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Everything posted by zbd1960

  1. In this 'instant on demand age' few people seem to have the patience to wait 12 months or so for a hand-made instrument made by craftsman. They woudl rather pay a lot of money for a 'premium' mass market item, which however much it is 'customised' is not really a genuinely customised item, and is still essentially mass-produced with different final finishings.... My relatively inexpert view
  2. Had an update... it should be ready to pick up soon...
  3. Bit slow to update this... tonight will be the last rehearsal this term of my Monday evening orchestra. I play cello there and we're looking at Schubert Symphony No. 5, which is ideal for a small chamber orchestra like this. Last Friday was Chester rehearsal and the last before our short concert on 8th July. Last week's bass playing was a double hit. First it was Rock School, which includes a jam session at the end, followed by a one-to-one lesson. I know some people will think me weird, but I find playing from lyric sheets really hard going - there's not enough information on there for me as I'm used to reading notation.
  4. Nice piece of Boolean algebra!
  5. This discussion seems very reminiscent of the debates you used to get in hi-fi magazines back in the 80s and 90s mostly about valve vs transistor amps... (and LP vs CD). There was valid justifiable criticism of early CD recordings, which were awful (I'm talking about classical recording here). That eventually got sorted out. Older technology tends to have a distinctive tone. More modern technology tends to be much more neutral and less 'coloured'. It's most obvious in the differences between LPs and CDs, but it applies to amps as well.
  6. I should have added.... they all use Making Music as they're all members of it. MM has a blanket policy which each member group can pay a small piece of. Much cheaper than each group getting its own insurance. It's a racket though. Until about mid-90s local authorities etc all covered any PLI. Then they decided to only provide it for events they organised and everyone else had to get their own. The dishonesty here is that the local authorities don't actually take out PLI...
  7. All the choirs/orchestras I've been a part of have had to have PLI since the 90s... can't even rehearse in a school or church hall without it, let alone put on a concert
  8. Yep as it has extremely good acoustics - it was part of the design of the hall back in the 1930s, like the shape of the side walls to reduce reflections / standing waves. There's a permanently mounted PA system suspended form the roof and sound desk. Many (classical) concerts are broadcast live from there on Radio 3. I've only ever heard Clannad and Capercaillie performing there and that wasn't recently, but I don't recollect any sound issues.
  9. I should add by way of explanation... that in some form of just intonation, flats should be 'flatter' and sharps should be 'sharper'. For example Eb (the note I was dealing with above) needs to be flatter than an equal temperament Eb and the related D# should be sharper than its ET value. ET averages them out meaning they are slightly out-of-tune compared to just intonation.
  10. From what I can tell, some of this probably relates to trained and untrained sound engineers. Trained sound engineers will have done courses in the subject possibly to masters level. A friend of mine has a masters in sound production which was sponsored by EMI. He's fussy about sound being clear, clean, and neutral. He likes my hi-fi system as he says it's very neutral with good articulate bass. I am aware of a local guy that does sound for a local venue - he's utterly clueless. My friend offered to help him to improve the sound, but the guy thinks he knows what he's doing which translates as 'loud' and 'incoherent'.
  11. Your ears could well notice that. I’m working on some movements from a Bach cello suite with my cello teacher. The movement is in d min, but has a crucial Eb and my teacher has me playing it much flatter than I’d expect to for fingering Eb on the bottom C string. It makes a noticeable difference using ‘just’ intonation in this case. On a fretted instrument I’d have no choice, it would have to be an ET Eb which would be sharper and not as good.
  12. I have all my instruments insured. I have saxes on one policy, the cellos and viols on another, and bass gear on a third. They're all with Allianz. New Moon gets good reviews as well. If you are a member of the MU they offer insurance as well. My insurance includes being locked in unattended vehicle. I only have my piano on the house insurance rather than its own.
  13. I find that for most of my teachers aren't nearby - my singing teacher is 35 miles away and is about to move to being over 50... 😕 At least my cello teacher is nearer! For instruments like DB you may have to go further as there will be fewer of them. Also, I've found that if you're using e-mail links from web site like 'musicteachers' they could be out-of-date or they're not being forwarded.
  14. If your hand is tiring very quickly, then you're holding it wrong. You need a teacher as bowing is quite technical and it's easy to get bad habits. Although I play the viola da gamba, which uses an underhand bow technique (Simpson or Forqueray), it's not quite the same as DB German bow. For cello, I play normal overhand (French) style, which will be very similar to DB - but I am sure that there will be differences.
  15. My Jay Haide is minus the 'antiquing'. My German cello is just old and worn
  16. The weekend started with a chamber orchestra rehearsal on Friday where I play cello. This group meets alternate weeks. We're doing a suite by Delibes "Le roi s'amuse" and the movements are based around renaissance dance forms. One movement has a 4/2 time signature, which is pretty common with renaissance music (four minims to a bar). It's a quickish piece so the conductor decided she'd beat it in two, which in effect makes the time signature 2/1 - two semi-breves to a bar... the crotchets are quite short...
  17. Dowland's "Frog Galliard" played on a lute. Teh rolling score is in staff and English/French lute tablature (the letter indicates which fret - 'a' is open, b is first fret etc.). Note the use of flags to indicate rhythm. Tuning of a standard 6 course renaissance lute is the same as a tenor viol: GCFADG - two octaves from the G on the bottom line of bass clef.
  18. Today was the regular monthly sax ensemble meeting. We're widely scattered: Shropshire, North Wales, Liverpool, Lancashire... so we meet in a village hall near Manchester airport as it's just about equally inconvenient for all of us. We should be an octet of two each on soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes. Somehow I end up running the group and leading it. Partly it's because I have the most experience of performing in groups plus I've had some training in conducting. We were down to five today so instead of me bringing baritone I had to bring alto and tenor, but as it turned out I just played tenor today. Whilst we would like to play the odd gig, we know that it's difficult with only meeting once a month. We play an eclectic mix and I throw in some renaissance music, which is good for sight-reading practice. Why do I use renaissance music? Being polyphony, no one line dominates on the tune - each line is independent. This also means you don't have the 'vertical' harmony that people are used to with 'tune and accompaniment'. It means you have to count and be brave and play your part. The renaissance piece we did today was a pavan (a slowish dance) by the English composer Holborne which he published in 1599. A galliard is a much faster dance, which includes leaps/jumps. Might be a while before we do the Fairie Round (in thei video they've simplified the time sig to 6/8 it should be 6/4).
  19. err... whilst you don't always get what you pay for (seems to be an issue with guitars where fashion seems to be an element) my main experience is with orchestral instruments and as a general rule more money = better made
  20. I assume you're aware of the tyred wheel that has a spike to go into the the spike button on a bass? A couple of pro bass players I know that are London based use them.
  21. I realised a long time ago that what really matters is the player. I don't judge people on what kit they're using. Whilst I have more of an orchestral than band background, instruments etc. are expensive and people will buy and play what they can afford. Some people are happy with less expensive kit. In the world of basses and guitars, entry level instruments are eminently playable without issues (perhaps some tweaking from a tech). This is in part due to them being made in relatively large numbers so production costs are lower meaning you can get more bang for your buck. This is less true with orchestral instruments, partly due to the numbers being made being much smaller and many of them are largely hand made. Some instruments, even entry level ones are £££ - talk to anyone who wants to play bassoon, where 'entry level' is over £3k, 'reasonable' is £7k+, and 'good' is £15k+. The 'good' category is what a professional orchestral player would have.
  22. As a cellist I wouldn't have anything other than a hard case, and my basses all have them. Two of my basses have Hiscox cases, as does my cello. I don't know about the bass cases, but the cello case is rated to 500kg - not that I intend to test it out... My two viols have cases which are similar to these new cases: zipped with shaped foam interior. Yes, they're lighter than a solid case would be, but they're bulky and the zips are prone to failing. I'd get hard cases for them, but they have to be made-to-measure, which last time I enquired was over £500 each (Kingham). You can get carbon fibre cases for cellos, which are much lighter, but they're stupid money - decent one is around £2k.
  23. Nope! tbh the jury is mostly out on this one. There is perhaps some difference in the way that different metals respond to sound... but, like tone woods etc., it seems hard to actually measure and prove... The part of the sax that is serious voodoo is mouthpieces and reeds....
  24. Yes.... 'vintage brass is better than...', 'solid silver bell/neck...', 'gold plated....', 'unlacquered...' (aka 'raw')....
  25. Generally with musical instruments, you get what you pay for. The snobbery issue applies in other fields. I do a lot of photography adn there's little to choose other than personal preference and ergonomics between the major DSLR brands (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji). Then you get the Leica owners... Nice kit, but stupidly priced. Saxes have some similar issues. People go nuts and pay stupid money for 40 or 50 year old Selmer Mk.VI Yes, some of them have 'distinctive' sounds, but an awful lot of them are ergonomically poor and not special. The ergonomics and consistency of modern horns are much better than that of 'vintage' instruments, but people go nuts for the 'vintage' vibe. I've tried some vintage horns like Conns, King Zephyrs etc (the ones I tried were from 1940s to 1960s). The ergonomics on all but one sucked. One stood out as good, the others I wouldn't touch. Modern horns (Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Keilworth etc) are consistent, well made, and have much better ergonomics and are generally just much easier to play.
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