Well, where is the winter that we were promised? After the November blizzard there hasn’t been enough snow to shake a shovel at, if that’s your idea of a good time, and my 19 year old snow thrower will make it through another season. Still, it’s cold enough to worry about the lack of humidity in your home and at school.
When it is consistently below 40, start using your humidifier. If you obtained your instrument from me you already have one, and I instructed you in its use and explained the consequences of not using it. It is especially important in the winter to keep your humidified instrument in its case, with the top closed and latched. That’s the only way the humidifier works. Those of you with cello stands need to eschew their use until warm weather returns, or you might be e-chewing a big repair bill. A quick description of relative humidity as it relates to string instruments is this: The warmer the air, the more energy it has to cause water to evaporate and the more space it has between its molecules to hold it. When air is cold it has less energy to hold moisture. When you heat your home you normally draw outside air into your house and heat it up. The air has more energy to hold moisture, but where can it get it? Since you probably don’t have a lake in your living room, the air finds water where it can, and, among other things, it gets it from your wooden string instrument. Using a humidifier and keeping the instrument in the case will protect it from drying out. When you take it out to play, there is usually not enough time for much moisture to leave before you put it back into the case. If you are a serious student or a professional and you practice for hours, you need a room humidifier. At the shop we have a humidifier the size of an air conditioner connected to the furnace. We also have room humidifiers for times when it is so cold outside that the furnace unit can’t keep up. In the instrument care section to the left there are complete instructions on the use of a Dampit-style humidifier.
Often this is the time that students go up an instrument size, or perhaps it’s an upgrade that’s in order. Or, maybe it now makes sense to own rather than to rent (in my opinion—after a year it always does). Whatever the reason, we have a marvelous selection of student to advanced instruments here at Hosmer Violins. Of course, after the summer they might need minor repairs or adjustments. Many of these little tweaks can be accomplished while you wait, so don’t hesitate to come in. Bow rehairing by Michael Hattala is available every other week.
It is very unusual, but we have a bow by Michael Hattala for sale. This bow is about 10 years old, and the owner found that he was uncomfortable using such a fine bow in the places he was playing. Michael’s price today for one of his bows is $4500, but this bow is specially priced at $3500, and it shows virtually no wear. If you are a professional or a serious amateur and you want to obtain a bow for the rest of your life, please stop by and try it. See the photos in the “Bows by Michael Hattala” section.
I have had another shipment of Kai Yang violins. They are the best $400 instrument I have seen in a long while. I was also able to choose 10 very nice C.L. Wynn violins that will sell for $600. There are some offerings in the student line from the shop of Anton Krutz, priced from $600 to $1000. The violins from Revelle are very impressive, with two models priced from $1200 to $1800. Revelle also features a quality line of carbon fiber bows beginning at $150. I was able to select a half dozen Camillo Callegari violins recently. They are the finest new instruments you can buy for under $2000. A recent acquisition is four beautifully flamed great sounding Sandro Luciano violins from their importer, West Coast Strings. They usually sell for $1800, but these instruments were varnished in a different shop so I can sell them for $1300. Also from West Coast Strings I have added to the selection of wide-body violas priced from $1200 to $1800. The shop of Wang Xiao Kuo is represented by six marvelous violins priced at $1200. Cellos from Zhong Long Sheng arrived recently, and they sound great. Last week I picked out 3 higher level violins from Eastman Strings priced at under $2000. There are many more student level instruments in the $600 to $2000 price range, so please take this opportunity to pay us a visit. You’ll also find a nice supply of Brazilian Pernambuco bows for violin, viola, and cello as well as the less expensive woven carbon fiber items. In the vintage instrument department I have a number of better instruments including a mid 19th century Hopf violin priced at $4000, a marvelous 1920’s E. Reinhold Schmidt violin at $8000, and an 1887 American violin by H.H. Heskett at $3500. Hopefully, I will be able to prepare more vintage instruments before spring is over.
Of course, you can buy entry level outfits for a couple of hundred dollars online or from music stores, but they are not the quality that you deserve, and certainly not the quality that I expect. (My opinion: European entry instruments, although well made, are unacceptable because they are too heavy and do not sound well.) Have you already bought a bargain online? If it meets certain parameters of quality, it makes sense for you to have it professionally set up. I’ll be happy to give you an estimate.
All the instruments I sell are set up by me to my exacting standards. You will only find quality Pirastro, Thomastik, or D’Addario strings, the necks are smooth, the playing action is easy, the pegs work well, and I will not sell instruments that don’t sound the very best for their price points. Entry level instruments receive the same care as the $2000 ones. If you have a problem with any instrument I have sold it’s unlikely that you will have to pay to have it fixed for the first three years of ownership (basic maintenance and accidental damage excluded). Reliability is probably the most important factor in choosing an instrument at the dealer level, and my 46 years of experience allows me to choose only the best instruments and bows for my clientele–ones that I can stand behind (and cases that I can stand on).
Look here for a list of the latest new instruments: