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Don Noon

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About Don Noon

  • Birthday 03/20/1952

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    Carlsbad, CA
  • Interests
    Violin construction
    Old-time fiddling

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  1. In my testing and playing, the chinrest mass and location (side vs center) has the most obvious effect. The tailpiece may have some effects below the level of my playing and measurements, except if there is something grossly wrong with the setup (or the tailpiece is excessively light) so that undesirable resonances occur.
  2. "Only"? 30 g is a huge difference. Still, that means the total weight is now around 485 g, and without chinrest probably 445 g... which to me is a very heavy violin. I don't have any experience putting light fittings on a heavy violin, as my heaviest has been 408 g, and heavy ebony fittings seem to work best. The chinrest moves significantly in the lowest frequency modes, but I wouldn't expect much participation in the higher frequencies. I would speculate that the balance between the low and high frequencies has changed to a more desirable point.
  3. I have no info on what the rate of change or magnitude of change might be. It might be out there in some research, but of little interest to me, since I pre-shrink my wood (shrinks ~1.3% crossgrain, about double that in thickness). My numbers probably are about the limit of natural aging. How am I doing? 3 weeks after heart surgery, I walked to the gym and back, and worked out with modest weights... so I'm doing well. Well enough to schedule my shoulder surgery for 4 weeks from now. I hope that will be the last of the rebuild for a while.
  4. I think the assertion is that old instruments... not old instruments when they were new... require more maintenance. Wood shrinks and becomes more brittle with age, and the shrinkage is primarily crossgrain. A violin is made of many parts that do not have all of the grain aligned to each other, so some parts will shrink and others will not.
  5. Your brain gets used to the sound it hears, and everything else sounds "wrong" at first. Players are reputed to want a violin that sounds like the one they have... only louder. Play for a while with a mute, and then take it off and it's horribly harsh... for a while.
  6. That would apply if you started with Guarneri-type wood and wanted to try for a Guarneri-type sound (which is unlikely anyway).
  7. I find it helpful to know the density and stiffness of the wood before I start. But for the existing top, I'd say call it done (for grads) and use it. Making a new top later if it's a total dud isn't that hard to do.
  8. I listened to a few other recordings, and confirmed my opinion that I don't like the sound of that violin very much. In the end, it's all personal opinion about what you might like or not. Further details about what features you dislike or prefer might sound like criticism... and sometimes it's meant that way by people who think their opinion is the right one... but in the end, it's all opinion, and therefore a lot like babble.
  9. The part of the nervous system that motivates the face is also used to control the hands, so if the hands are doing anything complex, there's not much capacity to do anything else. For example: try playing something and reading something: not a problem. Now try reading the same thing out loud and playing: CRASH! Also as I understand it, the reason why people wave their hands around rather meaninglessly while speaking. Be satisfied that the players don't go slackjawed and start drooling, as banjo players are often accused of doing. My take is that "colors" is an optical frequency content, similar to sound frequency content. One color would be a sine wave. If a violin is lacking in "colors", to me that means there are dropouts in the frequency response. On the other hand, some colors are not desirable, at least in excess. I'm not sure what "flute-like" means to everybody, but to me that would mean limited in overtones and perhaps dynamic range, and more concentrated in the higher frequencies; not much low end. Worse would be "recorder-like" with no overtones at all.
  10. I can see why some folks might like this recording, as it is very clean, well-played, and all that... but too bland-sounding to me. I think the room or recording might have something to do with it, as none of the instruments seem to have any pop or growl. I also think that vibrato can be flattened out if the room is too lively or if there's a lot of reverb added, as that would average out the note into one result, and I suspect that's some of the case here. Whether it's the recording, room, or instrument, I can't say. Nice, but missing something I want to hear. Kinda like Hillary Hahn, but maybe moved up in pitch.
  11. Research is OK, and I wouldn't want to shut any of it down... but as a maker, it is very difficult to find research that helps in making. There is plenty about what violinists like about sound (not much different now from Dunnwald's papers decades ago), modal analysis to show how the body flexes and vibrates. But the huge gap is in connecting the sound character to any construction parameters. I think that continues to be a trial-and-error learning curve, as it has been for me (but with a bit of tech analysis so I don't have to bug a violinist all the time for their opinions Pretty much. Wood matters too, though.
  12. I avoided over-stressing my recently operated-on heart by just skipping to the actual response curves and grading them myself for what looked good. I ordered them as B being definitely the best, then C, A, and D was horrid. Then I skimmed to the results to find that the listeners scored them in that exact same order.
  13. Bigger, wider plates move more air in the lower frequencies, which seems to be the fiddle fashion... partway to the viola sound. Some pro fiddlers even have fiddles that to me sound horridly tubby, but I guess they want to avoid the scratchy, thin sound. Things have really changed since the Tommy Jarrell days.
  14. Whether or not Michael is odd, we all seem to agree.
  15. I have never really felt like arching was much of a consequence of the outline... except perhaps in violas, where the outlines can be all over the place. Violins are all pretty close, and I think you could fudge whatever arching you want onto just about any outline... excluding outliers like long Strads, and keeping with the same general size.
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