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my violin photo


David Tseng
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I just finished shaping the neck/fingerboard assembly and took this picture. Please look at it. Constructive and destructive criticisms are welcome. I covered the bench with a bed sheet to give a better contrast. On the bench are also shown some of the tools I use, all are home

made. I have a set of 8 finger planes of various sizes and sole curvatures. You can see the design is different from commercial tools. The smallest one has side-walls of 0.5" height and indentations on both sides for comfort. The larger FP have ceramic palm rest (made of drawer pull). All of them have A2 tool steel blades. The A2 holds the edge much better than the commercial blades.

You can see the contrast between the body and the newly carved neck. The body shows the ground coating which was applied before graduating the plates. I've done this way for ages and don't want to change. I presume you could apply the ground after the violin is assembled. No coloring substance was used. The true colors are: lighter flame: light golden yellow, dark flame: brownish yellow. On my monitor, some area has pinkish color, which is not true. I now make 4 violins at the same time. It is more efficient for me. Hopefully next year I will celebrate my number 100th. It is a nice milestone for me, an amateur/hobbist. I believe not many of them will ever reach that goal.

75a.jpg

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Looks nice David, looks like you may have tanned the body some. Or is that just your ground medium alone?

Did I understand you correctly in that you apply the ground before you graduate the plates? That means inside graduation only, right? If so, why do it in that order? Does it have something to do with tuning the plates?

Nice work.

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David -

How many violins do you have to make before you are no longer an amatuer? Amateur implies lack of sophistication, but after 100 violins, I'm sure your skill level is very high. And the photo shows a nice instrument. Maybe you're a professional not dependent on the violin for income...?

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ctviolin, yes, I left the plates in the light box for 3 days, but I only have 2 tubes in the box, it didn't tan the wood much. In summer I would tan it outdoors. Applying ground before graduating plate was a "left over" from "Chladni days". You get more accurate tuning if the ground is on, but the effect is quite predictable. I don't use Chladni method any more. The back is from SVS Tonewood and top, red spruce from Labrador. The top is 2.1 to 2.2mm all over. It weighs 60g (ff cut, no b-bar), the back, 110g.

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Unfortunately Tripod does not allow remote linking of images. But either right click to view the adress of the image or copy and paste this adress into your browsers adressfield so you can se the large original image.

http://violini.tripod.com/75a.jpg

Dont click the link because it will not work,

only copy and paste :-0

Best

Al

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b sharp: I seldom have a violin at home, Some in the music stores under consignment, most of them were sent to violin teachers. Selling violins is a job I cannot do. Not long ago I was still selling it less than 1k each, that was why it went faster than I could possibly supply them. I got better return from consignment, it would take much longer to sell because the price was higher (the store took 1/3 of the sale price). Since I did not get adequate remuneration, I could not afford flashy expensive tonewood. I only have a few European wood left. I have no

choice but to use American wood. It's not because I like them, it's a matter of availability.

ctviolin: I now use "local tap tone" method inspired by Vigdorchik. I learned this technique in 1984 but only started to apply it seriously a few years ago. I've since gone beyond Vigdorchik. I am sure you are still fresh in your minds from the threads about mineral ground/ ground

glass. It is a controversial subject which I do not want to bring it back here. All I want to say here is: the successful application of the ground is the critical turning point in my violin making. Suddenly everything comes together nicely.

I am varnishing this violin now. When it is completed, I will change the above picture. I intend to keep it with me for a while and play it if it has the tonal quality I like. I have not strung it up yet. After making many violins, one seems to lose the urgency to hear the sound of a new violin. After all, it is a Strad type instrument, I expect it to sound like a real one!

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Yes, I remember several of us got together to compare the tone of a few modern violins made in late 19C to the present day. We asked players to play scales and a few passages in a small class room, then we moved to the recital hall. When the Peresson was played, all of us at the back seats all looked at each other. There is a difference. I won't call it "piercing" sound,

just some plesant projecting sound.

Spructrum analyses of Strad, Guarneri and other 18C Cremonese instruments have shown that there is a common characteristics among them: strong output and high density vib. modes in the range 3 to 5 kHz, (Very few modern violins have it) so that every note within the

pitch range of the violin is played, it has a strong partial in that freq. range. You can actually

test this by sliding your finger near the end of the fingerboard on E-string, say from E to

about 2 or 3 notes beyond the fingerboard, you should hear very strong output and no dips in that range. When I have the chance to play a Strad, I always do it. Many people think this characteristics is responsible for the forment and sound projection.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The violin has been varnished, it is medium red with golden under tone. The neck is still covered with plastics. When the fingerboard is glued back, the neck will be hand-rubbed with tung oil. The color coat is a linseed oil/processed rosin varnish and the cover coat, tung oil/fused amber varnish.

The neck is shaped nearly triangular in cross-section and more so near the pegbox. The following is a description of the system of construction I use. I use "arching curves" drawn on a 25cm by 38cm graph paper. The paper has 1mm mesh printed on it. It is easy to draw curves and easy to read the arch height at a given location. First I lay the plate on a flat surface (granite surface plate) and use a dial indicator to measure several points along the center line, then I use a fingerplane to connect these points smoothly. For the cross arch, I use a plastic woodworking profile gauge. The edge of the plate must be reduced to the final thickness and use it as a reference point. By comparing the profile with the curve, it is easy to see where the wood should be removed. Sometimes I can complete a set of top and back arches in one evening. I have 3 finger planes specifically for the arch work, the soles are nearly flat (curved only around the edge), the A2 blades are honed with 0.25 micron

beta alumina (no need for toothed blade). I don't like power tools because of the dust they generate. For the inside of the plates, I gouge the excess wood to about 0.2mm greater than the Sacconi diagram, from there I tap-tune the plate to the final thickness without using a dial caliper. The ears have a sensitivity better than 0.1mm. The red spruce from Canadian east coast and from Italy are quite similar, the tops are usually 2.2 to 2.3mm over all. The back

has more variation, center 4 to 4.5mm, upper and lower lungs 1.8 to 2.8mm, depending on the individual piece of wood. I only make Strad type of violins, I have no knowledge about Guarneri type. I would like to learn to make Guarneri type.

76c.jpg

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Mr. David Tseng, I would just like to say thanX for the info. you have provided It's a worthy info. and I realy like to hear from the makers deferent openion, However my quistion, Actualy the main reason of my post is to thank you for the info. not the question, the question is do i have to follow a paticular graduation style to have one similar tone for my violins? also I read some articles and books that has a conflect in the graduation sizes, You mentioned your billy is 2.0-2.3, I have a book that says it has to be standard and uniformly 3mm. and I've seen in one of the sites a strad plate the has a varities thickness I not quite sure but i remember it was between 1.8 to 2.8 (Approx.) I'm not sure of that but it has a bi range of thikness size , So as I'm an amature what do you recommend me to follow ?, Since my book says it has to be 3mm. !! .

ThanX .

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I, too am interested in learning more about belly graduations. I gather that Stradivari and Guarneri (del Gesu) tended toward even thicknesses, whereas Brecian and other makers used a concentric system similar to the back. I am an amateur, and only repeating what I have read, so take it with a grain of salt. I am building a violin of del Gesu style, and have graduated the belly to a fairly even 2.5mm , except for 3mm for a 15mm dia. circle at the soundpost location. I'd be interested to hear from experienced makers whether I'm on the right track. I realise that a lot has to do with the piece of wood - in this case of medium density and stiffness.

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