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NY times article on study of Strads vs new instruments

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Robin Ruscio, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Robin Ruscio

    Robin Ruscio Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver, CO, USA
    Interesting read:


    I'm with the violinist naysayers on this study, which is interesting but misses some things. You can't judge an instrument until you've played in an actual musical situation, and often times the true character does not come out and become apparent until you've spent some time with it. It's taken me weeks if not months to understand any interment I've ever owned, which is why I've flipped so many.

    I played one of the world's best basses this year in my living room and used the Ferrari in a parking lot analogy myself.

    That being said, I have no problem with playing a well made new string instrument, which is why my 100 year old bass is about to be replaced by one that is going to be made starting the end of this month!
  2. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    This was brought up on the BG side of Talkbass too, but it turned into degenerate conversation about whether or not wood matters on Electric Bass, where the topic at hand was about acoustic instruments without pickups and microphones.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I would imagine that modern instruments are made to be more playable as makers have more of an eye towards usability and changes in technique. I wonder if violin technique two hundred years ago was any different than what they use now. Sure the books still exist over the centuries but you can only repeat so much intricate technique using visual illustrations. Today we have DVDs and youtubes, etc.

    And perceived mojo also has an effect. I'm sure anyone would play better if the instrument inspired you to play better because you knew about it's heritage. Blind tests are interesting, but only go so far IMO.
  4. rhino333

    rhino333 Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Western NY State
    The same instrument in one hands may not feel or sound "right" in different hands. A violinist friend at college had the brief (and I do mean brief) opportunity to play a Strad and a Guarneri. She preferred the Guarneri. It doesn't make the Strad less of an instrument, just not the "right" instrument for her.

    The instrument is a tool. It's all in the hands.
  5. Robin Ruscio

    Robin Ruscio Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver, CO, USA
    AFAIK, the dimensions of violins have remained very constant and there is almost no variation in the design. They are very conservative, unlike the bass, which as we know comes in endless shapes.
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    AFAIK virtually all of the Strads in regular concert use have been modified. One website (forgot the link) mentioned longer necks, higher neck angles, taller bridges, thicker bass bars, and of course modern strings. So the technology has advanced since the time that those instruments were made.

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