Sign in to follow this  
H.R.Fisher

Fake corner blocks

Recommended Posts

It means that the violin was made with an external form, had no corner blocks and that they tried to hide this fact.

Since good violins have blocks, factories tried to show that their violins had it, even if they were "fake".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's deceptive. Most don't have fake blocks in the upper corners. They're much harder to see (need a light). The Germans made a bazillion Hopf copies. I'm not much of a Hopf fan though. I don't like the shape. No blocks means it started life out as a cheep fiddle. I've had some Strad and Del Gesu models that had no blocks, but had nice wood. They can be made into nice fiddles. They're already antiqued. Some aren't even graduated. Bass bars carved or hacked in. That's a good thing because, the tops will have plenty of wood for graduating. Arching is usually pretty good as well as other measurements. I always measure stop length, neck length, back length and neck set.

Berl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It means that the violin was made with an external form, had no corner blocks and that they tried to hide this fact.

Since good violins have blocks, factories tried to show that their violins had it, even if they were "fake".

Manfio, Thanks, I didn't know that. Could they still have added corner blocks at some point, while using an external mold,

or was it just too time consuming for a factory production line, and cut in on their profit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, they could have been added (as did Vuillaume, Cesare Candi and Paulo de Barbieri, who used the external form) but that would have cost to the production of the instrument, and they wanted to avoid this cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found this, and other variations to be fairly common in old German (and Czeck) factory instruments, especially from the Markneukirchen area. Other variations include no blocks at all, or fake blocks in the lower corners and no blocks in the upper corners (harder to see the upper corners). All of these were cost cutting measures to turn out the least expensive instrument possible. The other classic trick is a very roughly finished top inside (with a carved in bass bar). With work, they can turn into decent instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would anyone mind lending a quick note to the uninitiated? I assume from the context that outer molds are "better" (?) If this assumption is correct, what makes violins made using an outer mold superior to those made from an inner mold?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The classic system to build instruments devised by the old Italians is based on the inner form (forma interna). The outter form (forma Francesa) was invented by French makers (some say by Vuillaume) in order make the building process quicker and permit consistent reproduction of a determined outline, which is much more difficult with the inner form.

Today the inner form, representing the building technique of the old Italian masters is considered superior. But good violins were built with the outer form, like those made by Vuillaume, Candi, De Barbieri and others.

The French form (outter) was used in the Cremona School till some decades ago; Francesco Bissolotti told me that when I visited him. It was Sacconi who fostered the revival of the inner form.

According to Sacconi, in his book "I Segreti di Stradivari", the outline produced by the outter form is rigid, stiff and mechanical, while the outline produced by the inner form creates those small assymetries that are so typical of the Italian school, giving to the instrument a personal touch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished repairing a top crack (in search of an annoying bass side buzz) on my favorite travel violin, which is a cheap "HOPF" fiddle. As previously stated, many of these HOPF VSOs are hastily slapped together, not graduated, no bass bar, with fake corner blocks, and no neck block (often slotted neck that fits over a solid top rib – will provide photos later).

I've seen some with open corner braces/fake blocks at all four corners (not just the ones visible through the ffs). Is it possible that the corner splints are used to increase the gluing area at the plate corner, not just tart up look of things when the body is closed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I finished repairing a top crack (in search of an annoying bass side buzz) on my favorite travel violin, which is a cheap "HOPF" fiddle. As previously stated, many of these HOPF VSOs are hastily slapped together, not graduated, no bass bar, with fake corner blocks, and no neck block (often slotted neck that fits over a solid top rib – will provide photos later).

I've seen some with open corner braces/fake blocks at all four corners (not just the ones visible through the ffs). Is it possible that the corner splints are used to increase the gluing area at the plate corner, not just tart up look of things when the body is closed?

It's hard to know the intent of these makers/factories.

Were they trying to fool people, or did they think they'd come up with a cheaper method which produced the same results?

I haven't heard convincing evidence one way or the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep! Those are the ones that I'm talkin' about. While the fake block does reinforce the corner a bit, the fact that you sometimes see them only on the lower corners leads me to believe that they were put in only to fool people into thinking that the fiddle is "fully blocked".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a third option -- in addition to inner and outer molds. I have a nice old fiddle without corner blocks, where the ribs are set in a groove in the top and back plates. My violin has no purfling either, which makes sense with that approach -- otherwise the plate would be too thin along the edge. That is a very old construction style, maybe predating Cremona. I was told it might be more common with some old Dutch instruments. I think they accomplished it without any molds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been wondering wether corner blocks influence the sound, resonance of an instrument. If there are four of them, you are talking about adding quite some weight (especially to a cello, the instrument with which, being a cellist, I'm more familiar with) and also it seems to me that by glueing a larger surface of the back and front panels, they are 'held' more rigidly, making it harder for them to resonate. Im asking since I've some very good experiences with 'cornerblockless' cellos when it comes to their sound. That they often have cracks and other weak spots usually is due to other faults in the design, I've never really seen an instrument in a bad shape because of the absence of corner blocks. Is this really such a bad teachnique that it needs to be condemned as inferior?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've wondered the same thing myself. It would be interesting to see some sort of acoustic analysis of the inside shape, comparing the relatively smooth "guitar shape" of the inside of a fully blocked instrument and the discontinuous shape of an instrument with no blocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've wondered the same thing myself. It would be interesting to see some sort of acoustic analysis of the inside shape, comparing the relatively smooth "guitar shape" of the inside of a fully blocked instrument and the discontinuous shape of an instrument with no blocks.

One thing it will do is lower the air resonance frequency of the body due to the slightly higher volume, and the back and top will be less rigidly coupled in the corners. I wonder if the makers that adhere to Vigdorchik's or Hill's area tuning methods can determine a difference through the resultant tap tones on the exterior of the assembled instrument?

Share this post


Link to post
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...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.