Vitamin String Quartet’s Orchestral Arrangement Of The Black Keys

Vitamin String Quartet (VSQ) performs orchestral arrangements of popular music from Adele’s Skyfall to the score from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

This is VSQ performing their rendition of The Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling.

Fourth Of July Traditions

060417-N-8157C-162From barbecue picnics to sparklers and lawn chairs, Americans love their fourth of July traditions. While you might still be hung up on the neighborhood parade or your aunt’s secret potato salad recipe, there’s a tradition you may not even know you’re a part of:  Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as the unofficial soundtrack of Independence Day.

Hear more about it from David Mugar, executive producer of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, and Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops’ music director, here.

Typewriter Symphony Orchestra

While the Voces Para La Paz Orchestra performs, soloist Alfredo Anaya taps away on his manual typewriter and a bell, adding a new level of creativity to the piece.

Sure to make you laugh!

Orchestral Music Festivals Across The Nation

Looking for some great orchestral music festivals this Summer? From Philip Glass to Yo-Yo Ma, the variety of performers and venues span a great spectrum. Here’s a list of the top festivals from coast to coast to get you started on your Summer search.

Mozart’s Instruments Come To America

While Mozart’s music has been enjoyed  by people across the globe, Mozart himself never got the chance to come to America in his lifetime. Thankfully, his violin and viola recently received the chance and traveled transatlantic for the first time. Performing in Boston and the New England area, the two instruments have struck quite a frenzy among enthusiasts and performers alike. Even after all these years, the awe of Mozart’s talent wrapped up in a violin has not lost its interest.

Benedict Cumberbatch As Sherlock Holmes On The Fiddle

For BBC’s series, Sherlock, actor Benedict Cumberbatch needed to learn to play the violin to properly portray his character, Sherlock Holmes. To do so, violinist Eos Chater was hired to be his coach. Through her time with Cumberbatch, Chater was proud to be a small part of the show and had many great experiences on set.

(Read more)

Julia Fischer and Daniel Muller-Schott perform the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia

As German violinist Julia Fischer and cellist Daniel Muller-Schott perform the gorgeous Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia, their passion for the piece shines through in the quality of their performance.

Game of Thrones Theme Cello Cover

This is for all of our Game Of Thrones fans! Cremaine Booker has recorded the theme on his new cello. Be sure to watch and like!

Land-fill-harmonic

This one definitely deserves video of the month.  Talk about overcoming obstacles…

What you need to know about your violin tailpiece, tail-gut and fine tuners.

Violin tailpiece, tail-gut and fine tuners.

The tailpiece serves as an anchor for the strings as well as a spacer for each one. The main factors to consider in tailpiece selection are; material, size & shape, weight and proper placement. Common materials used are ebony, boxwood, rosewood, pernambuco, aluminum and  plastic synthetics.  Denser woods like ebony tend to brighten and focus an instruments tone, where softer woods can deepen and warm up the sound.  Sometimes, the wrong tailpiece can magnify wolf tones.  A good luthier will try multiple tailpieces to find one whose characteristics compliment that of the instrument.

The tail-gut secures the tailpiece a specific length from the bridge.  They are typically made from braided steel, nylon or kevlar.  Actual gut is rare and not used commonly by most modern luthiers.  Set-up is particularly important when it comes to a violin’s tailgut.  The after-length has a very specific ideal length from the back of the bridge.  The excess gut should also be trimmed to prevent buzzing.  Make sure your luthier takes the time to complete these important and often overlooked adjustments.

Fine-tuners can actually damage the strings and instrument.  Many classroom teachers prefer fine-tuners on all four strings, which is understandable.  Keep in mind that unless you’re using a light-weight tailpiece with intergrated tuners, (ei. Wittner Ultra or similar) four adjusters will add a considerable amount of weight to a violin or viola.  As soon as the player can tune his or her own instrument, we suggest moving to a single fine-tuner on the high string for violins and violas.  Cellos typically maintain four adjusters.  Hinge tuners, seen on the right, can actually gouge the top of your violin, especially if the bridge should fall.  They also alter the after-length, which can alter the instrument’s tone and even cause wolf tones to appear.  The Suzuki tuners, on bottom left, can easily damage the string as they adjust the string by bending it, much like an arrow bends the string on a bow.  We advocate the english style adjuster, seen in the top left.  At Beau Vinci, we even take the time to file off the sharp corners of the adjusters, in the event the bridge falls.

Make sure you have a luthier that takes the time to find a tailpiece that compliments the instrument, measures and trims the tailgut properly and uses fine-tuners that won’t damage the wood or strings.  These may seem like minor details, but a stringed instrument is the sum of it’s details.

Winter Violin Damage – 3 ways to avoid it

Dry Wood

Fall and winter are a tough time for the string family.  Sudden changes in temperature and generally lower humidity can cause problems and costly damage to your instrument.  Common issues that occur are: moving necks, unglued seams, rattles, buzzes and even cracks.  Here are a few steps you can take that will lessen the chance of paying an emergency visit to your local luthier.

Give it time.  Wood expands and contracts more than you may expect.  Damage occurs when temperature and humidity change quickly.  Get to your destination early and allow your instrument to adjust while staying in its case.

Control Humidity.  This means having a reliable hygrometer.  Try to keep it between 40% – 60%.  Be careful not to get your instrument wet!  Many people over-saturate their humidifiers.  This can cause major damage.  Also, be sure not to allow the humidity to change too quickly.  If it’s very low, bring it up 5% – 10% per day until it reaches the desired humidity.

Indoors, in the case.  If possible, do not travel with your instrument in the trunk of your vehicle.  If traveling by airplane, carry it on.  When at home, keep it indoors.  When it’s not being used, it should remain in the case.  Most furnaces and air conditioners pull moisture out of the air.  All it takes is a few hours of warm dry air blowing directly on your violin for a purfling to pick up a nasty buzz or a seam to pop open.

Just remember; take it slow, shoot for 50% humidity, and keep it indoors and in the case.  Taking these three steps can greatly reduce winter violin damage.  Go ahead and schedule an appointment with your trusted luthier.  Most will examine your instrument for free.  Catching small problems before they become big ones saves time and money down the road.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Violin Players

Holiday Gift Ideas for String Players

Raise your hand if you love figuring out what to get everyone for the holidays… hello?  Here are some ideas for every budget.

A home-made holiday CD : $0

Whether you’re a professional or just getting started, your friends and family would love to have a CD of you playing their holiday favorites.  You can even arrange songs for multiple parts and record each part yourself.  There are dozens of USB microphones and software programs that are good enough to get you started.  Check out Garage Band for some easy to use recording software and youtube.com for tutorials on whatever software you decide to use.  Recording not only makes you a better musician, but also gives you a one-of-a-kind gift from the heart to share with friends and family.

Dampit Violin Humidifier : $10 – $15

These are great stocking stuffers.  Even if your favorite string musician already has one, they could use a back-up or new one.  A small price to pay to protect your investment.  Click here to read more about protecting your instrument from cold weather.

Metronomes / Tuners – $35

If you don’t have one, you should get one.  If you do already have one, you could always use another.  It’s inevitable that these get lost or break so it’s always good to have a backup.

Fiberglass Bows – $75

This is a great option for all levels.  Many musicians prefer not to bring their “nice” bows to school.  One fall and a bow can be cracked or broken.  Secondary bows are always a good idea, whether for school or just to pull a different tone from your instrument.

An Instrument Tune-Up – $40 – $500

Having a skilled luthier examine and adjust your instrument can be the next best thing to getting a new violin.  Sometimes a soundpost adjustment or fingerboard planing can cause an unbelievable difference in the performance of your current instrument.

A New Case – $160 – $1200

A new instrument case does more than protect your instrument.  It can provide a fresh perspective every time you open it.  Click here to view some cases for sale at Beau Vinci.

A New Instrument or Bow – $400 – $1200 and up

This one speaks for itself.

A Gift Certificate – $25 and up

This encompasses all of the above.  Click here to contact us to purchase a gift certificate.