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Yes!  But in the modern world version, this tolerance is about sufficiently adhering to plan and specified design measurements to enable interchangeability of parts.  This deep priority now pervades the world's making culture, not just in fiddles.  But it originates from and is oriented toward mass production/efficiency concerns.  The adoption of this modern 'precision' paradigm of making is one of  the core shifts coming out of the Industrial/commercial revolution that swept away the old making methods.


In the older paradigm of making, this 'making to an experience based tolerance' is not direct toward achieving measurements aimed at interchangeability,  but instead toward adhering to a few key proportional relations among parts and a few key bits of geometry.  Plus some parts are custom adjusted to each other for a well mated fit, but in a non-interchangable unique fit way. 


Tradition combined with experience dictated which proportions, geometries, and basic sizes needed to be adhered to, and how closely.  But compared to modern methods, this still left huge latitude and looseness.  Open up most any book printed before 1750, you will see typeset letters that all vary one to another, yet retain a sufficient design integrity and excellent readability.  These letter sets were products of the same paradigm we see at work in the old instruments.   Open a book from 1850 next.  That pleasingly human variation between the letters is gone.  Production efficiencies now rule.  One small case 'a' was cleanly and exactly carved to plan, with exceeding care, and then exactly replicated throughout the book by an inhuman mechanical process.  Follow a plan too exactly and the humanity is lost.


For a true player, an instrument is not just an object.  Great fiddles don't just get names.  They are companions, workmates, and friends to the great musicians who spend a major portion of their time with these instruments. A great instrument is in a sense a living thing.  Which paradigm do we want filling the souls of our instruments?

Pygmalion (mythology)
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In Golf a raw amateur can beat Tiger Woods.

They have a handicap system that allows everyone in golf to compete with each other.


The problem is that if Tiger Woods gives you 36 strokes, you might still loose because of stage freight.

Just the fact that you are playing Tiger Woods is almost a guarantee of failure.


Going up against Strad is like that, but with no handicap.

How can you beat a legend.


The problem in golf though about the handicap system is that there is no tournament that will spot you 36 strokes, and allow you to play Tiger and then pay you cold hard cash for doing it.  So the future expectations of getting rich are slim.


Every maker once they cease to make instruments, would be surprised in a long enough time period if they  could even recognize their own body of work.

It will have morphed into something new.



So how do you beat a legend in golf or violin making, with no handicap?

With a 2 x 4!








My hero!

That is a spruce 2 x 4 by the way, and tuned to a high frequency, so you can hear a long loud ring when it bounces off your head, that is being used as an impact hammer.   Just joking, no offense meant to tuning folks.




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My old teacher Wilf Saunders would probably have kissed you for that statement. Pollens suggests that Strad changed things (empirically) your way too. We really do get too hung up on lines and measurements.

I don't know if you saw any of the earlier postings this week, but this is the nicest thing anyone has said about me for a while. (Thanks)

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