Written by Krista Moyer
Published: September 5, 2014 at 1:00 AM [UTC]
With all that going on, it’s only natural that I should explore what is out there, right? Sure, I’m the rankest of amateurs; I rarely play in front of anyone but my husband or teacher. But hey, what does it hurt to try?
I finally got the opportunity to see what I was missing. I was fortunate to visit a local maker, Don Leister, who was kind enough to allow me to take one of his full size violins for a home trial. I am delighted by the sound of this violin. It sounds similar to the one I have, but bigger. It’s hard to explain. It’s just more – more volume, more resonance, more color. It has a wonderful response, and speaks to me. It doesn't hurt that it's also beautiful.
There’s only one problem. This violin is too big. I don’t think it’s simply a matter of getting used to it. My hand aches after 15 minutes of playing. I can’t crank my elbow far enough under the instrument to play in high positions, especially on the G string. The pegs are so far away I have to take it down to tune because I can’t reach them all. Clearly I’m cursed with T-rex arms.
That’s not to say that I will never play anything larger than a 3/4. Don also makes 7/8 size instruments. I briefly played one that he made that had recently been acquired by a new acquaintance of mine. I believe I was told it was based on a Bergonzi pattern. It has a wonderful sound that easily measures up to various full sized instruments I have heard. While Don doesn’t have any on hand at present, he said he would call when he has one available.
As I told him, I'm not in a hurry. There is plenty of time to right-size my violin. In the meantime, I'm still having a love affair with my 3/4 violin. Shhhhh.... don't tell my husband!
Then, after weeks of agonising, I asked my local string shop if I could play their 7/8 and 3/4 violins...
To cut a long story short, I traded in my full size for a 7/8... And am delighted. Just sorry it took me so long to find out!
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