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Found 16 results

  1. Greetings, First post here from Ithaca, NY. Maybe a little long but the details seem important. I’ve got a violin I acquired about 15 years ago that I need to decide what to do with. It’s not very responsive and hard to draw out a good tone. It’s actually not bad on open strings but stopped notes especially on the G & D strings really suffer – another player aptly described it as having a stuffed nose. A couple of luthiers worked on the setup many years ago. The bridge is currently placed on the f-hole nicks (about 192mm) and the latest sound post position is shown below. No joy. We also tried the bridge at 195mm with commensurate post adjustment. LOB = 359mm Fingerboard projection at bridge a little low = 25mm. I struggled with it awhile trying to play it in, but eventually set it aside and have a couple of other daily players. BTW, I’m an old-time fiddler, not a classical violinist. The label identifies it as William Lewis & Son with Geo Nicholas Einsele as the maker. But no date entered on the label…odd. I’ve looked at the other MN threads on Einsele / Garimberti and Chicago violins. This violin doesn’t seem to have the characteristic model or varnish of an actual Einsele. Whether this is one of the Garimberti violins that were imported in the white and varnished by Einsele is an interesting question. Maybe it’s neither? The varnish is very even and gold toned with no wear (the streaking that shows in the pictures seems to be an artifact of lighting and iPhone camera). But it has the look of having a heavy clear coat, applied even over top of various surface imperfections. The “clear” aspect of the varnish is heavy enough to smooth the sharpness of features like the f-hole nicks (see pic below). I've wondered if it's damping the sound. https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/337815-the-beckerwm-lewischicago-sound/&tab=comments#comment-752461 https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/304978-ferdinando-garimberti-violin/ The violin has also been sadly modified with an “Acoustical Bass Bar” patented by Adam Szymanski (presumably in 1966 by the label). I found the patent. Odd shape. So, my questions are… Any thoughts on actual provenance? Ideas about improving the sound? It has been tried with a couple of types of strings, reasonable bridge/soundpost adjustments, and the original classical tailpiece. Opinions on replacing the bass bar? I’ve seen the recent thread with concerns about replacing an original integral carved bar, but I’d say this differs because the original has already been replaced and it’s unanimous that the instrument is a dog. Thanks for any thoughts. Identifying pics below. - Tom
  2. I ran across this video from www.violinsoundpost.com. The video is from 2013 but it looks like the website is still functioning and maybe taking orders. I'm curious what the pros think about this particular method and set of tools for fitting the soundpost? Is it just a waste of time and money or could it be useful for some of us?
  3. I'm looking for a new professional violin, and whenever I try a new one I like to tap the tailpiece just to see what it sounds like. Every tailpiece seems to have a different pitch and different decay time, and sometimes a tailpiece will put out a dissonant collection of several pitches at once. I've noticed that on the nicer-sounding instruments I've tried, the tap tone of the tailpiece seems to match that of the body of the instrument (if it's a pure tone). However, from what I understand, too much resonance behind the bridge can cause wolfiness. I'm not a luthier, just a performer, so I'd like to know if anyone thinks there's actually a connection here, in their experience. Does the tap tone indicate some quality of the violin, or just the tailpiece itself? Should this be taken into consideration when choosing tailpieces? Or does the tone only reflect some aspect of setup?
  4. I've got a question about luthier setups and upgrading parts. I've been looking around for an intermediate level violin to upgrade to from my $400 student violin, but I'm starting to wonder if I'd be better off just upgrading the parts on my current violin and getting an excellent setup. So my question is 1. How much could I potentially improve a student violin by just having a luthier upgrade things like the bridge, soundpost, and tailpiece, and giving it a proper setup? 2. how much of a difference would a setup by a good luthier now have from the simple setup the violin had a year ago when it was sent to the shop for sale? 3. Is it worth taking my violin to a good luthier to see what he can do to make my violin better or is it better to just save up for a $2000 or so violin in the near future? UPDATE: I took my violin to a luthier to give it a look over and make sure its setup was good. He said the E string was a little high, but within acceptable standards and not worth adjusting, and otherwise, it was a good setup and he said nothing he could do to it like replacing the bridge or tailpiece would make a noticeable difference. While I was there I tried out a bunch of old German workshop violins, my favorite being a $2500 1890 Thomas Ernst. I also tried a $950 Martin Beck, but I didnt like it very much. On my way home I took a sharp turn and went to Y. Chen's shop, a Chinese luthier who lives here but has a workshop in China where he makes his instruments. I tried 4 in my price range and noticed a big difference compared to my current violin. They were actually very nice, resonant, and loud! I especially liked the $800 Arcos Brasil A. Carualho silver pernambuco bow I got to use in the shop. Even made my current violin sound much better. So at least I figured out that my current setup is fine and in order to improve the sound I need a new violin and a new bow. So now I will start saving money and go back to these two places (and probably a couple more. I hear there's a Romanian workshop dealer in town as well). Overall, a good day
  5. I have a fine old cello on my bench right now that needs a new bridge. It’s in now because the cello was bumped and the bridge was broken. I had cut the previous bridge for it and put my usual spread in the feet, but I found that the feet spread wider as the months went on. I suspect this happened because this cello had a rather barrel-like arch and string tension and the arch shape encouraged more spread than usual. Now that I’m cutting another bridge, I’d like to avoid this issue if possible. My question is as follows: Would you put extra spread in the feet when cutting this bridge or leave it alone? I’m concerned about overloading it with too much pressure and I want to avoid using a wider bridge because the bass bar is far enough in that I really don’t want the feet any farther apart.
  6. Hi there I realise that there's been a lot of discussion around set-up for instruments - but most of what I have read relates to violins and cellos and not a lot of specific viola advice. As violas vary even more than violins, I'm asking for tips from viola makers / experts for my situation. My viola is quite rich and dark sounding, which is lovely on it's own but not useful when trying to cut through in ensembles. It's not quiet but not as powerful as I would like either. There are a lot of resonances and overtones. I used to have a more strident instrument which cut through but didn't have nearly as much depth in it's basic tone as this one. I'm wondering what setup tweaks I can do to try and give it a bit more edge. (tailgut, tailpiece, strings etc.) One thing I was particularly wondering was about the distance the tailpiece sits from the saddle & material used - is it more useful to be metal/ kevlar & very close to the saddle for a darker sounding viola? I'll try and give as much info on my instrument as possible: Quite new viola (5 months - so I realise more playing in will be useful, although it's already had some quite aggressive breaking in being played in a very loud show twice a day for 2 months). 16.375" back length. (It's not especially wide nor has especially deep ribs) Vibrating string length of 370mm (with an afterlength of 78mm) It's arching is between moderate - moderately high. The seasoned maple used is apparently particularly dense / heavy wood - with the luthier thinning the plate 0.5mm more than she would normally. The current strings are Evah Pirazzi Gold. Current tailpiece Wittner ebony w/ integrated tuners - nylon tailgut. The bridge is slightly more wedged than 'normal' (slightly more thick towards the bottom) but is top quality & hard. The action isn't low, and might get uncomfortable any higher. Oil varnish (still a little soft) Thanks in advance for those who able to take some time on this... Simon
  7. First, I'm sorry for such a basic question. I am a total newbie to the violin (well, I now have almost a couple months of practicing). The problem is that looking at pictures of violins in Internet I just realized now that maybe my violin's bridge is not set up properly. I bought my violin, a Yamaha AV5-SC, brand new from an on-line retailer. I love this violin. Although a (relative) cheap violin, a few hundreds dollars, even I can tell this violin will be above my skill level for a long while. To the point, the violin came all set up, with its bridge in place. Obviously, the violin wasn't in tune. But save tuning, even Yamaha's official documentation which came with the violin says: the instrument is ready to play (paraphrasing). Now, the flat face of the bridge is facing the finger board , for what I'm seeing in pictures the flat face should be facing the tail piece and the sloped-in face is the one facing the finger board. Now, I could chalk it up to someone messing it up in Yamaha and fix it but... by the bridge heights the bridge is indeed correctly positioned. In other words, as it is now, the height for the E string groove is lower than the G string groove. If I try to fix the bridge face orientation (flat face to the tail piece) I will be screwing the heights in top rounded edge (E string will be higher than G string) So, it is like the bridge has contradictory specs (!?) I have no basis to doubt mishandling in the violin by the retailer, it seemed to be packaged straight up from factory. And I certainly trust Yamaha knows what it is doing. In conclusion, I don't have a clue. If someone can shed some light, I will certainly appreciate it. Thanks.
  8. Who is planning on attending this workshop in Fredricksburg, VA? Joe Thrift is the instructor. Details are here.
  9. Hey friends, Recently I posted about, among others, a new Chinese violin I got. It's really pretty lovely, all things considered, but there is something that is bothering me about it. When Anna digs in on the G, especially in higher positions, it takes on a somewhat raucous grittiness, which is rather jarring compared with the rest of the instrument. My question is what can I do about it? The bridge was too high and did not fit well when I received it, and so I fit it properly and lowered the strings to standard specs. Would any carving on the bridge (even starting from scratch) or playing with the post (currently in a fairly standard spot 4mm behind the foot and 1mm inside the edge, but nicely fitting) help with this? My gut tells me the post is too tight, but I thought I'd ask the pros before getting in there. Thank you all, as ever! Jackson
  10. Wondering what people listen for to guide tonal adjustments in setup? I know for myself, to a large degree I'm listening to brightness versus darkness in the tone. And I mostly associate that with a generally more tensioned and strong setup giving harder brighter results, and lower tension tending more toward dark. I know I'm trying to maximize power and response in the tone, while balancing other factors. I want to strike a balance making brightness or darker warmth available in the tone, and a balance between openness of tone and a more reedy firmness of tone. Presuming good fit of bridge feet and post, I think of tension as the first thing to adjust in the setup. Following Gerald Botteley's advice from the Courtnall & Johnson book, I move the bridge forward to test lower tension and back to test higher tension, and see which direction gives improvement in the tone and response. I try to work first from a completely standard, but somewhat beefy bridge, and a somewhat beefy and longish post a little bit closer to center line and further back behind the bridge than standard. From this start, I try to get the tension of the instrument setup as close a possible to right, but slightly over tight, as I work the post closer toward a 'standard' position. I prefer to work with bridge and post just barely thickish. Once the tension seems close to good, but definitely not too loose, then I try to refine the post position by listening to how it affects the balance of the response in terms of bass versus treble, and quick brightness versus slower warmth of tone. This things I mostly test by playing in low and high positions on all strings, and by listening to how the response changes near and far from the bridge, and with different pressures and bow speeds. I try to work with the bass to treble balance first. Mostly I adjust this by moving the post closer or further toward the center line. Since the fit and tension/height are affected by this kind of move, I might need to make a new post to get both the tension and the bass/treble balance working well. The nearness or distance behind the bridge foot also alters the effective tension, but less so the fit. So I'm happy if my fiddling around with the post ends with this last dimension. I feel like this distance most strongly effects the balance between hardness/directness versus openness/indirectness of response. It seems very similar to moving a microphone nearer or farther from the voice. After this, even though the general bass to treble balance should be good, the balance between individual strings might want some further adjusting. I try to do this last balancing of strings by trimming away a little in the bridge cutout just below the string that wants to be a little more present and open in tone. Once the strings seem as well balanced as possible, I consider if the tone wants more openness. If so, I consider trimming the other cutouts of the bridge further. But I don't want to lose strength in the bridge, so I'm least inclined to thin the bridge or post. Both these steps can lighten and open the response, but are too easily overdone. It seems that response can get mushy and slowed, and tone thin if either post or bridge aren't solid enough. But, response can be dampened and tone veiled if these have too much mass. I prefer to end up with a very standard post and bridge in very standard positions, but results matter more. *********** I don't think there's much out of the ordinary in what I described above. But I'm interested in hearing more techniques people use, and the things they listen for. In the part where I'm listening with different pressures and speeds and such, I do one kind of test that I haven't particularly heard discussed elsewhere. Maybe others do this to? I pay attention to how easily you can play a sul ponticello effect, and how far from the bridge you can be and still get that sound. As well as how close to the bridge you can draw a clear brilliant tone, and where on the string you can start to get a sul tasto kind of sound. I like it when all these colors are readily available. I like to see the sul ponticello available out mid way to the fingerboard. And a good sul tasto color available starting right around the fingerboard. Post to bridge nearness for example affects this greatly. Also, I want to see similar colors available for similar contact points across all the strings, as much as possible. More and more, I find myself using these tests as my main guide as I work through the setup. ************* I'm hoping people will share both their process, and the special things they listen for to help judge tonal setup.
  11. Hello everyone, I've just reread Darnton's chapter on setup from his upublished book on violin making. Wow! There is so much to know, and without images its difficult for me to fully comprehend certain operations and techniques he is describing. At any rate, I find it very gripping and would like very much to be a set-up champion. The trouble is that in rural Washington, my teacher's shop doesn't get in all that many repairs and so the learning is slow. What's more, he wasn't to take a long trip with his kids this summer, so I'll be without a teacher for a few months. I'm hoping you especially experienced makers and restorers will offer some tips, techniques, reading material, suggestions for summer programs, etc so I can start preparing. It's a long shot, but if any of you in the US would be willing to have me in your shop for a week or two this summer, I would be extremely grateful. I can sleep under a bench and won't cost you a thing - I just want to watch you work and receive instruction only when you have time. I would help out in the shop in any way you saw fit and would require no compensatiom beyond the opportunity to learn. Please message me if this interests any of you at all. I really don't want to lose ground on my studies! Thank you all, Jackson
  12. What is the ideal bridge setup for fiddle players (I mean bluegrass and country)? I brought my first violin to a fiddle competition and a fiddle player remarked that the action was too high. It was set up for classical players. What string height do these folks want? Any other considerations? Thanks! Dan.
  13. Can anyone articulate their impressions of the effect of bassbar placement on sound? I am trying to weigh the balance between my training and the oddly proportioned instruments that I often see. What do you believe is the tonal effect of moving a bassbar further in, further out, or angled in some way other than the 1/7 proportion? Also, mass and stiffness variations for that matter. I had a stock of bridges in 1mm increments from 40mm - 44mm to try and keep the bridge centered while maintaining the proper overlap over the bassbar and came to the conclusion that a poorly placed bassbar should not necessarily dictate bridge width. In theory a bar further out should get the wider bridge, but I have not found it to necessarily be the right choice. I have also had better luck with bridges centered on the f-holes/centerline rather than shifting them off center to match the bassbar overlap. I imagine that the effect of mass of the bar is similar to effect of tightness of the sound post, and effect of moving the bar inward or outward is similar to moving the post inward or outward. I can't say that I have documented enough bassbar details to have a clear picture of how an oddly placed bar effects sound. I think that understanding the effects of changes to the bassbar might better inform placement of a new bassbar that might be more specific to the instrument. For example, a wider bar to add a little more mass to help get a stiff top moving? The closest similar topic that I found was about 43mm and 44mm bridge placements. A couple interesting points in there, but not quite what I'm looking for. http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/326383-43-and-44-mm-bridge-blanks-for-violin As always, thanks for the feedback.
  14. Hi, I play violin for 2 years and my two daughters play violin as well (1/4 and 3/4 size). Since we all play violins, I thought it'd be fun to learn to do some basic setup work. I had my previous violin adjusted a few times by luthiers and it was really interesting to hear the improvements that were made. I have an inexpensive 14" viola that I can use for practice. I don't play it often and it was cheap (Cecilio CVA-500 from Amazon) so if I mess it up, it's not a big loss. I also have my previous violin that I was going to sell, but if I can learn to customize a bridge for it, that would be very interesting too and could help with reselling it, or if I can correct some of its issues it could be interesting for my daughter. I received the StewMac violin setup DVD for Christmas and I really enjoyed it, which increased my desire to try some things myself. The things I'd like to do to my viola are: Make a new bridge Adjust soundpost Fit the pegs - I broke one and had a luthier replace it, the others need to be redone too. Replace the tailpiece with a Whittner with built-in fine tuners (or a tailpiece without fine tuners, I don't have fine tuners on my violin so if the viola pegs are fit properly I don't think I'll need fine tuners on the viola). I've done a lot of googling on the net and searching in these forums and I've learned a lot. But one question I have for which I haven't been able to find an answer is whether a 14" viola would require different parts than a violin? I got the viola in 14" because I still have intonation issues on my violin and I didn't want to be distracted by a larger size viola. So the viola is similar in size to a violin but it's a little bigger and a little taller. When I buy bridge blanks, can I use violin bridge blanks? The bridge that is on it looks similar in size to a violin bridge but it is thicker. I don't know if it needs to be thicker or if it just wasn't fitted properly. Well for the price I'm sure it wasn't customized very well. I also have the same question for the tailpiece, can I use a violin tailpiece? While searching the forums I found someone recommended a pack of 100 bridges from ebay to practice on. So if those will work for the 14" viola I'd like to get them. Here's the link (I hope it's ok to post these, if not the links can be removed): http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-4-100-pcs-violin-bridges-fine-maple-laser-precise-/201134962205?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ed493f61d I wrote to the seller and asked what tools he recommends for the setup work I intend to do and he recommended the following in addition to the bridges: a knife - http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/201303798766 sound post tools - http://www.ebay.com/itm/sound-post-gauge-Setter-retriever-luthier-tools-violin-/181585489641?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a4756aee9 a mini-plane - I really don't know what this is used for - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Strong-Brass-Mini-plane-curve-underside-violin-making-tools-6086-/351120166490?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51c0648e5a peg reamer and shaver - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Best-violin-tool-VIOLIN-PEG-HOLE-REAMER-VIOLin-PEG-SHAVE-/181465424465?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a402ea251 And I was also planning on getting: whittner tailpiece - http://www.thomann.de/fr/wittner_tailpiece_violin_44.htm a good bridge when I'm ready for it - http://www.thomann.de/fr/aubert_mirecourt_violin_bridge_4_4.htm I live in France and his prices seem to be very good compared to what I've found in France. My questions are: Can I use 4/4 violin parts for the 14" viola? Are there any books or DVDs that would help me to learn the setup items I'd like to do? I know there are a lot of violin books about making violins but for now I just want to focus on the setup. Do you recommend the tools I listed above? Would you recommend any better alternatives? Thank you very much for reading and I look forward to getting some feedback and sharing my progress in this adventure.
  15. I am looking for a luthier in or south of Munich to setup a chinese violin for my dad, I purchased it from international violin, model 3713 white and am finishing varnish at the moment. http://www.internationalviolin.com/ProductDetail/3713_white-violin-strad-model I would appreciate if someone could recommend me a luthier. Thank you in advance. Carlo
  16. Nice interview with Augustin where he talks a bit about his set up and the wolf notes on his Strads and how he plays around the wolf. Posting it here because it might be of interest to us luthiers. http://www.violinist...e/201210/14052/
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