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Everything posted by donbarzino

  1. Your problem could be runout , the wood being cut such that the long grain is not parallel to the surface of the billet. This is why split billets are preferred.
  2. I just ran across a 2004 article in the Strad about tailpieces influence on tone which cites a 2003 Catgut study which found ' Certain woods (especially snakewood, pernambuco, African blackwood and boxwood) were judged to cause an increase in volume and positive changes in the clarity and "edginess" of the sound. Other materials (rosewood, ebony and composite) seem to correspond to hollow, soft, unfocused and unmatched sounds across strings.'
  3. I have had bass customers who insisted that increasing the string spacing greatly improved their sound. Compared to the violin, bass and cello do have a rather high bridge and narrow string spacing.
  4. Technically, moving only one end of the sound post while leaving the opposite end in place cocks the sound post and ruins its fit to the top and back plates. However if the post was not correctly fit in the first place any change could be an improvement. I believe the fit of the north edge sound post to the top is most important as this defines the lever arm distance between the bridge foot and the post as fulcrum. Moving the top end of the post back away from the bridge insures that the edge of the post closest to the back of the bridge foot is making good firm contact and this alone an often cause an improvement in playing and tonal qualities.
  5. When I started work at a certain large old violin shop I was told tales of the schenanigans my predecessor, Edward had pulled leading to his dismissal. Later I discovered a nice old violin in the back room with much of its top smashed away. Inside of it, among some old 'repaired by' labels, was scrawled "Wrecked by Eddy K. "
  6. I think the attraction of so called antique finishes is really about complexity. Straight varnish presents a much smaller number of colors than anything found in nature and this can become boring to the eye. Perhaps it doesn't really matter how the complex patinas found on older instruments were achieved but rather how many subtly complex color variations they present to keep our eyes interested. It just so happens that the wear imposed by use and time is currently the premier means of achieving the most interesting complexities.
  7. Back in the 1970's I was a maker of brazed steel racing bicycle frames. More than one customer confided in me that they just could not bear the pain of putting the first few nicks and scratches in their pristine painted finish and asked me to somehow artfully distress it for them in advance to soften and disguise those inevitable first stark ugly blemishes caused by daily use.
  8. I agree that most antiqued varnish is poorly done and doesn't look very convincing but to antique is the logical next step when the initial attempt at straight varnishing goes awry.
  9. We should start a directory that lists these false 'violinmakers'. Felix Ponziani of Cleveland, Ohio and William 'Jack' Fry of Madison, Wisconsin are two that I have run across.
  10. As long as the pegs hold well that's a very minor problem that is probably not worth messing around with until it gets worse. You could try some peg dope compound or soap and chalk to take up that extra space and push the pegs back out a little.
  11. The large thick flat areas you have left for the upper and lower blocks could be interfering with the usual mode 5 vibrations.
  12. It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life. I suggest you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.
  13. Glued in reinforcement has been used for only a few decades in guitars. Metal truss rods have been around a bit longer but they are usually free floating in their channel not laminated. I believe all woods share more similarities than any wood does with graphite fiber and even then there are some long term problems with the long term shrinkage differential between maple necks and ebony fingerboards.
  14. I don't think that laminating in any material with very different long term shrinkage properties and short term temperature and moisture expansion coefficients from wood will enhance the long term stability of the violin.
  15. If overtones are defined as sound vibrational energy emitted at frequencies greater than the fundamental frequency of the note being discussed then most of the sound of the violin is composed of overtones. So I would say overtones are all important to the sound of the violin. The lower notes on the g string are known to have almost no energy at the fundamental frequency and are hence literally nothing but overtones.
  16. I would recommend clamping a 2x4 to each side of the plate across the widest part of the lower bouts and then pushing wedges between the bass bar and the 2x4 until the arch is popped up enough.
  17. Beeswax is the most common additive but I suppose any wax or oil could be used to adjust the frictional properties.
  18. Most bow rosin is based on colophony but with various additives to adjust its properties.
  19. donbarzino

    Sycamore Fiddle?

    I have built a few double basses with sycamore backs and ribs. American sycamore is resonant enough but it has noticeably lower resonant frequencies than European maple and tends to favor the lower harmonics and produce a darker tone color. All those hard flecks make it quite difficult to produce a smooth surface. It bends easily and is very crack resistant with its interlocked grain.
  20. It was pressed flat when it was glued together all those years. It sprung when it was taken apart. I don't see the problem with forcing it back to flat especially on a lesser instrument. IMO you are more likely to do damage messing around with moisture than by just clamping it.
  21. It doesn't have to be perfectly flat to be glued back together, the ribs and top will pull it flat. Many violin makers intentionally fit their plates [usually tops] to the ribs with a gap that is forced tight when glued. They call this springing the joint.
  22. It was probably willow linings that bent so easily for you. I have also had difficulties bending spruce.
  23. My location and shop situation is very similar to yours and I have been storing my tonewood in unheated spaces for many years and then bringing it into my climate controlled shop a year or so before I need it. There was an article in the Strad years ago by a French scientist who thought that temperature and humidity cycling were a very important part of the seasoning process.
  24. Back in the 70's I worked at an old well established downtown music store in a large mid western city where they imported large quantities of instruments such as yours, each with a small label stating in misaligned typewriting ' made in communist czechoslovokia '. My job was to moisten each label with a cotton ball held by a long forceps and then peel each label out and replace it with a larger, well printed label stating 'Anton Schrotter Geigenbaumeister made in Germany '. I believe I still have a stack of those labels tucked away somewhere.