Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Friday, August 31, 2007


On Wednesday my annual preseason string order arrived. It is always good to start off with a fresh set of strings and a renewed sense of optimism. Unfortunately only the strings endure for any length of time.

As usual, I discovered the package dropped surreptitiously on the porch by our local FedEx person, someone I have never once managed to catch in the act of delivery. In contrast, his counterpart from UPS seems like an old friend.

Part of my order is the usual Pirastro flat-chromsteel set. I’ve tried different strings over the years but always seem to come back to these. My consternation isn’t with the strings; it’s the package that annoys me

The front of the flat-chrom package has a classy design – arabesque border, the crossed tuning forks inside the little octagon a nice touch, with just a splash of color. I’m happy the Pirastro strings I use – Flat-chromsteel, Eudoxa (Queen of strings! they call them.) and Oliv (The noble sound…?) – all have maintained the traditional front cover design. Sadly, the venerable Flexocor has gone to cartoonish color drawing. (Since when did strings need cover art anyway?)

But, what really gets me is the flip side, where

I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Playing!

is scrawled in cursive script. The first time I noticed that I thought somebody had sold me used strings or was playing a prank.

Sorry to say, I’m not so happy to see such exuberance whenever I get a new set of strings. Why this annoys me so much, I have no idea, but it really irks me every time. Maybe it is because I was ‘put in my place’ early on in my career.

The CSO was putting on a semi-staged opera with a very hefty, fairly famous soprano. I came bounding up the stairs during a rehearsal break and literally ran into her as she descended.

“Is break over already!” she wailed, still grunting and sweating her way down to her dressing room.

“No,” I answered, trying to be clever, “I’m so full of enthusiasm, I can’t wait to get back onstage!”

“Well,” she barked, “get over it!”


Matt Heller said...

A few years ago there was this flier for a summer music festival, Sarasota I think. Next to the bass faculty they had printed, as though it was handwritten: "WOW!" Apparently they sent one to my brother, who assumed that I had written it and teased me mercilessly about it.

Stan Haskins said...

Yeah, the people at Pirastro really need to reconsider their packaging. I actually don't mind the cover art on the Flexes or the Perms, but the "I can't stop playing" is definitely over the top. My wife thought I wrote it on them the last time I left a package of Permanents lying around.