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Stradivari's Secret

Roger Hargrave

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How do I know that telepathic modification of the violin doesn't work?  I don't, since I haven't tried it.

We all have limited time to fool around with this stuff, and pick the ones that seem most likely to us.


By the way, Deena and I were both students at Cornell at the same time (one year, anyway).  Never met her... I think we were in different planes of existence.

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My comment about the tweeter wasn't intended to be flippant. If it is "on," turning it on more doesn't do anything.

My limited experience with Fry tuning is that it's time to stop working an area when there is no perceivable change.

I don't see how that puts Fry in the same league as voodoo and telepathy. And I don't intend to insult wood treaters and varnish studyers, just because I don't experiment in that direction.

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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...



 Estimado Addie,


In the teachings of Don Esteban his name is Carlos Castaneda- with an 'e' and a ~ over the n.  


Castanada would be a funny name, nada means 'nothing' so he would be Carlos Casta-nothing. Canastera means basket, and is used in Spain to denote clans of Gitanos, known as Canasteros who made baskets as a profession and traveled from place to place. The 'casero' Gitanos were Gypsies who lived on one spot, casero is derived from casa - house. But the word casta is used to denote which clan a family is from. It is like saying 'caste' Castanada would be: Carlos from the nothing caste. 


Now that Carlos Castaneda has been mentioned I must retire from this thread and have my mid morning poop, because I don wanna hear no more.  


besos & abrazos,


Don Esteban de la Frontera

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This "resonating tubes" idea needs to die until anyone can show that it actually happens on a piece of wood.  It ain't real, folks; the tubes are so narrow that any resonance will quickly die from viscous drag

Hi Don.

In an earlier post I did write that one has to be able to visualise the internal structure of the wood. It is easy enough with the help of looking at different magnifications, however the cell walls and cellulose fibres need very big magnifications. The Dr Claire Barlow presentation shown many aspects of the wood and the varnish used on some Cremonese instruments Although subject to interpretation It shown no mineral ground, except for one instrument. It also shown the tesselation of reeds and  longitudal section of reeding. The ends of the reeds are not clear cut but bruised. The varnish does not penetrate too far into the reeds.Tightly clamped joints – some even distorted the reeding. After seeing the Stradivari instruments at Oxford, I have no doubt that the ground was simply one or two coats of clear varnish.

Back to the resonating reeds; there is something strange going on. A resonating plate would not give the sound quality between woodwind and strings. Perhaps the reeds resonate octaves higher or the hight/pitch of the waves and not the length is the critical factor?

I have also tried taptones. Perhaps “nodes” or “modes” are the wrong terms to use?. I would call them “co-ordinate points”  I found that the tap tone always depends on where the plate is held or suspended. It also depends on the thickness of where the plate is held, however the most critical points regarding taptones is the internal structure of the wood. I go on how the plates resonance feels and not what note it makes. After fitting the bassbar I hold the highest point and tap the plate on the opposite side. It gives a pleasing deep sound.

I’m very curious about “free plate tuning” Do you throw it up in the air and whack it with a baseball bat when it is coming down?? :)

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Stephen Faulk, on 09 Mar 2014 - 8:24 PM, said:

A serious question, reeds and tubes aside, how would you calculate the amount of air in a violin top? 


Cellulose density is 1.5g/cc; I don't know about the other componenets, hemicellulose and lignin.  But all together, the non-air stuff in wood must be over 1g/cc, since waterlogged wood will sink.  So, if you have .33 density wood, it is 67% air or more.


Here's a microscopic view of spruce, with the main grain lines going left to right, and the ray bundles running vertically.


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Oh sorry Estimado CT, I confused you with Addie, jeez.  That morning poop was late and it apparently impaired my reading skills.


And sorry Addie, I'll try not to be so proscriptive in the future.

It's OK, my posts often make people think about bowel movements. :)

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Ok, to recapitulate where we seem to be so far, the secret is that Stradivari was a telepathic/telekinetic space alien who used nanotechnology in the form of spruce microreeds, and one should prefer that a majority of the male posters remain downwind unless they've recently had a thorough shower.  That about cover it? :P:lol:


As always, the elite leaders of the violin world continue to astound me with their brilliance B)

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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.




I concur with these observations. I have never seen anything that remotely suggests this. In any case the very first bass bar change or repair to the edge work or a patch… Well you get the picture.

 And, the first time I saw the relics was 1976. Are you even older than me Bruce? Nah! I doubt that, probably I just got down there late. I hitch hiked several times with my wife Claudia. For those younger readers, hitch hiking was a wonderful way of travelling for free. According to media reports, it stopped because when you managed to get a lift, either you had to murder the driver or the driver had to murder you. 

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Bruce and Roger,

Is there any evidence in support of the theory that Strad and others might have strung up a white violin and modified the table thicknessing from the outside prior to varnishing - for instance noticeable discrepancies in top thickness that aren't symmetrical or which appear particularly localized?

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