Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Does Antiquing Open up Violin Sound?


LadyAmati
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have three violins made in 2003, 2004 and 2005 that I bought new (first owner). All are benchmade, single maker violins. The violins made in 2003 and 2005 are non-antiqued and have their full coat of varnish on. The 2004 is antiqued but is actually a new violin made in a shop that emulates old violins.

I usually play the 2003 violin the most. Lately I pulled out the 2004 and put some Visions on it, and was quite surprised to find that the sound is open and like an old violin. Definitely when it was brand-new, the sound was closed just like the other two violins. Now it just feels easier to play, the sound comes out clearer, and the violin speaks with less effort.

I can't explain this effect, other than the 2004 violin is antiqued to emulate a Cannone with similar wear patterns. In A/B tests, I can tell that the 2003 and 2005 are more closed and tight sounding. And yet the 2004 is a Scott Cao STV1500, the least expensive of the three. How long will I have to wait for the other two violins to open up? Please don't say 50 years!

Does antiquing take off layers of varnish, and if so, does it help a violin to open up sooner? Just curious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

300yrs to open up, just kiddin!! I wouldn't base any theory on comparing different new violins by differing makers, the 2004 might just be a superior violin or maybe it has been played in more, I don't think there is a right and wrong way to do it, the ground coat is so important 25 % of the surface antiqued worn off is not going to change the sound much in my opinion but I could be wrong, to antique or not antique is a personal almost religious decision that each maker has to make themselves, my preference is for antiquing just alittle bit, not a whole lot but if youre not good at antiquing and ive only tired it two or three times, give it up like I did and stick to even varnish on new violins, alot of people really like new things better than old things theres such a huge market for new violins, my preference is almost always for old violins and that'd why Im not actively building anymore, Im into restoration and conservation, and limit myself to cheaper affordable instruments and leave the Stradivaris to the big guys, with twice the training I have, sincerely Lyndon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a general note, most mass-produced "antiqued" instruments are not really antiqued at all, but simply distressed. Distressing won't open up an instrument, but will make it appear stereotypically and usually incorrectly old (as if someone poked it with a salad fork several times, and rubbed shoe polish into the dings and wings).

Antiquing usually involves wearing away/displacing varnish (or in this case it seems that the varnish was applied thinly by the maker), which might un-mute an instrument. I'm skeptical of the notion that varnish so radically impacts tone.

Normal opening up occurs through use, and relaxation of components over time. An instrument becomes comfortable with itself. Perhaps a thinner finish expedites that.

The odds that a good sounding violin will sound better later on... pretty good. The odds that a bad sounding violin will still sound bad later on... pretty good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, antiquing does not open up the sound.  This is my feeling

as a pro maker most of who's work is antiqued.

Good making, antiqued or beautiful fresh and new looking is what

makes good sounding  instruments. Both types are capable of

and should sound fantastic from the age of 2 weeks onwards....they

might improve further but as a maker and withn the greatest

respect.... I can never understand any player who buys an

instrument hoping it will open up and come good some day if they

just play it well enough... Unfortunately it's a sellers myth

dating back to Hills construction of the violin conceptual

universe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for the replies. this particular 2004 violin is the least played of the three, and that's why I was surprised that it had opened up only this year. Not saying I'm not happy. It's one of those serendiptious things in life I guess.

All three violins sound good, they each have their personalities. It's not the quality of the sound per se, but the expansiveness that I noticed (what I call opening up). It's not a seller's gimmick because brand new violins do have to deal with some stuffiness and mutedness, just from the fact that they are brand new, no time to relax and adjust tensions. But there is a difference between an opening up. I have played awful sounding old violins that are quite open sounding, but still the quality of the sound is awful, although the expansiveness is there from the getgo.

I actually don't know if the anqitued violin has thinner varnish. I just guess that in the antiquing they might have rubbed some of it off to get the patterns on the back. But maybe it's just artistically varnished, and has the same thickness as the other two. It certainly is shiny over the antiquing (if that makes any sense).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by: lastchair thanks for the

replies. . It's not a seller's gimmick because brand new violins do

have to deal with some stuffiness and mutedness, just from the fact

that they are brand new, no time to relax and adjust tensions.

..................................

These days that stabilisation process should be done by the maker

before you even try the instrument...Try some really great

modern work....I think/hope you will be blown away!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Lately I pulled out the 2004 and put some Visions on it, and was quite surprised to find that the sound is open and like an old violin. "

Is it possible that the Visions created the change ? I recently opened and regraduated and replaced a bassbar on a cheaper Cao student violin that sounded plumb sick when I got it. I put the same Dominants back on it afterwards and the sound was a huge improvement after the work.

Then the other day I needed to try Dominants on a new project and swapped a set of Tonicas onto the Cao and stole the Dominants away. In my opinion Tonicas aren't near the quality of Dominants but now the Cao sounds remarkable. Both sets of strings were well played before the swap so it wasn't a case of new vs old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Troutabout,

I think you might be confusing quality with what sounds good on

your particular instrument.  I think many would agree that

Tonicas can sound more beautiful than Dominants -- on the right

instrument -- and the other way around.  On one of my violins,

Dominants do sound far better than Tonicas, but this hasn't always

been the case in the past.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last chair,

Perhaps you like the vision strings better or perhaps you like the violin better and "hear" a better sound.

Now that your note is archived and available on google search it will become an internet fact that antiqued violins sound better. No one will follow and read Melvin's note because google doesn't work that way.

In the early 90's there was a statement made refuting the tiny presence of an urban myth that stated that people swallowed 10-14 spiders a year in their sleep. The original concept came from a children's book written in the 1950's.

Once her attempt to destroy the myth was placed on the internet, it became available and parts of her discussion were available. Those parts perpetuated a Nation wide understanding, even amongst school teachers that this whole spider thing was real. Ask your kids and you'll see how prevalent and strong this myth became.

So now it is a fact that antiqued violins are better. I better learn how to make antiqued violins or perhaps I should wait 100 years or so before selling them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Antiquing is a gimmick. If you like it that is fine. I do not think it will help the sound department.

My 40 years old German violin did open up after 40 years but just a bit. If it takes 50 years I will

not be surprised. The process is so slow. No one can wait that long. A lot of things will happen during

these years. If you do not like a violin in first trial, most likely you would not like it, no matter

how long you wait.

Violin sound is a funny thing. Among your favorite violins they are not too far in your liking. If you

play one long enough ( a few days for example) you will start to like it again. Each one has something to offer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"So, the spider thing isn't true?"

I can't tell if my internet leg is being pulled but what the heck

No...it's not true. I unearthed a trail of internet and hard copy material as a teaching lesson for my children.

My kids also learned that the "Ring around the Rosie" song had nothing to do with the black plague as is taught in school. Plenty of information and excellent study on that one as well.

We did land on the moon though.

911 was not a conspiracy performed by the USA

JFK was assassinated by

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gee, I never heard of the spider rumor. I doubt this will become as interesting as swallowing spiders!

But honestly. I've heard makers say their violin sounded more open when it was in the white. Seems like being in the white is the ultimate in worn varnish (i.e. no varnish). So there does seem to be an advantage in less varnish or at least not the heavy coat that acts as a strait-jacket for sound.

I'm just making a personal observation, quite pleasantly surprised, and wondering if there isn't anything to rubbing off varnish a la antiquing, instead of just laying it on too thin in the first place. I'm sure the how many coats and how thin is also a trade secret as well as how exactly to antique and how many coats to rub off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
Dean_Lapinel
My kids also

learned that the "Ring around the Rosie" song had nothing to do

with the black plague as is taught in school.

-What IS it about?  (Never thought about it before. Now I'm

going to lose sleep wondering!)

quote:


Originally posted by:
Dean_Lapinel

"911 was not a conspiracy performed by the USA ..."

-Don't be so sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...