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polkat

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Everything posted by polkat

  1. Yes, I read that thread, and it was quite informative, but I'd like to see an image of a fingerboard with the correct scoop, so I can get an idea in my mind of the actual shape. Having never done this before, I'm about to try and cut the scoop in a new fingerboard that is actually slightly convex on the top. It's a new board with a very flat bottom, so it is not warped. Seems it's hard to find fingerboards these days that are nicely shaped to begin with. I am assuming from the thread you mentioned that the scoop should be centered about midway on the board, starting maybe 30mm out from the nut and maybe 50mm from the free end, about 1mm deep, and favor the bass side, but it's easiest for me to do the work if I can see what it should look like. Thanks for responding!
  2. Does anyone have an image showing proper violin fingerboard scoop, and maybe an explaination on how to acheive it? And has this been a fairly standard process over the cneturies?
  3. Well, I ended up going with the Guarneri style which is also about 1/2" higher then my last one. I was going to try making one, but this one was on sale and I'm pretty happy with the feel (and the look). Thanks for all the rsponses!
  4. Well...anyway, as I posted, the problem is fixed. polkat out.
  5. Okay, so I cut down the top of the bridge until about 2/3's of the strings were sitting above the top of the bridge. Actually, so little wood needed to be removed for this that I used sandpaper rather then cutting, while retaining the top curve as closely to original as possible (not hard). The result was surprising, but let me say first that even as an amatuer luthier, I realize the result may be specific to this violin and bridge, and may not represent anything usable on other setups. I had been having trouble particularly with the D string, which was the most buried into the wood. It was dull and not fully balanced with the others. It now rings quite well and is fully balanced with the other strings. Indeed, the G, D, and A are ringing much better then before (the E was buried too but for some reason didn't sound bad). I may still cut another bridge as the action (and overall volume) on this fiddle is a bit lower then I like, but raising the strings in the notches has helped greatly! Go figure!
  6. Well, with Helicores being quite thin to begin with, it is a miniscule amount of wood to remove to bring the strings above the bridge top. I was planning to eventually cut another bridge for it anyway, so I'll try this first and let you folks know what effect (if any) it has.
  7. Yes, that was the intent of my original post. Over the years, this bridge, while very nice in all other respects, has had numerous types of strings on it, and the notches have worn down to where the strings (the G and D in particular) are sitting even with the bridge top. I have attached an image showing the D string on the bridge from the front (or back for that matter). The G, D, and partially the A strings are held fairly snug for about 2/3's of thier diameters, and the strings are sounding rather dead, although they are nearly new (Helicores). I'm wondering if the bridge notches are causing this, and if I lower the top until maybe 2/3's of each string is free if it will help? Thanks! notch.bmp
  8. If the string notches on top of a violin bridge are too deep (or for that matter too shallow), how does this effect tone? Or does it? Thanks!
  9. Sorry Ben, I sometimes forget if and where I've posted things. I'll give it a try. I did try toothpaste as another poster suggested, but it had no effect. What alcohol is best to use?
  10. What's the simplist way to remove a shellac coating from a violin neck. I'd rather not do much if any sanding, but at the same time I don't want to chemically hurt any of the pegbox/heel varnish. I'm guessing alcohol? I've always finished necks with a thin shellac, but sometimes this causes some friction with the hand when playing. I just got told that a linseed polish on the bare neck wood is the real way to go. Us amateurs!!
  11. Okay, take off the shellac and do a light polish of the raw wood with linseed oil. Got it! And that light polish will also protect the wood?
  12. So I took some time to consider my approach to holding the violin under my neck. I'm a fairly big guy with a lot of muscle mass in the upper chest. My collar bone sits just 1/3" out from the bottom of my neck, which is why I mentioned that the bottom plate digs painfully into the bone (as long as I can keep it from slipping off the bone as usual!). That's why I've been using a rest (placed itself on the collarbone, not the shoulder). So I tried an experiment. I took an old Wolf Forte Primo, the flat one with the black rubber across the bottom, and drilled the rivets out of the leg support brackets, then re-riveted the bracket parts that only hold the legs on. This allows me to adjust the rest plate so that, in the center (the highest point in the back arch) the rest is only 1/4" above the back! It's like not having a rest!! But with the padding back there the collarbone pain is gone. I can hold the instrument almost like one does with no rest. I can lift my head off the chinrest and look around, even shift down while doing this, and still have perfect control, freedom of the left hand, and the fiddle isn't damped by my clothing (and I believe the idea that not using a rest opens up the fiddle...is quite argueable!). I like this setup a lot and will use it from now on. What this has taught me is that it is the requirements of each individual body that dictate wether a shoulder rest or some other device would be beneficial. We've had some mention here of older masters not using rests, and it's also been mentioned that rests (thought they have actually been around for a long time) didn't become popular until a few decades ago. I'd be willing to bet that if shoulder rests where popular when the old masters got started, many more of them (who would be helped by rests) would be using one today. They are tools that have evolved to make things easier if personally needed, and I've decided that arguements for or against are useless. There's been discussion here that a proper chin rest helps those not using a shoulder rest. Would most of us try to play a concert without a chin rest too!!?? Probably not, I wouldn't, but Paganini NEVER used a chin rest. They didn't exist until near the end of his career, so would that lead one to suggest that since the lack of a chin rest is more historically accurate and therefore suggestably more natural, that we shouldn't use them either? Actually, I'm sorry I brought this topic up now that I've had time to think about it.
  13. rehairing my bows for the first time. Should the little wooden plugs in the tip/frog be pressed in or glued in? In most of the cheaper bows I've dissembled they were glued in, but somehow this doesn't seem right.
  14. On one of my personal violins, if I use the little black rubber Tourte mute on the bridge, I get the most beautiful tone of any violin I've played. But of course it's quite. However, if I take the mute off, it's louder, but sounds like a screaming tinny banshee! Could this info alone lead to any suspicions? Could I have cut the bridge too light? Attempts at finding a better post position have been fruitless which is why I suspect the bridge. Ideas? Thanks!
  15. Whoops! Went to edit my post but ended up with two posts! How do you delete?
  16. My understanding (and others may disagree which is fine) was that in the ninteenth century unwound gut strings were most common. In the mid to later half of the century windings began to appear on gut strings. I have no idea when the steel E string was invented, but it did not become popular until very early in the 20th century, as did full sets of metal strings slightly later. If this info is true, a set of unwould gut strings would plausably be historically accurate. But as far as I can see, unwould gut strings are no longer being made by anyone (but again, others my know more).
  17. The neck (the underside) on my present violin was finished with shellac, as most are, but I find that even though I grip it lightly, there is a lot of friction between my fingers (side of thumb and first joint of finger). Is there a polish I can use on the neck (not the fingerboard) that will make it more slippery? I remember using Pledge on my car seats and when fresh, you would slide all over the seat. Looking for something like that.
  18. My present chin rest is a side mounted standard job (make unknown). Although I don't clamp down on it very hard, I still have a problem shifting down as it is fairly flat and doesn't provide much chin/cheek grip. I was thinking of trying the Gueniari(sp?) style center mount, but before I do, what tips can you all provide for choosing a chin rest. I have seem some with cups that have quite high edges (Grappelli's in his later years comes to mind) and wonder if that helps with grip?
  19. Well, I started this post mainly to hear how people who do not use a shoulder rest anchor the bottom of the violin against their shoulder/neck area. For me, the edge of the bottom plate usually digs somewhat painfully into my collar bone and refuses to sit on top of it (and the metal screws for the chin rest contributes it's own little dig). I don't yet understand how the chinrest helps keep the bottom anchored on the shoulder/collar bone? When I try to play without a rest, regardless of the type of chinrest I am using, the first attempt to shift downward and the violin is gone! I've studied Grappelli videos (I'm a jazz violinist) and in his case there's no evidence of any pad under his clothes. I've also noticed Joe Venuti using a strap-on shoulder rest in a late 1920's film, so the idea that shoulder rests have only been around since the 70's isn't correst. I think it comes down to the fact that when trying to play without a shoulder rest, I'm simply not placing the violin properly on the shoulder (keep in mind that I have no problem playing with a rest). Can someone here who does not use a rest describe how they place the fiddle on their shoulder? Exactly where, and how chin rest choice helps with this? Thanks!
  20. I have noticed over the years that many of the great violinists of all styles such as classical player Yehudi Menuhin, jazz great Stephane Grappelli, and even bluegrass player Kenny Baker (as well as many others) never used a shoulder rest or pad. My guess is that this is what they did when they first started learning and they got used to it. I decided to try not using one recently to see if there was any advantage for me. But the edge of the bottom plate dug painfully into my collarbone, and the fiddle wanted to slip down to my shoulder all the time. Not for me I guess. How many here don't use a shoulder rest, and if not, how do you anchor the violin on your shoulder? To take this a step further, I'm looking for a bar type shoulder rest that will take the bar very close to the bottom plate without actually touching it. My present one (an old Wolf rest) can't get any closer then 1" from the plate. Anyone know of a rest like I'm looking for? Thanks!
  21. Does anyone here make their own chin rests, or know of any websites describing the process? Thanks!
  22. It's nothing for me to cut a new bridge. I've been making instruments for years, just never tried Helicores before. I cut a new bridge and see how that helps. Thanks!
  23. I'll give turning the ball end a try. I always use graphite (pencil lead) on my bridges and the nut, and the afterlength tension is normal.. This occured to me...The other strings were considerably thicker and eventually opened the notches on top of the bridge a bit. The Helicore D string is slim, and sits further down in the bridge notch (with the top of the string nearly level with the top of the bridge. Wonder if this might be causing, or at least contributing, to the problem?
  24. I have mostly used Dominants and Zyex in the past, which had a nice balance across the strings. I decided to try the Helicores as I heard that they have a quicker response and a nicer tactile feel. They do, but I can't get the same volume out of the D as with the rest.
  25. Just now trying Helicore medium strings for the first time. Nice sound, but the D string is a bit dull and quieter then the rest. Most other brands I've tried are nicely balanced across the strings, so I doubt it's the violin. Is this common with Helicores? Bad D string possible in a new set?
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