The Violin Beautiful

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  1. The Violin Beautiful


    All will work, but I prefer Kevlar. Like Deo Lawson said, they don’t stretch the way nylon does over time. I find that the threads can also wear out and cause slippage too easily. The titanium variety work nicely but tend to cut into the saddle more; for that reason, some people that use them put pieces of plastic/rubber where they are in contact with the saddle.
  2. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    I don’t like the idea of letting the top deform to make the post fit. That poses too much of a threat to the top and is likely to lead to permanent arching deformation at the least.
  3. The Violin Beautiful

    Why arching shape?

    The 3-D models that you’ve been discussing are there to show you how the plates move at different frequencies. They are NOT intended as exact representations of plate deflection, just models to explain behavior. Measuring them with a caliper misses the point. It’s like using a ruler to measure the drawings in an edition of Euclid—they’re representations, not blueprints. The usefulness of the animations comes in interpreting the motions and using that information to guide your work when shaping arching and graduating plates.
  4. The Violin Beautiful

    Badly damaged cello top query

    I would definitely recommend having the top taken off so all the cracks can be reinforced well. The sound can always change a bit if any work is done on an instrument, but the work must be done to make it playable, and if it’s done well, the cello should sound good after completion.
  5. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    I don’t think the string length absolutely must be the same on all instruments, but it is a good idea to learn standards when getting started to have a baseline to follow.
  6. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    Whether your bassbar and soundpost must be in symmetrical positions or not is a matter of debate. If the bar is out of place it’s often necessary to weigh options and choose the one that will be the most effective overall. Stop length is a measurement taken from the edge of the top by the neck to the line of the bridge, where you’ll often find the notches of the ffs. The standard for this measurement is 195mm. If the notches are higher or lower, the neck length has to be altered to end up at the standard vibrating string length.
  7. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    There are cases where it’s best to ignore the placement of the notches. If the stop length is off (and the neck length doesn’t take this into account), the total vibrating string length will be off, too. This means the intervals on the fingerboard will be spaced differently than other instruments. Players tend to find it intolerable when they have to adjust to nonstandard finger spacing. The notches ought to mark the proper place to position the bridge, but they don’t always do so.
  8. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    The following are things to evaluate when cutting a soundpost: 1) Centerline of instrument 2) Bass bar position 3) Stop length 4)Bridge position If you establish these items, you’ll have good info for placement of the soundpost. Look through the endbutton hole when fitting the post to check position and fit. As far as thickness, anything from 6-6.5mm can work. If you’re just starting out, fit is what really matters most.
  9. The Violin Beautiful

    Install bridge or sound post first ??

    The soundpost always precedes the bridge. If you don’t fit the post first, the problems already mentioned will occur. Also, the feet of the bridge may not fit properly if the post is done afterward.
  10. The Violin Beautiful

    Why arching shape?

    I find this a little odd, as most of the fine violins with high arches that I’ve had the opportunity to examine had thin tops, whereas many of the lower-arched violins were either a little or a lot thicker. Admittedly, I am not a structural engineer. But I was taught that arches are quite strong, so a higher arching on a plate will resist downward force more than lower arch at the same thickness. To make the higher and stiffer arch behave more like the lower and more flexible arch, one may reduce thickness of the plate. A high-arched, thick top will just sound dead because it won’t vibrate as freely.
  11. The Violin Beautiful

    Choosing an outline for my violin

    There are a lot of good options out there to choose from. The Strad posters are full of good information and good pictures for reference. Since they are (mostly) accurate depictions of the instruments as they exist today, they aren’t necessarily symmetrical. You can choose between copying exactly or adjusting for symmetry. A few years ago the VSA put out a great reference photo album for the Betts Strad. It has shots at lots of angles to get a better sense of the shapes. Either of those sources will give you a good start, or you can order templates that are ready to use from International Violin. I haven’t seen them in person, but I believe they’re precisely machined.
  12. The Violin Beautiful

    Why arching shape?

    To put it simply, an arch is stronger than a flat surface. That’s a basic engineering principle that’s been known and proven to be valid over millennia. So if you ask why violins are built with arching, strength and resilience are obvious answers. But realistically, there’s so much more to it than one simple answer. We don’t know exactly what was in the minds of the first makers when they chose to make the violin in the form that we follow today, but I think it’s been established that the (arguably) greatest of the Cremonese makers, Strad and Guarneri Del Gesu, made their greatest instruments by following the established traditions of their ancestors in the trade and making thoughtful alterations. They tried ideas out over their careers and refined their methods as they worked. I think there’s a desire among modern devotees of the violin to explain the genius of the great makers by viewing them as polymaths or philosopher kings. Yet there doesn’t seem to be real evidence that these makers were either of these things. That shouldn’t be taken as a negative thing. They were great because of their incredible skills and innovations. This is why the arguments about design principles don’t tend to come to definitive conclusions. The theorists and engineers argue themselves into corners and the makers roll their eyes and go back to their benches to work. I’m not sure it’s as important WHY a method works as it is THAT it works, at least from a practical point of view.
  13. The Violin Beautiful

    Bow rehair question

    Yes. I had a couple bows come in several years ago that were having issues. The hair wasn’t in a nice flat ribbon—there were gaps and lumps. This seemed odd because the bows had been freshly rehaired. When I ran a comb through, I discovered a lot of crossed hairs. One rehair was salvageable by taking the hair out and untwisting it, the other was too much of a mess to be saved. They didn’t just look ugly, they were also unplayable.
  14. The Violin Beautiful

    Bow rehair question

    Crossed hairs can be detrimental to the straightness of the bow if they’re too extreme, and they cause the bow to track poorly on the string.
  15. The Violin Beautiful

    Thin top correction?

    I can’t tell what the cause is for sure, but it’s possible it’s something else. Whenever I hear that there’s a problem with sound originating from the bottom left bout, my instinct is to check for an open seam first. That’s an area of heavy contact, so it’s more susceptible. That doesn’t mean it’s the cause of your problem, just something to double check.