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May 19, 2017

The Caswell’s ‘Premium Bond’ Giveaway WINNERS

We’re pleased to announce the winners for the first 18 days of our daily prize draw.

Winners will receive their prize by the end of June. There are still 13 prizes to be won, including the biggest of them all, so place your order today – every order placed online is entered in the daily draw.

Congratulations to the following:

Day Order number Customer Surname Prize won
1 120935 Siney, Yorkshire £50
2 120993 Price, Kent £25
3 120853 Arlidge, Birmingham £25
4 120877 Van der Linden, Bristol £5
5 121032 Belcher, Suffolk £5
6 120844 Lodhia, Leicstershire £5
7 121024 Cottam, Carmarthenshire £5
8 120962 Talbot, ROI £5
9 120940 Murray, Surrey £5
10 121073 Kolka, Leicestershire £5
11 120936 Khan, Beckenham £5
12 120989 Doyle, Kinross £5
13 121096 Russell, Glasgow £5
14 120903 Cornford, Buckinghamshire £5
15 120926 Dutton, Suffolk £5
16 121022 Lindley, Durham £5
17 121000 Harper. East Lothian £5
18 121077 Kroon, London £5
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May 19, 2017

Are you buying fake strings?

The dangers of buying strings online, unless from a recognised and trusted company!

We have often heard rumours about the infiltration of counterfeit Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass strings being offered online. We mostly presumed that these “counterfeit strings”, had poor packaging that looked like it came out of an Inkjet printer, and obviously cheap strings with noticeably altered thread colourations!

But, as popular brands of strings continued to pop up online at wildly low prices, it was time to do some deep investigating. A prominent string specialist company in the USA called SHAR MUSIC discovered some very troubling facts exposing obviously inferior strings of unknown composition and origin, but with nearly perfect packaging and presentation. SHAR began buying up these strings, dissecting them, showing them to manufacturers, and searching for the source of these fakes, which led them across three continents and deep into the shadowy world of counterfeit products and online marketplaces.

And the shocking truth is that half the major brand strings Shar purchased overseas were counterfeit. But how do these strings find their way to the UK and Europe?

Easy to imitate. Easy to smuggle. Easy to hide the tracks. 

With globally connected markets, it is simple to imagine how these counterfeit strings can deliberately and subtly make their way into the UK, just like many other counterfeit products. A similar problem is “Grey Market” strings, which were intended to be sold in the East, but somehow make their way here.  Shar traced one whole shipment from the manufacturer in the East, to Eastern Europe, to Mexico and finally to the US. They changed hands at each step, so there is no way of telling just how long they took to finally arrive and what may have happened to them along the way.

Sadly, these fake strings soon reveal their true identity when they are installed – through awful tone, falseness, short lifespan, or even high tensions that are dangerous to your instrument.

Here at Caswells Strings all our strings are guaranteed and sourced from the authentic manufacturer and string companies. When we have our own violins made and strung in China, we supply them direct with authentic strings such as the D’Addario Prelude or the Dominant violin strings set

These established string companies, such as Thomastik, Pirastro, D’Addario, Larsen and Jargar to name a few have traditions, histories, and manufacturing processes that in some cases go back centuries. They make strings to exacting tolerances, use pure and ethically sourced materials, follow rigid quality assurance, and offer excellent customer service.

It simply makes sense to purchase strings that you are confident are the original, authentic brand and priced at a reasonable level, which Caswells Strings can guarantee absolutely.

With thanks to Shar Music for granting permission to share this information

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May 15, 2017

The Caswell’s ‘Premium Bond’ Giveaway

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We’re giving away £450 worth of High Street Gift Vouchers in May

How does it work?:

We have 31 prize tokens, one for each day of May

Every day we will have 2 draws:

  • All the online orders from that day will be entered automatically* and 1 order drawn for a prize
  • The remaining number of prize tokens for the month will be entered and a prize amount drawn

Prize tokens:

 1 prize of £150 High Street Voucher

2 prizes of £50 High Street Voucher

3 prizes of £25 High Street Voucher

25 prizes of £5 High Street Voucher

Every order is a winner

  •  On top of that we are giving 5% discount on every online order in May.
  • Enter may17 in the coupon box at the checkout

Follow us on Social Media

The result of the draw will be uploaded on to our social media pages regularly

Visit us to see if you’ve won

 

Terms and Conditions

To be eligible to win one of the daily prizes an online order must be placed and paid for | There is no minimum spend required | Prizes will be distributed 30 days from date of purchase |*If you do not want your order entered into the prize draw, please let us know in the comments box when you order | Discount coupon cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount or offer

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May 12, 2017

Those pesky ‘Wolf notes’

Many a time I have demonstrated Cellos to aspiring Cellists only to get the teacher on the Cello and ‘woowowo’ – out pops the Wolf!

The teacher understands, because Wolf notes are a fact of life, even with the best and most expensive Cellos, but the affect on the student and parents is always interesting.

While the warble can migrate and come from almost anywhere, it most commonly lurks on the 4th position on the G string. By sliding your finger somewhere between the E and G you can often pick up the Wolf. Other common positions are high on the C string and first position on the D. On a recent £2000 Cello we were unlucky enough to pick up one on the A string – but which was successfully slain!

So what can I do to mitigate the ‘Wolf note’?

It is a fact that some professional players can ‘play around’ the wolf by using bow dynamics – a shorter upstroke , lighter touch, a different bow, playing closer to the bridge are some of the techniques used. Many prefer this because they find that a wolf note suppressor will sometimes dampen down the played string on a very expensive Cello.

Some suggestions:

Changing the setup of your instrument could be a useful way to reduce a wolf note.  Adjustments by a clever Luthier, to the sound post or bridge, can help to minimize a wolf note problem.

A common solution is to fit a wolf note suppressor to your cello. These little gadgets are fitted to the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece and then moved to the appropriate place. The usual eliminator is a small brass tube lined with rubber or the newish LupX range. Another approach is the New Harmony range which is claimed to reduce any dampening effect – they come in various weights which gives more scope for selection depending on the severity of the wolf.

In one particularly stubborn ‘wolf’ on an expensive cello we had to resort to an internal resonator . The wolf note was identified by fixing the eliminator to the outside of the Cello. Once the true spot was found this was then glued to the inside, which proved very effective

Often, on the positive side, we do find with new Cellos that the wolf will disappear of its own accord as the Cello matures.

See Wolf note Suppressors

New Harmony Wolf note Suppressor

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May 04, 2017

Somerset Bass Weekend 20/10/17 – 22/10/17

There is something for everyone at the Somerset Bass Weekend in October – participator or spectator! A great opportunity to hear two great international bassists in concert.

Friday 20 October 2017 GALA CONCERT – Taunton School at 7:30pm: A one-hour concert and reception featuring music by Simon Garcia, David Hayes, Manuel de Falla, Bernard Salles, Teppo Hauta-aho and more…

Saturday 21 October 2017 DOUBLE BASS WORKSHOP – Wells & Mendip Museum (Wells, Somerset). A one-day workshop is open to double bassists of all ages and most abilities. It will include technique sessions, a massed bass orchestra, new music, orchestral repertoire, jazz styles, masterclass and informal performance opportunities.

Saturday 21 October 2017 CONCERT  – Wells & Mendip Museum (Wells, Somerset) at 7:30pm: A one-hour concert features an exciting and enjoyable program of music from around the world. The concert is followed by wine and snacks.

Sunday 22 October 2017 DOUBLE BASS WORKSHOP – Village Hall, Templecombe: A workshop for bassists of all ages and most abilities will be held in Templecombe and will include a warm-up and technique session, bass ensembles, open lesson, performance opportunities, ensembles and new music. The workshop will end with a concert at 3.00pm featuring some of the works studied during the day.

Sunday 22 October 2017 FINAL CONCERT at 3pm – Village Hall, Templecombe: The final concert of the Somerset Bass weekend will feature a range of ensemble repertoire, particularly by Spanish bassist-composer Simon Garcia who is a featured composer during the weekend, alongside works by leading double bass composers from throughout the world. Something to suit all tastes.

For more information: Tel: 01963 370051  E-mail: double bass@tiscali.co.uk  Web: www.recitalmusic.net

Caswells Strings are not directly involved in this great event and cannot be held responsible for any information which has been posted on here in good faith. Information is correct at the time of posting but please check and confirm on the above contact details for latest information. We wish the organizers everything of the best and a very successful Bass-weekend.

 

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April 03, 2017

The Making of the Stentor Violin

This video, although some years old now, gives a fascinating insight in to the making of a violin and more specifically the making of the Stentor Violin.

Stentor Violins are one of our best selling products and we’re assured every time we sell them that the quality which has been developed over 100 years and more will not let us down.

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April 03, 2017

What Rosin should I use?

Rosin is the resin from conifers – usually Pine (Pinus spp), but Spruce, Fir and Larch have also been used and sometimes in combination. The sticky exudations, which contain turpentine, are tapped off the trees and after various processes become the blocks of rosin we are so familiar with. Many makers are secretive about this process with recipes extending back into history.

All rosins, therefore, are not created equal and many players have their preferred brand which works for them, the kind of music they play and the strings that they use. Whatever it is, it is an essential to get the strings vibrating!

Let’s look at the differences then:

Student or professional? Or is there something in-between?

Student type Rosins generally cost under £5 and are quite adequate for beginners. They tend to be harder and dustier, producing a grittier tone. Higher priced rosins produce the smoother, fuller sound preferred by advancing players. There are very good in-between all-purpose rosins such as Kaplan Artcraft which can be used for Cello, Viola and Violin.

Hard or Soft/Dark or light?.

Dark Rosins are generally softer and more suitable for lower strings, cooler climates and used with synthetic core or gut core strings. Lighter rosins are generally harder and more suited to steel core strings. These are, of course, generalizations because there are very many variations available and makers will often offer a rosin specific to the make of string, such as Olive/Evah Pirazzi rosin, or Obligato rosin.

Rosins in a box or with a cloth/pouch?

This makes little difference although the cheaper brands usually come in a box or a tin. Each maker has a distinctive style and packaging. Pirastro for example is sold with a solid base, cloth surrounds and packed in a box, which is very convenient to keep tucked away safely in your instrument case.

Additives Gold, Goldflex, Allergenic

Some rosins are offered with additions such as Gold or the Goldflex rosin which has Gold flecks in the cake – which produce a warmer clear tone. Non-allergic rosins contain a certain waxiness which suppresses the production of irritating dust, but they are often more difficult to apply.

Whatever Rosin you choose, it may come by experimentation to find the one that suits you best and your style of playing. Do try and change after 18 months use, as the Rosin hardens with age and can lose the characteristic formula. We also find that many players use far too much and should restrict the application to possible every third or fourth playing session. Always keep a soft cloth to wipe off excess rosin which collects on the belly of the instrument and the strings and occasionally use a good string cleaner containing alcohol to clean off embedded rosin residues.

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March 17, 2017

Caswells Strings Privilege Card

Heritage_Privilege Card 2

The Caswells Strings Privilege Card is available to String teachers and Education establishments. The Privilege Card entitles the holder to an overriding discount:

Schools and Education establishments: As a holder of the card you can quote the card number in conjunction with your order and a discount will be applied. The code can also be used for online purchases – please see below. For larger bulk purchases, please call for a bespoke quote.

String Teachers: We recognise the teacher’s role in promoting, nurturing and encouraging more string players and also the fact that many teachers spend a lot of time buying on behalf of students. The privilege card will entitle you to a discount on almost all of what we sell.

How can I use my Privilege card online: Each privilege card has a unique number. This number is linked to your log-in when you register on our website. The card will not work unless you have registered online. You need to inform us when this is done so we can link the two. Thereafter you can shop 24/7 and be assured of getting your discount.

How do I apply for a Privilege card: We would need just one form of proof that you are a teacher. There are many ways of proving this but the most common would be proof of being an ESTA member.

There are many hundreds of cards already in use – join us now and never pay full price again. Email sales@caswellsstrings.com with your name, address and one proof of teaching (if a private teacher) and we will get one on its way to you.

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March 09, 2017

Codabow Marquise GS Violin Bow

Now in stock at Caswells Strings, the new Codabow Marquise GS Violin Bow has years of history behind it!

For nearly 10 years, CodaBow, together with master bowmaker Roger Zabinski, has crafted bespoke carbon-fiber bows for private musicians. Some of these exclusive bows emulated historically revered bows (Tourte, Peccatte, Pajeot, Voirin, etc.), some matched the performance of much-beloved bows the player already owned, and some were entirely original in their nature. All offered their owners tailored playing characteristics and personalized styling. All delivered a refined and sophisticated experience beyond even the best selling Codabow Diamond series.

Codabow referred to these bespoke bows as their MARQUISE bows, evocative of the distinctive cut of diamond prized for its elegance and sophistication.

The birth of the Codabow Marquise GS Violin Bow

After years of crafting bespoke MARQUISE bows, it became obvious that one design in particular was the most requested. Its optimum balance, flexibility, and weight providing exquisite handling. Its breakthrough organic-fiber architecture expressing a warm, rich, powerful sound.

High-sensitivity carbon fibers extending continuously from button to tip plate bestow in it a natural response and beauty. Referred to inside the workshop as the ‘Gold Standard’, this MARQUISE design appeals to discerning players more than any other and is the clear choice as the standard-bearer of the MARQUISE Experience!

Be one of the first in the country to try it out!

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