Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bach's Walks

Written by: Andy Fein, Amy Tobin, and Angela Newgren

What is the craziest thing you have done to hear a concert? Perhaps you have hopped in your car and driven hours just to get to the venue.  Maybe you camped out in front of the ticket booth the night before the tickets went on sale. Or, for those raised on a strict diet of internet access, you might have been at the website, all info filled in, ready to hit the 'order now' button at precisely the moment the clock changes.

No matter what extremes you have gone to, I'm willing to bet that Bach has you beat. The famous composer, organist and music legend once walked 300 miles (!) all in the name of music.

Along with music, walking was one of Bach's hobbies. From the time he was young,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Round or Octagonal Bows?

Written by Amy Tobin

Design question- Octagonal bow stick or Round bow stick - We get asked this question a lot!
The answer is really whichever bow sounds best with your violin (or viola, or cello), and whichever bow feels best to you (hopefully they are one and the same!).

This photo is an example
of a round stick:


Violin bow with round stick


And here is an example

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Violin Backs: Two Piece or One Piece

One of the great debates of violin making is whether a one piece or a two piece back is better. The quick answer is neither. It will be a much better choice to buy the violin whose sound and looks you love.
There are just too many other factors that go into the making of a violin to isolate whether a one piece or two piece back is better.

To understand this more, I decided
to do a little studying of  Stradivarius. I dug out the old

Monday, May 23, 2011

Plugging in and Making Noise!

 Written by Amy Tobin

Now you have your electric violin. The question is, what do you do with it?
The good news is, once you've plugged in, the world is definitely your oyster!
Do you want to play cleanly and clearly, with a smooth sound a little bit of reverb? You can do that.
Do you want to turn it up loud and start shredding like your favorite electric guitarist? You can do that, too! Really, when it comes to the kinds of sounds you can create when you are plugged in, the only limitation is your imagination!

Now that you are plugged in, there are a few essentials that I would suggest for you.

Electric Violins Part II - Solid!

 Written by Amy Tobin

Electric violins are cool! Sometimes you just need to plug in and make a sound that people can hear, which is when you might want to use a pickup. Sometimes, however, you want to plug in and make a really rockin' sound that EVERYONE can hear!!! Yes, that is when you will probably want to use a full on, solid body electric violin!

Now, the difference between a pickup (or an acoustic/electric) and a solid body electric violin is

Sunday, May 22, 2011

William Gilkes, Violin Maker

William Gilkes Violin


Written by: Andy Fein and Angela Newgren


The English school of violin making has a wonderful lineage of great families of luthiers- the Dukes, the Panormos, the Furbers, the Betts, the Dodds, and the Forsters. One of the finest violin makers in the Forster shop was Samuel Gilkes. Samuel Gilkes' son, William, followed his father into violin making. Born in 1811, William produced many fine instruments with his time as a luthier. He was also

Monday, May 9, 2011

Music Stands- The Wood, The Bad or The Ugly

Written by: Stefan Aune

In the music world there are few things as irritating as those cheap, collapsible wire and metal music stands. They are difficult to put together, they don't hold enough music, and once assembled they tip over at the slightest touch. Practicing or performing with your music on one often amounts to

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Violin,Viola & Cello Pegs - Tips for a Peaceful Coexistence

Written by Angela Newgren, Andy Fein, and Amy Tobin

Having trouble with your pegs? Here are some tips that might help, whatever the problem is!

Be sure you are applying even pressure on the scroll. This means supporting the opposite side of the scroll when you are turning and applying pressure to a tuning peg. For example: If you are tuning the A string on a violin, make sure your left palm is applying pressure to the pegs of the G and D strings. The even support keeps

Electric Violins Part I - The Pickup Artist

 Written by Amy Tobin, violinist and manager of Fein Violins:

It's really hard to stand in front of a microphone and play. You have to be close enough, but not so close that the mic hits your violin, you have to stand pretty still when you play,  you have to sometimes maneuver your bow around in different ways, and sometimes you want to sing at the same time. Well, lucky for you (and me!) there are options.

There are two basic ways to go about plugging in so you and your beautiful sound can be heard; pickups and solid body electric violins. This post will cover some of the basic information for pickups.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

E Strings....What's the Deal?

Written by Amy Tobin, violinist and manager of Fein Violins:

Ah, the E string. It is both bane and boon to a violinist, and the type of E you use can tip the scales in either direction.

Yes, it is true that you can buy your favorite brand of violin strings in a set, E string and all. So why a special post specifically for and about the E? Well, picking an E string can be a little like standing in the middle of the cereal aisle at the supermarket. A seemingly endless array of choices when all you really want is a good, healthy breakfast!

Monday, May 2, 2011

When Should I Change My Strings?

Written by Amy Tobin, violinist and manager of Fein Violins:

So, you've been playing on that violin, or viola, or cello of yours for awhile when you suddenly break a string. You bring it in to the shop to have it replaced and they ask you "How long ago did you change your strings?" 'Geez,' you think to yourself 'I don't think I've ever changed them.' If that's what you're thinking, then it's definitely time!

One of the most basic parts of a string instrument, the strings, tends to be the most overlooked. Most new players figure if it's not broke, don't fix it! While this may be true in a lot of other instances and situations in life, it is not true when it comes to violins, violas, and cellos.