Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, December 12, 2011
A couple of nights ago I realize I had to take the two sets of strings the local luthier had given me last summer, and swap them.
The initial results were astonishingly good, unfortunately, they haven't STAYED that good, but are probably better and more useable than they were before.
The mystery strings with a flexible quality are now on the Eastman VL100.
The mystery strings with the focused quality are on the Knilling 4KF I call "Stinky".
My wife likes the VL100 with the supple strings the best.
However, I took ALL THREE fiddles to the nursing home today (in addition to TWO guitars) because the facility that I played in today has really good acoustics that reflect back to the player a balanced sound without excess natural reverberation.
they still liked "Booker" my main fiddle best!
The VL100 came in second, the other Knilling third.
The focused strings unfortunately have a hard edge to them, and Stinky tends to have that anyway since I think she has a lacquered finish, I think... or at least just very thick varnish.
Today I got to spend some time in warmup practice, and it sure helped... at least one lady noticed the difference too.
I played a few of the normal Old Time and old country favorites, but also played a lot of Christmas carols, of course.
( Somewhat later...)
Last night I was cutting a slice of my peasant bread from Trader Joe's... I was getting down to a piece that was too thick and tough to chew, but really too small to slice safely... and the knife is SHARP... and in spite of adjusting to what I though was a safer position, the knife slipped and nailed my left index. My first thought was that I wouldn't be able to play fiddle at all for weeks, but it's to the side, although very close to the callus. I've given it a rest today, except I tried my fiddles, and it doesn't hurt to play although I probably ought to give it another day of rest and put some super glue on it before my gig Friday.
Today, I cashed a paycheck from a gig, and went to buy an electric guitar volume pot I'd ordered from the local music store... when I looked at the strings, I saw that a pack of Zyex had come in (they stock mostly Preludes from D'Addario and Dominants from Thomastik) and it occurred to me that I probably ought to get them and try them on "Stinky"... I've decided that the mystery strings that worked so well on the Eastman don't work as well on Stinky. Supposedly Zyex sound good on cheap fiddles, and Stinky is a cheap fiddle.... of COURSE I'll let you know what happens when I get a "round tuit"!!!
4 comments on “Mystery Steel Strings get switched around, & Pogo buys Zyex strings and cuts himself with a knife!”
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 @2:35:07 PM
hmmm..how come "stinky" is female, , you sure you know the difference between a female and male fiddle?? :)
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 @12:44:53 PM
Stinky has always leaned more toward "violin" than Booker. Booker gets comments like
"That fiddle sure is LOUD"... "That fiddle sure has a lot of treble!". It's a very in-your-face sound Booker puts out.... very good for aggressive Old Time rhythms. And the name Booker is based on the model name "Knilling Bucharest"
Stinky has always been more laid back- when she's sounding good she does well at Irish tunes, which, to my way of thinking about them, need to be bowed less aggressively.... oh yeah... the name is because she has always had an odd smell coming from the f-holes... definitely not a spruce or maple smell. It is strongest in the summer, like when I bought her. And I can't name her after her model name, because she is ALSO a Knilling Bucharest 4KF, although an older version, with a darker thicker finish. And so the names are partly to distinguish between the two 4KFs without saying "The older darker Knilling Bucharest 4KF" vs. "the newer more orange Knilling 4KF"
The Eastman I named "Esther" since it sounds like Eastman and she has a sound that's good for Eastern European stuff, especially with the other freebie string set the luthier gave me to try... but it's easier to just say "the Eastman"... it rolls off the tongue easier.
The irony is this: The Eastman is actually STINKIER than stinky.... Stinky doesn't make me sneeze, but if anything else has stirred up my allergies, the Eastman WILL.
So maybe I oughta call Stinky "Brownie" because she IS brown.
I WILL if you INSIST... do you???
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 @3:21:06 PM
Point well taken....by the way my mom's maiden name is (drum roll please) "Booker" and our grandson's middle name is also Booker.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 @9:04:37 PM
AND.... I forgot to mention that one of the reason why I liked the name "Booker" for a fiddle that sounds good on Old Time tunes was that there is a fiddle tune named "George Booker" and a website on Texas fiddling said that George Booker was a well known Texas fiddler in the 1840's, and there is also a banjo tune named "Johnny Booker".
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