Any Viola Players Here?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Steve Freides, Dec 31, 2017.

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  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I started viola a few years ago, dabbled in it, then mostly put it away, but picked it up again a few months ago. And in the meantime, I've figured out an interesting thing:

    I have an impingement injury/syndrome in my right shoulder. Borderline, not really terrible, doesn't bother me much, but it gets worse when I bow my bass (French) and gets better when I bow my viola. So I have temporarily cut way back on my bass practicing and am practicing the viola more.

    Just curious to know if we have any other violists here who'd care to chat on the subject, e.g., differences between violin, viola, and cello bows. I know bass bows are quite different creatures, but the spec's for violin and viola bows aren't all that different. And I'd love recommendation for a decent viola bow - my starter outfit came with a pretty awful-but-at-least-wooden stick, and I've been playing a low-end carbon viola bow lately but am not very happy with it.

    Thanks much in advance.

    -S-
     
  2. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i'm a full time string teacher so i play a lot of viola.

    i agree that a heavy violin stick and a lighter viola stick will have some overlap in dimentions and weight. i have noticed that when you actually play them the viola-intended bow clearly works better for viola (i tried to just buy one good bow for both, it did not work that way!)

    i really like the codabow i use for viola. i believe its a discontinued model that was $700 or so when it was new.

    just like with the bass, im a huge fan of learning on a CF stick for a while to develop a sence of what a good bow feels like. they are wonderful baseline from which to base other bows, especially if that instrument is not your primary.
     
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
  5. Viola is one of the instruments I play. That said, I would definitely not consider myself a viola player by any stretch.

    My instrument (Knilling) came with one of those cruddy fiberglass bows. I bought an Erich Steiner brazilwood bow from a local violin shop, and for an inexpensive bow ($170-ish) it plays very well.
    Erich Steiner Viola Bows
     
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Thanks, @PaulJSmith - those look promising, and wouldn't even mind spending on the best of the three they list. My biggest problem with my carbon-but-cheap viola bow is that it's so light - I want a heavier bow, at least for now.

    -S-
     
  7. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    What is the definition of perfect pitch? When one lands a viola into a garbage can at 50 feet.

    (Sorry, Steve, I couldn't resist- especially since I seem to remember you have 'perfect pitch'. And, yes, I did 'transcribe' this from the old banjo joke).
     
    Scott Lynch and Steve Freides like this.
  8. RockerBlaz

    RockerBlaz

    Feb 8, 2018
    What do you like more? Viola or bass?
     
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I'm a much better bass player than I am a violist, and I don't think I want to pass judgement on which is my preference until my ability to play the viola improves. But, right now, of course I prefer playing the bass. I've been playing electric bass for 40+ years, upright for 10 or 15 years, and my foray into viola playing is the only other bowed string playing I've done. I can say for sure that viola bow playing is therapeutic for the shoulder impingement I find when playing the bass, so I think my future is going to include both. To be clear, I don't think the bass is the _cause_ of my shoulder issue - I think a lifetime of bad classical guitar posture (I've been doing that for 50+ years) is responsible for that.

    -S-