— Jon Michel, Professor of Cello, Central Washington University
Dr. Krentz’s first invention in this field began development when he received his first new modern cello in 2001. His background in the sciences and impatience for waiting for his new instrument to sound its best pushed him to the string-driving radiant field technology used today. Though there are many urban myths about methods of playing an instrument in, none of them are capable of driving each string to play every pitch on the instrument at fortissimo volume and non-stop for a week at a time. None of them can produce the results that the Krentz String Works technology does.
His first attempt used an electric hair trimmer motor attached to the bridge like a product currently on the market. Feeling that the instrument was not changing and was so different from an instrument actually playing, he continued to experiment. He wanted to find a method that would be able to play the actual strings of the instrument and different pitches with the instrument free to vibrate in all its complexity.
Though many assume that the technology consists of a bow connected to some sort of bowing machine, that idea also proved to be very difficult to operate continuously and without possible mechanical failures of various types that could result in damage to an instrument. In fact, The Krentzer, as it has affectionately become known, is elegantly efficient, powerful and will result in no damage to the instrument.
It is not really known why playing an instrument in makes the instrument mature though many theories abound. However, we might assume that doing it at fortissimo, the instruments greatest level of activity bending and vibrating, will be necessary to activate the entire instrument.
The standard method for testing the acoustic signature of instruments in the violin acoustics field is the ‘velocity hammer’. By tapping a small hammer on the side of the bridge and recording the sound, instruments can really be compared as apples to apples. However, for the non-acoustician, the resulting charts are not very helpful beyond the ability to see that something is different.
Below, you have the next best thing. Every possible variable has been controlled for, except that we wanted the instrument to actually make sounds that listeners could hear and evaluate.
A special apparatus was built to hold each instrument and the recording microphone in exactly the same way. Since a bow had to be used to make sound, the three bow variables were tightly controlled for: The speed of the bow was set by metronome, the weight of the bow was controlled by allowing only the bows own weight, and the placement of the bow was marked on the strings and tightly controlled. The recording equipment was not changed in any way and even the strings were removed after the first recording and replaced after the play-in. The bow itself also was not played or rosined between recordings.
We accept play-in orders in either one or two week increments generally. The cost is $300 per week.
Please contact us directly to discuss your particular situation and your instrument. Playing-in an instrument does wonders for new or newly restored instruments. However, many players who are not happy with their instruments ask about playing them in further in hopes that they will improve. If your instrument is already a year old or more, play-in will likely not be worth the effort of sending the instrument to us.
Further, Dr. Krentz can also offer other services if he believes they may help your instrument including soundpost adjustment, a new bridge designed and voiced to solve your instrument’s issues or even something as simple as string, endpin, or tailpiece choice.
Krentz String Works would love to hear from you. Of course we would like to answer any questions you may have. Further, if you have an idea to solve a problem that you have as a string player or a problem you would like to see solved, we would like to hear it!
Finally, Krentz String Works is obsessed with customer satisfaction and quality. If there is anything you need, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Krentz String Works
1215 NE 130th St
Seattle, WA 98125