Instrument Acquisition Syndrome

August 27, 2007 at 05:44 AM · Instrument Acquisition Syndrome is endemic in some of the areas I frequent. I know of folks who have closets full of various string instruments, and who go to great lengths to justify their obsession. I myself have been infected with this dis-ease, and have perhaps more toys that I can justify without breaking into a sweat.

For all that, I haven't read that this is a known problem in the violin world. Of course, those who suffer from this malady may feel awkward in discussing it in public.

True confession: my name is Bob, and I'm an instrument addict. Worse, I may be an enabler. I have in my possession a half-dozen violins, three violas and a cello, and I don't even play bowed instruments(!).

I started off by getting deeply involved with my granddaughter's violin playing, and bought her various fractional violins as she grew. Now she's playing a full sized instrument, or two, or three; each of them different, of course, and most of them worthy of some consideration. I doubt she needs more than one or two; it's always reasonable to have a spare.

Of course it doesn't end there, but that's as far as I'm going to commit myself, until I hear from other sufferers. If there are any.

So. Am I alone, or do others amass numbers of violins, to the extent that they begin to wonder about their sanity or fiscal well-being?

Replies (92)

August 27, 2007 at 05:57 AM · Used to, but I sold all my worldly possessions except a harmonica and a gun.

August 27, 2007 at 06:02 AM · LOL JIM AHAHAHAHAHAHHA.

August 27, 2007 at 06:24 AM · Most people try to complicate their lives. I try to simplify mine. It ain't easy. But the gun makes it easier.

August 27, 2007 at 06:25 AM · I have a problem with bows...

August 27, 2007 at 07:09 AM · Playing in only one key would certainly help keep things simpler.

August 27, 2007 at 07:22 AM · You can play in two keys on a harmonica. Its key, and also a blues scale a 5th away. The latter is what you usually hear, actually. Somebody called it the most impressive misuse of anything in history :)

August 27, 2007 at 07:31 AM · Yeah, I saw a good example of that on Friday.

But now you're making things complicated again.

August 27, 2007 at 07:35 AM · I compensate by going to the bathroom outside.

August 27, 2007 at 08:37 AM · Wish I were - unfortunately, I just don't seem to be able to afford it, and I've yet to turn to a life of crime...

August 27, 2007 at 10:12 AM · is it my misconception, boy here we go again, that this syndrome affects males more than females even though the latter has issue with handbags and shoes? heheheeh

August 27, 2007 at 10:27 AM · lol, I wouldn't say I am an addict but I have had serveral instruments pass through my house. I have (right now) A bass clarinet, and alto clarinet, a tuba, a euphonium, and valve trombone, a tuba, a fife and my violin. I used to have a flute and 2 bassett horns but I sold them..

August 27, 2007 at 11:47 AM · I'm more than happy to have someone sponsor my disease. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to buy me instruments.

August 27, 2007 at 11:59 AM · My friend has what he calls "gas" Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. He is a talented player, so I understand his obsession with auditioning (via purchasing) every guitar and amp ever built. There's a huge emotional "it’s my birthday" payoff when receiving a new instrument, and an even bigger payoff when said instrument turns out to be a great sounding thing.

It's interesting that you don't play. I don't fence or spar, so perhaps my old habit makes just a little sense. I used to repair antique weapons, and found myself stocking up on arms. I started collecting simply because I wanted to learn how they were made, and ended up with room plastered in vintage edged weapons. It was a surprisingly inexpensive hobby, since I usually purchased broken or misidentified arms. It really catered to my interest in anything and all things involving history, and high quality craftsmanship.

I just started repairing instruments, but this habit seems much more under control than my old arms habit.

As for bows, I like buying vintage ones and repairing them. They are relatively cheap, and they're fun to try out. Some people are searching for perfection, and other people are just having fun with their bad habit.

It might be time to sell some of those old acquisitions.

August 27, 2007 at 12:27 PM · I too am guilty of this illness. I presently have 9 violins; started out buying Ebay violins, believing the hype that many sellers put out about them being soloist and concert quality, but acquiring them was so much fun,a real high as it were. Finally got a wonderful Heberlein fiddle from Pahah Hound,and then my lifetime violin from Ed Dietrich, but I play them all occasionally,and one day I will give some of the lesser violins to a school or child that needs them. And yes, I will probably acquire more in the future because, after all, when can one ever have enough violins?

August 27, 2007 at 04:47 PM · " I compensate by going to the bathroom outside."

Hmmm......somehow this admission does not surprise me......

August 27, 2007 at 08:13 PM · Now, that's not true. Everything surprises you.

August 27, 2007 at 08:05 PM · Guilty as charged!

I have two violins - my 'good' fiddle attributed to August Gemunder, ca 1920-1930; a chinese student violin that I filed the bridge down on to make a 'fiddle' (not a professional job or very pretty bridge anymore, but it certainly helped for getting those string crossings!)

I have an old Jackson-Guldan viola that I picked up as surplus from Michigan State - it's pressed instead of carved, but has a reasonable sound for a student instrument. I'm also looking for a fixer-upper fiddle on E-bay, preferably another another from the Gemunder shop, but it has to fit into my budget. There's a few I'm keeping my eye on ;) A new viola will be my next acquisition after that, and I want to get a bass...

As far as non-stringed instruments, I also have a student flute (Emerson), a semi-pro flute (solid silver, open-holed, b-foot Gemeinhardt), a student Alto sax and a student Tenor sax. And an accordion that needs some repair (it was left to me by my great grandfather). With the exception of the accordion, I play all of them with reasonable proficiency. :)

August 27, 2007 at 09:03 PM · Here's another guilty party to make you feel better Bob! I had a piano, bought 2-3 recorders last year (soprano, alto, tenor) and of course started on violin tentatively so bought a Chinese. My son got inspired despite my beginner's efforts so I got him a half size. Next came my daughter, 3/4 size (that's 3 if you're counting). I desperately wanted a better instrument and bought off the equivalent of e-bay here (Poland) and got conned. Next I worked many hours late evening to save up for a luthier made instrument which I bought direct from the luthier this time. So I finally got my dream instrument and until I get around to getting shot of the con one that makes 5. Of course if one of the children keeps up they'll eventually need a bigger size ...

August 27, 2007 at 09:28 PM · Of course if one of the children keeps up they'll eventually need a bigger size ...

The lucky ones are those of us with kids who play; "But honey, the kids can play it when they get older...."

August 27, 2007 at 09:33 PM · In my house are three violins, three guitars, two pianos, a flute, and a banjo. They're not all mine, but I guess my family has the syndrome collectively!

August 28, 2007 at 01:40 AM · I have a number of violins. Though I keep a number out of sentimentality. One was my fathers violin, and one was a half size that my grandfather bought for me. The other was a quarter size violin that I thought was TOO cute to NOT buy. I admit that was a bad buy....esp since I have no children and doubt it will be used any time in the future. Then I have a strange violin that I found when working in a music store. This guy brought it in and asked how much it would be to fix. I had a price quote made up and called him. He never responded and when he finally called back a year or two later, he said to just get rid of it. I looked at it and said, why the hell not get it fixed for myself. Well that instrument went with me to the Caribbean and though awful serves its purpose. The only other violin I have is the one I used for performing.

I suppose there is also a thing which I can only call violin envy. Wanting a better violin or wanting a more expensive violin. Luckily I do not suffer from THAT affliction!

August 28, 2007 at 01:56 AM · Bob, instead of calling it "Instrument Acquisition Syndrome", you might consider calling yourself a "collector".

I have maybe 300K of violins and bows that I have for nothing more than educational or sentimental value, so I find it hard to criticize.

Of course, I could be afflicted also. ;-)

August 28, 2007 at 03:42 AM · O David, I am indeed a collector, though "Hoover" might be more appropriate, as, sadly, as a player I suck, rather.

Education probably best describes my motivation; it started simply enough, but now I have something like 2 dozen mandolins (mostly old Italian; even in the plucked chordophone world, the Italians have that cachet. . . . Fortunately they're cheap, relative to violins anyway. Truly delightful to see and hear the infinite variations on the theme. Since they've not been standardised, there's no limit to the changes rung on the instrument.

Anyway, my granddaughter is happy enough, and as she'll be growing up and away way too soon, I'll probably have to learn to play the damned violins, as I've become addicted to the sound.

Gratifying to see so many other sufferers. Maybe we should start a "fiddle of the Month" club; everyone packs up a violin and sends it along to the next personon the list; in a year you'd get your fiddle back (if there were twelve of us) and lots of different ones in the meantime . . .

Might help feed the addiction at no additional cost.

Jim W would have to promise to continue using the outdoor facilities, of course. Don't want my case mistaken for a chamber pot.

August 28, 2007 at 03:58 AM · I'm proud of myself. Once I got an instrument I felt I could learn on, I stomped the syndrome to pieces--one of the first disciplined things I've done consistently. I still have uh,several guitars though.

My approach will be that if I get through Suzuki 10 maturely, I will tolerate the idea of an upgrade to something even nicer; and, will have better discretion in choosing as well.

August 28, 2007 at 04:15 AM · Bob, it was a typo. What I meant was I'll use the bathroom outside just one time to get the universe back in order after mentioning scales and 5ths to Emily.

August 28, 2007 at 04:28 PM · I only have two violins, because I haven't got round to selling the old one. (Well it was supposed to be useful for travelling, and storing strings (not), but now the latest justification is that I'm keeping the case so I might as well keep a violin in it.)

Bob, you implied that your affliction went beyond acquiring violins. I might be in that category.

I own several sets of finger cymbals (the E flat ones are my favourites), drums, tin whistles, a train whistle and the most useless purchase of all time - a bagipe chanter bought in an airport shop. Do tap shoes also count as a percussion instrument? I must be a frustrated drummer.

August 28, 2007 at 11:21 PM · Oh yes, Alison, violins are the least of my worries. Two dozen mandolins, a dozen guitars, something like 5000 books, and who knows what else.

Finger cymbals, huh? Belly dancer? May I leer?

August 29, 2007 at 12:28 AM · Bob, I also had a guitar problem. Now all I have left is one Les Paul and a block of prime Korina which I want to have turned into a bass. I haven't given up on guitars, I'm just waiting until I have enough to really get a good problem going, do it really properly this time.

August 29, 2007 at 02:40 AM · Does anyone besides me own a biwa?

August 29, 2007 at 02:48 AM · No Pauline, it's just you. ;)

August 29, 2007 at 04:39 AM · Am I really unique?

August 29, 2007 at 04:54 AM · You are, Pauline, and it's why we love you. :)

August 29, 2007 at 02:15 PM · Thanks, Laurie. :-)

August 29, 2007 at 05:00 PM · Bob, I'm still in a huff with violinist.com after Jim told me they don't do Appalachian dancing in the Appalachians. (Totally believable, but it ruins the romantic fantasy).

I have come close to buying a digeridoo on several occasions, but thought it would be a pain to get through customs.

August 29, 2007 at 05:19 PM · I have every violin I've ever owned, from quarter size on up to my current, as well as my grandfather's violin (which I've restrung as a viola and sounds better than it did as a violin), an e-bay Lark violin that needs minor repair, a frankenstein baroque violin that needs major repair, and an old auction find that is terrible and also needs major repair. I've also got a harp, my mom's (and my) clarinet, several recorders of varying (but mostly cheap) quality, a souvenir set of panpipes from Botswana, an old lute-backed mandolin and a concertina accordion that needs a tune-up. Occasionally, I borrow my Dad's guitar, just for kicks.

The trick is to do it for cheap -- get really crappy instruments and/or inherit them from friends and relatives!

(I'd be happy to send one of my needs-repair violins around to anyone that promises to give it a good home!)

August 29, 2007 at 07:26 PM · Nancy,

Your home sounds like my idea of heaven! I would sooo love to visit! I've always liked trying out other people's pianos as they all sound/feel so different, now of course I'd be interested in trying other violins for comparison and I'd give my eye teeth to have a go on a harp just once! (Note usually in Britain one says I'd give my right arm - but no way! Couldn't play my fiddle). Oh, I've two more skeletons I failed to mention - secreted in a wardrobe lies a guitar I once tried to learn on my own unsuccessfully and a clarinet that I bought 'in case I totally didn't get on with the fiddle' to fall back on. I am making progress on the fiddle albeit slow, and that's good enough for me. When the kids are older and I have time to myself (?) maybe I'll have a go. For now there's only time for one instrument - violin wins hands down.

It's contagious by the way folks! My son is already adamant he'll never part with his half size!

Er, of course, I need to keep my Chinese factory made fiddle for visits to England. (We now live in Poland). I would never risk putting my luthier made treasure in the hold of a plane for baggage handlers to subsequently wreck!

August 29, 2007 at 07:27 PM ·

August 29, 2007 at 07:30 PM · i might become one of your kind, because i have been playing the violin for 2 years and i allready have 4 violins, and it would be really nice to have a cello to play for fun at home.

August 29, 2007 at 07:48 PM · Wow,that would be great to own a cello !

Sarah,you are tempting me in this ^ regard !!!

August 29, 2007 at 07:58 PM · "Bob, I'm still in a huff with violinist.com after Jim told me they don't do Appalachian dancing in the Appalachians."

Allison, did you really expect Jim to actually have some accurate information of any kind? Ask him what "inculturated" means.

August 29, 2007 at 09:18 PM · Baiting regular contributors in discussion forums is generally considered trolling, even when done by another regular who otherwise contributes very informative and interesting posts. Please stop. You are detracting from the good natured spirit of this board.

August 29, 2007 at 09:35 PM · Christian speaks the truth.

August 29, 2007 at 11:14 PM · Okay! I suppose you're right.

August 30, 2007 at 12:19 AM · If you have a fixation on me, I have to tell you I'm not gay. I don't know why else you'd be following me around here like you do.

August 30, 2007 at 12:45 AM · Is that a tonque in Christian's cheek, or is he glad to see Jim W?

August 30, 2007 at 06:49 AM · Let's get back on track again. As confessed in another thread I once bought something like a kemenche in Delhi. It was made out of a coconut, and strands of corrugated wire. They were playing the same tune on this fiddle in all the markets, so perhaps I got hypnotised into buying one. When I got it home and tried to tune it, it just went 'doyeng, doyeng, doyeng' and all the strings fell out. It could have been a lot worse though - at least it didn't contain any spiders.

August 30, 2007 at 08:00 PM · >Does anyone besides me own a biwa?

A new one for me, Pauline - both the word and the instrument. Thanks goodness for Wiki - where would we be without Google and Wiki?

And nope, no biwa here. But I do have a balafon.

August 31, 2007 at 12:47 AM · Alison. Baby girl. I just now read where I destroyed Applachian dancing for you:(

This will make it up to you:)

http://www.folkstreams.net/film,121

It's an hour and a half documentary on Southern dancing, by Mike Seeger of Pete and Ruth Crawford Seeger (maybe the greatest serious woman composer) family. If you browse around the site you'll find a thousand hours of Americana folk life documentary films. Ignore where they say "trailer" and click on the realmedia link.

August 31, 2007 at 03:33 PM · Terez, I bet you are the only person here with a balafon. Like you, I really appreciate wikipedia and Google search.

August 31, 2007 at 03:55 PM · >Terez, I bet you are the only person here with a balafon.

So, hey, that makes it the best looking one, as well. Cool! I visited an African friend once, who'd told me he owned a few balafons. I brought mine over because the elastic straps holding the planks of wood together (innertube rubber, I have a hunch) had deteriorated and I needed to get it fixed. Well, I bring my scrappy old balafon into his place, since he knew something about balafons and drum repairing, and I take one look at the three gleaming balafons displayed on his wall, a second look at mine, and then I have to restrain myself from dumping mine in the trash can. Here I'd been thinking mine was so "authentic" and well made. It is indeed authentic - made in an African village 20 years ago, by a friend of a friend. It is, however, not well made. Buyer beware. Or, ignorance is bliss. Or, you're the authority in the room until someone comes along who happens to know more.

Terez, Violinist.com's authority on balafons.

August 31, 2007 at 04:53 PM · You're not an addict! You're a conservator, a responsible person who is keeping instruments in pristine condition for future generations.

Since you love and appreciate instruments you take care of them, rather than leave them stuffed in a hot attic or molding away in a damp basement. You love them, care for them, and provide playing opportunities for them. What more can an instrument want?

August 31, 2007 at 10:16 PM · More than just a conservator, Clare, at least for such things as mandolins. I plant mandolins in places where they'll be found and played by people who are strangers to the instruments, to bring the music into the next generation. Sort of Johnny Mando-seed. (More mandolinists than you might think have begun this way).

While it's not so necessary for violins, I like to encourage their being played, especially around young kids, some of whom will eventually have that little epiphany - "I could do that!"

August 31, 2007 at 10:54 PM · Well done Bob! It works, you know. My playing sucks compared to real players but it's inspired two kids to get started so far:)

September 1, 2007 at 09:02 AM · Well, I dunno if I have an instrument acquisition syndrome so much as an accessory acquisition syndrome. Any time I get something I really like, I find that I just can't stop buying accessories for it. Oh my god, the number of humidifiers, cleaners, polishes, peg dopes (and I have Perfection pegs, for heaven's sake!), different mutes, wolf tone eliminators (even though I've yet to experience any in my instrument...but, just in case!), etc.

Heck, just today, I ordered a new bow (which I actually need), but while I was at it, I decided I might want a few extra bridge blanks, extra sets of strings of all different kinds, a new case (even though the one I have is just fine), four different types of chin rest pads, and a carved tailpiece (just for the hell of it).

But, also, I've always been the kind of person who loves having all kinds of extra little odds and ends lying around, just in case someone else needs something off the wall. It's always fun to see the looks on peoples' faces when they mention something very strange that they need or want, and I'm able to tell them I just happen to have such a thing they can have (or at least buy for really, really cheap). It can REALLY make peoples' days, and that's been a nearly constant source of satisfaction for me. :)

September 1, 2007 at 04:55 AM · Bob, bully for you! That's so wonderful. I recently got into the mandolin thing too. I've been spreading the news that if you know how to finger a violin, you can finger a mandolin. Other than it's an even-tempered instrument, and you have a pick instead of a bow, everything else comes naturally.

Oh, and reading tablature is not a problem if you're already musically inclined.

The only warning is that the mandolin's scale length is 1 inch greater than a violin and you must stretch your fingers more. Or order one of the Violin Scale length ones from Big Muddy. Side effect is that I no longer complain about my tenths and funky chords on the violin anymore, they seem easy now.

You can play anything written for a violin on a mandolin. And if you visit YouTube, there is actually someone playing IRC on a mandolin!

And finally picks are a lot less expensive than bows. :-)

September 1, 2007 at 05:01 AM · Picks usually run about $1. The most expensive pick is the Tortis for $20.

September 1, 2007 at 07:33 AM · Jim, you know I was kidding. Being a plain English girl, there were no emoticons, and the time difference in these conversations can give the effect of lobbing a hand grenade at the site and running off.

Thanks for the link. We have just started doing flat-footing (what we did before was just 'show dancing' from the 50s). Flat footing looks great, with more prospect for improvisation. For us this kind of stuff is special because it has elements of our own music and dance (Irish and Scottish set dancing), but with some other flavours added for a bit of spice.

Anyway, I should hand this discussion back to those people who want to Pimp Their Violins ;-)

September 1, 2007 at 12:27 PM · I don't have this disease ...yet. But I've got all the symtoms!

September 1, 2007 at 03:39 PM · I work in a violin shop, so I have my choice of literally hundreds, many of them much "better" than my own two, but I am happy with the ones I have, because I know them, and they do what I want them to do, more or less, and they make the sound I want.

If I get another one, it will probably be one I design and make, perhaps my 20th or 25th one, or maybe 100th if it takes that long to make one that I really can't let go of.

September 1, 2007 at 04:16 PM · Clare, the mandolin scale issue is easily resolved. Nearly every bowlback mandolin has a 13" scale. The later Lyon & Healy carved-top mandolins are 13" as well; the earlier examples are 14".

The bowlback has a whole different tonality from the Gibson-style instruments, and can be had for not a lot of money, although many are only suitable for firewood. If you're interested go to mandolincafe.com. They have a classical section in the discussion board, and folks will help you find a decent example.

September 8, 2007 at 02:07 PM · Although I have a BM in Trumpet, I have been trying with some little success at giving up the Trumpet for a "Musical Instrument...the Violin," for several years. I have aquired several violins, but none as good as the Magginni copy which has been in my family 100+ years, and repaired for me by Dalton Potter of Bethesda, MD. Its sweet sound makes me want to practice! (or..."We don't need no stinkin' Trumpets!" :-) )

January 21, 2008 at 03:27 AM · Tanks God I found people that are as crazy as I am . . . I own eight mandolines, four pianos, six acoustic violins, two electric violins, ten recorders and one DW drums set. To tell you the truth, I play all these instruments. I learned to play the mandolin when I was four, the drums when I was 16 (I was a pioneer of rock and roll in the 50's), the violin when I was 18 and the recorder two years ago. I also have been playing the piano since I was young. At present time I am 64 and love to play music as much as I can.

You know . . . we colectors have this unsatisfied "inner child" . . these are our toys that probably we did not have when we were just kids, so Bob, don't worry too much . . . you are not alone ! My only reccomendation is that you should enjoy your toys as much as you can instead of letting them deteriorate by not using them.

January 21, 2008 at 09:42 AM · 14 violins here.

I've decide to start collecting old rosin cakes. Much less expensive & they take up less room.

January 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM · Jim wrote,

"Used to, but I sold all my worldly possessions except a harmonica and a gun."

Now I have visions of Jim Miller, stark naked, walking into a bank, pointing his gun at the teller and shouting:

"Give me all the money or I'll start playing this thing!"

--------------

Jim, as scary as that image is, bagpipes would be even more threatening.

Or at least a viola.

January 21, 2008 at 05:28 PM · With 7 violins, a viola, about 10 bows, a piano, an antique reed organ, a balalaika, a sitar, a mandolin, 2 recorders - and a partridge and a pear tree (d'oh, I ate the partridge!) I, too, suffer fro IAS.

Fortunately, I just saw a commercial on TV for a new drug, "Violex", to combat this syndrome. Naturally, as with all such unnecessary drugs, it has deadly side-effects. In some cases, violinists using it have been reported to switch to viola. But what are you going to do?

January 21, 2008 at 01:41 PM · This is great news for instrument makers like myself!! I love you people!!!

This "???" acquisition syndrome exist with many different items as the focus of the malady. The Nikon camera users call it Nikon Acquisition syndrome or "NAS". Don't fight it...give in and make more music!

January 21, 2008 at 02:29 PM · I thought this was normal...I have around 14 Stratocasters,a vintage Les Paul,an ES-175,5 violins,6 bows,4 acoustic guitars,a mandolin,2 Kurzweils,a vintage Roland D5,plus I have discovered that you can feed the addiction by buying parts to build even more guitars( working on 3 right now),then there is the amp collection......

January 21, 2008 at 02:31 PM · I have 3 banjos and a telecaster guitar with 27-5 year olds signatures written in different colored magic marker, A fine old Gibson Mandolin and a so-so fender acoustic guitar under the bed and that's just a start. I tried to to get rid of some of them, my wife says "simplify", but it gets complicated! I mean, the banjo has 10 names written inside the skin from some old lodge in the Upper Peninsula. And then there are the instruments I made, I only keep the ones that sound good. Simplify, I guess I could get rid of the rental fleet; no wait that pays the bills, never mind.

January 21, 2008 at 02:57 PM · A question:

If you are an amateur musician and you own five violins, does it 'hurt' an instrument to go months without being played? Will the tone be compromised from sitting around unused? Or not?

I can understand the IAS...who wouldn't love to have a room full of beautiful sounding instruments.

January 21, 2008 at 06:27 PM · If you don't play your fiddle it will get fallen arches. You have to keep the tendons strong.

January 21, 2008 at 06:27 PM · What on earth do you do with 14 Stratocasters?

January 21, 2008 at 06:35 PM · I'm already developing early symptoms. First I get my Moretti violin, now my extremely heavy bow is driving me nuts and I'm lusting after a nice light old French masterpiece...hmmm....gold-mounted....*drool*

A former teacher of mine studied with Sergiu Luca, and loved to tell the story of the time Luca came back from a European tour with four Strads and three Guarneris in tow.

January 21, 2008 at 07:05 PM · T Netz, having (only) five violins, and not playing them regularly, does not constitute Instrument Abuse as defined in the statutes.

That said, you will have found that an unplayed instrument takes some time to return to its best-sounding state. This gives you an excuse to play more, if you need one.

Gratified to read about the afflictions of others; good to know that I'm not alone in my compulsions.

January 21, 2008 at 07:27 PM · Well, I don't own five violins but I was curious to know if the tone would be affected if an instrument sits unused for any length of time.

Based on that information, I think I'll keep my 'collection' limited to two. Reminds me of horses, you have to keep riding them to keep them broke or they sour pretty quickly when left to their own devices. Same problem with kids...and husbands.

January 21, 2008 at 09:20 PM · quote:

"What on earth do you do with 14 Stratocasters?"

That's obvious:

Each color sounds different.

January 21, 2008 at 09:29 PM · only read the first post. But yes there are quite a few people that buy violins simply because they want to. Let's face it; Violins are artwork and thus if someone finds them attractive they're going to buy them. The best are the people that have collections of really valuable instruments and then lend them out to talented performers :) now if only I had a friend with a del Gesu.

January 21, 2008 at 11:28 PM · Mara, I've got a light and flexible Maucotel et Deschamps that nobody seems to want to buy - interested? 'Fraid it isn't gold mounted, but something could be 'arranged'...

January 22, 2008 at 04:02 PM · "Each color sounds different"-actually, they do,even though most of them are green....and yes, I do loan them out....also,I got curious, and found a Jag-Stang and a 52 reissue Telecaster in 2 of the cases,so I actually have 12....better get back to the music store....since I contracted Grappelli Syndrome,I haven't opened some of these cases in a long time......

January 22, 2008 at 08:25 PM · Notwithstanding the violin board, I want to know more about the electric guitar. It is bewildering when I try them out. The amp and the pickups seem more important--yet two guitars with the same amps and pickups sound different with the same settings, when I try one and the other.

I guess it is sort of like violins:-)

January 22, 2008 at 09:00 PM · Bilbo, electric guitars start out with an acoustic sound. That's what gets amplified. (a very quiet acoustic sound).

January 22, 2008 at 09:40 PM · I am a wannabe. If I had $$$, I might suffer from this malady.

January 22, 2008 at 11:19 PM · OK, but maybe I haven't fully thought it through: if you use a magnetic pick-up, aren't you detecting the string vibrations directly? How does the wood filtering figure into the electric? Is it movement of the top, causing movement of the pickups? I'm not visualizing phase aspects very well.

And then you have the piezo type under the bridge. That is often considered more "acoustic" in sound capacity but why?

January 22, 2008 at 11:53 PM · It detects the strings directly, but the guitar is vibrating :)i.e. going back into the string. Playing unplugged, you can pretty much guess what a guitar will sound like. Not sure why a piezo bridge pickup gives a more acoustic sound. It's a contact microphone though of course.

January 22, 2008 at 11:56 PM · In other words a piezo is like a crystal mike--except that it is the wood that does the talking :)

So in other words thermodynamically, you have to consider the *system* where Strings + neck + body = system?

Some guitar makers wax all over the place about their particular type of mix of piezo at bridge and coils at neck etc, and then there is that "fat" jazz sound that is attributed to 18" archtops.

January 23, 2008 at 12:22 AM · Never thought about it a whole lot. Piezo generates a small current in response to being compressed and it's in contact with the instrument so it's truly a mic. Most people trying to get the best possible acoustic sound would use a real mic though. Piezo's convenient and "good enough." I didn't know about makers mixing coils and piezos, so you probably know more than I do.

January 23, 2008 at 12:15 AM · Well I play eleven and I'm not ashamed of it although I only have one of each.

January 23, 2008 at 12:57 AM · Yep... I've got 2 violins, a 5-string viola, a Mexican folk harp, a mandolin, an acoustic guitar, and an erhu. I also have a whole bunch of random ethnic flutes like pan pipes and a Native American flute and a couple recorders and whistles and so on and so forth. :)

January 23, 2008 at 01:00 AM · I only know what I read so I don't know more than you.

January 23, 2008 at 01:31 AM · Magnets in pickups no doubt vary in strength; age of the pickups, string height and location within the magnetic field all have an effect as well. The wiring, the solder joints, the age of the potentiometers, crud on the windings therein, the strings themselves - how long have they been in place, and how much have they themselves become slightly magnetised. Probably a slew of other variables as well, even before we get into the body of the guitar.

January 23, 2008 at 02:24 AM · 4 classical guitars, 7 electric guitars, 2 electric basses, 5 acoustic steel string guitars, 3 violas, 8 or 10 violins, a mandolin, a lap steel guitar, a bodhran...not counting my wife's guitars and pianos. No acquisition problem here.

January 23, 2008 at 02:48 AM · "a Native American flute and ...so forth. :) "

Near my family's old home place there's the site of a Mississippian village. It's in the bend of a river and a lot of cane grows there (bamboo-like stuff) undoubtedly descended from original growth. I was going to take some and make a Native American flute, until I discovered they're complicated! They have two connected air chambers, like if you can picture a recorder with two of those whistle slots, but partially covered, with an air passage between them.

January 23, 2008 at 04:10 PM · After further digging I found an old banjo..I buy a lot of this stuff for recording and only use it once or twice......that's how I wound up with the violins,to record with,but I never figured on it being this wacky,with the oddball tuning and such a SHORT scale length......oh, and yeah, the physical properties of the wood, hardware,etc. will definitley affect what the pickups get, but really, 90% of the sound is in your hands.I guess the violin is the same. I realized that the bow was basically the amp and pickups after buying a Codabow,I had been struggling with these cheap ones that you get at the music store for 25 bucks....now if I could just find a instructional DVD that didn't focus on theory,just the mechanics of playing,I might finally get the stupid record done..........

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