Open and closed violins


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My first violin has surprisingly good (IMHO). My second has really good and open tone (Again IMHO). My third just does not want to open up. It plays well and fairly darkly, but it just sounds seems to be holding back in volume and some of the overtones. I don't imagine at this finished stage, that short of maybe popping the top and re-graduating, there is anything I can do to remedy this. But for future use, what tends to cause lack of volume and overtones in the construction? Is it graduation or arching or something else entirely? I do not believe it is a set-up problem. I have reworked the bridge and moved the post every way possible.

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Hmmmm. Is the answer so obvious that only I don't know it? Or does nobody have any idea what might cause a violin to lack volume and overtones in the upper range (A string up)? I really would be interested in your comments. Thanks.

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what are your graduations? did you try fitting a another sound post? what strings are you using? try it a day later and post results. post a picture of your bridge. did you change something in your varnish from the last two? did it have time to dry enough? what kind of arching are you using? what kind of wood are you using? We just need more info to even have an idea. if you were following a method faithfully I might have more suggestions. hope to help! ;)

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Try a bridge with a light upper part and a fairly wide waist. What is the bridge height?

What does the bridge weigh?

A thicker soundpost may also do if the one in now are thinner than 6,5mm. If so, try 6,5mm and fit as snug as it can be. The bridge feet too, perfect fit.

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Thanks for the comments and questions. It may be a while before I can get back to it, but you have given me what I was looking for - somewhere to start. I didn't really think I would have much chance to improve this one but hoped there were some general guidelines for the future.

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My first violin has surprisingly good (IMHO). My second has really good and open tone (Again IMHO). My third just does not want to open up. It plays well and fairly darkly, but it just sounds seems to be holding back in volume and some of the overtones. I don't imagine at this finished stage, that short of maybe popping the top and re-graduating, there is anything I can do to remedy this. But for future use, what tends to cause lack of volume and overtones in the construction? Is it graduation or arching or something else entirely? I do not believe it is a set-up problem. I have reworked the bridge and moved the post every way possible.

I have seen sound post material (softer vs harder wood) effect brightness.

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Hmmmm. Is the answer so obvious that only I don't know it? Or does nobody have any idea what might cause a violin to lack volume and overtones in the upper range (A string up)? I really would be interested in your comments. Thanks.

Hi,

Even the best makers experience some variations in the violins they make. A few factors to consider:

Quality of material.

Arching.

Graduation.

Thickness of ribs.

weight of fingerboard.

Thickness of pegbox cheeks.

Position and sise of bass.

and many more!

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The moisture content of the wood may be in play and another stay in the uv box might help. You could microwave it, Remove anything metal, suspend it where the varnish won't contact, and nuke it only for a few seconds at a time letting it cool some before the next burst. You'd need a cup of water in with it to protect the microwave, and an understanding wife for the smell..

Rick

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Microwaving is probably not a good idea. In my testing the heating was very uneven, and maple heated up much more quickly than spruce, so you could char the inside of a neck heel or scroll without even knowing it.

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Good call Mike and Don... I've only microwaved the top plates and then only one after varnishing. I do it much more intensely than I suggested . A 24" violin doesn't work with the microwave I have now, It might have with my old Litton, but I never tried. It's good to know about the different heating qualities between woods. I doubt if a few seconds at a time would char anything, but I'd probably experiment with a $20 vso before I'd throw in something I'd spent a lot of time creating.

I didn't suggest this before because I'm not sure I'd try it with a violin of mine (maybe a vso), but leaving a violin in the freezer for a week or two would also dry it out. I found this out from researching what not to do with a box of cigars... I'm sure if it's a moisture content or varnish not completely dried situation, it will eventually settle down.

Perhaps an e-bow or some other tone generation source would be helpful in getting things settled in and happening

I make a lot of Native American Flutes and a few of them are just duds no matter how many dances around the fire I do...(metaphorically speaking)

Rick.

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post-3594-0-70913300-1325630875_thumb.jpgHere are some answers to the questions asked.

Bridge Height - 32mm

SP - 6.3mm

Arch - 15mm

Graduation

Top ~3mm

Back 2.8 - 5mm

Strings - Helicore Medium

Wood and Varnish Source -International Violin

Length - 365mm

Upper Bout - 172mm

C Bout - 116mm

Lower Bout - 205mm

Rib Height - 30 - 28mm

Rib Thickness - 1.2mm

Nut to top edge - 130mm

Top edge to ff nick - 195mm

post-3594-0-15995500-1325630229_thumb.jpg

post-3594-0-69698400-1325630450_thumb.jpg

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Whole bridge looks pretty thick...maybe just my eyes. What is the thickness at the feet, and in the center? Not saying that thinning the bridge will fix the tone. Just observing, and wondering.

I agree.

Bridge recommendations for a dull Fiddle?

Anders already mentioned light (thin) top and wide waist.

My basic (i.e. dumbed down to my level) understanding is, that for a dull tone, you want to maximize the amount of energy transferred from the strings, to the bridge, to the upper table. That is, minimize energy loss though this type of movement:

post-35343-0-92233900-1325635129_thumb.jpeg

So, thin, light top (less mass to swing around) and

Wide waist (harder to bend sideways)

Making the entire bridge light will reduce energy lost from jumping up and down. Light top, thin ankles, thin feet. But enlarging the heart and kidneys counteracts having a wide waist, so don't lighten there.

That's what I think I know.

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Hello RG,

You listed the top plate thickness as 3 mm. Is that thickness the same from edge to center?

The back plate thickness 2.8 to 5 mm may be slightly thick at the minimum measurement, maybe slightly thin at the maximum measurement, but in bounds.

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Well, thank you all for the advice. I took the bridge out and thinned the width of the feet to around 3.75mm and the height to about 2mm. Then I thinned the top half. The waist ended up about 3.2mm after blending the bottom into the top. At first there was no improvement and then I moved the bridge forward a little for better alignment with the nicks. And voila! Finally, the A string opened up with overtones from the combination of newly thin bridge and resultant new SP spacing. It is not a great violin, but it is now very playable and overall not bad at all (that is if you overlook all the learning/dumb errors corrected but not totally concealed). Thank you all again.

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So it had nothing to do with the bridge itself (other than position)?

No. I don't believe that. Position didn't matter until I had a good bridge. Believe me the SP and bridge had been in every relational position possible (prior to my reworking the bridge) with no good result. It was the combination that worked.

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