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Andreas Preuss

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Everything posted by Andreas Preuss

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I don’t know either. Seems to be a good path in my view. The experiments on my new concept violin however showed me that the back alone doesn’t hold everything together. The ribs play a more important role. Paper thin ribs destroy the sound no matter how thick the back is. I think it is possible to make a top thinner than what usually is regarded as safe. We just need to redesign the bass bar and eventually add other supporting beams to it. It is also better to bend the top instead of carving it. When doing so, tap tones become absolutely irrelevant. Instead arching height and string angle must be adjusted to each other. Because the classical construction concept leaves almost no space to do this I started to think about other ways constructing a violin. I ended up with a top which had literally absolute no tap tone, just a deep ‘blub’ but sounded IMHO very interesting. You can listen to the result here, go to section 014-174.1
  4. 015 - 182.1 Pictures of the finished ribs. In a later stage either the concave arch on the back side or the convex arch on the top side will be adjusted to calibrate the overtone output. Current weight is 53g. Note: The photo of the front view is not distorted.
  5. You might question what the mathematical sum of the tap tone frequencies really means when you go the extremes. So a paper thin top will work with a brick type of back? And a brick type of top will work with a loose back? I think this explains without any physics that it’s not likely to help in any way. For me the balance looks different: ribs plus back can counterbalance a thinner top and it functions better this way than the other way around. (A thin back with thin ribs trying to hold up a thick top.)
  6. You seem to get busy with ‘copy-paste’ the usual sentence.
  7. Correct! The ‘right’ way of using chemicals lies rather in learning how to use it in rather homeopathic concentrations paired with a good amount of patience.
  8. Maybe a little late to answer and maybe some other members gave you already a similar answer. (I didn’t read all the previous answers) When it comes to pure perfectionism we are running a race against machine work which is getting better and better and when assisted in an intelligent way by human labour it is already at a very high level. What we Violinmakers have to work on (imo) is a different sort of perfectionism. We need to develop what I call ‘individual handwriting’. All the famous violin makers had their own unmistakable handwriting. And last not least, looking at the huge number of violin makers trying to work perfect and are therefore hard to distinguish it might be a better idea to develop a sloppy individualised approach taking the work Stefano Scarampella as a guideline. This might be easy to say but difficult to say but difficult in terms of breaking one’s own habits. From my own experience, though I was never a sort of absolute perfectionist, I started to look at what is actually really important for a balanced aesthetic, and also how to incorporate all sorts of hand-work-flaws into the finish of my work always with view on the macro aspects than getting too fussy about the micro aspects. In my mindset there is then always someone asking ‘do you really think this is important for the sound???’ And of course the answer is no. Hopefully this gives some ideas.
  9. I think that the entire stiffness of the sound box in the direction across the grain (east-west) is very important. However this must not necessarily come from the top. Somehow this helps to get a soprano quality and therefore is important on violins. For violas things are quite different.
  10. Fuhr was presumably a very educated man but this means also that he a sort of looked down on people with lesser education. The text is full of this attitude starting right away with a big claim title. From my vague memory of the entire book I think he made also a claim to be the inventor of the glass rod rubbing method. But who knows, maybe he got the idea from an ‘uneducated’ violin maker.
  11. I’d lower the ribs. If you tapered them from the upper corner blocks to the top block this can be done fairly easily.
  12. Nice article about your family tradition. Interesting to see that makers of hardanger violins also used scientific research although there some significant differences such as the sympathetic strings and a different arching (if I am not mistaken) This makes me wonder what effect additional string load has on the acoustic behaviour of a violin. Does the sound of Hardanger violins change after tightening the sympathetic strings? As a side note I would like to mention that Prof. Fuhr was maybe the first who would dismiss free plate tuning as relevant measure to get reliable and repeatable sound results. His book on violin acoustics is a bit boring to read for all too lengthy explanations and some polemic sections against the mainstream of acoustic research in his days. But there are some useful insights that can be put into practice with almost no additional equipment.
  13. Most violins are just like cars. Once they get used they loose value. The rest is really what you are willing to pay. Therefore it is always good to do some research before purchase.
  14. IMO the Goodkind book is useless for your research. Nothing about the stuff you are looking for. What you find are photographically records, previous owners and other historically interesting information.
  15. For a thinner top the neck angle is in my experience the factor which determines how tubby your instrument will sound. Generally flattening the angle over the bridge reduces the tubbiness. Otherwise too flimsy ribs can reinforce this kind of sound. For a thin top plate I make always sure that I have very solid linings. Otherwise, there are also makers who go for rather thick top plates and 70g without bass bar and f holes might be heavy but is not over the limit. In the end if this satisfies your ideas on the sound it doesn’t matter what other people tell you.
  16. … because left and right hand do simultaneously different things which are for the human brain difficult to practice correctly while keeping it at he same time in the right balance on your shoulder and relaxing your muscles from your feet to the neck without thinking of the stress your teacher imposed on you in the last lesson by screaming at you in a heavy foreign accent while you were thinking about how you could probably explain your parents that there are much more pleasurable and useful things in the world to devote your time on for showing that you have special abilities.
  17. Not directly. But it seems to me that the dilution of anything you put on the wood and how many times you need to fill up the pores is more important than what resin or oil you use.
  18. We should have learned from the past 200 years of violin acoustics that it is by far too complicated to make precise predictions about the final sound from whatever we measure on the single parts, including tap tones and chladni patterns. I find it a kind of amazing how stubbornly this idea persists instead of looking for better and simpler ways to create a specific violin sound. I find the idea of mapping out in the construction process trigger points to calibrate the sound shape at consecutive steps much more intriguing. Some makers call it ‘doing with experience’ but it also reflects the idea which got driven away by modern science: alchemy. In contrast to science which is able to make precise predictions based on calculations from given parameters alchemy uses observations in several steps to approach the desired goal.
  19. Considering all the acoustic alterations which have been done to his instruments, starting from neck reset and going in extreme cases to extensive ‘patch work’, I’d say it is pretty useless to do such a research.
  20. In my oversimplified logic more flexible plates give the player more possibilities to take control of the sound in dynamics but also for different bowing techniques. So it is not directly correlated to things you see in a sound graph.
  21. What is the weight of your top plate? If it is too heavy this would be a major concern and eventually a good reason to make a new top. Otherwise you can ‘scan through’ the top plate in search for too much material. I use sometimes simply a light source to see the denser areas. I don’t care if further scraping creates slightly irregular thicknesses. Half a gram weight reduction in 10 spots adds up to 5 gram. This can be around 6-7% of the total weight and should not alter the tap tones significantly. However I prefer to do this after f-hole and bass bar, aiming at a weight of 60-65g. Edit: concerning tap tones we have the tendency to look alone on the frequency. I think it is by far more instructive to listen to how a tapped plate reacts.
  22. Carbon fibre is too heavy and it is impossible to adjust the thickness of such a bridge. For this reason I love my carbon reinforced wooden bridges. They will never warp, can be made ultra thin when needed and still look like a normal bridge. The carbon rod under the e string functions simultaneously as a protector. For anyone who is interested I wrote an article in the trade secret section of the STRAD magazine a few years ago. (on a cello bridge) edit: Now that I listened with good headphones to the video demonstration I would say that the chosen violin had a kind of metallic sound which was reinforced by the wooden bridge and subdued by the carbon fibre bridge. I guess it is a madder of taste, I just know that the carbon fibre bridge won’t work on my instruments.
  23. Thanks. Maybe because very long ago I believed also in the genius of a single person in his workshop creating miracle instruments in every aspect from scratch. Little by little this ‘Elfenbein’ (ivory tower) picture crumbled mostly through reading history books. The overall picture is a complex structure in which people were working together in the aspect of manufacturing, distribution and finances.
  24. So you are playing the role of Edward de Bono. Which hat will you take next?
  25. Unfortunately In the bibliography list there is no historic reference to his claim. And I understand this paper more than a summary from a scientist and not than a paper from a historian who wants to bring practices of varnish making to light. I take the receipes of medieval alchemists as a proof. Or, if varnish making was in general in the hands of lute makers, alchemists wouldn’t have bothered to write varnish receipes for lutes and other musical instruments. There are plenty of them and all over Europe which reinforces the idea that it was normally in the hands of alchemists. Speaking of northern Italy, each of those violin making cities had for all of its makers a special look in one or another way for colouring and texture. I find it more reasonable to see one varnish source in each city behind it than individuals coming up by pure chance to the same result. (Unless you build again the assumption that they agreed on one receipe.) Then, if we compare this to time periods where we know that violin makers definitely made their own varnish, you find all of a sudden all sorts of varnishes with different characteristics.
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