Violins

Talk about musical instrument construction, setup and repair.

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blackalex1952
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Violins

Post by blackalex1952 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:15 pm

I have been mucking around with an old Chinese or Japanese made violin having removed the "plates", which are by all information I can glean from the internet, too heavy. The resonances are also pretty high. The information on Dr Google is contradictory-there seem to be many theories! Has anyone used Visual Analyser or similar to measure or make violins? I've got so far as testing the idea of working on the "ring" mode, or mode 5 as is referred to in the violin world and balancing that mode with mode 2 somehow...? the back and the internal coupling of the frequencies is a mystery at this stage, but in some ways similar to the guitar making skills I have learned from the G/G books. So to those who make violins, and I see that the members here are mostly guitar builders, what resonances and levers have worked for your violin building adventures. I am also interested because I want, down the track, to make an archtop guitar or two. Also, how about some good book recommendations?
Cheers! Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

Dave M
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Re: Violins

Post by Dave M » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:49 pm

Ross it is my understanding that a huge amount of work has been done analysing violins and their modes of operation - far more than on guitars because there is so much more money sloshing around the violin world.

A further search should throw something up. Dare one even suggest there could be books on the subject. Sorry, a bit old fashioned I know but...

Cheers Dave M
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kiwigeo
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Re: Violins

Post by kiwigeo » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:24 am

Cerleen Hutchins was one of the pioneers in the science of violins. She was behind the Catgut Acoustical Society: http://www.catgutacoustical.org/journal/index.htm
Martin

blackalex1952
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Re: Violins

Post by blackalex1952 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:38 pm

Yes I've been getting right into Carleen's work.
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sebastiaan56
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Re: Violins

Post by sebastiaan56 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:52 am

There are a number of pretty good sources online at the moment. In no particular order;

- Making the Violin dot com Goes into tuning violin plates
- How to build a Fiddle, video series by Jon Mangum, shows you his rig and explains his method.
- Plate Tuning dot org, encyclopedic with a number of approaches. Recommends exactly what you are doing as a great endeavour.
- Our own Peter Coombes website has some great information as does the University of NSW Acoustics page.

My understanding is the Tony Strad tuned his plated to D4 front and D#4 for the back. A semitone seems to be enough to avoid coupling. I know Mandolin makers that use this approach as well. That said there are a lot of makers who dont tune their plates at all and still produce fabulous sounding instruments. IMO the player, and the strings come before the fiddle itself in sound generation. Upgrading cheap fiddles sounds like a lot of fun. Any piccies or sound files?
make mine fifths........

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Graham McDonald
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Re: Violins

Post by Graham McDonald » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:43 pm

I have long been a fan of the late Henry Strobel's book on violin making. Simple and step by step. For what it is worth he suggests the top resonance should be around F#, which I have found works well. The other important factor is the weight of the plates. H S Wake's violin building book is also a good step by step guide and he suggests a sound board weight of around 65g and a back weight of around 110g (from memory and this might be a bit off)

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blackalex1952
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Re: Violins

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:48 pm

Graham McDonald:
I have long been a fan of the late Henry Strobel's book on violin making. Simple and step by step. For what it is worth he suggests the top resonance should be around F#, which I have found works well. The other important factor is the weight of the plates. H S Wake's violin building book is also a good step by step guide and he suggests a sound board weight of around 65g and a back weight of around 110g (from memory and this might be a bit off)
Thanks I have come to this conclusion as well, with the disclaimer that every piece of wood is unique! Instrument making certainly isn't paint by numbers!
Also Sebastiaan56 wrote:
My understanding is the Tony Strad tuned his plated to D4 front and D#4 for the back. A semitone seems to be enough to avoid coupling.
Perhaps these resonances have something to do with the fact that violins in those days of gut strings were tuned to lower pitches than the A 440Hz modern standard.
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Mike Thomas
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Re: Violins

Post by Mike Thomas » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:02 pm

Another book recommendation is The Art of Violin Making by Chris Johnson and Roy Courtnall.
Mike Thomas


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sebastiaan56
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Re: Violins

Post by sebastiaan56 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:19 am

Do you get these weights consistently Graham? I had some Englemann from the defunct American supplier and it was light compared to the Sitka I have at the moment. What about Blackwood vs Maple?

"The other important factor is the weight of the plates. H S Wake's violin building book is also a good step by step guide and he suggests a sound board weight of around 65g and a back weight of around 110g (from memory and this might be a bit off)"
make mine fifths........

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