Alan Adler

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  1. This drawing is from Violins and Violinists, by Franz Farga. The second pattern is Strad, and the gap adjacent the sharp point is the narrowest of all. I think Strad chose this for its sound, but I've never seen a discussion of this feature.
  2. I note that some contemporary luthiers are contributing here. A special hello to Don. I too am an engineer, but not retired. Perhaps some of you contemporary luthiers will tell a bit about the process. For example do you make to stock or to customer order? And, if to customer order, are you able to suit the customer better than he or she would achieve by selecting an existing instrument? I ask, not because I want to become a luthier, but I'm curious about how the process works. Alan
  3. "Wood is one of nature's sturdiest materials, but that doesn't mean it can't be made even better. Researchers recently "densified" the material to make what they call "super wood," and previous work from the KTH team made wood fibers as strong as steel." "The researchers say the technique could be used to make strong, lightweight materials for building planes, cars, bikes and furniture. It could also help assemble other nanofibers too, such as carbon tubes." Summary Details
  4. I've often had Don's exact thought, but then I remembered that Strads were praised when they were only decades old. But I still agree with Don that age has contributed to their quality. My guess is that the wood has continued to dry and lose density.
  5. I've read that there was a period after Strad died, when Guarneris were preferred over Strads because people liked their sound better in typical rooms that they played in. These sources wrote that Viotti came along and wowed Parisians playing his Strad in large halls and elevated Strad's reputation immensely. My guess is that the OP won't be playing in large halls. If I were seeking a violin to love, I'd go to a dealer and start trying his inventory. I view this as much more likely to succeed than ordering an instrument made to order. It could take days to try everything in even a small dealer's stock. I recently met Patrick Heaney at his shop in Mountain View, Calif. I was surprised that even this suburban dealer had hundreds of stock instruments and three different sized rooms to try them in. Incidentally, I enjoyed the book Violin Dreams by Arnold Steinhardt, principle violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet. It's his auto biography and his tale of seeking his dream violin for much of his life. It turned out in the end to be a hacked viola.
  6. Oh. I find the entire "f" pretty. But I also find the detail I focused on, the sharp point and narrow gap, somewhat glaring. Alan
  7. So no tonewood applications for paulownia. You are almost certainly aware of Douglas Martin's balsa violins, which have been rated well by luthiers. Paulownia is not as radically different from spruce as balsa is. And it's used as tonewood in Asian stringed instruments. I think it's belly material. Best, Alan
  8. What intrigues me about f holes is the sharp point and the very narrow gap from the point to the opposite side. It's not pretty. But I'll bet it's important. I've never found discussion of that in the technical literature. I wonder if anyone has studied that little detail. Alan
  9. Hello Everyone. I'm brand new here. I've never made nor played a violin but am an engineer with about 40 patents. I have designed, made and play flutes. I've been fascinated by violin acoustics for many years. I've long thought that drying wood made sense. But I suspect that the effect of cooking won't penetrate very deep. But if you cook thin pieces, it might be best to clamp them to a steel grate during the bake to control warp. Any comments on this, or the thickness you bake? Incidentally, are you aware of paulownia wood? It's used as tonewood in Asian instruments and between balsa and spruce in density. The Science of String Instruments, by my good friend Tom Rossing, discusses this wood. The entire book is available free here: Science of String Instruments.pdf Best regards, Alan