserts) bridges.  I conformed the bridge feet with a flat chisel and made final adjustments by rubbing the feet on a piece of 200 grit sandpaper applied to the front of the violin.  I super glued the ebony inserts into the bridge (roasting loosens them) and transferred a pencil line reference from the old bridge onto the new bridge.  I removed excess wood by chisel to get to the line.

I viewed a Youtube video by "Daniel" (an oriental violin maker) where he advocated shaping the finger board facing surface of the bridge with a "belly."  I wanted to have the center of the upper (curved) surface to have a depth of 1.5 mm with a tapered point on either end.  I wanted the depth of the foot end to be 4 mm in the center narrowing to 3 mm on either end.  My solution to this problem was to make a thin board (about 5 mm thick) with the dimensions of approximately 3 inch by 9 inch.  I applied painter's tape to the top of the board and another piece of tape to the flat (tail piece) side of the bridge.  I then superglued the two pieces of tape together.  With this jig, it was rather easy to obtain the correct geometry using an inverted hand sander.  Once released from the tape, I smoothed the upper curve and made a slight back relief to the bridge top with the sander.

I knew that the violin was very loud and very consistent across strings, so I made no other adjustments to the bridge.

I removed the existing ebony tailpiece and chin rest and substituted a rosewood tailpiece and matching flesch chin rest.  I slotted the chin rest to accept the Wittner Isny (viola) shoulder rest system.

I used Pirastro Tonica medium strings with a Pirastro "Gold" Wondertone E string.  These strings work very well and the E string has the nicest tone I have thus far experienced.

I am very please on how this project came out and will add a few photos in the next day of so.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Irv
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April 25, 2018 - 4:06 pm
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This is the front view of the fiddle.ml650-front-1.jpgImage Enlarger_

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Irv
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April 25, 2018 - 4:09 pm
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And the back.ml650-back-1.jpgImage Enlarger_

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Irv
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I realize that I have spent a lot of forum space on a second hand "beginner" violin that I picked up for less than the cost of the strings that I put on it.  But I like the appearance of it and, more importantly, the sound of it.  

I am currently reading "With Strings Attached" by the violinist Joseph Szigeti (1892-1973).  In it (on page 210) he tells about his visit with Einstein in Princeton and went through the stacks of music on his shelves and piano, and was amazed at the "catholicity and unerring good taste of this "amateur.""  After he sent the Professor his edition of Tartini's Concerto to add to the stacks, Einstein wrote:

                                                                           July 1, 1943

My hearty thanks for sending me the concerto which you played so incomparably.  I hope it will give me fresh courage to manhandle my fiddle with my old fingers:  the fiddle, incidentally, doesn't deserve anything much better!  

My current status as a violin student certainly relates to Einstein's comments on his fiddle, and I am really going to enjoy playing the MV 650.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Mark
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I understand that completely, I play a very old fiddle that has it's scars, but it plays like butter and so far I have not found one that I like the sound of better. I have tried several and each time when I play them for peoples opinion on tone and projection in doffredif locations so far my had always been the hands down favorite. So I guess I save my money and just play an old fiddle.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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MrYikes
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One of the reasons I bought the 650 was that FM mentioned in his video that the 650 had very good wood and that with age the sound would improve. I remember thinking that maybe I would improve right along with the violin...I think the violin is ahead of me.

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Fiddlerman
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April 30, 2018 - 9:52 am
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You guys are lucky to find Mendini's with a decent sound. One of my biggest issues besides the often poor set-up is their inconsistency. I'm happy for you guys though.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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Hi Fiddlerman (and all).  Until this violin, I thought that I was placing myself at a tremendous disadvantage by the purchase of second hand instruments since any rational owner would decide to keep "a good one" instead of surrendering it for a few dollars.  I  reasoned that I would be more likely to find an acceptable instrument by the repair of retailer returned goods.  I now believe that I was wrong on the purchase of second hand instruments (at least above middle price pointed Chinese violins).  

From what I have seen (with a sample of 5 so far), only 1 came with an upgraded bow and upgraded strings.  That is my least favorite of the group (and the one I paid the most for).  The rest came with stock strings, bridge, bows and rosin.  I don't think that a beginner can make a confident determination if a violin is promising or not when hampered with faulty accessories.  

I now think that the purchase of a non-upgraded second hand upper end Chinese violin puts you in the same lottery as the new purchaser to find a good one, with the added benefit of much lower cost.  It may have an additional benefit of less chance of moisture cracking (I would think that crack propensity decreases the longer between the present and the date of manufacture).

It also seems to me that a mass violin manufacturer would err on longer sound posts to reduce the proportion that fall during shipment (thus causing a costly return issue).  If so, correction would further increase sound potential.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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MrYikes
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I believe you would be happy if you were able to find a Yita violin second hand at a bargain price. No one should be forced to play on cecilio strings,,,ever.

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Irv
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Hello MrYikes (and others).  I just went to the yita web site and, indeed, it looks encouraging.  So far, it looks like they have a very cheap price for perlon viola strings (best I have found so far) and perlon violin strings.  And no shipping cost from china.  I am going to purchase some to try them.  I did not see mention to perlon cello strings, which I could really use for a project, so I am going to send them an email to see if they are available.

I don't see the reason for such a drastic increase in the price between violin and viola strings in domestic manufacturers (the viola set being nearly double the price of the violin set).  The wound C string is not much larger in diameter than the G.  The Yita pricing seems much fairer in my opinion.

Their case prices seem very good, but charge a lot for shipping.  If I were to purchase a new instrument (which is not in my nature), I would see if I could upgrade the case and combine shipping.

Thank you again MrYikes.  You have yet to fail me.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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MrYikes
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May 1, 2018 - 7:21 pm
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Hi Irv, I believe that the shipping charges from Yita are the total costs for making the item plus shipping, so that whatever is bid is profit. They have recently upped their shipping by $10. Their T or M 19 line is barely called good enough. The 20 line can be a bargain if no one else is bidding. The 22 line (masters) is a good quality but seldom a bargain. That is why I suggested buying second hand, though you do need to recognize that Yita buyers are not true beginners ie they know what they are doing.
I am guessing, but I think Yita sells Opera perlon strings and if you want to try them, I'll send you a set and you can send me a bridge in return. How's that? I used to use them a lot and liked them even though they were done in two months. But since they only cost $4 a set, I could live with it. I would buy 5 sets at a time, but the last time I got them they had changed somehow and were not close to what I was expecting. What you get with a name brand is consistency.
I have not tried cello perlon strings. I did not think anyone made them. I think they would stretch too much. I use Jargar a and d and shucks I forget what is the c and g. Hellacore maybe.  And yes I did a double take when first looking at the pricing of cello strings.

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Irv
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May 1, 2018 - 9:51 pm
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Hi MrYikes (and others).  I looked through my string box and I don't have any Opera strings, so a trade is in order.  I noticed that you take a black sharpie to your bridges.  Want to try a ebony bridge (I tried to roast a couple to see if I could even out the color, but I could not see any change in them)?  

I did find a set of Helicore D'Addario 4/4 cello strings on eBay a while back.  They were $40 but you had to live in Detroit since they were local pick-up only.  I watched them for a couple of months and finally sent the seller an email about what is the big deal to mail a set of strings.  I got them but it was a struggle.

One wonders if you could use a set of mandocello strings on a cello.  I have several sets of D'Addario EJ78 Mandocello strings and they are not that expensive (and you would have a free spare set with every order).  The length should be about the same and I believe they are tuned to the same notes (it has been a while since I tried to play a mandocello).  Another experiment to try.  

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Irv
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Hi again MrYikes (and others).  I spent the night searching the internet and I cannot find any reference of someone attempting to put a mandocello string set on a cello.  I have a Cecilio electric cello (purchased cheap with a broken peg box that I just repaired).  I am going to put a set of Knilling perfection pegs on it and string it up with mandocello strings.  If that works, I will do an acoustic cello with the other half set.  

If this works, I can see a lot of cello students (and their parents) saving money on this idea.

I wish that I had a cello bow with black hair.  Always something to purchase.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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Irv
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I did some measurements of the Helicore and the EJ78 Mandocello strings.

Helicore Cello Strings  (ball end)

C       42.5 inch long       0.055 inch diameter

G      42.5 inch long       0.037 inch diameter

D       42.5 inch long      0.034 inch diameter

A       42.5 inch long      0.030 inch diameter

EJ78 Mandocello Strings  (loop end)

C     36 inch wound 47 inch total   0.074 inch diameter

G     same as above                   0.048 inch diameter

D     same as above                   0.034 inch diamter

A     same as above                   0.030 inch diameter

I think that I can try the EJ78 on my electric cello but I will have to put the fine tuners back on to account for the loop ends (bummer).  A company called emando makes mandocello strings with ball ends and they have a "light" set with C 0.056, G 0.044, D 0.034 and A 0.020.  They make both flat and round wound strings.  I am going to email them and see their length.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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MrYikes
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There are several sellers of cheap cello strings on ebay. Alice strings is one of the largest. The sound is as cheap as the price but for a beginner without $150 to spend on strings, they will do in a pinch.

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coolpinkone
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@Irv I think your violin is beautiful.

Nice work.

cheers Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Irv
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Hello Coolpinkone (and others).  Thank you for the kind comment.  If I were a betting man I would drop out of the game having this one since I doubt that I can do better.  

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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