Metzler's violins in Glendale hosted two amazing seminars last week, after the NAMM Show in California, both on strings.
One seminar was from Thomastik-Infeld, and consisted of a great seminar about string construction, especially, tension and string height. The last part was about differentiating the Thomastik-Infeld line - what strings to use where, and when.
As good as that seminar was, the next night's seminar may have been even better. Aside from the freebies (strings), Savarez, the parent company of Aubert, Corelli, and Bernadel & G (the rosin), gave lectures on a history of Mirecourt and Aubert. They also showed the line of Aubert violins, violas, and cellos. I thought the top of the line Aubert sounded quite good; the other violins and perhaps the viola, perhaps less so. The cello was drop-dead gorgeous.
The highlight though, was the demo of the new prototype strings, with some sort of unnamed multi-fiber core, on the violin and viola. The demonstrator was the concert master of the Pasadena Symphony, Aimee Kreston, who, btw, was superb. After several selections, she played soley on one string, which was immediately changed for the new prototype Corelli string. This was repeated for each additional string. She then played the same thing on the new string. Tom Metzler probably set a record for speedy string changes. Interestingly, the G and D strings were PI strings.
The transformation was incredible. Though the prior A was smooth - this was a dominant - the new Corelli was transformative - much more alive, better overtones. The biggest change was on the G. Though the violinist basically refused comments on anything she played or the strings prior to this, she stopped in the middle of playing sul G and said, "Wow." She said it was alive under her fingers. Right then and there, she asked, sotto voce, on a set for her violin.
The E transformation was *much* less noticeable; the old E brand was unknown, and the new E was the Aramid line from Corelli - (Alliance Vivace). It did sound smooth, but not much difference. When I tried to play the violin later, it felt very alive, great overtones both under the ear and in the audience.
Has anyone heard about these new prototypes? To me, they were remarkable. I am curious how they might do on other violins. Metzler speculated that they might be of lower tension, and on certain violins, sound unbelievable. Pricing is expected to be between the nylon Corellis and their Aramid line. They won't be released for another 2-3 months, and the name isn't set. Also interesting: same material used for guitar and violin strings!
Amongst other items - he (Bernard, the CEO) told us why many luthiers are closed on Mondays - blame the patron saint of luthiers - and included some interesting facts on the pressure exerted on a bridge by strings (uneven, which is why the bridge is shaped the way it is).
It was a fairly awesome evening. I wonder why more luthiers and violin shops don't do this. Tom and Barbara Metzler were incredible hosts. The evening was capped with a sample of a variety of French wine (ok, some of us had more than one, lulz) baguettes, and cheese.