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Corner shape


Don Noon

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I had the chance to visit the Ashmolean this week and took some pictures of the Messiah strad.

Here's some pictures where you can see the corners.

In this case the camera maybe added 20 pounds due to my poor photographic skills :)

One thing that struck me was that the corner tips appeared elevated

from the rest of the edge (doesn't show so well in the photos)

I'll add my thanks, too. I don't know that I'll ever get to see the Messiah in person, and certainly appreciate these sort of 'candid' shots, as well as the descriptive comment.

Cheers,

Ken

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Bruce, what is the reason the edges at the corners are thicker?

Hi David,

There could be both practical and aesthetic reasons for this. When I look at the corners on a well preserved example, it gives a third dimension to corner. They become more dynamic and appear to be more a part of the countercurve of the hollowing around the edge a natural continuation. Like a line flowing down from the arching into the fluting and back up and out to the end of the corner. Clearly also if the corners are a little stronger because of their exposed position on the instruments they would perhaps be less likely to be damaged.

The C-bout area is also nearly as thick as the corners. Sacconi indicates 4mm edge thickness, 5mm at the ends of the corners and 4.5mm in the C-bouts. I have always felt that there must be an acoustic reason for this when extra thickness is needed in the C-bouts.

The button of the back also is thicker and the button itself is proud of the edge thickness like the corners; in well preserved examples, exaggeratedly so. Guadagnini used to thicken the area of the border where the button of the back was and the purfling channel was also shallower to strengthen the button. Sometimes the purfling channel is so shallow he cut through the bottom of the channel eliminating the purfling altogether and he didn't bother to fix it!

The two shots are the long arch and a button detail of the same instrument from 1683 by Hieronymus II Amati.

Bruce

post-29446-1271016893.jpg

post-29446-1271017022.jpg

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Here is another old thread that I want to resurrect. :)

On a Strad how are the corners oriented or tilted? I am referring to original, non-worn corners.

I get conflicting advice.

Staying tuned.

Mike

Hi Michael

A first simple rule for all classical cremonese

- the corners were oriented by two parallel lignes

(as attached file the messie )

Orientationcoin__copie.pdf

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Read the Hargrave article on Cremonese edgework on his website. I think he explains what you noticed.

http://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Book/Chap_06_Labels_PRN.pdf

Thanks Janito, I'll certainly read it.

Thanks for the photographs Fjodor,

It seems you can never have enough of them when you need to refresh your memory.

Sacconi in his book on Stradivari also speaks of the raised edges at the corners, in the c-bouts and again at the button.

Thanks Bruce, I have been meaning to buy Sacconis book for some time. So here's even one moore reason to.

I'll add my thanks, too. I don't know that I'll ever get to see the Messiah in person, and certainly appreciate these sort of 'candid' shots, as well as the descriptive comment.

Hi Ken, If you ever get the opportunity I certainly recommend a visit to the Ashmolean.

There are many other beautiful old Italian and english instruments to see as well besides the Messiah.

It's not easy to get good shots in the rader dark exhibition area with the violins inside glass monters though.

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"The C-bout area is also nearly as thick as the corners. Sacconi indicates 4mm edge thickness, 5mm at the ends of the corners and 4.5mm in the C-bouts. I have always felt that there must be an acoustic reason for this when extra thickness is needed in the C-bouts."

Is there any reason to assume a thicker edge to compensate for the inevitable wear from the bow?

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Nice photos Bruce, as usual, thanks for sharing! I make the buttons proud of the edge thicknesses too, I think Sacconi mentions that, as well as Carlo Vettori.

I liked to see in the second photo that Hieronymus II Amati had some problems in refinishing the side of the button, I have the same difficulty.

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Hi Michael

A first simple rule for all classical cremonese

- the corners were oriented by two parallel lignes

(as attached file the messie )

Orientationcoin__copie.pdf

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

This works on the mint condition del Gesu Pochette too...I must admit that this simple solution never occurred to me...Thank you Francois.

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

This works on the mint condition del Gesu Pochette too...I must admit that this simple solution never occurred to me...Thank you Francois.

Really, this appears quite close to the 30-degrees mentioned earlier, which, being half of an equilateral triangle, is easily done with a straight-edge and compass. No need to think of them as parallel lines.

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Nice photos Bruce, as usual, thanks for sharing! I make the buttons proud of the edge thicknesses too, I think Sacconi mentions that, as well as Carlo Vettori.

I liked to see in the second photo that Hieronymus II Amati had some problems in refinishing the side of the button, I have the same difficulty.

I'm wondering if that didn't happen when the neck was grafted or reset.

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"The C-bout area is also nearly as thick as the corners. Sacconi indicates 4mm edge thickness, 5mm at the ends of the corners and 4.5mm in the C-bouts. I have always felt that there must be an acoustic reason for this when extra thickness is needed in the C-bouts."

Is there any reason to assume a thicker edge to compensate for the inevitable wear from the bow?

Good question.

On the back it wouldn't have anything to do with the bow. The characteristic can be seen in the belly as well but often they are not in as good condition as the back. I don't think it is for possible wear from the bow but I'm equally sure it doesn't hurt to have it there if you have a player with an erratic bow arm.

Bruce

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I'm wondering if that didn't happen when the neck was grafted or reset.

This violin was restored years ago by someone who knew nothing about violins or repair and restoration. In grafting on the neck the heel was carved in a very strange way and he undercut the edge of the button making a rather pointed chin at the upper edge. When I did the new graft, mostly to undo the damage of my predecessor, I chose to leave it as is rather than carve away further and make the button even smaller. I think one can see that the button is thicker than the edge and when the instrument was apart the edges still had their original varnish along the ribs. This type of button can be seen on the Medici tenor of 1690 by Stradivari on display in the Accademia in Florence.

Fortunately this numbskull didn't touch the varnish or the label as both are very pure.

Bruce

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Nice photos Bruce, as usual, thanks for sharing! I make the buttons proud of the edge thicknesses too, I think Sacconi mentions that, as well as Carlo Vettori.

I liked to see in the second photo that Hieronymus II Amati had some problems in refinishing the side of the button, I have the same difficulty.

If you look closely, the edge of the back near the button was damaged and before I did a new graft the button was already badly undercut. As I said in the previous post I preferred to leave it this way rather than reduce it even further in size.

Bruce

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Really, this appears quite close to the 30-degrees mentioned earlier, which, being half of an equilateral triangle, is easily done with a straight-edge and compass. No need to think of them as parallel lines.

Hi Ken,

Except that, if you think in terms of parallel line, that works everytime. Strad has often used the half equilateral angle but not always and rarely the case for the amati brother.

As, the twice divider constructions are similar we can imagine that the two ways were used

post-29143-1271056160.jpg post-29143-1271056127.jpg

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THANK YOU

- Fjodor for these Messiah pics! I have to see the Messiah someday... Do you happen to have more pics you'd like to share?

- Francois for these very instructive drawings - it's great to have you here!

- Bruce for the Hieronymus II Amati pics. One sees pictures of his work so infrequently! Do you have more pics? As to the "long arch"-thread: Now we have a back long arch which looks almost like a front long arch :)

This is a great forum!

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Hi Ken,

Except that, if you think in terms of parallel line, that works everytime. Strad has often used the half equilateral angle but not always and rarely the case for the amati brother.

As, the twice divider constructions are similar we can imagine that the two ways were used

post-29143-1271056160.jpg post-29143-1271056127.jpg

Francois,

Yes, that is nice. The 2 to 1 ratio for the sides of the right triangle has a philosophical consistency to the method as well.

Thank you,

Ken

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Just to add a little counterpoint to the "uniform design" approach, the Messiah Strad corners appear to average around 25 degree to the center line (from the photo on my web site). Martina's mini Del Gesu photo, posted earlier in the thread, has them closer to parallel with the center line than 20 degrees, more like 15, assuming the photo is shot straight. The Messiah aren't all the same though, so I think the rule was to make them flatter on Mondays, and more angled on Fridays. Or maybe it varied, based on facial features of the players wife, if the instrument was a commission. :)

Since early on, I've mostly drawn and edited an outline until I liked it, including the corner angles.

Messing around with this a little bit recently, I think a lot depends on how the angle of the end fits with the curves coming into the corner. Different angles seem to be a "best fit" depending on the shape of these curves, and at what point the curves are terminated by the end of the corner.

Anyway, you can put a straightedge against both lower corners of the Messiah photos, and see where each lines up relative to the button, or other landmarks. If you need the photos enlarged, and don't already know this, you can hold down "Ctrl" and hit the + symbol.

http://www.burgessviolins.com/Messiah1.jpg

http://www.burgessviolins.com/Messiah2.jpg

So I think there's some personal freedom available there, knowing that everything wasn't the same on good instruments from the past, kind of like has emerged from all the photos in the "long arch" thread.

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Hi David

Will you say that this simple relation (parallel lines) is accidental or just an illusion?

françois

Hi Francois;

Is the question about how Stradivari might have arrived at roughly the same angle on all four corners?

I don't know the answer, of course.

When I was making corner templates one time, I started with one edge which was to be oriented parallel with the center line, and cut my corner outlines on the opposite edge. As a final step, I stacked the upper and lower templates, and filed the ends at the same time, because that seemed simple and fast. It turned out OK that way, so I left them.

Maybe Strad did something like that?

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