Please feel free to share. “Game of Thrones Group Project”
I went “viola tasting” yesterday. I wanted to trade up my Eastman 101 outfit, plus, I was pretty sure my 16” was too large. It was very interesting.
First, the 15 1/2” violas sounded just as full as the Eastman 16”, granted it was not a super high quality, but is a quality violin. The luthier brought out an assortment of 15” and 15 1/2” up to the price range I emailed them about when setting up my appointment. The 15 1/2” is very comfortable. Amazing what that 1/2” difference from the 16” made.
The very first 15 1/2” viola I tried was glorious! So mellow. Such a deep sound and so full. Loved it. I purposely did not look at the price or the label. I had an idea of one I was interested in based on the brand and did not want to be swayed. I set it aside and tried another. Not so much, very bright and not very full. I tried a 15” and it was not as full sounding, as expected. It was also not as comfortable in my hands as the first one I tried.
The Luthier brought in another. It was $900 over my price point. He warned me and just said to try it. I looked at it. It was lovely. The one I fell in love with was my tip top point I emailed them with. I could see the difference. The varnish was lovely. The color was beautiful. I looked at my husband and said, “This is nice! I hope I don’t like it.” LOL I always set my price point a bit low, but I did not want to go higher if I could help it.
I tried the viola. It was too bright. The nice soulful mellowness that I like for the type of songs I love was missing. THANK GOODNESS, seriously. My husband would have gone for it, if I liked it, but I really did not want to. I set it back on the table and played viola number one again and still, I loved it. Tried the upper end viola again, still not so much. I played the low strings, the high strings. Reached up to where high notes would be and I could reach and touch the strings and bow them. No intonation there because I have no idea about fingering at that end by the body, but wanted to make sure I could reach all strings there. Viola number won out on all tests.
So I chose viola number 1. Well, I had searched the violin shop’s website before hand to see what was available in my price range and size. This happened to be one I was interested in based on the description, which really is not 100% ever for describing sounds of instruments, but terms like bright, warm, etc give clues. I looked at the viola number one label, it said it was the Rudoulf Doetsch, that is my lovely violin brand that I absolutely love for its tone, too! That was the one I was thinking I wanted. The one I did not want? It was a Jay Haide that I have heard and read so much about. That was interesting to me.
It had to have been the Maggini style Jay Haide because the site has said the Stradivarius model has been out on trial for the last two weeks and is not available. I actually wanted to try the Maggini model, but it was more than what I was willing to pay, so brushed it off in my mind. It was neat to give it a try. I still love the look and feel of it, the sound, not so much. I know strings and setup could change it, but I knew the Rudoulf was what I was looking for. The brightness of it just turned me off. It actually made me not be able to play it very well. I am very sensitive to what sounds I want in an instrument. It is very annoying. I annoy myself a LOT. my husband must really be annoyed at times!
I bought my Rudoulf Doetsch violin there, so they knew I had that. They were surprised I selected the Rudoulf Doetsch viola.
I said that there is something about those Rudoulf Doetsch I like, I guess. I love the feel of the necks, the weight, the sound. So weird. Something about their aged European wood for the mellow sound? Have no idea.
They said they have a Rudoulf Doetsch cello, if I am interested. I told them I had three cellos, my Andrew Schroetter 1983 German made, and two non-label ones, all set on cello. I love my Schroetter cello, and Rudoulf Doetsch violin and viola.
I am taking the viola in when the weather breaks again, yesterday was a calm between storms. I am going to get geared pegs installed. Love them on one of my cellos. So easy to tune.
Hi @cid and others. I am so happy that you did your own testing. I am convinced that we all have unique bowing characteristics and that “one size does not suit all.” The judgement of a third party, such as a teacher, can produce huge errors.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. —Frank Zappa
It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott
Indeed @Irv and @cid - it is indeed all down to individual taste - that is PRECISELY what makes each of us players different - I love the detailed investigation you went in to @cid - you HAVE to feel and hear it in your hands - although - in my remote little corner of the world, that is not really possible... 🙂
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
@BillyG @Irv People do what they can. I had to expand the driving radius to find this shop. I hope my explanation as to what I did helps others. That is why I go into detail at times in my posts. I almost looked at the label in viola number one before I tested it. Then I thought that if I do, and it is the one I was thinking of, I would be prejudiced for sure because it is the same maker as my violin, and I love that. Likewise, with the model over my set budget. I read and heard so many things about Jay Haide. All highly recommending it. That would have contaminated my testing, too.
I didn’t recognize either by the photos I saw, but varnishes never look exact on the same two because of grains anyway.
If someone wants bright, they will recommend bright sounding instruments, warm mellow enthusiasts will recommend warm mellow. Even that is subjective.
That gives me an idea for a poll. Will have to set it up in a little while. Something I have been wondering about.
Nice trip @cid . Now we want to hear and see that viola, though 🙂 .
Myself I went bow tasting yesterday, selected the one that suited my viola best - warmer and softer sound. It's remarkable how the bow can affect the sound. Much less than the violin/viola of course, but still.
Remind me if you're playing with a carbon or wood bow ? those two sorts are quite different.
@wtw I am using a carbon, but prefer wood. A good wood costs too much. I have some nice wood cello bows, but my fiddle and fiddola (viola played like fiddle) have carbon. Maybe some day. Carbon ones are just so light and feel different. I could add some weight, but it still does not feel like wood. Been there, tried that.
Congrats on finding a nice bow. Yep, they make a big difference. I am looking forward to the day I get a nice one. I am set on instruments now, so maybe next year.
What brand and weight bow did you get? I tend to need a heavy bow in order for it to register as being in my hand. Probably a carry-over from my cello.
Nice trip @cid . Now we want to hear and see that viola, though 🙂 .
You might see it, but I doubt you will ever hear it. I have enough issues playing my fiddle in front of my instructor. I have recorded myself to share with my grandchildren, kiddos, a sister and sister-in-law, but that is probably as far as that will go. Not web posted, though. Also, the minute I touch record, everything I worked on is gone.
I am also careful about how much info I post on webs. I don’t think I posted too much personal ID info here. Videos and photos of myself are not going to happen. I do not do Facebook, Twitter, or any of that. Took me months to register here. I am just very private.
I had to unsubscribe from a machine embroidery emailing list run by the former owner of the shop I go to. She is great, and soooo talented in all fabric arts. All her how-to videos and live videos are done through her Facebook, not her website. So, I left the group last month, and emailed her to explain why so that she would not wonder why. We used to do lunch, so she does know me l, and would have noticed.
Not web posted, though. Also, the minute I touch record, everything I worked on is gone.
I am also careful about how much info I post on webs.
Totally fine by me (I'm on the private side too so I get what you mean), but I just had to ask 😉 . My own compromise is sharing in a restricted way - to specific people or for just a few days.
A hint of solution to the "record button syndrome" would be to hit that button very often, so that you tend to forget you're recording. Or record long sequences, playing the same tune several times over to get the stress to lessen, and cut out the worse parts afterwards. De-dramatize it, too - a few wrong notes are part of the "humanness" of playing the instrument 🙂 the audience doesn't want perfection or they'd listen to a CD instead.
In any case, recording just for private purposes is useful too, even if you don't share it with anyone. Good to see oneself from a different angle, helps with posture and the like.
Just went to weigh my bow : 69 grams, so it's lighter than the one I used before. I don't care much about the number though.
@wtw I have been pretty busy sharpening up my violin intonation and working on my two Graffiti quilts, so have not taken a photo of Rudoulfola yet. I might take a picture of her with her brother, Rudoulf. I should call, “Rudoulf” “Rudoulfine” because I usually refer to it as, “her”. I have Rudoulfola and Rudoulfine.
My instructor is going to work on Danny Boy with me and teach me how to put trills into it, am not ready for vibrato yet. My fingers will not move right. I tried a slow motion a few times. Not even going to bring vibrato up to my instructor. But I want to make sure my intonation is greatly improved by my next lesson. Watched Fiddlerman’s video on it. We will see.
Oh, “sharpening up my intonation” seems to be a poor choice of words, wouldn’t you think? I should say, “honing” my violin intonation. I don’t want to be sharp.