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Cut It - or - Scrap the Idea?

Wesley S. Boyd

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Looking for positive and/or negative responses. I was sitting at the table one evening and came up with this sketch for violin number 2.

My question to all of you is: Cut the Wood? Or, scrap the idea? I bought high end wood. My question is an issue of originality versus modeling after another's work. I take both positive and negative criticism well. I solicit your opinions.

My first opinion, the contour flatness of the top may limit access to notes in the upper register. But, if the palm is perpendicular to the neck when playing, that may not be an issue.


Wes Boyd in OKC.

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All I see is one sketch.

I think of modeling your own design comes after understanding the design of the majority of violins. This understanding includes the general outline, how makers vary within certain geometric parameters and how this works with the proposed arching. I think it's a good idea to have a number of violins made in a traditional sense and to know why they "work". No doubt, there are people who could skip this step and with profound skills and awareness go straight to their own experiments.

As to your sketch, I'd have to print it and double it to see the full look of the violin. I can see that the C bout line comes down more vertically than usual and your lines don't flow into the corners, the corners just pop up. Think about trying to get purfling to fit within those lines. The corners are also closed in rather radically...how would that impact on bowing?

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All, Dean brought up excellent points. As for the bowing, I'll have to do some measuring. Maybe I should have requested more constructive or negative comments as opposed to positive comments. These are the comments I like. Don't worry about being harsh. Both barrels please...


I sincerely appreciate the opinions. Wes Boyd in OKC.

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I kinda  like it.... but then again im an OKie too !  Not

only that... I still run my bow across a corner now and then.

Helps round em off a bit... give em that old italian look.

Seriously I have been tempted to try what you are


but I agree with Dean. I am still learning what it takes to build

good fiddles. At some point I will try some things

but I have a ways to go.... miles to go before I sleep sort of

thing  donja know? Anyway.. I think we should start

some sort of violin club here in Oklahoma.... There

would be at least us two.  Any others?

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Hey It looks like a strad to me. A bit fuller in the pelvis and

slightly less of an easing curve in the shoulders and  the c

bouts produce a more tighter curve into the corners. But other than

these few changes it is the 1702 strad in the photo section


I think you should "ruffle the skirts of prudes" so I say cut wood.

It would be a test on your ability to match your drawing.(Ican't do

that) I would like to see a left upper bout cutout for

access to the high notes and a longer fingerboard.

But you should do it . carl

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Dand, The problem with those engineers is that they always start with nothing and design something. By nature, we're used to that. Perhaps, that is why I branch out in a manner in which other's believe is too quick for the limited experience. Also, my time is so limited with teen age daughters, my job, violin lessons and 2/week church music (performances); a violin club may stretch me real thin.

Carl, Thanks for the comments. I want to accumulate additional comments prior to cutting the wood. Dean definitely pointed out some watch items.


Wes Boyd in OKC

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You know, all of us are on limited time. Given that, if messing about with violin design is what you like, do it. There is more to the design than the outline, but certainly you have something in mind for arching, graduation, and so on.

Suppose you make the violin and it turns out awful. The universe won't come to an end. There are plenty of awful violins out there -- and some people like them! Your wood cost is insignificant compared to your time cost. And the next one you can try something different.

I'm not knocking tradition at all. Myself, I'm very curious about the traditional design -- what were they thinking about? -- and that's what excites me. But if we all thought the same way, it'd be a bit boring.

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Thanks for the words from the wise. You left two sentences which I embrace.

1. You know, all of us are on limited time. I SURE WISH THAT WERE NOT TRUE. BUT, YOU ARE SO RIGHT.

2. Suppose you make the violin and it turns out awful. The universe won't come to an end. YOU ARE SO RIGHT AND I'D LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE. I GUESS NO LONG TERM LOSS BEYOND TIME SPENT ASSOCIATED WITH A PASSION.

Thank you for your response.


Wes Boyd In OKC

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