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Cornerless violins


elderthomas

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I am at the point of varnishing my 5th violin, and am thinking of trying a cornerless violin. I have some redwood and walnut that gave extraordinarily good projection on my second violin (traditional shape). I would like to try it on a cornerless shape. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with the rib structure. Without the corners to glue to, I would think that it would be hard to get it to maintain its shape. One possibility would be to put blocks in the waist to glue the ribs to and cut them away after the back is glued on. I would appreciate any ideas or references anyone may have to offer. I didn't find any past discussions on a search of this forum.

Thanks

Richard

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My friend and fellow violin maker, Francis Cox, makes cornerless violins on a regular basis. The ribs need nothing extra in order to function properly... (other than the two end blocks that is) They don't tend to do anything odd when used alone. Simply bend them guitar shaped, line them, and glue on the plates. Their curve gives them the proper rigidity. Extra steps need not be taken. When I made mine (and I've only made one) I used an inside mold with no problems whatsoever.

Violins without corners tend to have slightly more resonance than 'normal' violins, perhaps because they are less rigid or less massive, but they also tend to lack something in the tone department. They can be difficult to sell in a market where a standard for visual appeal has been well established - but I say go for it anyway. A fiddler bought mine and loved the tone.

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Thanks for the suggestions and links. I have found a few other links and I see that one version (Chanot) http://www.usd.edu/smm/Violins/1800-1849/Chanot.html of a cornerless violin has flush edges (no overhang). At first thought that seems to have the advantage of simplicity.

Craig, What type of edges did you use? Not having had the experience of making one before, I thought that using an additional block on the form near the waist where the ribs could be glued to temporarily, would make them easier to shape to the form. Where did you get the shape for the form you used? I generated a form on the computer by using some eliptical curves on each end and joining them with a couple of sinusiodal curves. This didn't seem to look too bad. Do you use the traditional widths at the upper and lower bouts, c-bout, and body length?

I am not making it with the idea of selling it, although I would not be adverse to the idea if someone wanted it.

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The shape of his violas is not quite "unique" because Helen Michetschlager makes both cornerless and 2 cornered ones, although I don't know who was making them first. I've seen a picture on the web of a cornerless violin with no rib. Can't figure out how to hold the chinrest on?

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My understanding was that the cornerless Strad was originally built as some other type of instrument, possibly a type of viola da gamba, and was later converted. The Hills' book says he made viols in a figure-8 shape. I've actually been thinking it might be fun to make a treble viol based on that instrument, if I could find drawings or good photographs to work from.

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"Craig, What type of edges did you use? Not having had the experience of making one before, I thought that using an additional block on the form near the waist where the ribs could be glued to temporarily, would make them easier to shape to the form. Where did you get the shape for the form you used? I generated a form on the computer by using some eliptical curves on each end and joining them with a couple of sinusiodal curves. This didn't seem to look too bad. Do you use the traditional widths at the upper and lower bouts, c-bout, and body length?"

I put a normal overhang on the edges, and normal purfling inset. The mold I used was a Strad model violin minus the corners... I'm not really sure what the common outline is for a cornerless violin or what Channot used, but I figured that the internal volume would be about what a normal Strad violin had if I used a Strad pattern.

Also, if I remember correctly, I made a couple of simple counter forms clamped together with a wide pony bar clamp in order to keep the ribs tight to the mold in the cc's directly after bending - then, as always, I used 1" spring clamps around the perimeter of the mold to help the rib assembly stay tight to the mold just like I do for a standard type of rib assembly - prior to putting in the linings.

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  • 7 years later...

One of my fiddles is cornerless. I didn't build it, but did modify it since I play lefthanded and it was a 'normal' righthanded violin. There are no reinforcement blocks inside--just a normal neckblock and endblock, normal linings. I removed the top & the original bassbass, made & installed a new bassbar, glued the top back on, set the soundpost & bridge per lefty playing etc.

It sounds and plays good, and seems quite robust. From spring 'til autumn I busk a LOT, mostly using the cornerless. No problems or issues have resulted from such constant use.

Regarding sonic differences--it seems to have a rounder, more-balanced tone than my two 'regular shape' fiddles. A friend owns several cornerless fiddles and his opinion of their sound matches mine.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,I'm the builder referred to in the previous posts. My initial drive to build cornerless violins was inspired by many reasons. Initially I modeled my first from a fiddle made in Edinburgh, Scotland that dated form the mid-nineteenth century. I also like the work Francois Chanot did in Paris around 1820.

After producing several cornerless violins both my wife and I as well as many who've play my instruments agree that they have a unique 'ring' not found in the traditional variety of fiddle. Plus they can be played loud or soft with equally fast response.

You can see and hear them played here

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Nope. When will you learn? He didn't make it like that. mellow.gif

Merry Christmas, by the way. smile.gif

Merry Christmas to you too, Torbjörn :) . Gee whiz! That information came from one of the inmates at Audio Asylum, and you're telling me it's wrong? C'mon....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Stradivarius_instruments scroll down to 1718

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