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Old 10-27-2008, 09:15 PM   #46
The Obstruction
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The Viola-on-the-Mountain pic really is great. I also love your solution to the musical-instrument-outdoors problem. I did a bit of checking after I saw this thread and found that there really are a lot instruments becoming available in carbon fiber (I found guitars, mandolins, bagpipes, flutes, even a didgeridoo). It's too bad that people in your field can't have more of an open mind about things like that though. I mean, if it sounds the same or better, what's the problem? Even that cello guy Yo-Yo ma has a carbon fiber cello.

Look at it this way, CF isn't going away, so you're just ahead of the curve!
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:34 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Obstruction
The Viola-on-the-Mountain pic really is great. I also love your solution to the musical-instrument-outdoors problem. I did a bit of checking after I saw this thread and found that there really are a lot instruments becoming available in carbon fiber (I found guitars, mandolins, bagpipes, flutes, even a didgeridoo). It's too bad that people in your field can't have more of an open mind about things like that though. I mean, if it sounds the same or better, what's the problem? Even that cello guy Yo-Yo ma has a carbon fiber cello.

Look at it this way, CF isn't going away, so you're just ahead of the curve!
Yeah man! Yo-Yo's CF cello is the same Luis and Clark model that my viola is. I'm in good company! I must admit that this picture helped in part to make up my mind:



He's the closest thing classical music has to a rock star. And he deserves it. Great guy.

Where'd you find the CF flutes? I new about guitars and mandolins, plus some percussion instruments are starting to use carbon fiber too, but I'm really interested in other orchestral instruments (you know, the snooty ones ). I was surprised to hear about the clarinets, apparently it's some sort of CF chips molded together, like particle board I guess. A trumpet player friend of mine suggested that making the bells of brass instruments might be logical place to experiment for that family.

Ahead of the curve... I like that!

More great pics coming (even better!), check back from time to time!

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Old 10-27-2008, 09:58 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brfinley
OMG! Were there children involved?

I actually have an involved child myself. My 15 yo daughter plays a wooden viola here in Davis. There is an amazing music program here in the public schools. We also have a really nice place for you to come and practice (the Mondavi Center at UC Davis).

Your story is fascinating already. You Go!

BRF
Tell her to keep practicing! String instruments have a steep learning curve, but the longer you play the better it gets... (like most things)

I'd love to come visit! Maybe UC Davis would be interested in me doing some masterclasses and/or carbon fiber viola demos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpitfireTriple
I had a gf once who played the violin. I sensed that the difference between motorcyclists and musicians is that motorcyclists regard their bike as a mate, sometimes even their best mate. Musicians on the other hand, seem to regard their instruments almost as lovers.... You will no more about this than me.
Hmmm, I don't know about lovers... But those nights in the tent keeping the viola warm are memorable! The thing about Black Death that is so cool is that it's merely a tool. I don't have to be wrapped up in it's care and health, I can just play the damn thing, any time, anywhere, no problem. It's kinda refreshing. A dual-sport viola!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpitfireTriple
The red bug you saw might be a red velvet mite/spider. Your photo is better than anything I found on the net. http://www.cirrusimage.com/Arachnid_velvet_mite.htm

Just as well you didn't try to eat it though
http://chicagowildernessmag.org/issu...2004/mite.html
Oh, well, good thing it didn't cross my mind to put it in my mouth! I think the one I saw was bigger than the mite you looked up, but it could be a Texas sized version, 'cause everything's bigger in _______... Thanks for researching!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistercindy
I've seen a bunch of electric violins, but a few months ago I was getting something or another at a north Dallas music store and saw an electric viola. Neat looking instrument. They let me plug it into a couple of speakers and I sawed away. Very cool!
Interestingly one of the first questions I'm often asked about the Black Death is "is it electric?" Ummm, no, full on acoustic baby! I suppose it's radical appearance resembles and electric guitar body. I too got to try a Yamaha electric viola the other day, I think it was the "silent" electric that you plug headphones into to practice and you could also out to an amp. I wasn't impressed, the neck and scroll were cheap-o and the sound was not very nice in the earphones, but I suppose a nice amp with EQ could solve a lot of that. Which did you try?
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:47 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by viola-tor
I too got to try a Yamaha electric viola the other day, I think it was the "silent" electric that you plug headphones into to practice and you could also out to an amp. I wasn't impressed, the neck and scroll were cheap-o and the sound was not very nice in the earphones, but I suppose a nice amp with EQ could solve a lot of that. Which did you try?
I don't know the brand. It had a pretty radical look. There was no sound box for a sound post and f-holes, etc... The material that replaced the sound box was a bizzare shape with nothing on one side exept a little room for the chinrest. Hard to describe. But once under my chin it all felt pretty familiar.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:49 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
Where'd you find the CF flutes? I new about guitars and mandolins, plus some percussion instruments are starting to use carbon fiber too, but I'm really interested in other orchestral instruments (you know, the snooty ones ). I was surprised to hear about the clarinets, apparently it's some sort of CF chips molded together, like particle board I guess. A trumpet player friend of mine suggested that making the bells of brass instruments might be logical place to experiment for that family.
I found the flutes and a few others here, a company called Pipe Makers Union.
http://www.carbony.com/Products.htm
Maybe if you can get some of the windbag players on the CF train, it'll help get the old guard of the strings to wake up!
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:18 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
He's the closest thing classical music has to a rock star.
You haven't heard this then:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by8oyJztzwo

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Old 10-29-2008, 04:22 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peka
You haven't heard this then:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by8oyJztzwo

Novel, but I felt he launched too quickly into the guitar riff. Pachelbel's Canon is all about a gradual, relentless build. To me anyway. ahem.


I wonder if many classical musicians are subconsciously anti- carbon fibre because they are too heavily "invested" in their woods. Anyone who spent $50k on a fancy old (wooden) viola/in is not going to want to believe that a $5k carbon fibre can do the job.

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Old 10-29-2008, 07:39 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpitfireTriple

I wonder if many classical musicians are subconsciously anti- carbon fibre because they are too heavily "invested" in their woods. Anyone who spent $50k on a fancy old (wooden) viola/in is not going to want to believe that a $5k carbon fibre can do the job.
That may be part of it, sure. I recently played my CF viola at a concert and shared the stage with Strad violin worth 2.5 million dollars. Like I said earlier, it's more about the player than the instrument, and most players know this. I've gotten into some interesting philosophical discussions with other string players about instruments and instrument making... Oy. My Black Death is NOT a Stradivarius viola, and doesn't sound like one (I can't claim that it does), but it IS a perfectly playable quality viola with many attractive attributes, mainly that it's so tough for my applications (plus I can't afford a Strad or other Italian equivalent). I'm pretty sure if Antonio Stradivarius was alive today he would be experimenting with diff. materials and designs to try to make his instruments even better (just like he did during his time), maybe even carbon fiber!
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #54
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Sup?

OK, so I pull up for gas in Bum Fuck Nevada off Hwy 50 on my 950 on the way from San Francisco to meet some buddies in Colorado and I see this dude with a new 990 loaded up like friggin U-Haul. We chat, we ride the desert together, stop at the Owl Club in Eureka NV and we get absolutly shit faced at the Hotel Nevada in Ely that night and have a great time. The next day, I pinch his spare tires in Delta Utah and we part ways. Great trip!!
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:22 PM   #55
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After the test run to Guadalupe National Park I was indentured to my land-lady for some house renovation for a couple weeks, and was busy performing for the Cactus Pear Music Festival which takes place in San Antonio every July. I love being one of the invited artists for this festival, ‘cause everyone is so nice and so GOOD!!! Wow. Musicians (many principal players) from some of the top orchestras in the world, and little ole’ me! Cleveland Orchestra, Concertebow (Amsterdam), Milwaukee Symphony, L.A., St. Louis... The list of talent is pretty incredible, and I’m excited to get to play with these folks; it’s like riding a bull! Did I mention everyone was really GOOD!?!? I’m programmed to play a modern piece by Aaron J. Kernis called “100 Greatest Dance Hits” for string quartet and guitar. (No, there aren’t 100 songs in it, it’s just the title). A cool piece that requires the players to use some unconventional techniques, such as beating on the instrument like bongos and all kinds of crazy tapping and plucking all over. I (we) decide this is a perfect opportunity to show San Antonio what the Black Death can do (since I can really beat on it mercilessly without fear of damaging it)!

My plan is to be pretty much packed and ready to hit road for a month the day after Cactus Pear is completed, but finally I admit to myself that this is a bad idea since the night after the final concert is important social/party/network time... with lots of drinks. So I plan my exit from Texas a day later so I can start fully prepared and well rested.

Ha, ha.

It seems to never work out that way, does it? Even with the extra day the departure time gets pushed back, and back, one errand after another, a phone call, an important email... 8:00 turns to 10:00, which turns to 2:00 and then 4:00. I have to get a few photos for my impending advrider ride report, so there goes another 10 minutes.

My biggest upgrade for this trip is my ADV and VIOLA-TOR stickers. Sweet...







My gawd, get me outta here! Finally I suit up and leave town, heading out into Texas Hill Country for a few turns before I hit the flat pan-handle.



I only make it to Boerne (about 30 miles from San Antonio) and realize that I’ve left one pair of pants on my bed. Doh. I have another pair, but last summer I traveled with only my riding pants and one pair of hiking/whatever pants and found myself wishing for a 2nd pair while wet and cold. I keep rolling for a few minutes weighing my options (such as keep riding, buy a new pair, turn around, ect.). It’s blazing hot, easily 100 degrees. At this rate I’ll be camping in Hill Country sleeping in my own sweat only two hours from my house! That does it, I’m turning around for one more night in my air conditioned bed, I’ll leave the biked fully packed and I WILL leave first thing tomorrow...

*Yawn* Okay, another day down the tubes, let’s get this show on the road! I really DO get up early this time and zoom out of town before rush hour heats up (literally and figuratively), this time with pants. Hill Country is awesome as usual (my playground!). I stop for a pic of these crazy African creatures, because they were unusually close to the fence:



Uhg, West Texas. So, flat, so, hot. I’m trying to avoid Interstates, but I’ll be damned if the quickest way through this part of the state isn’t I-freakin-10. I bite the bullet for a hundred miles or so and turn north at Ft. Stockton towards New Mexico.

BMW’s. What can I say? They’re incredible machines. I was bit by the Bavarian bug right off the bat and haven’t looked back over close to 100,000 miles and six years of riding adventures. Which leads me to:

Final Drives. What can I say? They’re (supposed to be) incredible machines! This is my second final drive failure, and I’ve witnessed another, all giving out far, far from home on long trips. I don’t have any superstitions or an ax to grind with vehicles, they’re simply machines. I ride, they break, I fix, I ride, they break, I fix... But this is getting kinda ridiculous.

I feel the rear wheel grinding and wobbling side to side, knowing exactly what the problem is but not wanting to accept it. I have roadside assist/towing coverage (a hundred miles, a lotta good that’ll do me out here!), but it’s crazy hot so I decided to limp back the fifteen miles to Ft. Stockton to a fast food establishment so I can wait for a tow indoors with a cool drink. I didn’t check my cell phone, but even if I got a signal I wasn’t interested in sitting in the sun for a an hour or more. I’m rolling along with my hazards on the shoulder about 20 MPH, but the wheel feels worse and worse so I slow to 15 and eventually 10 MPH. Damn, it’s hot. It’s funny though, I’m kinda enjoying the ride! The landscape looks very different at this tempo, and I’m actually enjoying seeing the little things that are a blur at 80 MPH.

I’ve back-tracked about 5 miles and a white pick-up truck stops and waits for me. A fellow rider checking on me! Nice.

“I’m alright, got a bad rear bearing, just gonna limp to Ft. Stockton and them probably U-Haul back to San Antonio, but thanks for stopping!”

Twenty minutes later I finally I make it to the I-10 interchange and pull into the gas station where I see the fellow rider with white truck flagging me in. Huh?

“We were waiting for you,” says Gary “we’re actually headed to San Antonio too, would you like to put your bike in the back of the pick-up? I think we can make room...”

I kinda glance up at the sky in that I-love-motorcycle-adventures kind of way and say “SURE!” without a moment’s hesitation. What is it about the two-wheeled machines that brings out the best in people???

Hmmm, now all we have to do is figure out how to get my 600+ pound motorcycle up 3 feet in the air into the pick-up bed. Gary spies a big pile of dirt behind a business. Looks good to me!



It turns out to be more dust than dirt, but oh well. This is the single most adventurous riding feat I’ve yet accomplished! My exploits include track days, knees down on public roads, all night rides, 1000 miles in a day, dragging foot pegs with a pillion on board, the list goes on and on. Riding my fully loaded crippled bike up a pile of dust into a half-full pick-up truck bed is still the scariest thing I’ve done on a motorcycle. Needless to say I opted to remain ATGATT for this stunt despite the outrages temperature.



It took a couple tries, and Gary was pushing from behind to assist. The wheel broke loose in the soft dust and totally showered him with powder... Sorry! I still feel pretty guilty about that. Finally I made it in.





I brought a couple tie downs and Gary had a couple. There were to be four of us in the extended cab Toyota Tundra so there wasn’t really room inside for the Black Death, so I strapped her to the back of the truck, over the open tail gate. Now THIS will be a test! Where no viola should ever go...

Gary turned out to have quite the motorcycle adventure stories, so we had a blast visiting for the 400 miles back to San Antonio. At a rest stop I walked back to check on the load and my viola pack was dangling off the back of the tail gate. I’m not kidding, dangling! Oh man, string players would normally be fainting if they saw something like this, but I calmly re-secured the load and added a bungee cord to keep it in place. Voila! (or should I say “Viola!”?)



Gary and Company delivered me all the way to my driveway, just because I was *almost* broken down. I didn’t even have time to call AAA before the moto-gods sent him swooping in to aid me. The motorcycle community is pretty darn awesome.

Next installment: What to do about getting this “big” trip finally under way (as in “out of Texas”). A good place to start would be a functional motorcycle, right?

viola-tor screwed with this post 10-30-2008 at 07:37 AM
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:25 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyBigDaddy
OK, so I pull up for gas in Bum Fuck Nevada off Hwy 50 on my 950 on the way from San Francisco to meet some buddies in Colorado and I see this dude with a new 990 loaded up like friggin U-Haul. We chat, we ride the desert together, stop at the Owl Club in Eureka NV and we get absolutly shit faced at the Hotel Nevada in Ely that night and have a great time. The next day, I pinch his spare tires in Delta Utah and we part ways. Great trip!!
Curse you, DaddyBigDaddy, spoiling the story...

We did have fun though, didn't we? How 'bout that meth-addict ex-con momma hottie?

The rest of ya's stay tuned...
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:42 PM   #57
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Viol-ator,

Add me to the classical/rider list. Looking forward to your posts especially the pics of you playing while you ride. I like to step out of the traditional box occasionally when I go see these guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGnAzkh9kn0
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:40 AM   #58
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Round of applause for Gary with the white SUV.

I was going to ask about the low C-of-G pannier that looks as if it would foul the "mystery" KTM rider's front wheel. But I'll let the story unfold in its own time. "Suspense..." is best.

BTW, where did you get the reflective material that you have on the back of the BMW panniers? (Maybe it comes as standard) Is it effective?
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:57 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by SpitfireTriple
Round of applause for Gary with the white SUV.

I was going to ask about the low C-of-G pannier that looks as if it would foul the "mystery" KTM rider's front wheel. But I'll let the story unfold in its own time. "Suspense..." is best.

BTW, where did you get the reflective material that you have on the back of the BMW panniers? (Maybe it comes as standard) Is it effective?
I got the red reflective adhesive from http://www.identi-tape.com/eng-sr6.html I purchased the 6" width engineering grade tape which is available in a variety of colors, then made paper patterns to match my luggage and helmet, flipped them over and traced onto the back of the reflective material and cut it out. It's lasted years so far and looks stock red in the day, reflects as a kind of reddish-orange in headlights and camera flashes at night. Yes, it works very well, and I like knowing that I've improved the day and night visibility of the rear. A friend told me that so much red on the back actually camoflages the brake light however, that's not so good. Probably should upgrade to some bright LED's or something.

I guess I have to order some orange tape now... Shhh! Don't tell!

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:33 PM   #60
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Spoiler is my middle name..........Hurry up and tell the story.

We did have fun though, didn't we? How 'bout that meth-addict ex-con momma hottie?

.......you mean yo' date?

HIJACK!
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