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Vibrating string in small pattern violin


Levin
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Hi,
I'd like to make a violin based on 1735 Guarneri Plowden. This violin is, however, smaller than the standard size in fact it measures 35.1 cm. To realize
vibrating string at 32.8 cm (top nut - bridge) is correct to move the F hole slightly down from its original position?

 

Tanks

 

Levin

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Copy of Plowden is copy of, changing it is therefore not a copy however 'correct' it may be. 
Assuming that a violin needs a 'correct' vibrating string length doesn't make sense
when all the old violins generally had different lengths different stops etc. 

Why do violas not have standard lengths, and which came first...violin or viola.
Viola. 

If you have the time and materials to make a violin of your own pattern
or make a copy of a Plowden then cool, but there really isn't a 'correct'
way to do it. 


 

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Just move the bridge a bit below the f hole nicks if you want a "normal" body stop length.

Personally, I would just make it with the shorter string length. It seems to work fine for the small DG model that I make.

 

 
 
Thanks for your help ^_^
 
Levin
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Don's suggestion of 191mm is the exact center of bridge location on my 1733DG template.  Template is for tracing for mold outline-  I haven't made a mold yet.  If my template is correct, it is 1 mm shorter on the neck side and 3.75mm on the tail side when compared to my 4/4 tracing template.  I agree with the 191mm measurement until proven it's not right.

 

Ben, don't you find notes or music played in the 5,6, 7th pos.  don't sound well if the mensur measurement is in question and a bridge is just placed wherever? 

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 I do not want to make a copy, but I want to do a violin that looks a bit like the Plowden.

 

That was my approach too... I liked the general look, but I don't care to make exact copies and I didn't want to make a violin that small.  So I made a bigger version, tweaking dimensions as necessary.

 

From my "bench" thread, post #291:

And the antiqued, rustic, whacky wood Guarneri:

attachicon.gif 150910 2.JPGattachicon.gif 150910 3.JPGattachicon.gif 150910 4.JPGattachicon.gif 150910 6.JPG

 
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That was my approach too... I liked the general look, but I don't care to make exact copies and I didn't want to make a violin that small.  So I made a bigger version, tweaking dimensions as necessary.

 

From my "bench" thread, post #291:

 

Fair enough. But the smallish DG models seem to work really well.

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Fair enough. But the smallish DG models seem to work really well.

 

For sure... Collin Gallahue's Plowden copy (gold medal winner at the 2014 VSA competition) sounded far better to me than the Titian when played back-to-back by Jimmy Lin.  Some day I might try a smaller model, but I'm still in the "bigger is better" mentality in spite of the evidence against it.

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It's a cultural thing.  Violinists expect standardized setup measurements, and the luthiery community perpetuates and reinforces this.

 

Clearly it wasn't that way in the classical period.  And it isn't so much that way today with violas or cellos, or basses, or guitars, etc.

 

It doesn't necessarily have to stay that way for violins.   It would probably be better if we were more interested in the stop length that best suits a particular instrument, rather than forcing the stop to a fix standard. 

 

But for now, one is bucking against the general community expectations if you give a violin non-standard setup measures.

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It's a cultural thing.  Violinists expect standardized setup measurements, and the luthiery community perpetuates and reinforces this.

 

Clearly it wasn't that way in the classical period.  And it isn't so much that way today with violas or cellos, or basses, or guitars, etc.

 

It doesn't necessarily have to stay that way for violins.   It would probably be better if we were more interested in the stop length that best suits a particular instrument, rather than forcing the stop to a fix standard. 

 

But for now, one is bucking against the general community expectations if you give a violin non-standard setup measures.

When I make a violin or a guitar I always use the proposed stop length to relate everything to during the build.  Why wouldn't that be a priority, it's pointless for me to go any other route.

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 Some day I might try a smaller model, but I'm still in the "bigger is better" mentality in spite of the evidence against it.

Don't go the 7/8th size route like I did.  The only advantages so far are that I'm pretty sure I won't need hearing aids when I get older because of the smaller box size and the playability is easier fingering wise because of the smaller scale length.  For fiddlers like yourself and for players who don't try figuring out sheet music on their own as a hobby or pastime, there is no need to use or make a 7/8th size violin. 

 

My opinion so far what of I've learned so far is the shorter DG lengths should be the minimum.  And the upper bout region of Don's whacky wood experiment is an excellent looking proportion to strive for- I wouldn't change a thing there.

 

I will now go draw out a DG plan to see if I can convince myself if a 128mm neck length would be more feasible than a 130mm neck for the smaller DG's.

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It's a cultural thing.  Violinists expect standardized setup measurements, and the luthiery community perpetuates and reinforces this.

 

Clearly it wasn't that way in the classical period.  And it isn't so much that way today with violas or cellos, or basses, or guitars, etc.

 

It doesn't necessarily have to stay that way for violins.   It would probably be better if we were more interested in the stop length that best suits a particular instrument, rather than forcing the stop to a fix standard. 

 

But for now, one is bucking against the general community expectations if you give a violin non-standard setup measures.

I think it all depends what you mean by "standard". Rather that saying that standard body stop length for a 4/4 violin is 195 mm, we should probably put some tolerances on that, e.g. 195 +/- 3 mm.

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I'd second the suggestions to modify the form to get a longer string length.  To me it makes more sense to adjust the entire instrument proportionally rather than shifting the fholes.  Proportion is generally the most important thing, so don't mess with it.  Scale it up proportionally and make a slightly larger violin that looks like the Plowden or a Plowden size violin with a shorter string length.

 

It's nice to get the 328mm string length when possible, but ultimately you need to do what's right for the instrument.  Clearly there are some nice old instruments with shorter stops.  It's interesting that the neck on the Plowden is 130mm rather than maintaining the 2:3 ratio of neck length to mensur.  Even with the proportionally long neck it has a string length of only 324.5mm, so a proportional neck would make for an even shorter string length.  I would think it would be odd to adapt to the different proportion of the neck more so than adapting to a shorter string length.  I don't have old Cremonese instruments coming across my bench much, so I haven't really looked at how such a compromise is typically made on a fine violin that's a bit dainty by modern standards.  A friend of mine has an Andrea Guarneri (not the violin he performs on) that he refers to as 'the little violin'.  It's probably no smaller than the Plowden, but it just seems small compared to what we're used to seeing in the mainstream market.

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Following what I mentioned for making a tracing template, post #11, a 328mm string length can be had using a 130mm neck.  But my template length comes out to 353.5, maybe 353 with a sharp pencil.  I see the Plowden 351mm.  Can a 351mm make a difference aesthetically using my figures?  Maybe, maybe not.

  Just for my own sake I tried drawing up a plan using a 128mm neck length and the 191mm mensur.  128.5mm and 192mm, possibly 193mm will work better on paper.   String length comes out to 325.75 - 326mm.  Determining bass bar placement and a decent set of FF's will be needed too for a homemade drawn up plan.        

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Current notions of size are completely batty, and of course there should be a tolerance. The only real argument for a standardized vibrating string length and neck stop would be for advanced soloists who are likely to perform firework pieces in front of a paying audience on two different violins in quick succession.

 

I think it's a bit like bow weights - there are measurements that can be taken, and since pretty much everything else is subjective, people pay disproportionate attention to these measurements ...

 

When it comes to classical Italian violins, our way of forming judgments about acceptable size seems to be just as irrational.

 

There are various small Rugieris and lesser Guarneris which are valued at half the value of larger models by the same maker, yet when it comes to del Gesu, 35.1 doesn't seem to matter. His small violins are "the perfect concert violin". No-one would consider a violin with a back length greater than 360mm, unless it's a long Strad of course ...

 

It seems to me that the entire violin-making world is slavishly copying a couple of great makers, except when it comes to size (some of those violins are too small) and thicknessing (eg the Cannone and all the other Cremonese violins which are "too thin"). It sort of leaves you thinking that the only reason for copying the Greats is to stand in some small way on the coat-tails of their financial value.

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I don't know man.  What I mean by that is that I feel the string length is a very important thing to consider.  I guess for the time being I'm concerned with new stuff being built.  Can't do nothing about the past.  Maybe most people don't play like I do, or at least other makers.  I'm always using the upper positions for playing.  In order to have good intonation that string length/mensur must be spot on.  That the only way you can get same position on different string double-stop/chords to sound good.  All or most music has those kind of notes to play for those not in the know.  If you compensate the off-ness or out of tune-ness with different tunings of the open strings other areas will suffer, so far that would be the lower position notes that would sound off.  Like I mentioned- maybe most don't play like I do.  

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This is the point I was trying to make - in the upper positions, a difference of even 3mm in the vibrating string length will make an infinitesmally small difference in the process of achieving good intonation. You might notice it when switching between violins rapidly, but a few minutes would be all that any really good player would need to adjust. I've never come across anyone suffering major intonation issues swapping between violin and viola unless they had never done it before ...

Most intonation happens in real time, tiny bits of sliding into the note, adjustments to vibrato etc. We need to program in physical cues for some things relating to the neck stop, or visual cues, but surely buyers of violins just need to understand that they will need a few minutes to nail this stuff on a new instrument.

 

The more time I spend watching players of all levels trying out violins, the more I think there's a problem with the idea of changing rapidly between one instrument and another. Issues of physical comfort can seem massive in this scenario, when in fact a bit of patience and a slight change in thinking are all that's required.

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It sort of leaves you thinking that the only reason for copying the Greats is to stand in some small way on the coat-tails of their financial value.

 

... or because that's what buyers expect to see, and that's what sells the best.  

 

 

Regarding string length, I occasionally play viola (right after I make one), and have played 3/4 and even 1/2 size violins, and don't seem to have terrible trouble adapting after a few seconds to get the "size in my head".  Of course, it would probably be a bit more difficult if I used a lot of high positions, but I think the mental/physical process would be the same.

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