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

    Alternative bridge materials

    I haven't actually tried that much with different materials for bridges, as the theory (as I understand it) does not indicate that this is a productive area for experimentation. Mostly I have messed with the mass and stiffness of maple, although I did splice in a rosewood center section in a bridge once (nothing notable to report). I also torrefy my bridges now, again with no observable difference, even though there is a difference in the material mass, stiffness, and damping.
  2. Don Noon

    Alternative bridge materials

    Too much mass is detrimental. You can minimize the mass near the top of the bridge and get something that's too harsh and scratchy... too "unmuted". It's all a balance.
  3. Don Noon

    Alternative bridge materials

    I have tried pushing the boundaries fairly often on violin materials, and the usual result is that "ultra" anything ends up out of balance in some way and plays or sounds abnormal (undesirable). A maple bridge can be carved in different ways to make them lighter and stiffer. The fact that they are the way they are on good instruments I think is evidence that you don't need or want to get too extreme with it. Everything is balance.
  4. Don Noon

    Alternative bridge materials

    While the bridge is a very important part of the violin, being the connection between the strings and the body, the actual vibration modes of the bridge are very minimal... so in my opinion there are just a few very important things: Mass (primarily near the top of the bridge) Stiffness (primarily lateral bending) The violin evolved around a maple bridge, and it works great both from the acoustic standpoint and the ability to cut it. Something more dense and stiff would have to be cut thinner or opened up. But it should work acoustically the same, I think. An unknown is damping... whether higher or lower damping would make a significant difference. It might. BTW, I currently have the very nicely cut pernambuco bridge from FoxMitchell, awaiting me getting around to fitting it to something and doing some tests.
  5. Don Noon

    Tonerite use

    I have had quite a lot of experience with aerospace shake testing, and the thing about them is that they can go to extremely high forces. We even had some testing done on a "shaker" that used actual explosives. We destroyed a lot of stuff. The Tonerite does not remind me of them, and I could probably produce more force by mounting a fish tank air pump to a bridge.
  6. Don Noon

    Laser arching visualization

    A laser pointer will just make a spot; what you want is a line. The lasers that mount to chop saws make a spot, but with the blade rotation it makes a line. You might not want to put your instrument under a spinning blade, but I suppose you could motor-mount the laser for a custom thing. Ones that make true lines look more expensive, like this laser level. There might be other things out there, or you could take a cheap laser pointer and wave it back and forth real fast.
  7. Don Noon

    Tonerite use

    I guess I have to repeat myself when this topic comes around occasionally... I tested it fairly carefully a while back, with absolutely no observable or measurable results. The vibration forces are extremely weak and at a very low frequency so I can see no theoretical basis for it to do anything, other than give the user the warm fuzzies that they are doing something. I also tested forced vibration at much higher amplitudes at a variety of frequencies (with a high-powered bridge driver I cobbled together), with very careful instrumentation, in the hopes that something would happen... but that didn't do anything either.
  8. Don Noon

    Soundpost fit and B1+ mode

    The only shifts of B1+ frequency of any significant amount that I have seen were from either humidity or minor shifts in amplitude of 2 closely spaced modes around the B1+. There can be more than one. If you look at high resolution, then the two peaks are visible; if you use lower resolution, the two peaks blend into a single peak that leans one way or the other, and you'd get different frequency readings depending on which way it's leaning at the time. There can be things like chinrest resonances or tailpiece resonances in the area, and they could tweak the B1+ peak around. You also say "new violin"... how new? Initial settling-in, glue and varnish drying "new"? I can't completely discount soundpost tightness effects, as I haven't specifically tested for it, but my sense is that it wouldn't make anywhere near a 20 Hz difference.
  9. Don Noon

    Free Pianos

    One of the coolest uses for a piano I have seen is the receptionist's desk at the Museum of Making Music here in Carlsbad. The mirrors are a nice way to hide the computers and filing cabinets and receptionist's legs.
  10. Don Noon

    Free Pianos

    I'm not an expert on piano soundboards, but most of them I've seen have been glued-together strips where grain aesthetics aren't important. Too thin for violins, and wouldn't look good on guitars. I suppose you could salvage the cross bracing to make bass bars, but finding bass bar material hasn't been an issue, for me at least.
  11. Don Noon

    Madder Alum Rosinate

    I haven't had much luck cooking the alizarine rosinates into oil... but I have been using the higher alizarine concentrations. I tried dissolving the rosinate into a solvent, mixing with oil, and then cooking the solvent out, but the rosinate wanted to fall out of solution too. Perhaps the lower concentration would cook better.
  12. Don Noon

    Mike Molnar's Bench

    Either the coupler photo is backwards, or you are.
  13. Don Noon

    Madder Alum Rosinate

    If you do the Michelman cold solvent method, you eventually get islands of varnish with wide expanses of bare wood between them. I think it's probably more related to the cold solvent method, rather than the resin itself. I have tested iron rosinate cooked in oil (no other resins), and so far it seems very hard and stable, after a few years on glass.
  14. Don Noon

    Madder Alum Rosinate

    There are a lot of different formulations that are "Michelman rosinates", and the specifics of which one, and how you make it, can give very different results. You can use madder, or alizarine, in various proportions, and the PH level of the reaction can give you anything from purple to red to pale yellow... for the exact same "rosinate" (with madder or alizarine). The higher concentrations of alizarine can give very intense colors. For the rosinates without madder, I have been using the iron rosinate for the last several instruments, and for me it turns out a rather intense red, which I usually tone down with some brown either from an FF rosin varnish or some Gilsonite. Highlighting it mine... as with the rosinates, the results are hugely dependent on how you prepare and use them. The variables are infinite. However, with the iron rosinate that I have been using, the color is limited to a narrow band of red and red/brown. Although I like it fairly well, if I want to go for a more authentic Cremonese color on some of the red and orange ones, I'll have to use something different... probably pigments.
  15. Don Noon

    Super light Aspen & Engelmann - parlor violin?

    Lower density wood I think works best for larger bodied instruments... like a viola. Of course, it depends if you have wimpy or stiff low-density wood, as it can vary widely.