singing violin - fine soloist violins in Kul Violins studio
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When I entered this so highly exciting area of violin family instruments more than ten years ago, I encountered frustration at the threshold of that giant 'enigma'. All I knew was lots and lots of unanswered questions and no signposts along that way. And probably the only thought that helped me, was: "Some humans, not gods, managed to craft these so terrifically sounding creations, so why I can not try. Unless I try, I will not find answers".? I was lucky enough not to give up, so slowly, step by step, I could find answers to at least some essential questions, especially to the most important: what it is ideal violin sound?…

I arrived at the area of violin family instruments creation from the fields of science (I hold a Ph.D. in physics). Because of this reason I am looking at a violin as a device that works according to some strict physical laws (anyway, acoustics is a field of physics). I heard quite often sayings about some violin maker: "He is very good with violins". But I also heard: "Some of his violins are fantastic, but others are not…" I really do not want to create bad or average violins and knowing some physical laws etc. helps me significantly.

Most researchers agree that audible violin sound is conditioned by forty to fifty resonances. I gathered all available information, made some conclusions, so, creating our instruments, to? achieve optimal violin sound conditions, we - my wife and I, control humidity, manage up to ten resonances (vibration modes) and measure the weight of plates. I use my PC to perform violin spectral analysis.

Additionally, I also always remember: there is no substitution for the best wood and the finest workmanship. Certainly, experience helps to create a violin properly, but, regretfully, timber for the violin is always an ultimate challenge. Remembering these main aspects, we usually can create the best possible violin for a given timbre and, therefore, a violin according to a player's preferences - we manage to craft an instrument for soloist, orchestra or baroque player, teacher or student - quite easily and reliably.

While performing violin setup, we usually look at two to four essential instrument resonance frequencies. Going that way, we usually achieve desirable results. Regretfully, improvement doesn't always follow. As a rule, this implies that violin design is improper (mode frequencies are not right), or wood is not suitable, or both, and it is thus completely impossible to ensure good violin sound.

Quite often we are asked: "What does your service offer: 'Improving voice of a badly sounding instrument' mean?" That simply means that if a player is not happy with the sound or some other features (playability, projection…) of the violin, we can perform a thorough setup according to his or her preferences. To some extent setup resembles software. Sometimes it has been created in three versions: lite, standard and professional. Therefore, we can give the player (owner): advice only, 'external' adjustment or even do a complete setup. Regretfully, we are not always lucky enough to get a desirable result. Again, the main reasons for it are inappropriate timber or design (for example, originally too thin plates).

As I can imagine, every player, searching for a new violin, has lots and lots of questions and reservations. Being to some extent specific, all these questions nicely fall into a rather narrow area. I have just tried to describe answers - 'signposts', and indicate how to make the search easier.

It is really difficult or even impossible to give simply 'correct' advice in such a strictly personal area. Anyway, my permanent idea remains: "Violin is a tool a professional player has to use on a regular basis - for years or tens of years. Therefore, it is wise primarily to not only choose suitably sounding violin, but also ascertain that it can accomplish the job properly. Also, if it is known that some players for several years own violins, made by a given luthier and are happy, it is probably a good sign".

Again, it is always better to communicate with an experienced and honest maker who can properly clarify visible as well as some 'invisible' processes in the violin.

We, living in the violin world, can slowly, small step at a time, move towards an ideal violin sound.

And we do.

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At last I have my ideal violin. I turned down 14 instruments which came from all around the country, including an original cremonese violin, which I just couldn't convince myself to like. However I had no second thoughts about my new violin, made by Czes and Birute Kul, and instantly knew this was the one. The violin has very clean articulation and a sweet tone, also
projecting well. I have had many compliments about it. A lot of careful workmanship has obviously gone into the violin, which is very elegant and distinctive in looks. Before you look anywhere else, I strongly recomend Czes and Birute. It could save a lot of trouble, time and money.

Sarah K., Wellington

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