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Old vs New

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bejoyous, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    An interesting article where violinists compare Strads with new instruments blindfolded and pick the newer ones.
  2. Every player and teacher that has played my daughters new chinese violin has been very impressed with it. Still I've heard a difference everytime I've compared a good new bass to a good old one. Same with acoustic guitars.
  3. kdrabbit


    Mar 18, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    I have played stringed instruments for more than 40 years now. I've never played a Strad but I've played some very old violins, violas, cellos and basses the post-Golden era years and they all had particular sound characteristics. From my perspective, some played and sounded great, others not as great. I've played newer instruments of similar quality and sound. In my experience, sometimes it's the instrument, sometimes it's the setup but it is almost always the player. An accomplished musician can make a cigar box instrument sound great. Wasn't it John Lennon who said "I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it."
  4. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    these tests have been done before, usually the new instruments win against the strads.

    i think its amazing that the instrument built 300 years ago still holds is own against instruments made now, considering the technology we have and what he had.

    who are the makers of the instruments that win these things by the way? i feel like they never say a "new violin by so and so." we just hear that its a modern instrument.
  5. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    The makers are purposefully kept unknown to reduce any commercial interests in the study. The modern instruments were selected from a pool of instruments, and I don't think the makers actually know if their own instrument was used or not.
  6. Has anyone ever experienced the "mojo" factor? My old bass (about 100 years old) when I play it seems to bring out different character in my playing. Not only how I play, but what I play too. In the course of time since I have had it, I have had 4 secondary basses, none of which had this "special power". My current 2nd bass sounds absolutely great, but the instrument itself doesn't push me to play like the old one does.

    And these were all sober experiences!
  7. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings
    I'm curious about the Strads that were used. It seems likely to me that they would be collector or museum instruments, rather than players' personal instruments. I have a hard time imagining that a pro, who would have a Strad that was in top shape and full voice, would be willing to lend their instrument for a test like this. If the violins in question were not played regularly they could be tight, they could even be out of adjustment, making for a poor-sounding test instrument.

    Does anyone know the particulars of the test Strads?
  8. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I have. I played one Prescott that was The Voice of the Bass. But the one instrument which screamed "mojo" for me was Froc Fillipetti's personal guitar -- that neck was a Stick of Power, man, and that was a year or two old when I first played it.

    I feel "mojo" when I feel one person's expression of their desire and skill aiming in their own direction. That solid-body guitar was Froc's personal energy and will harnessed in wood. It wasn't what I personally "liked" or "wanted" but the rightness and the power that the rightness reflected were undeniable.

    Back in the land of the practical: I play a 10-year-old Upton Euro bass. When it came I got out of a luthier-built bass from the 1920s that sounded amazing but needed work every other year. I wanted something that sounded fine and was sturdy, and the Upton is that in spades. What it lacks in 1800s mojo it gains in ten-year-old reliability, and reliability is what I sell as a professional musician. Cachet? Maybe not. Tone without repair bills? Heck yeah!
  9. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    In Copenhagen, out of the 10 basses being judged, one was a VERY nice old bass...with nothing being said about it up front. Getting a glimpse of the audience voting, it came in dead last! I'm not sure why a bigger deal was not made of that, if a goal of those competitions is to promote new making.
    eerbrev likes this.