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Violin #5 - Strad Body modes


Peter K-G

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The data in Curtins article is spread like a shot from a sawn-off shotgun, due to a wide range of different makers from different periods.

I have limited my research to Strads from the golden period.

 

From the article there is only one instrument that falls into that region:

 

 

post-37356-0-60496400-1367826649_thumb.jpg

 

The moister content in wood or humidity in air is neither known for theese readings. There is a difference of about 10 Hz between 5 percentage points of MC%.

 

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You can find the article on Joseph Curtin's website, along with a bunch of other good articles.  The taptone article is http://www.josephcurtinstudios.com/images/StradTapTones.pdf

 

You wouldn't expect there to be "ratings" of whether they sound good or not, and there aren't.  In personal conversations with him, I gathered that there weren't any stinkers in the group.  The Strad that I thought was unimpressive wasn't a stinker, but definitely not outstanding.

Don

Thanks for that.

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I have limited my research to Strads from the golden period.

 

From the article there is only one instrument that falls into that region:

 

 

attachicon.gifBooth.JPG

 

Yet, you weren't tempted to  hack off 11.5g from your unbarred plate and try to only lose 6 Hz on M5 to match the Booth?  :rolleyes:

(I'll bet you couldn't get there from here, unless you converted to a 3/4 size)

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A couple of questions that have been bouncing around my head for a while.  When tap tones and plate weights from Cremonese violins are used as a reference for making a new instrument, is there a need to account for the additional weight of the varnish, or the loss of density from aging/decomposition?  Both of these factors may be insignificant, or may even cancel each other out to some degree.  Along with the potential loss of density is there any idea how M5 of a free plate may change over time compared to a newly carved plate. 

 

If these questions have been answered adnauseam just point me the right direction.

 

Thanks,

Jim

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A couple of questions that have been bouncing around my head for a while.  When tap tones and plate weights from Cremonese violins are used as a reference for making a new instrument, is there a need to account for the additional weight of the varnish, or the loss of density from aging/decomposition?  Both of these factors may be insignificant, or may even cancel each other out to some degree.  Along with the potential loss of density is there any idea how M5 of a free plate may change over time compared to a newly carved plate. 

 

If these questions have been answered adnauseam just point me the right direction.

 

Thanks,

Jim

Joseph Curtin once mentioned that he has sometimes regraduated his own plates after they were used several years because their tap frequencies had increased. 

 

I assume his varnish had been getting drier so the plate stiffness was increasing.

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Joseph Curtin once mentioned that he has sometimes regraduated his own plates after they were used several years because their tap frequencies had increased. 

 

I assume his varnish had been getting drier so the plate stiffness was increasing.

Or maybe there has been a change of the arching?

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Bassbar done:

 

post-37356-0-49181600-1367858174_thumb.jpg

 

Height on the joint side is 10,3 mm, slightly under 4 g

 

M2 = 159

M5 = 345

 

weight = 69,5

 

It will rise a couple of Hz over night.

 

Tomorrow I will put it in UV chamber to ensure that it won't rise over 355 Hz at 0% MC.

This will ensure that it won't go over this critical limit again once it has been varnished nor after years of use.

 

I think I will be able to sand 1-2 g, after edges are rounded it will be 67,5 g (target 65 g) :)

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I don't have much in the way of good data on the effects of varnish and time.  For one, the initial assembly involves cutting out some wood for the neck and saddle, final edge and corner shaping, and I do a final light scraping.  From the ones I have disassembled after varnish, I think the top plate weight goes up about a gram or so after all that and varnish, and the M5 is about the same.  M2 goes up several Hz.

 

Over time, I don't really know.  My two unmodified examples haven't changed in signature modes as far as I can tell, but they started out with artificially aged wood.  I expect unprocessed wood may change more.

 

For these reasons, I'm not too exacting about taptones.  Just ballpark, then put it together and see where it is.  And I suspect that Joseph Curtin doesn't regraduate because the taptones increased, but because the playing characteristics seem too stiff.  Related, yes, but if the instrument plays well, who cares what the taptones are?  And if it sounds like crap, it doesn't matter if the taptones are "perfect".

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I don't have much in the way of good data on the effects of varnish and time.  For one, the initial assembly involves cutting out some wood for the neck and saddle, final edge and corner shaping, and I do a final light scraping.  From the ones I have disassembled after varnish, I think the top plate weight goes up about a gram or so after all that and varnish, and the M5 is about the same.  M2 goes up several Hz.

 

Over time, I don't really know.  My two unmodified examples haven't changed in signature modes as far as I can tell, but they started out with artificially aged wood.  I expect unprocessed wood may change more.

 

For these reasons, I'm not too exacting about taptones.  Just ballpark, then put it together and see where it is.  And I suspect that Joseph Curtin doesn't regraduate because the taptones increased, but because the playing characteristics seem too stiff.  Related, yes, but if the instrument plays well, who cares what the taptones are?  And if it sounds like crap, it doesn't matter if the taptones are "perfect".

 

My experience is that M2 does not change much and M5 goes up. Snippet from violin #3 made spring 2009 and corrected may 2011:

 

post-37356-0-51501000-1367868350_thumb.jpg

 

(Notice the weight! arch/extrados not tuned, it's to high that's why it's too heavy. The graduation is almost identical to this top)

 

This winter B1+ went up to 558, it's back now to 548, same pattern for B1- 457/449. It's just over the limit.

 

Have you tried to put delta betwen B1- and B1+ under 100 Hz, B1+ under 540 and A0 around 270, at MC% ~ 6% :)

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Yet, you weren't tempted to  hack off 11.5g from your unbarred plate and try to only lose 6 Hz on M5 to match the Booth?  :rolleyes:

(I'll bet you couldn't get there from here, unless you converted to a 3/4 size)

 

For that I would need some really, really high performance spruce to get the arch/starting volume tuned. I'm not that skillful yet :huh:

Didn't manage to get this one to 65 g even if I think the wood would have allowed it.

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Joseph Curtin once mentioned that he has sometimes regraduated his own plates after they were used several years because their tap frequencies had increased. 

 

I assume his varnish had been getting drier so the plate stiffness was increasing.

 

The varnish may have a role but my experience is that once the plates have been dried (in winter for example) the frequencies won't get back to what they where.

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I don't have much in the way of good data on the effects of varnish and time.  For one, the initial assembly involves cutting out some wood for the neck and saddle, final edge and corner shaping, and I do a final light scraping.  From the ones I have disassembled after varnish, I think the top plate weight goes up about a gram or so after all that and varnish, and the M5 is about the same.  M2 goes up several Hz.

 

Over time, I don't really know.  My two unmodified examples haven't changed in signature modes as far as I can tell, but they started out with artificially aged wood.  I expect unprocessed wood may change more.

 

For these reasons, I'm not too exacting about taptones.  Just ballpark, then put it together and see where it is.  And I suspect that Joseph Curtin doesn't regraduate because the taptones increased, but because the playing characteristics seem too stiff.  Related, yes, but if the instrument plays well, who cares what the taptones are?  And if it sounds like crap, it doesn't matter if the taptones are "perfect".

Yes Don, you said it correctly and I had it backwards.  Curtin was taking his instruments apart to regraduate their plates because after several years he no longer liked their sound. He then found that the plate's tap frequencies had increased.  I think I recall he thinned them down to get back to his original frequencies.

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Curtin was taking his instruments apart to regraduate their plates because after several years he no longer liked their sound. He then found that the plate's tap frequencies had increased.  I think I recall he thinned them down to get back to his original frequencies.

 

Did his taste improve or were the instruments going downhill ? And which of the two overtook the other one ?

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Have you tried to put delta betwen B1- and B1+ under 100 Hz, B1+ under 540 and A0 around 270, at MC% ~ 6% :)

I don't really try too hard to put the signature mode frequencies at any particular value.  However, looking at what I've made so far:

 

3 out of 11 have had less than 100 Hz between the B modes; all my earlier, thinner instruments, and less powerful.

 

7 have had B1+ below 540 Hz, again biased toward my earlier, thinner instruments.

 

Only 1 has had the A0 270 Hz or less, and that was my first one.  The higest is 281 Hz, which isn't terribly different.  I expect that the one I'm working on now will be well below 270 Hz, as it is large, highly arched, and will be quite thinly graduated.

 

I have these numbers on file, but I'm definitely not fixated on them... they are more a consequence of what I'm trying to do, rather than a goal to achieve.  And I am more convinced than ever that these mode frequencies are only of minor importance in the picture of what is desirable or not.

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Did his taste improve or were the instruments going downhill ? And which of the two overtook the other one ?

I'm merely quoting a well established maker being generous in sharing his experiences with his own instruments.

 

My impression is that everything keeps on changing: humidity goes up and down, arches distort, wood ages, varnish hardens, ears go deaf and music tastes evolve.  So if you're a control freak you've got some problems.

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PKG: I'm not that skillful yet  :huh:Didn't manage to get this one to 65 g even if I think the wood would have allowed it.

 

 

Peter

 

The top plate performances were sufficient to obtain an “initial” weight of 65 g or even slightly less.  It’s a matter of practice: one more violin and you’ll have it!  67.5 g is appropriate.

 

www.kreitpatrick.com

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PKG: I'm not that skillful yet  :huh:Didn't manage to get this one to 65 g even if I think the wood would have allowed it.

 

 

Peter

 

The top plate performances were sufficient to obtain an “initial” weight of 65 g or even slightly less.  It’s a matter of practice: one more violin and you’ll have it!  67.5 g is appropriate.

 

www.kreitpatrick.com

 

 

Thanks :)

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I don't really try too hard to put the signature mode frequencies at any particular value.  However, looking at what I've made so far:

 

3 out of 11 have had less than 100 Hz between the B modes; all my earlier, thinner instruments, and less powerful.

 

7 have had B1+ below 540 Hz, again biased toward my earlier, thinner instruments.

 

Only 1 has had the A0 270 Hz or less, and that was my first one.  The higest is 281 Hz, which isn't terribly different.  I expect that the one I'm working on now will be well below 270 Hz, as it is large, highly arched, and will be quite thinly graduated.

 

I have these numbers on file, but I'm definitely not fixated on them... they are more a consequence of what I'm trying to do, rather than a goal to achieve.  And I am more convinced than ever that these mode frequencies are only of minor importance in the picture of what is desirable or not.

 

Okay, I'm trying to figure out how we can have such different experiences. For me a little bit of magic happens when the modes are in this combination, more so if the weight is also "right" - Pure and clear, beautiful sound. I'm not focused on power though. But I like Il Cannone a lot too, have lots of recordings that I listen to almost daily. I would expect that your latest violins have more DG Il Cannon and Ex Vieuxtemps modes.

 

I have learned a lot from your experiments that you have shared on MN over the years and have great respect for your engineering skills.

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Yes Don, you said it correctly and I had it backwards.  Curtin was taking his instruments apart to regraduate their plates because after several years he no longer liked their sound. He then found that the plate's tap frequencies had increased.  I think I recall he thinned them down to get back to his original frequencies.

 

This is exactly why I regraduated Violin #1-3. They didn't sound great anymore M5 had increased ~15 to 20 Hz on top plate and ~10 to 15 Hz on back.

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Is it possible that the "standard" for modern makers and listeners of today are moving towards more power, as everything becomes more electrified?

 

There was a time when power was a "standard" in form of a cannon. Today it is still the standard and "the law"

 

MQ_Solo_EMin_Cannone.mp3

 

Where is the modern powerful violin to match that :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Back plate was correctable, I'm really happy :)

It might be possible to bring the weight down to 98 g

 

MC = 7%

weight = 102 g

M5 = 339

M2 = 180

 

Arch height back to 14,5 and stable, edges not curling up anymore:

 

post-37356-0-67705700-1368096208_thumb.jpg

 

post-37356-0-11571400-1368096258_thumb.jpg

 

(Thanks Patrick!)

 

 

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