Why Some Violin Tops Are So Thin?


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Hi Yuen.

Repairings it makes good the wood but is much brain surgery, I think.

Better is take not wood from wiolin, leave as a brade of glass in the meadow, pure delight.

Seriously, I rather not thin em too much to start with and I'd not fancy patching one that is too thin.

Although, as the studies from Borman etc show...the thicknesses of the plates of the old masters do vary considerably.

So, no magic bullet, glasshoppa.

Hope Chicago is good to you.

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usually because idiots regraduate them :) :) :)
I wouldn't paint all who would thin a top or back with the same brush. There have also been many so called idiots that have left plates 10mm thick and wondering why they have something better for driving fence posts than creating music. Something like this could very well benefit from some wood removal. There is quite a different definition between So thin, and Too thin.
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im taking about people who are overthinning tops like the gemunder i am working on, they are idiots that are destroying violins with no possible benefit to what they are doing but to stoke their own inflated ego, thats what i call an idiot, people who regraduate to realistic levels i just call them misguided or ignorant.... :) :) :)

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im taking about people who are overthinning tops like the gemunder i am working on, they are idiots that are destroying violins with no possible benefit to what they are doing but to stoke their own inflated ego, thats what i call an idiot, people who regraduate to realistic levels i just call them misguided or ignorant.... :) :) :)

Hi Lyndon,

Do you think an "idiot" that gets a Chinese violin and then thins and regraduats it to get a better sound is also " misguided or ignorant"?

If so, then I am a Misguided, ignorant, idiot. Oh well, I am not the only one. I know some good violin people that do the same thing.

Just something to think about.

Larry Lewis

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so you admit that youre an idiot?? re chinese violins; does the phrase 'kicking a dead horse' mean anything to you........

Well , it has seemed that you thought I was an idiot for buying the Chinese Violins .

Man , I just like to give you a hard time some times just to see what you will say. Works both ways!

About thining the tops . What is to much? I had one violin that was just as thin as paper in some parts of the top. I think it was to thin but then I sold it to a guy that liked it that way.

Keep having fun!

Larry Lewis

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anything under 2.5mm and 3mm in the middle or 4mm in the middle of the back, like my gemunder is almost 1.5-2mm in huge areas, thats the work of the kind of idiot im refering to, larry if your confining your regraduations to cheap chinese ok i suggest you apply for a job in china, the pay might be better. however it has been my experience that chinese violins are quite thin to start with, not like old factory german, better to leave well enough alone

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anything under 2.5mm and 3mm in the middle or 4mm in the middle of the back, like my gemunder is almost 1.5-2mm in huge areas, thats the work of the kind of idiot im refering to, larry if your confining your regraduations to cheap chinese ok i suggest you apply for a job in china, the pay might be better. however it has been my experience that chinese violins are quite thin to start with, not like old factory german, better to leave well enough alone

Well Lyndon, I can`t argue with you about the old German factory violins. They do sell better too.

On the Chinese violins I get, most of them are thicker than you would like acording to what you write here. ( I am about the same in what I like as you. so no argument there.) I get them cheep so if I put some work into them I still come out ok.

If you ever come to Chicago, I hope you will stop in and see me. That would be fun!

Larry Lewis

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i didnt say thats the thickness i like no way just that is the thinnest i would accept why doesnt anyone copy the grads of unaltered del gesus or even strads, almost everyone regraduating are copying the thinnest strads which are inevitably regraduated themselves, as to the chinese violins i can guess almost all of them are thinner than unaltered del gesus so where do you get off thinking you know better than they do, thinner is not better, and according to some del gesu experts thicker is better,most women agree too heh heh...... :) :) :)

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im taking about people who are overthinning tops like the gemunder i am working on, they are idiots that are destroying violins with no possible benefit to what they are doing but to stoke their own inflated ego, thats what i call an idiot, people who regraduate to realistic levels i just call them misguided or ignorant.... :) :) :)

I may be somewhat off topic. But still, the two best valued hardagner fiddle makers made some of their tops thinner than most violins. I think Olav G Helland used a constant 'thickness system' with 1,4-1,5mm thickness in the upper and lower bouts 'eyes' as standard, sometimes even in the back plate. The central region is thick though.

The climate here north is drier than say RH 50% indoor, so instruments can survive that thin.

These makers were not idiots, they knew well what they were doing. But there are examples of Røstad fiddles that has needed breast patches. I think he used to go below 3mm in the centre of the tops. There are also examples of some very good insturments from his hand at 1,4mm. An example is the fiddle after Torleiv Bolstad now being played by Tore Bolstad. Some of my fathers top hardangers are also that thin.

I do not examctly know the string pressure on the hardanger yet. The string length is shorter, strings are lighter, and there are 4-5 understrings going at a lower angle over the bridge saddle some 18-19mm over the top surface. The tuning is usually higher though.

The nordic climate may be a crucual factor.

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anders i know there are some historic violins quite thin, but thats no reason for some hack who doesnt know his axx from a hole in the ground taking a perfectly good valuable fiddle like my gemunder and thinning it to these ridiculous levels, if the maker made it that way i presume they were using heavier denser wood to compensate, not so with my gemunder, its so incredibly weak and flexible no one in their right mind would have made it this way, you can understand im a little pxssed about this having the work in hand and all, if youre going to regraduate and i pray you just wont, copy heavy thickness masterpieces what have you got to lose, and your instrument will be that much stronger and able to handle abuse, and it will waste a lot less of youre time regraduating and youll probably get a better sound to boot...... :) :) :)

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Why doesn't anyone copy the grads of unaltered del gesus or even strads? Almost everyone regraduating are copying the thinnest strads which are inevitably regraduated themselves.

Could it be these being copied are the better sounding instruments? Why would anyone want to copy a thick, unresponsive instrument?

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anders i know there are some historic violins quite thin, but thats no reason for some hack who doesnt know his axx from a hole in the ground taking a perfectly good valuable fiddle like my gemunder and thinning it to these ridiculous levels, if the maker made it that way i presume they were using heavier denser wood to compensate, not so with my gemunder, its so incredibly weak and flexible no one in their right mind would have made it this way, you can understand im a little pxssed about this having the work in hand and all, if youre going to regraduate and i pray you just wont, copy heavy thickness masterpieces what have you got to lose, and your instrument will be that much stronger and able to handle abuse, and it will waste a lot less of youre time regraduating and youll probably get a better sound to boot...... :) :) :)

I think heavier and denser wood is part of the picture for hardanger fiddles. But not always, I do have a Røstad top at home with wood at some 350kg/m3 that has been replaced. It looks as if its treated in some way, it is almost like carboard.. But the graduations are not exrremely thin though. The top weighs some 54g or so.

There are some really great hardangers that has been regraduated. All my fathers instruments except the Hauk Buen fiddles he has has been regraduated. I think the same is true for 90% of Hauks fiddles exept those he has made himself. 90 % of them are world class, no doubt. There are numerous other examples. And I think the same probably is true for many violins including the supposed regraduated del Gesus or Strads. If they were perfect they would not have been regraduated. (I do not believe so many has been ragraduated of these, but I have no direct contact with them to gain experience on the matter. But I have the hardanger fiddle experience telling me that the thin violins I have seen data for are not really something new nor special. These violins were made as baroque instruments and lower string tensions, after all.

What do you mean with thin?

2mm?

1,8mm?

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Violins with thin plates may have one decided advantage - they project sound very poorly.

Good enough though for playing in a smallish residential room [without disturbing the neighbors].

Maybe that's why many 'student instruments' have thin plates? :)

Jim

Good grief.

How do you come up with this stuff?

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Nonsense? How so [i'm not a mindreader]? Perhaps [to you] loudness and projection are one in the same then??

Jim

Your tendency to obfuscate is overwhelming.

"Violins with thin plates may have one decided advantage - they project sound very poorly."

That is nonsense. What do you consider "thin"?

"Good enough though for playing in a smallish residential room [without disturbing the neighbors]."

That is nonsense. Nobody buys a violin which will not disturb the neighbours.

"Maybe that's why many 'student instruments' have thin plates?"

That is nonsense. In the category generally accepted as "student instruments", thicknesses tend to be rather too heavy than too light.

"Nonsense from the first to last word" is what I said, what I meant, and what it is.

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"Student" instruments often make good camping fiddles. You can play tunes around the camp-fire, even in not-so-good weather, and you can also use them to drive tent stakes.

"Thin" is not a word I associate with the typical student instrument. They're typically build stout, to withstand abuse.

I have an old German factory fiddle in my shop now which I have just regraduated. It came with an integral bass-bar and a top whose thickness varied from about 1.5 to 6.0 mm. I made it more uniform, though not down to the 1.5 -- not much to do with that -- and put in a real bass-bar. It still needs a fingerboard and bridge, so I don't know what it sounds like. I did play it before, and I suspect it will be better, or at least no worse, and I can feel better about selling it, at least as far as it is structurally.

There are so many ways to build a decent instrument, which I think of as one that works for its purposes. Whenever I see statements regarding violins that contain "always" or "never" or some word to that sense of universality, I am extremely skeptical. Whenever I see statements using scientific words, especially those that hint at some hidden truth, which are then not backed up with data, I think "horsesh*t."

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Whenever I see statements using scientific words, especially those that hint at some hidden truth, which are then not backed up with data, I think "horsesh*t."

I love it when somebody else can verbalize my own thoughts so clearly. :)

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