Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Cello Endpins- The Long, The Short, and The None

By Kevin Berdine, cellist, and Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins

Although the endpin is, seemingly, the least interesting part of a cello, have you ever seen a cello without one? Well, the humble endpin was not always a fixture of the cello. In fact, when we look throughout history, we can see that its use evolved quite a bit (and is still evolving)! 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Supporting Black Creatives and Performers Through ROSIN! Really Cool and Fun Rosin

 I, along with many people, celebrated the idea of making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth has traditionally been celebrated on June 19 and marks the day in the year 1865 when Union Army General George Granger read out General Order No.3 in Galveston, Texas. That proclamation announced the end of chattel institutional slavery in Texas, the last state to have "legal" slavery. Of course, it took the point of the guns of the United States Army for slaveholders in Texas to release their slaves. There have been many horrific twists and turns on the march towards freedom for all Americans, but Juneteenth has been a traditionally celebrated Black holiday to commemorate the ending of slavery as a legal institution in all and in each of the United States of America. 

Ted Ellis, Scholar in Residence at Old Dominion University talks about Juneteenth

Monday, June 14, 2021

Cello Stands- Show Off Your Cello!

 By Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins and Ivana Truong

Keeping a cello out and more readily playable can encourage more frequent, shorter practice sessions. In fact, with the right set up and care, storing a cello on a stand can be relatively safe and easy! 

Three of our cellos on K├Ânig & Meyer rubber/cork cello stands

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The 'Hochstein' Stradivarius Violin of 1715 - An Excellent Model

By Andy Fein (Luthier at Fein Violins) and Mikaela Marget 

In 1978 I (Andy) was a young guy with black hair, a passion for violin making, an intense curiosity about Antonius Stradivarius and Guarnerius del Gesu, and an apprentice violin maker in Chicago. I had even made a trip (read "pilgrimage")  to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England specifically to study the Messiah Stradivarius violin

At that time, the Chicago School of Violin Making was owned by the venerable violin shop of Kenneth Warren and Son. Once a week Kenneth Warren Sr. would bring wonderful instruments to the school for the apprentices to study. One cold Chicago day, Mr Warren came in, carefully opened a beautiful case, and pulled out an exquisite violin. He held the violin up and asked, "Any guesses?" I impulsively said "Looks like a Golden Period Strad. Looks like the Messiah, but it's not. Ummm, 1715? 1716?" It was the 'Hochstein' Stradivarius violin, made circa 1715. Thus I acquired the amused dislike of every other student at the school. 

Original Hochstein Stradivarius, photo from Andy's collection
Our 'Hochstein' Stradivarius model Violin 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Cellist Singer/Songwriters- Sometimes, a Cello is Just Plucked

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins and Mikaela Marget 

In orchestra settings, cello sections move fluidly between holding down baselines, playing a rich harmony texture, or jumping to the forefront to play an entrancing melody. In folk music, the cello is used as a chordal, melodic, or even rhythmic instrument (ever heard of "the chop"?). 

Ok, so the cello can play many roles in a variety of traditional contexts, but how does it function as a songwriting partner? Turns out there are Singer-songwriters who utilize the cello as a chordal accompaniment instrument. These musicians may convince you that it is time to ditch the guitar for something deeper...