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David Beard

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Everything posted by David Beard

  1. I think basically so. I believe electrical theory includes the notion that energy will take the easiest path. And I think a similar thing happens with vibrations. But with vibrations, it seems to be frequency dependent. High frequencies and high noose seem very ready to roll around in anything that kinda of presents as a stiff shell. Lower frequencies want to setup as standing waves, either at a natural resonance frequencies, or driven at a frequency not too far from a resonance. But it seems to take a bit more energy for these lower waves to set up. When that doesn't happen, energy seems to readily go instead to higher harmonics and high noise.
  2. No. The favored concert instruments today are the classic instruments with their old build but a modern setup. That is what I'm undertaking with 'Cremona Revival'. The old build process and design choices, with a modern setup.
  3. So that is a choice. The old Cremona masters only made 'Baroque' instruments. Later people have modified virtually all those old instruments to modern playing standards. So, today's best instruments were made by the old methods, then later setup for modern playing. My approach to this to say 'revive' the old ways of making, but let setup belong to modern methods. In practice, what this means is that if you are making an instrument for Baroque setup, then just 'Do As They Did', all the way. But usually, you're making for a modern playing setup. This requires some decisions in handling the neck and fingerboard elevation. But I still want the sides and neck to get worked together in the old way. I want the instrument to go through those steps of twist aligning the neck on pins. Then working the back outline geometry 'chasing' the actual sides and corner disposition. And then later independently working the top outline, again in relation to the real disposition of the sides, sides which in the old processes aren't necessarily square. To reconcile the old build and the new neck/fb, you attach the neck early, just when you would in a fully Baroque build. But, you mortice the neck, and anticipate the neck angle as best as possible. And you cut the neck back alla Lady Blunt so top can fit at the neck in the old ways. The Baroque build, their wedge system allowed final fb angel setting. To get this needed opportunity with the Lady Blunt style neck, leave wood where the FB glues to be cut back later. It's not difficult. Old build. New setup.
  4. I agree. The world right now makes factory, innovative, and copy violins. It made the mistake of stepping away from and neglecting old Cremona methods starting 200 years ago. I am unreasonably stepping out of line by saying let's revive those traditions.
  5. Yes. That's an interesting hypothesis. And it could be examined with the right data. My work shows the type and range of shape and proportions choices the Cremona masters were using in their making. And it shows how you can 'read' those choices in a particular example instrument. If one also had good data on clear material properties differences you could look for correlations between properties and choices. But, I'm inclined to doubt how much they did that sort of thing. And especially any idea they did that with much precision. You can observe two obvious correlations: 1) a strong tendency to use wider grained spruce choices in lower voices instruments, and 2) a tendency to allow more back/sides use of softer species like willow or poplar. Other than that, studies have shown their properties of their wood choices are particular consistent or unusual. And you can see the weren't finicky as we are today about using knots, or adding wings to widen a board. A could be wrong. But for now, I tend to believe they bought wood from specialists for instrument making. And the made basic judgements. This is good wood. This is beautiful visually. This is good for a cello. Etc. But I suspect their choices of plate height, arching, etc. Were rather more or less separate choices from the wood choice. I can't prove the issue one way or the other for now. But, I haven't yet seen anything about the wood character the seems to correlate with arching height, or heaviness of build, etc.
  6. People who want to believe violin making is all about controlling the variables and details, these people look at the variations and asymmetries in classic instruments and see super controlled super subtle responses by the makers to difference in the materials. I just see processes that don't control those details very much. A good chocolate chip cookie process isn't about getting the chips to land in the same places each time. I good cookie making process doesn't make the cookies all the same or highly controlled. It makes the cookies all good every time. This might be a silly analogy, but it's relevant.
  7. An (x quality) violin is supposed to be a violin that some (x quality) violinist will LOVE playing.
  8. Yes. It seems the makers tended to leave somw extra wood between the soundholes and edge. Looking at as many thickness maps as I could find left me with impression that they like worked initially to generally near uniform thickness on the generous side of their target. Then followed with refining to plates with additional thinning in places, most in the bouts, flanks and along the center line. And there seems to a sort laziness about carrying this toward the edges. But these are just impressions.
  9. Maybe. I'm working on it. I started with questions not much different than yours. But don't believe anyone. Collect information. Check for yourself. Make choices. So far, I'm more researcher than violin maker. If you count experiments, I've made about a dozen instruments so far. But only five are making their way in the world. But I have invested more than a decade now into researching and recovering old Cremona making methods. I'm working to establish a 'revival' approach were everything is done either as we know they did, or in methods consistent with the known historical context and all available info from the example instruments. If you're curious, I launched a YouTube channel to help share this idea of Cremona Revival. Over the coming year, I will film and show all stages of designing and making both a violin and a viola in these ways. Some of the videos: The Best Violins Ever Made Different Ways to Make Violins An Intro to Old Cremona Violin Geometry
  10. Yes. And while later making approaches at times seem to fight the materials and try to make them behave, the Old Cremona tradition shows an opposite approach. They allow the material movements and influences, and they adjust details of the design as they go to accommodate. In short, unlike a copyist, or many other modern maker approaches, they don't know all the details of the final design when they start. Particularly, the cBouts and corner work 'follow' the actual sides as the build progresses, with the corner locations, circle work to complete the corners, and main radii of the cBouts getting pushed around some. Of course, this implies the plate outlines can't get settled until after the sides are in hand, and that these classical methods don't support exact copying of any preexisting outline.
  11. ???? Most new members seem to have the rocket but not the hand. The shield seems the only clearly useful symbol among them all.
  12. Some members now have an open palm hand held up to the head of their avatars. What is that? Have they earned an ESP badge?
  13. I also try to understand, and for the same reasons. But, I also try to remember the limits and track record of this approach. Consider two points. 1) Perhaps some indigenous superstition/tradition says but a bit of dead fish in as you fill the hole while planting seeds. Now this is a good tradition because it feeds the growing plant. Now it doesn't matter much if these farmers believe this works because the dead fish scares off bad spirits, or because life force from the fish goes into the plant. The correctness of their understanding doesn't matter much as long as they keep following the successful tradition. 2) What has tended to happen when violin makers try to 'understand' is that will find some isolated little bits of understanding and then over focus and emphasize these bits to the dertriment of the whole. The history of such efforts is sad, and suggests it's difficult to improve one factor in violin without unbalancing the whole.
  14. The holy grail would be a sad norm if it came to be. Every time you could make the fiddle you want and deliver the fiddle the player wants with no mystery, differences, or surprise. And assuming players and makers know what they want. To me, it's o.k. that the 'Soil' and the 'Kreisler' are different. And, if someone can again manage to make instruments as compelling and even 'magic' for players as the old Cremona making, it would be just fine by me if each instrument still turned out unique and distinct and surprising.
  15. Good luck. You will find many folks have explored how violins work. And, many have studied the physics. And many have explored all the avenues you proposed. Lots to read up on. However, understanding the whole picture well enough to steer your many choices as you make is not something that any scientific approach has yet really achieved. At the end of the day, the best approach so far is to understand the process and choices of a good maker or good tradition of making. For now, it's still far better to learn artisan cheesing making from a successful practitioner or tradition than to learn the science behind cheese making.
  16. I would think the primary effect of your cBout slots would be to unlink the center back mass' behavior from the sides. Depending on how/where the slots are cut the could also reduce the integrity and strength of the sides structure through the cBout area. But I think you mostly avoided that.
  17. A couple things if you want a fairly strong understanding as you make. It's about as much a matter of chance as making babies. Your real control is limited. You can know the kinds of violins a particular approach has yielded before, but each new violin will also be new and unexpected. Now, you could treat this aspect of making as a problem to be solved. You could try to nail down all the variables and processes to get control. But you won't be the first to try this. And, history hasn't shown good success down this path. In fact, the processes of the traditions that have been most successful don't support gaining such control. Another useful thing is to recognize that a violin is mostly 'driven'. Many instruments aren't driven systems. A marimba is struck with an unpitched mallet exciting the resonances of the key. A pipe organ is similar. Ultimately a pipe is sounded, and we hear the resonances of that pipe more or less directly. These are passively excited resonances. They are being excited by unpitched source eneegy. A violin also has passive resonances also. And, much of violin science that you will find to read is narrowly and even misleadingly focused on just these resonances. But a violin is a different sort of system. The strings form a first system that is more like the marimba or organ. The bow or plucking stimulates the resonances of the string (which are readily manipulated by stopping of the fingers). But then, once this signal is stimulated in the strings it 'drives' into the violin. The violin is primarily a driven system. And, the behavior of an instrument and its resonances in response to a driving signal is very different than its response to an unpitched stimulus like a mallet strike. Gough is a good place to start reading if you want to understand where the science stands in understanding fiddles.
  18. Don't underestimate 'mindless' tradition. A family or town can make a great distinctive cheese/wine/etc by just sticking to the tradition. This can work for centuries until some gandson comes along and ruins things by wanting to do different and better. We don't need more 'improved' or 'inventive' violins. We need more that are 'as good' as 'good' violins have been.
  19. But, yes. It's old fashion cheese or wine making. It isn't about engineering a result. It's about working within a tradition to get a traditional result. The engineering comes in when a large company wants to economically short the process and produce more units at a lower cost, even if also of a lower character.
  20. Isinglass can be confusing. There are two very different usages. One refers to the minersl mica and the chemical formula that mica is made of. The other refers to a variety of animal protein glue made from fish. This glue has much in common with hide glue, and nothing really in common with mica. I believe hide glue, and fish glue, and egg white have all been used for fining.
  21. You have both a rocket and a shield obscuring your avatar. ???
  22. Yeah. The rocket ships are lame. They add no value and obscure about 1/8th of our logos I thought they were aiming for a 'cleaner' interface.
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