“New bridge, who dis?” ☠️ But seriously… Aubert of France, extremely high quality . . . and entirely pre-shaped and self-adjusting.

Only one problem: I ordered a low-height bridge. Amazon made no distinction. I originally was ticked at how widely-spaced the string grooves were and that I didn't realize it until I penciled them and set the strings. They were so faintly-nicked originally that I could have re-spaced or even sanded them down without much to show for it.

But then I came to find out this was a low bridge and found online this bridge also comes in high and medium. Low is generally for fiddle players, fraction-sized instruments, and custom-made instruments. I have a medium-height option coming from eBay and will send this one back to Amazon on Monday, when that new one comes. The only real shame is how hard bridge changes are on the strings. But while excruciatingly expensive, my strings are fortunately very resilient and are not a line of strings known to break when properly cared for. Change them, when tone quality deteriorates…

But I can honestly say… I adore the luthiers I follow and am fascinated by the craft. I hope to buy a proper, artist-quality instrument one day. But I am thoroughly impressed by this line of self-adjusting, pre-made, standardized bridges. The three height options give a great range to find a solid fit to the specifics of your instrument, and the carving work is exquisite. I love the option for low-cost, kit instruments!

The shape is great, in my opinion, and I look forward to seeing if the medium provides the best fit. If not, I only have to pay return shipping to send that one back to eBay and get a high bridge. But this low one already gets a far-better sound and response than my old bridge that came with my low-cost violin. The wood and carving are far-superior.

The bridge has a slight gap at the feet in the back in this picture, but as it was just installed, it requires constant tuning, which pulls the bridge forward slightly. I've since tilted it back, and when it's in its ideal place, there really is minimal gap at the feet! I'm pleased with the fit at the price of only $25!

Adding fingers on the violin is altogether far-trickier and involving more fine motor skills than most methods and teachers recognize. Not only are you dealing with the precise location of each individual finger, you are training your hand as to the relationships between each finger and in consistent posture.

Tuning is the primary concern. I have been spending no small amount of time at a keyboard making absolute certain I am training my hand and ear to find the exact centers of pitch so I maintain a stable learning process for each finger as added.

I probably spend north of 3 hours a day practicing, which to some may seem quite impossible with such simple-seeming exercises. But mastering other disciplines has embedded in me how crucial it is to get the coordinations right from the very beginning.

The second set of second finger exercises is almost finished. I hope to post another video from this set on Monday, after the medium-height bridge arrives and is installed. After that, it's on to a bit-more-demanding second finger in first position exercises! I will be learning second finger in the third and fifth positions next, and after that I will be adding chromatics to the fingers and positions thus-far.

Paul Schrage is an orchestral conductor, concert pianist, and musical director for Symphonia Caritas, a San Francisco Bay Area orchestra whose mission is to improve the lives of those in need through benefit concerts. Get your tickets to our Summer Solstice Symphony Concert now. Link is in the bio. #sanfrancisco #bayarea #classical #music #symphony #vetshelpingvets #veterans

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Larsen Il Cannone went on without a hitch! But later in the process of retuning, I was flustered, thought I was turning the A peg, and snapped the E (pictured here installed, before it was broken). I guess it was inevitable. I'd never snapped a string before, and I was in an uncomfortable setting dressed from recording and in bright lighting not in a right mind. This picture was taken before the bridge was corrected (while a bit tilted forward). So we are back to the Pirastro Gold E until Monday or Tuesday, when a replacement will be here.

Much to my delight, I actually believe I would prefer a whole set of soloists which will be cheaper in future. I will be able to order from Amazon for right at around $80 instead of individually elsewhere for around $11 more. It makes some sense. My Chinese violin is sprayed polyurethane which inhibits vibration. It makes sense to me it works better with a higher-tension string.

The G and E Il Cannone soloists both have shocking warmth to them at the heart of the sound. All four strings still sound quite metallic, as Larsens do in beginning, particularly the Il Cannone strings. But that is breaking in fast, and these strings are real monsters. They are so very powerful, can play insane dynamics, including a crystal-clear pianissimo, and the G has just the kind of cut to it and extra kick I was looking for to play more in-balance on my instrument. The Larsen red rosin is much-less dust than the Pirastro Goldflex and plays very, very well, so I am also quite pleased with that!

The other drastic difference is the feel under the fingers! They feel quite metallic. They will definitely be a finger strengthener for me! They will give me fingertips of steel. LOL.

The unpackaging and setup video is linked in my bio!

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My staccatos need to be more precise and my dynamics could be explored more. Happy Practicing 🙏🏽🎻 • #Viola #Bass #Violin #Fun #Practice #Journal #100daysofpractice #symphony #craft #orchestra #string #work #codabow #classicalmusician #flute #oboe #piano #composer

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Favorite song on this album: Fleurs Du Mal.
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