Violins and Venice

Violins and Venice. Two words universally associated with romance.

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Amazing Dancing Violinist

This violinist is doing great work. She’s remaking some of our favourite modern music and theme songs. Have a listen to her, you’ll sure to be hooked!

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PROVO — A local BYU student is giving traditional violin music a modern makeover and gathering a substantial fan base while she’s at it.

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Source: Rss

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Managing Humidity the Violinists Way

Once you get past the starter instrument stage and start spending a bit more on quality instruments, you want to ensure you are doing everything you can to make them last. A silent and sneaky culprit to instrument damage comes in the form of humidity. That’s right, the thing that frizzes our hair and makes us feel like we’re living in a sauna when it’s high, and dries out our skin and inflames our nasal passages when low, could be slowly damaging your instrument.

So, what kind of damage could humidity be doing to your violin? Humidity, for starters, could warp your instrument over time, as the water in highly humid air soaks into the unprotected wood inside your violin and causes the wood to swell.

Humidity could also be causing mould to grow in your instrument. This is particularly gross and harmful when you consider that your violin is held right next to your face. That’s right, you could be inhaling the toxic mould spores that are unbeknownst to you growing in your violin. Toxic mould contains mycotoxins that can cause memory loss, headaches, cancer, loss of hearing, and a whole host of other health problems. Even death, in extreme cases. Not exactly incentive to pick up your instrument, is it?

When the humidity drops the wood of your instrument contracts, and this can cause cracks and seam problems. This is particularly upsetting when you own an antique or expensive instrument.

It’s especially important not to try to re-glue the seams of your violin if they have separated due to humidity. Violin makers use a very specific glue so that if the wood does swell, the seams go first, rather than cracking the wood of your instrument, which costs a lot more to repair.

Luckily there is a way you can stop some of the harmful effects that dropping humidity has on your violin. It’s called the dampit.


Dampit – $15.95

This little unassuming device works wonders for keeping the nasties of humidity away. The video on this page shows how to use the dampit.

This little wonder can save you bundles in instrument repair or replacement, and it only costs $15.95 at Animato Strings. We also have dampits available for violas ($17.95), cellos ($19.95) and double basses ($21.95). They can be bought online or instore, so there’s no excuse not to grab one, and keep your violin safe and happy. Just remember not to over saturate your dampit. Follow the instructions in the video and in the packaging for proper use.

For high humidity keep your instrument in its case as much as possible and buy yourself a dehumidifier. This is especially important if you have a collection of instruments. Then it’s probably a good idea to invest in both a good humidifier and a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels ideal in the entire room you store your instruments in, not just the individual instruments, across the seasons.

What did you think of this post? Ever had humidity problems with your instrument? Let us know in the comments box below.

Remember to check out the Animato Strings facebook page for the latest news, blog posts, and funny bits and pieces from Animato HQ.

Posted in Music Accessories, Taking Care of Your Instrument, Uncategorized, Violins | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Error – Bought 35 Seats On The Plane Insead Of 1!

Musicians – beware when travelling. You don’t want this to happen to you!

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Getting there is half the fun, so the saying goes. NBC News’ travel team examines the issues of the day and, of course, the joy and hassle of traveling.

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Would Your Survival Instinct Kick In If You Saw This Violin Scene When Travelling?

Hmmm, running into this situation on your travels. I wonder, good or bad? Fight or flight, fight or flight?

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Travelling with a Strad Violin – very scary!

For all the terror associated with it, I’m sure any violinist on earth would be happy to trade places and travel with those amazing instruments.

EARLIER this year, she had both the violins – made in the late 17th century – in her possession.

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Source: Rss

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Interesting Violin Players You Meet When Travelling – Midget

Violinists, big or small. This guy seems like he’d have a good story You never know who you’ll run into when travelling.

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Violin Missing – Doh!

A note to remember when travelling – don’t loose your violin! Glue it to your side if you have to :p

From a press release: In 1999, when world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma left a 266-year old cello worth $2.5 million dollars in the trunk of a New York City cab, an all-points bulletin to the NYC police and the help of his taxi receipt brought the instrument back home safe in time for his next concert. In 1995, a Stradivarius…

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Play Your Violin Anywhere!

Take advantage of every chance to play when travelling.

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Basic Bow How-To

Choosing a bow can be a baffling process if you’re not armed with a little knowledge before entering a music shop. Below you’ll find a basic ‘how-to’ for the different bow materials and a checklist of a few basic things to look at when buying a bow.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia – Wiki has labelled what we call a thumb leather a pad. There are many more parts to the violin bow, but these are the basics relevant to this post.


Bow Stick-

Fiberglass – Sort of the bottom of the food chain when it comes to bow materials. Usually these are the stock bows that come with the cheaper violin outfits. While they are quite durable, they can feel quite unwieldy and don’t give a great sound. An option if just starting out, and are not willing to output more money yet. They can stand up to a lot of beginner abuse and are very affordable.

Carbon Fibre – These synthetic bows vary greatly in quality. Some are very basic bows and then there are some that surpass the lower end wooden bows, so it’s important to try many different types. These bows have picked up in popularity in recent years due to the increasing scarcity of pernambuco wood. Usually a beginner student will upgrade from their fibreglass bow to a carbon fibre bow or brazilwood bow.

Brazilwood – Brazilwood bows are not quite as strong as pernambuco wood, and the sound tends to be less strong and sweet, but it is a good option if you want a wooden bow and the pernambuco bows are out of your price range.

Pernambuco Wood – The top of the line material for wooden bows, pernambuco wood was the chosen material of the finest 19th century French bowmakers. This wood actually comes from the same trees as other brazilwood bows, but is cut from the centre of the tree. These bows are strong and springy, durable, have a lovely sound and the handling tends to be superior. Unfortunately this wood is becoming scarcer.

No matter which material you decide on, it’s important to try many different bows, and not just many different models. Different bows of the same model by the same maker can vary (due to differences in wood density) in their balance, handling and sound, so try several of your chosen bow model before settling on one.

Frog- The frog will either be synthetic or made from ebony wood. It’s best to steer clear of bows with a fibreglass frog, as they can negatively affect your handling, and can signify an inferior bow.

Bow Hair- Bow hair quality is very important to the sound that you produce. Bow hair will either be synthetic or made from horse hair. It’s preferable to have horse hair, as it creates a superior sound.


Checklist when buying –

  • Sight down the length of the bow to make sure there is no warping or twisting.
  • Tighten and loosen the screw/button to make sure it turns smoothly and check the bow hairs evenly tighten.
  • Ensure the frog is securely attached along its length.
  • Play, play, play. Don’t be afraid to try out as many bows as you need to, as many times as you need to. A good music shop won’t rush you, as they know how important it is to choose the bow that sounds and feels the best to you. Personal bow preferences vary greatly, so try as many as you can get your hands on!

Animato Strings offers a wide variety of bows for any budget. Our cheapest bow is this Single Mounted Violin Bow for only $47.00 – great for beginners.  At the other end of the spectrum we have this beautiful professional level Paesold bow made from pernambuco wood for $2969.00 (see picture below). A wide range of bows in between these price points can be found in store or on the website.


Paesold Bow – $2969.00


If you’re unsure of which bow would best suit your needs don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop on down to the store and have a chat with the staff.


Do you have any bow buying experiences to share? Have a favourite type of bow? Let us know in the comments box.

Remember to check out the Animato Strings Facebook page.

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