Don Noon

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About Don Noon

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    It ain't rocket science... it's more complicated
  • Birthday 03/20/1952

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  • Location
    Carlsbad, CA
  • Interests
    Violin construction
    Old-time fiddling

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  1. Don Noon

    slab cut - wide grain front

    I have no clue about the violin, but I'd be curious about how it sounds and plays, as the high off-quarter angle of the top cut would give the lowest possible crossgrain stiffness, probably less than 1/4 of well-quartered stiffness.
  2. Don Noon

    How to set up AUDACITY for reliable sound testing?

    Even crappy audio systems and cheap microphones will be fairly repeatable, and have decent response in the important frequencies. If you're just doing taptones, mode frequencies, and rough comparative response curves, you don't need any more. If you want to listen to recordings and hear high fidelity, then you need more. And if you want to examine changes at the sub-dB level, then you'd need a whole pile of calibrated stuff. It depends on what you want to do.
  3. Don Noon

    Flatening a plane

    I too have a couple of old planes that I spent hours on, trying to get them flatter. In the end, the other mechanical bits that fix the blade in place were too sloppy and annoying to deal with so that I don't use them. The exception is a fairly new Stanley low angle block plane, which only needed a little flattening, and isn't too bad. Still, it's on my list to replace with a Lie-Nielsen at the next reasonable opportunity. There's a lot more to a good plane than just being flat. And it usually shows up in the price tag, too.
  4. I was more attracted to the nice Thomastik metal fine-tuning tailpiece... great for fiddles.
  5. Don Noon

    How to set up AUDACITY for reliable sound testing?

    There are also USB adapters for microphone jacks. Like this.
  6. Don Noon

    About violin bridge tuning

    That's about all I pay attention to, and has a definitely obvious effect. Other things can be diddled with to achieve a similar effect on the moving mass closely coupled to the strings: opening the heart or the kidneys (vertically). All that other stuff seems less agreed upon, and I haven't found significant effects with them. Maybe ultra-sensitive players can tell, or maybe it's bogus, I can't say.
  7. Don Noon

    What does a (too) high air mode do to the sound of a violin?

    Anything to decrease energy loss from air flowing thru the holes: shorter and wider shape, or rounding off the edges.
  8. Don Noon

    Mike Molnar's Bench

    I played around with various water dyes, solvent dyes, varying concentrations of color and carrier for ground color, and never got anything that really worked to my satisfaction. What I have now I like... photo posted here. See if it looks about right.
  9. Don Noon

    Don Noon's bench

    Here it is (VSA violin, in process) with color varnish applied. Photo was with daylight LED; I tried adjusting the color, but still didn't get it to show as red/orange as it really looks. I'm happy with the result, which so far has never been the case with varnish. Not terribly complicated: terpene/solvent sealer, clear(ish) cooked rosin varnish over that, and color varnish of iron rosinate, toned down with FF rosin varnish and some Gilsonite. Of course, the torrefied wood matters a lot, I think. After VSA, I'll post full photos. By the way, the bright and dark areas switch completely depending on viewing angle.
  10. Don Noon

    What does a (too) high air mode do to the sound of a violin?

    I like the Woodhouse mental model: think about inflating the body with air, and the more movement you get at the top of the bridge, the stronger A0 will be. The thought is easy, but the details of measuring the variables ain't. I'm pretty sure there is also an effect of soundhole shape... rounder holes will have less damping, and create a higher, narrower A0 peak (not good, IMO).
  11. Don Noon

    The Picasso of Violins!!! Maybe?

    That is the reality that directs me to build normal-looking violins. I do have thoughts about building the oddest-looking instrument possible while still keeping all the best tone and playability aspects, but then consider that it would be taking away from time I could spend making something that a violinist would actually want. For now, my creative jokes will be constrained to quick experiments on an old VSO to be entered as a "tone only" item at the annual VMAAI competition. Sometimes, embarrassingly, it has outperformed my "serious" instrument... and this year, it scored slightly better with the listening judges (in round 1) than my violin that eventually went on to take all the top tone awards.
  12. Don Noon

    Mike Molnar's Bench

    It was also my impression that the color put on the wood was too strong. If I had to start with fresh wood (which I don't), I'd use UV and nitrite to get the wood itself the right color, and then not much color at all in the ground. I don't know if this agrees with the varnish research, but it's what I see in the old fiddles (not the nitrite/UV, but the effects of age) and what most good modern makers seem to do to make it look like them.
  13. Don Noon

    UV Cabinet

    I would probably make some wooden adapters that clamp to the steel tubes in the corners, and fasten the light fixtures to them. If I didn't already have my lightbox, those grow tents look like the way I'd go.
  14. Don Noon

    What does a (too) high air mode do to the sound of a violin?

    Evenness of loudness across the scale is a good thing, but I would go a step further and say that evenness of the response curve matters a lot too. Excessive strong areas can sound colored in a disagreeable way, and deep dropouts can sound like "something is missing" and restrict tonal range. Just looking at note loudness might miss these aspects, as a "note" is the sum of a huge number of frequencies which could even things out. While getting the signature modes under control is of some importance, I think the real action is all of the other stuff above them.
  15. Don Noon

    UV Cabinet

    It looks to me like actinic or reef tank bulbs have the bulk of their energy in the 400- 450 nm range (violet and blue). Almost nothing in UVA. BL350 has output in the UVA range, around 350 nm. The BLB versions with the dark filter just remove the visible stuff. I don't know how well the longer wavelengths work for curing varnish; I just use the 350 nm versions. I ordered a lifetime supply of them, and something went wrong with the order and I ended up with twice as many. I'll have to look into reincarnation so I can use them... and all the spruce I have.