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What Makes a Excellent Sounding Violin?


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What characteristics make an excellent sounding violin? How does one measure things like response, balance, projection, power and focus? How do makers optimize one against the other, or is it possible to get all in one package? Let's leave dead makers out of this, since we can't ask them (i.e. Strad). How do TODAY's makers, with all of the computer analysis, measurements of old violins, and electronic testing, produce a great sounding violin?

Choice of wood? pattern? plate tuning? graduation? arching? varnish? setup? neck, string, bridge angles? What is most important to get right, and what can be corrected later?

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The answer to the first part of the question is "yes", and to the second part, you're pretty much stuck with the arching, of course, and, realistically, also the varnish, since some of it will have soaked into the wood and won't be able to be completely removed. Everything else can be changed to some extent.

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I am not a luthier so I cannot speak from experience.

I read a book (A Review Of Ancient And Modern Violin Making ) by a luthier, Willian Oakes of 1899, he explained the mystic of the Strads. Basically he said all you just mentioned were neccessary (Good material,good plan,good workmEanship,good control of quality)(all these in your question) and trial-and-error. He saw that only good

violins (even Strads) would survive with time and care. Unfitted ones would not be seen or heard in discussion. He made violins box first, bridge (to get the tone), reset the neck (to fit the bridge) in that order,if it was still bad, he would start it over.... No miracal but hardwork, quality control.

(opened the top,rework on the plate etc until it he thought it was right.) He spoke of authority with a lot of pride. It makes sense to me.

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