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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    Carlsbad, CA
  • Interests
    Violin construction
    Old-time fiddling

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  1. If using the same process on 3 different violins gives the same undesirable result, the logical conclusion is that something is wrong with the process. Ebony pegs aren't likely to be soft, and 3 different violins aren't likely to all have spongy maple pegboxes. If you do the reverse-turning of the reamer to compress the pegbox wood (it compresses a surprising amount) and still have a problem, then it's likely to be a bad or mismatched cut of the peg taper. That said, one viola I made with extremely low-density maple for the scroll to save weight. (the scroll block was grafted onto a high-density neck). To avoid having excessive wear in the peg holes, I cut some high-density maple plugs for the pegholes.
  2. Just to be clear, torrefying is a LOT more than "baking". Anyone can put wood in an oven and bake it. Torrefying involves elevated pressure in an oxygen-free chamber, among other things. The results are different. And any change to the time, pressure, composition of the atmosphere, or temperature will give different results. I have never claimed to have invented or been first at this, but researched what others did, and by trial-and-error came up with the balance of properties I thought worked best (color, acoustic properties, workability, durability) for what I wanted to do.
  3. In the lower frequencies, where the air wavelength is longer than the body, volume change is the driver, and you can get fairly uniform radiation. At the higher frequencies, plates vibrate with multiple antinodes in different phases, and there will be directional beaming. Unless you have a magical instrument that moves radially all in phase at all frequencies. Wood structures won't do that, unfortunately.
  4. In addition to being extremely long, the spacing of the upper eyes appears to be extremely wide. What does it measure? I would be very interested to hear how this thing sounds. Of course, with the wacky that is visible, there could also be less obvious wackiness that have an influence. But I'm thinking it might sound like a cross between a viola and a 3/4 violin: high A0, but low tone otherwise.
  5. They could build violins in their spare time. But that adds to my point... you need to put in the time and get experience actually making them before you really understand how to make good sounding violins. A prescribed formula or procedure somehow isn't going to do it right away, no matter how smart and clever you think you are. I thought I was smart and clever enough to make world-beaters within my first couple of years. DIdn't happen... but it does appear to be gradual improvement by trying out many things and retaining the good and abandoning the bad... and gaining the ear and the ears of good players to tell what is good and bad.
  6. Look at who wins tone awards at major competitions. I haven't noticed any exceptions to the rule: the makers all have at least a decade of experience, usually in a reputable shop where some fine violins can be observed and studied. And in making, over a period of years, some things that are tried won't turn out well, and others will. All of this experience adds up to a personal knowledge of "what works" and what doesn't, even though each maker might have their own way of thinking and getting things done. There is no shortage of wild ideas out there about what makes violins work, and thus far I haven't encountered any top-level maker that follows these kinds of things. With the experience I have gained over the last 10 years (or more if you include messing around while having a day job), I'd bet I could give up taptones, FFT, templates, and all that stuff and just build with a caliper and scale, and not be any worse for it (but I won't give up my torrefied wood... I am convinced it "works").
  7. I always thought that being a violinmaker was the ultimate device. It works for me. But spitpolishing a neck might not be so good for the violinist. But seriously, if the Feds don't get their act together for long-term testing, monitoring and containment, or if we don't get a miracle (same thing), I'm not holding out much hope to get out of this tunnel by then. And good luck with the international traveler groups. And I thought violinmaking was complicated.
  8. There might be some light at the end of the tunnel, but it's impossible to tell how long the tunnel is from here.
  9. I have read a few old books that attempt to explain how a violin works, and they have been without exception wrong from my understanding of today's physics and acoustics... even though the authors may have a good reputation for building violins. I don't believe there is any good explanation of how a violin works that is easily understood, as it works in different ways at different frequencies, and each way is complicated. A change to "improve" one frequency can affect all other frequencies in different ways. And then, what matters in the end is the balance of everything. It's like trying to solve a set of a thousand simultaneous equations with ten thousand unknowns... with the biggest unknown: what a human thinks of it. If understanding HOW a violin works is the key, then the best violins would be built by the smartest acousticians and physicists. However, it is apparent that the best violins are built by those with long experience with good violins ... i.e. WHAT works.
  10. Yeah, well... I thought there might be something to the internal reflections idea a while back and went through calculations similar to what Marty shows, and as a result I have a VSO with several holes drilled into it so I could place a microphone in certain places looking for it. As usual, this is the stuff scientific papers are NOT written about, because I didn't find anything. It was only partly a waste of time... as I found out something that wasn't important.. and it didn't take much time. Side note: acoustic tiles might absorb sound, but isn't a wood-paneled room awfully lively?
  11. The form of a concave mirror for light waves works only if the light waves are much smaller than the mirror and depends on the wavefront shape coming at the mirror and where you are trying to focus the waves. Similar for sound reflection. In the case of the violin, I don't see that ANY of those things apply, and it looks like arm-waving magical thinking to me. Best to spend one's time learning what actually works rather than going down a rabbit hole of obscure theories about what should work.
  12. Because it's weird, but should work. This would be one of my 1-day experiments, not an interplanetary spacecraft. So, no... I didn't think of doing that.
  13. By knowing the material properties (which I do), I can scale the dimensions to match the mass and stiffness distribution of a spruce bar, and I think that's about all that matters. An aluminum bar should be about the same profile as normal, but only 1mm wide or less. Gluing to the plate might be an issue. Damping might matter a little bit, but I'll bet not much for the bar itself. "Tuning" with taptones for a bass bar I think is pointless or even counterproductive.
  14. A 5-string fiddle, or possibly 5-string viola. If I ever get past the waiting list for regular stuff. Experiment: aluminum bass bar. It should work exactly the same as a spruce one, if sized properly for stiffness and weight.