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Andreas Preuss

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About Andreas Preuss

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    ….at my bench
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    non sportive bicycling, cooking, piano playing

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  1. The ‘Conte Vitale’ by Andrea Guarneri seems to be a pretty good ‘standard’ model. If you want to use your own style it might serve as model for the general dimensions. There are no books on viola making as far as I know. My general guideline in making violas is keeping things light and not too thick which helps for a deeper sound.
  2. That’s interesting. Got the wrong information then. So what’s the hype about this wood from Fiemme?
  3. My answer was only regarding maple. I see. I had always problems finding light maple backs with dense grain. But it seems I was looking at the wrong sources. May I ask where your maple comes from?
  4. I don’t think so. Just looking at the wood structure of Cremonese instruments, this was heavy wood. Sometimes I found 3 year rings within 1mm. That’s normally super dense and therefore heavy. However, I think there is also data about relative weight of the used maple wood which is not so heavy. This leaves imo only one conclusion: the wood was treated before use. For example steaming wood for prolonged time washes out 7-14% of its initial weight. Though I don’t know what precisely was done.
  5. Obtainable data only from spruce shows two things: Dendochronolgy shows that they used whole trunks which came supposedly from Val di Fiemme. The density of trees in that region seems to lower than in other regions. Otherwise one might assume that trees without twist in their growth have been selected because they are stronger. (And were for this reason used for ship masts.) ———- Note: the twist is like a super stretched corkscrew, so that if you split a wedge the surface is not flat but twisted. However there are a few trees which grow straight.
  6. Hard to see from the picture. However in general I think so called ‘standard values’ are often the problem to an optimised sound adjustment. From the top of my head I was doing anything between the extremes of 156 and 160 degrees with bridges between 27mm and 31mm high.
  7. I find this really strange. Let’s take ANY other field, computers, cars, mountain gears, home appliances, etc. etc. and the majority of people will just go for change in ‘tactile’ (in a larger sense) things. But still, many players do think in the pattern you presented and that’s a reality we have to live with. Reason enough for me to think rather about evolutionary alterations.
  8. My general guess is that if you try to make a Strad type of violin very light, you have to sacrifice sound quality. This fuels my conviction that ‘ultra light‘ must break with some classical construction rules. How light felt Joe Curtins violin? Just lighter or really jaw dropping light?
  9. One answer. I would be still curious how light his ultralight model is. I am working currently on a different asymmetric solution.
  10. Just a sidenote to this: I think there were also a few makers in old Cremona who did not taper the ribs. If my memory is correct Carlo Bergonzi was one of them.
  11. I see the basic problem in the bowing to measure the loudness. Pro players can ‘squeeze’ much more sound out of a violin than normal players. And this is perceived as loudness. When it comes to loudness I am asking a totally different question. Didn’t we reach the possible limit for the Stradivari or Guarneri type of instrument? Logically there must be a possible limit for a reason which is probably too complicated to explain because pure loudness is not all what matters and ‘louder’ can have undesirable side effects. In those terms I am convinced that if we really want to build louder instruments with the same playing qualities as the best concert instruments in existence, we have to abandon some major aspects of the Stradivari-Guarneri construction principles. One of them is symmetry.
  12. Most of the famed fiddles from the workshop of Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu have with very few exceptions very nicely flamed wood. From a pure acoustic standpoint the difference between flamed and inflamed wood is probably insignificant. Other MN members might have a better answer.
  13. Honestly, I can’t hear any significant difference. If you ask me as a luthier, I think the biggest difference in different bridges is not what the audience can hear. It is how the player can manipulate the sound to his/her own desires, how fast the instrument can respond to all this or in short how comfortable a violinist feels with his/her instrument.
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