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Author Topic: Steampunk Violin  (Read 5381 times)
Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« on: March 08, 2007, 11:45:06 pm »



Has anybody heard of this?
So cool!!
Even though I have no musical ability what-so-ever, I want one.
A friend sent me some info on it, and I posted about it on my blog, but thought I'd repost it here.
From Wikipedia:

A Stroh violin, or violinophone, is a violin that amplifies its sound through a metal resonator and metal horns rather than a wooden sound box as on a standard violin. The instrument is named after its German designer, Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh, who patented it in 1899.

Stroh violins are much louder than a standard wooden violin. This made the Stroh violin particularly useful in the early days of phonographic recording. As regular violins recorded poorly with the old acoustic-mechanical recording method, Stroh violins were common in recording studios. While the Stroh produces significantly more volume, it does this at the expense of tone, offering a sound that is harsher and more grating than a standard violin.


Hmmm... Of course, a beginner practicing a stringed instrument can be bad enough... this could be truly inhumane...
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 11:59:35 pm by Honky-Tonk Dragon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2007, 11:52:17 pm »

What happens after a violin and a trumpet meet with Dr Moreau?
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2007, 11:53:11 pm »

Absolutely fantastic...if I hadn't heard it I never would have believed that that would actually work. Or at least not work and still sound half decent. Actually I quite liked the sound...it sounded like violin music being played over an old gramophone. An instrument that sounds like a gramophone recording when played live, and is an insane fusion of two other instruments...yes, some very steampunk thinking behind that.

I had been contemplating learning a new instrument, and being a Holmes fan the violin certainly appealed...I may have to alter my decision, now. And they only cost four hundred Euro as well...not that bad, considering.
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2007, 11:56:00 pm »

i wonder where one finds one of those things, or if it just happens to be something you build yourself...
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2007, 12:01:19 am »

i wonder where one finds one of those things, or if it just happens to be something you build yourself...


In the colonies
Across the pond
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OHebel Wring
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2007, 12:06:16 am »

shit, those guys are in my country! 

might have to pay them a visit.... and 350 EU doesn't seem bad for that level of amazingness...
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2007, 12:17:28 am »

I should post these qualifiers
1) I am in no way associated with either of these companies.
2) the US site claims their instrument "comes out of south-east-asian manufacturing with a lot of attention to details." The Deutsch versions are so close in description, I wonder if they don't come from the same plant. I have no idea as to the quality of manufacture of either of these instruments.

OHebel Wring-- if you do pay them a visit, would you be so kind to report back to us with your impressions?

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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2007, 12:20:03 am »

absolutely, I am leaving for London tomorrow, though, so I wont be able to get to it for a few days.
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2007, 01:09:35 am »

Nathaniel, have you ever played one of these kinds of violins?  Any input on tonality? timbre? Quality of the brand/design?  I do hope he sees this.
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2007, 02:29:51 am »

Nathaniel, have you ever played one of these kinds of violins?  Any input on tonality? timbre? Quality of the brand/design?  I do hope he sees this.

I have. It's really wierd. Defies explanation, really. The larger horn projects the sound 'out thataway' and you can't really hear it too well. The smaller horn (of the one I played) was on a sort of swivel mount so you could turn it and point it towards your left ear so you can hear yourself better. I had a tough time of it because I'm used to the violin being balanced in a certain way. This violin kept wanting to rotate in my hands because of the weight of the horn.

The one I played was really old and pretty fragile so I didn't get to spend as much time with it as I would have liked. It didn't have near the warmth or response as any of the acoustics I've played. With an acoustic, the vibrations of the wood feeds back into the vibrations of the strings and the whole thing comes alive. With the horn, like on an electric, there wasn't near that level of 'liveness'. It was certainly fun to play with though, if only for the novelty of it all.
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2007, 02:47:38 am »

Thank you so much for your comments, Mr. Johnstone.
A tip of the hat, and a raise of the glass to you.
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2007, 02:57:17 am »

Crazy, it looks like someone mated a victrola and a violin!

Seems similar to a resonator guitar though in it's original purpose, to be louder during recording.
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Nathaniel Johnstone
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2007, 02:59:29 am »

2) the US site claims their instrument "comes out of south-east-asian manufacturing with a lot of attention to details." The Deutsch versions are so close in description, I wonder if they don't come from the same plant. I have no idea as to the quality of manufacture of either of these instruments.

If the quality is anything like guitars coming out of 'south-east-asian manufacturing' plants, then you'd best be damn sure there's a good return policy. I've played some wonderful instruments out of the East but I've also played some dogs. And that's even when auditioning instruments from the same product line. In any case, whenever buying a musical instrument, make sure that you can try it out before you commit to laying your money down. Or, if you're a beginner, have someone who knows how to play already and have -them- try it out.
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2007, 03:00:50 am »

Thank you so much for your comments, Mr. Johnstone.
A tip of the hat, and a raise of the glass to you.

Cheers!  Smiley
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2007, 03:10:32 am »

Crazy, it looks like someone mated a victrola and a violin!

Seems similar to a resonator guitar though in it's original purpose, to be louder during recording.

According to the German vendor Stroh's invention opened the door for many other stringed instruments with resonators, including guitars.
Which makes me want a stand-up bass with a resonator.
 Grin
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2007, 01:07:40 pm »

Weird to see that here, since just a few weeks ago I got trapped on a train compartment with a man playing one. It sounded pretty good, actually, even when some random guy asked to try it out.
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2007, 02:21:15 pm »

Nathaniel, you never cease to amaze me. Cheesy

I'd love to try one of those violins out, but I doubt I could play it for very long without some serious upper-body conditioning. Looks heavy as hell.

Anyone know if they manufacture violas as well?
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Herr Skymarshall
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2007, 09:44:36 pm »

I tried to find some, I doubt any are in production anymore. Although if you're in New Zealand, you could see a Stroh Viola and a Stroh Cello, apparently. http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/?t=506
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Fantômas
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2007, 02:20:29 pm »

it's called a strohviol, or a phonofiddle. My grandmother (who was lead violinist in the Tacoma symphony for twenty years) had two. It functions by delivering the vibrations which would (in a normal violin) be delivered to the sounding rod within the body instead to a plate, and then a rod and finally a recorder needle housed within a small (preferably tin) resonating box, where the vibrations travel from the recorder needly onto a plate dividing the resonating box into two compartments the second compartment of which is connected to the horn which is shown. To my understanding there are only about three people manufacturing them, and two of those are in Hungaria.


at one point I posted this link I believe http://www.oddmusic.com/ where you will find this (I think) and a wealth of other strange contraptions of musical wonder.

If you would like to purchase one "Lark in the morning" Of Seattle Washington carries them, and other fascinating instruments which you have probably never seen.

to my ears nothing is quite as magical and beautiful however as the sound of the glass armonica.


enjoy.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 02:29:56 pm by Fantômas » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2007, 02:44:46 pm »

I believe I saw either the same, or something very similar at Lark in the Morning a while back.  If anyone was looking for them it might be worth checking it out. 
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Fantômas
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2007, 03:18:08 pm »

I believe I saw either the same, or something very similar at Lark in the Morning a while back.  If anyone was looking for them it might be worth checking it out. 


There is no "might" involved, they have them. They had them when I was in there almost 15 years ago, and they still have them.http://www.larkinthemorning.com/search.asp?t=ss&sb=0%22&ss=stroh&x=0&y=0

You won't like them though if your opposed to Eastern European folk, they play a pretty big role in that .
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 03:27:30 pm by Fantômas » Logged
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