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Stradivari's Secret


Roger Hargrave

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On the "old wood" concept, people have been raving about the Cremonese sound for a very long time. Yes, Strad's have been altered to modern specs, but people were ordering violins from Strad from huge distances away. So saying the only reason a Strad sounds like it does is because it's 300 years old doesn't fit the facts.

I do like CT's idea of moving on, but I doubt we've seen the end of Strad models or antiqued instruments.

Re: a few swipes of sandpaper, that's what works on bridges. Fry sanding is a lot more work, especially when you consider that more than half the time is spent evaluating the changes. And when you're not sure, you have to put it away and start fresh another day. It's not a magic wand, it's a long process.

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For me it's no problem , every morning around seven I take a big dump ..then around about nine a huge pee...the only problem I have is don't wake up till ten..... :ph34r:

Sooo.....

   Why is it so hard to believe that Strad was just really good?

   Or that he was not subject to the same problems we all have?

     Or that He was just doing the best he could at the time?

    I just watched the Indi 500.... after three hours and five hundred miles and multiple crashes.( the whole reason for watching)...the difference in times between the winner and the loosers was less than seconds ....makes a guy wonder if there was really a "winner"

 

Oh! I have absolutely no problem with these sentiments. 

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An enormous amount of math comes from the golden ratio.  Fibinacci series and books line library shelves.

That does not mean that I think the golden ratio is involved.

 

Did you ever read Jay Hambridge, 'Elements of Dynamic Symmetry' 1926? Hambridge thought that the golden ratio, or golden section was a red herring. Cool and easily digested book even for a mathematic dunce like me. Re-published by that great company DOVER in 1967.  

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Borates crosslink hemicellulose,  from what I have read.

 

I read that too.

 

Even assuming that to be the case, the question remains, but in a slightly different form:  What physical/acoustic properties of the wood are changed by crosslinking the hemicellulose, and by how much?

 

(this will eventually end up in the ultimate question, "how do these different properties of the wood affect the tone?" ... if we even make it through the first gates)

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Borates crosslink hemicellulose,  from what I have read.

A few years back, I did an experiment with borax (for Maestronet). Maybe someone can find it?

The proscribed process did increase the resonant frequency of the test strips, but also increased the mass. Afterwards, soaking in water took the test strips back close to their original frequency, so my hypothetical conclusion was that the borax acted as some kind of a bulking agent, as opposed to making a permanent chemical change.

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A few years back, I did an experiment with borax (for Maestronet). Maybe someone can find it?

The proscribed prescribed process did increase the resonant frequency of the test strips, but also increased the mass. Afterwards, soaking in water took the test strips back close to their original frequency, so my hypothetical conclusion was that the borax acted as some kind of a bulking agent, as opposed to making a permanent chemical change.

 

pro·scribe
prōˈskrīb/
verb
past tense: proscribed; past participle: proscribed
1.
forbid, esp. by law.
"strikes remained proscribed in the armed forces"
synonyms: forbid, prohibit, ban, bar, interdict, make illegal, embargo, outlaw, disallow, veto; enjoin
"gambling was proscribed"
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Afterwards, soaking in water took the test strips back close to their original frequency, so my hypothetical conclusion was that the borax acted as some kind of a bulking agent, as opposed to making a permanent chemical change.

 

Try this one next time :

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ears-Angels-Deena-Spear/dp/1401901875

 

 

Sounds promising.

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BTW, I asked Bruce Carlson about that scraper in the Strad collection, and he came up empty handed. 

 

I can add to that the fact that I have never seen, on the inside of a classic Cremonese instrument, signs of such scraping or thinning that could even with the wildest imagination be attributed to the type of adjustment Fry proposed. Or even if I had seen them could, with certainty, attribute the marks to Stradivari's or Guarneri's original work on the instrument; especially after two hundred fifty plus years!!!!

 

The first time I saw the full collection of the Stradivari artefacts was in 1972.

 

Bruce

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I've been around so long, I remember dealing with this (her) in the past...

 

Didn't last long or hmmm, what would be a correct word to use?

But I recall - it was sort of entertaining.

 

C'mon CT , she's a scientist....

 

"Deena Zalkind Spear graduated from Cornell University in 1971 with a degree in neurobiology. She has worked for more than 30 years as a violin maker and acoustical researcher."

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pro·scribe
prōˈskrīb/
verb
past tense: proscribed; past participle: proscribed

You prick. :lol:

 

Try this one next time :

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ears-Angels-Deena-Spear/dp/1401901875

 

 

Sounds promising.

I'm acquainted with both Deena and her husband (also a fiddlemaker) a little bit, and I won't put her theories much more far out there than claimed contributions from the air resonances in tiny air-containing cellular structures in spruce.

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C'mon CT , she's a scientist....

 

"Deena Zalkind Spear graduated from Cornell University in 1971 with a degree in neurobiology. She has worked for more than 30 years as a violin maker and acoustical researcher."

 

Yes, perhaps her past was much like mine?

In 1971 I would have been taking anthropology classes at UCLA, waiting to hear Carlos Castanada speak about his magical experiences with Don Juan in Mexico...

 

Oh, to relive those young, impressionable years again!

But we must forgo that kind of thing, and remember that we did grow up and out of such things.

Wait a sec.! - perhaps not!

perhaps THAT was the real mistake - growing up!  Damn, I knew it would come to me eventually!

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I'm acquainted with both Deena and her husband (also a fiddlemaker) a little bit, and I won't put her theories much more far out there than claimed contributions from the air resonances in tiny air-containing cellular structures in spruce.

 

Who knows ? My take on these is that there is always something to be learned besides the fact they were not yet disproved... :) :) :)

( my take on air resonances in cellular structures in spruce is that it's complete bolloks, but not for the reasons indicated by our esteemed contributors but for something having to do with gas molecules and their willingness to travel )

 

I see : you actually don't discount them. Sorry : my bad.

Edited by carl stross
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Roger,

I must thank you for starting this most intertaining thread.

No matter how many times we go over this, ahh, this subject - it brings out the most entertaining and interesting things.

Sides of posters are revealed that always amaze me. Including me.

Yes, this is what posting is all about!

 

Facts be damned! I want dirt! I want rumor! I want, well let me think a bit...

What do I really want?

Hmm, I don't remember any more.

OK, I'll go now.

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Here's Strad's secret SOLVED but to really "get" it you'll have to listen a couple of times to the beginning 100 secs. :) :) :)

I'll admit to being obtuse...what do you hear in the first 100 seconds?

It might be different than what I'm hearing...

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I hear something really harsh, but it's probably a lot to do with the recording.

 

A little bit of Fry debunking...

 

1.  Here's a clip with everything in his all-critical high-frequency range (above 6kHz) removed, followed by the full spectrum.

6k cutoff - normal.mp3

Yes, I hear some of the snap and crackle gone in the first part but to me it doesn't make or break the tone.

 

2.  Some time back, I removed more than half the thickness of the super-sensitive "tweeter" part of a violin.  It was pretty much unchanged.  (I also hear no change in the modifications of the video)

 

And, in numerous regraduations, my impression has been that targeted tonal modifications don't work very well, unless you are targeting to lower the overall tone.

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