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Lex Carter


May 31, 2010 at 6:12 AM


It's a lot of things ..... the farmhand/lumberjack stuff I'm doing these days isn't great for fine muscle control. I'm worried sick about an instrument as delicate as a violin surviving the way I live, and the way I travel, by motorcycle. On an income of about $4k a year, yes that's year not month, I'm beginning to realize a violin is a constant money drain - lessons, strings, luthier help, etc. And I've gotten run this whole farm/junkyard on my own, and a violin isn't something you just grab and play in odd moments. 

I got a trumpet today. From some kid who claims his uncle left it to him. Do I believe him? Maybe. It seems a hybrid of two different Holton horns, maybe ol' Uncle had it extensively rebuilt. The silver solder looks good, and the one part that's broken is decorative and I don't care about. I can use the same oil I use on my motorcycle cables on its valves, musical plumbing. I can lip-buzz anywhere, and grab the horn or just mouthpiece and play/practice anytime. 

A couple of winters ago I taught myself to play one of these musical pieces of pipe, good enough to play "Yackety Sax" which many of you know as the Benny Hill theme. it takes time to build range, even the great, as I refer to him, Saint Armstrong gained about a whole note a year - he just had the advantage of starting very young. I don't care, I'll get range in time. 

It's a much more suitable instrument for a motorcycle-driving, tree-sawing, black belt in hoe 'n' shovel type like me. You gotta have an ear, which I seem to have. And you gotta have chops (trained lips) which thankfully don't get tired out like my arms/fingers do by the work around here. 

So I bid Adios to the fine violin folks here, great people and a great instrument. I only wish to become good enough to play with some of you someday, and to be able to tell "noodling around" from Dvorak. 

From elise stanley
Posted on May 31, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Good luck on your new musical journey... suddenly I feel awfully fortunate...


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on June 1, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Agree with the poster above, good luck!

All the best in your new journey!

I agree about the fact that it is not a small thing to take up the violin. It is quite a "contract" and it is totally understandable that one can really get taken by surprize. 

At least you tried and never let anyone tell you bad things because so many people complain and never even tried the violin to know how difficult it is!  So Bravo!


From Kristen O'Donnell
Posted on June 1, 2010 at 9:21 PM

Good luck in your new adventure! You were inspiring to me, and I wish only good things for you in your future.

From Dion Ackermann
Posted on June 1, 2010 at 10:05 PM

 As a motorcyclist and an ex-trumpet player just a bit of advice:- Do not put the oil that you use on cables on the trumpet valves, it is too thick and will clog it up. Trumpet valves needs a special type of oil that you can buy at any music store it is very thin and have a different base than motor oil.

Otherwise enjoy the journey you have a power full instrument and if you can hit the high C and it does not tire the chops you will have it made. Remember that you once touched a violin, you will return no matter how long it takes the spell has been cast !!

Cheers buddy and stay in the saddle.


From Lex Carter
Posted on June 4, 2010 at 7:07 PM

 thanks all! 


Dion - I don't use motor oil, that stuff's nasty! I use Break-Free, best friend your cables, military assault rifle, or trumpet valves ever had. Official trumpet valve oil is a number of things, including probably a certain level of non-toxicity. After all, elementary school kids use the stuff. It has to look good, smell good, not poison ya, and on top of that be a decent oil for valves. Since I'm an adult, and I don't care that the stuff looks like liquified snot, Break-Free is fine with me and trumpet valves love it. 

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