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2 hours ago, Don Noon said:

This violin is taking forever, and now it will take a little longer.  It was together enough to test as a "tone only" entry at VMAAI, where it scored OK (I thought it sounded very good).  But I didn't like how the varnish turned out, so I'm re-doing it.

As part of the re-do, I'm looking into different color options for the varnish.  I went a bit bonkers making lakes out of everything I had in the shop, as well as a couple of other things I though would be good and bought them.

It remains to be seen how these colors will end up once they're dried and mulled into oil, and if they're lightfast.  They might be overly bright, but that can be toned down with iron rosinate or gilsonite.  So many options.

Lakes.JPG.bfed0a2ac4366aaf3f7f0f28fc146640.JPG

 

Did you make all those colors? 
 

I’d avoid bright reds because they are difficult to tame. The rest depends on the body of your varnish and how much additional coloring is needed.

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  • 1 month later...

Oops.

Whoops.JPG.226a3b72a2948ccbd9eaacdde92c69bd.JPG

In the past, all I have been able to get in the way of cracquelle has been a thin spiderweb of fine cracks.  New varnish, slightly different crackling fluid, and I got this.  Fortunately it's just on the back, which is easy to strip and re-do.  Just another week or so of delay on top of months of other delays.

BTW, I ended up using a varnish colorant not shown in my earlier post... a concentrated Zn/Sn Michelman alizarin resin ground into a high-acid varnish, with a Gilsonite varnish over that for some brown.

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2 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Oops.

Whoops.JPG.226a3b72a2948ccbd9eaacdde92c69bd.JPG

In the past, all I have been able to get in the way of cracquelle has been a thin spiderweb of fine cracks.  New varnish, slightly different crackling fluid, and I got this.  Fortunately it's just on the back, which is easy to strip and re-do.  Just another week or so of delay on top of months of other delays.

BTW, I ended up using a varnish colorant not shown in my earlier post... a concentrated Zn/Sn Michelman alizarin resin ground into a high-acid varnish, with a Gilsonite varnish over that for some brown.

Judging from the picture gilsonite varnish must be really very hard and rapidly drying stuff. How much drying time did you allow between both layers? 

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  • 1 month later...

2021 was not a great year.  My average has been around 3 instruments a year; last year was zero.  A significant part of that time was eaten up by CNC design, programming, and tooling, but mostly I just haven't felt like spending a lot of time in the shop.

But anyway... one violin has finally emerged.  It's the first one of my "large" 358 mm length, and seems to work well.  For the data nerds, the top density is .37, without bar was 58.5g, 359 Hz M5.  The back is .64 density, 100.6g and 399 Hz.  Speed of sound was 5950 and 4200 for the top and back.

In spite of using a fairly heavy (4.5g), center-heavy bass bar, the assembled signature modes came out high, as usual.  B1+ is just under 560 Hz, almost exactly an octave above A0.  But that's not a big deal.  With a test bridge, which was very stiff and light, I thought it was on the strident and harsh side.  Cutting a new bridge a bit heavier and more flexible, it was far better.  Impact spectrum:

 

1887127892_33spectrum220114.jpg.11ea609bf9432f0fcb234457c15796a2.jpg

Sound clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghki13MAno4

And some photos of the fiddle....

AVvXsEjT8r9us17kmWVRvNybm5mz_ebOZQXsNgW8

AVvXsEi6irQ-pOlG5M3T4MZi_H1ACDqkHsQneliE

AVvXsEiKW485Q9qrUsx_d-0HF3y8wuvCI00r-N17

AVvXsEiPj8G4iqHZHWXfHaBnESW3DIZJci96bP7g

AVvXsEi6KEPSIUNTz0LATfM-4jhQolkCTmhkhlcE

 

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On 1/15/2022 at 9:09 AM, Don Noon said:

AVvXsEiPj8G4iqHZHWXfHaBnESW3DIZJci96bP7g

Antique finish by accident is the best, because it looks natural. 

For torrefied wood the ground looks pretty light colored.

In the spectrum I like the high frequency pattern. Unfortunately I didn't find the sound clip in your post. For comparison a spectrum of a half note scale would be interesting too. 

For data I would be rather interested in string angle, bridge weight and string brand, eventually a picture of the bridge itself. (As usual)

How did you measure the weight of the top? I started to measure the weight after putting it at 140C for 15 minutes, to get the real weight without water. But maybe in dry California this is not necessary?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

In the spectrum I like the high frequency pattern. Unfortunately I didn't find the sound clip in your post. For comparison a spectrum of a half note scale would be interesting too. 

For data I would be rather interested in string angle, bridge weight and string brand, eventually a picture of the bridge itself. (As usual)

How did you measure the weight of the top? I started to measure the weight after putting it at 140C for 15 minutes, to get the real weight without water. But maybe in dry California this is not necessary?

Apparently the pasted youtube image/link didn't work.  I fixed it with just using the link.

The bowed spectrum looks a bit different, with a dip below 2 kHz. Keep in mind that this is only the second day under tension, and even torrefied wood needs to settle in.  Not as much as non-torrefied, but still something.

659739340_33bspectrum220114.jpg.f46db66811ffa9120c607bee7f81c53c.jpg

I don't keep track of string angle... I just use standard-ish overstand, bridge height, and saddle height, and the string angle is what it is.  Bridge weight was 1.88g, but I didn't take a photo.  Strings were Vision Solo, with silver D, per client request.

Top weight was just at ambient shop humidity, which is fairly constant 50-ish percent.  Slightly higher in the summer, and occasionally wild drops in the winter.  I'd just note in my files if the humidity was abnormal, but not go to any extremes to ge more accurate.  There are plenty of other things to disturb the measurement... final edgework, final scraping, neck block cutout, etc., so I don't get too worried about a couple of grams here or there.

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Thanks for fixing the link and I listened to your recording actually several times. 

So ok, we got the First Movement of the first solo Sonata by Bach, the Adagio. This doesn't permit to say a lot about the G string, but anyway here is what I think. For comparison I always listen to other recordings of a music piece to get a better idea to what kind of sound I am listening to. Despite different recording situations and different players I think it can at least refresh the first impression of an instrument. To my musical understanding of a good violin sound, there is more than just balance and clarity. Both are definitely well developed on your instrument. There is as well the feeling of a slightly 'veiled sound' which usually gives violinists something to work with for different sound colors. The veil of your instrument has a smooth silky texture. Its a matter of taste what kind of texture you like. On repeated listening there is one thing I would be missing and that's the kind of kick at the beginning of every note. This kind of 'bump' gives every note more sense of a very precise starting point. 

For the single strings, nothing I can really say about the G, the few notes in the chords give a good support as a bass line, D string doesn't sound too nasal, which is good in my opinion, A string has to my ears the best quality and I'd say that the E string could have a bit more sizzle. Probably all just a matter of taste, but if the new owner likes it, that's all you need.

Would be certainly interesting to hear another sound clip one month later after the violin has stretched in. 

-------------------------

For the top weight a few grams certainly don't matter. It would just give a better comparison here amongst MNetters. We can't really imitate a certain humidity level of another maker but everyone can get it down to zero pretty easily. In Tokyo humidity varies from 30percent in winter to 80 percent in the rainy season, so I started to get this problem fixed.

The thing about string angle is that it doesn't change the sound itself so much but does A LOT for the response and playability. 

 

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3 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

On repeated listening there is one thing I would be missing and that's the kind of kick at the beginning of every note. This kind of 'bump' gives every note more sense of a very precise starting point. 

For the single strings, nothing I can really say about the G...

I think a lot of the "kick" at the beginning of the note has to do with the player.  In this case, I think the player is not attacking the start of the note very strongly, more of a smooth aesthetic.

The G string is plenty strong.  We worked it pretty well in testing.  I think that the good, level amplitude up to 1 kHz and above give the first couple of overtones of the G string its power, except right around C# where the A0 resonance is strong.

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8 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I think a lot of the "kick" at the beginning of the note has to do with the player.  In this case, I think the player is not attacking the start of the note very strongly, more of a smooth aesthetic.

You can force this with the bowing but on some instruments it happens almost automatically. Actually that’s one of the things which can be altered to my experimental experience by the string angle.

I would have loved to hear more notes from the G string. 

I guess the player is very happy with his new acquisition. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/14/2022 at 4:09 PM, Don Noon said:

2021 was not a great year.

I can't say that this year is starting out too well, and likely will not be very good for a while.  Just THIS WEEK:

1)  Echocardiogram results:  bileaf mitral valve prolapse with severe regurgitation.  In short, a very bad heart valve, almost certainly will need to be repaired or replaced (cardiologist consultation soon).  Presumably this is the cause of a few blackouts in the last month or two.

2)  Right shoulder MRI results:  a laundry list of damage, with 3 listed as "full thickness tear".  Will need to consult with the orthopedic surgeon to see what the options are for all of these.  Most of them are the muscles used for carving and planing.  The shoulder has been getting gradually worse over the years, but took a sharp turn South after a particularly brutal windsurfing session last July.

3)  Results of a varnish cook (1:1 resin/oil):

 1610214339_NewVarnish.JPG.74dbf1ad0892fef37e73f94c119ac60a.JPG I won't bother with the details.

4)  Also this same week, on the plus side:  I got my new guitar.  Background:  50 years ago, I built a guitar.  Thinking I might build more, I bought the best available top and Brazilian Rosewood back/sides (before the decades-long embargo).  That wood has been sitting around ever since.  At this point, realizing that I will never build a guitar again, I searched around for a maker or company that would make it for me.  Most companies will not touch a client's wood, and custom makers are usually very expensive.

However, on the advice of a friend, I contacted Roy McAlister, a very good maker who has built for several well-known musicians, and he took the job.  It is a copy of an early 1900's Martin 000-42 model, something I have wanted ever since seeing one 50 years ago in the Martin Guitar Museum.  The top, oxidized over the years in storage, gives it a naturally aged look that I like.

image-07-02-22-12-27-2.thumb.jpeg.48fbdb5172fec6449e418f01c3890300.jpeg

I should get to play it for a while before I get disassembled and rebuilt.  Sounds great so far.

Mike Molnar and I have been having a competition to see who can accumulate the most medical procedures.  He has had a good head start, but I'm catching up faster than I'd like.

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On 10/27/2021 at 4:35 PM, Don Noon said:

This violin is taking forever, and now it will take a little longer.  It was together enough to test as a "tone only" entry at VMAAI, where it scored OK (I thought it sounded very good).  But I didn't like how the varnish turned out, so I'm re-doing it.

As part of the re-do, I'm looking into different color options for the varnish.  I went a bit bonkers making lakes out of everything I had in the shop, as well as a couple of other things I though would be good and bought them.

It remains to be seen how these colors will end up once they're dried and mulled into oil, and if they're lightfast.  They might be overly bright, but that can be toned down with iron rosinate or gilsonite.  So many options.

Lakes.JPG.bfed0a2ac4366aaf3f7f0f28fc146640.JPG

 

Hi Don

I like some of those colors. Can you tell me what you used to make those lake pigments?  Especially the yellow and the two oranges on top.   

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45 minutes ago, MikeC said:

Can you tell me what you used to make those lake pigments?  Especially the yellow and the two oranges on top.   

The colors I agree look very useful.  But the actual usefulness didn't work out, as the transparency was poor.  Wasted effort.

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4 hours ago, Don Noon said:

image-07-02-22-12-27-2.thumb.jpeg.48fbdb5172fec6449e418f01c3890300.jpeg

Don - 

Sorry to hear about the shoulder and heart valve - I hope both turn out as well as possible.

That is a stunning guitar; 12-fret 000s are wonderful things, and I hope that you get a ton of use/joy out of this one - congrats!

David 

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5 hours ago, scordatura said:

Beautiful guitar Don. Have you done an FFT analysis yet? 

Of course... but I don't have a very big database to compare.  I do, however, have a very nice Collings OM-2H that's about 30 years old.  The new guitar FFT shows slightly weaker above 3 kHz, but stronger everywhere else.  I expect the high frequency response will increase over time, as most instruments do.

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