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Dear knowledgable violin people,

After having build a few classical guitars, since the summer of last year i found a new challenge in violin building. This forum has been very informative and helpful sofar, and I've been reading/scanning all topics from the beginning in 2001. After 6 months i'm still only in 2011, still learning new things just about every day. There is incredibly much to know about this little box with strings :)

My question is about what to expect from 'the sound opening up'. My #2 is about 4 weeks old now, and all the open strings are ringing nicely. D and A keep sounding reasonably well up the fingerboard, but the E-string gets a bit harsh en the G-string seems to choke.

Is it likely the E will lose some harshness after a few weeks/months and will the G string get more 'free' after a while?

Thanks, Emil

 

 

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Bump.. anyone? :rolleyes:

I did read some topics about the playing in of violins, but to me it's not clear yet what happens (or can happen) to the individual strings. In my experience with the few guitars i've built the basses were not affected very much, but for the trebles it could take soms time before they started to 'sing', up to a year in one case.

How does the E-string in particular develop during the first months? the strings are Karneols which are rated as warm.

 

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In my own experience (we have made around 100 violins to date) there are no rules.

Some instruments will mellow over the first 6 months to a year, some will stay the same, some will acquire more life, some will go a bit dead. It's important to optimise the set-up as the violin takes shape, and minor localised nasty notes on the e particularly can be helped by improving or slightly changing the soundpost fit. 

Most times a significant positive change happen in the first day or two of the violin being under string tension, but even so, the overall character rarely changes significantly. If an instrument sounds a bit harsh or a bit thin overall, that's just how it is ...

I'm sure others here have very different experiences, and it's probably important to state that our violins are workshop productions, not single-maker instruments.

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  • Peoples perceptions of tone and "opening up" are more likely rooted in weather/humidity conditions in conjunction with the "room" environment they are playing it in...Violinists will notice at various times that "wow" it sounds great right now, then playing it somewhere else under different conditions, "hmm sounds kinda dead right now"  Which many times leads to a trip to the violin shop thinking "somethings wrong" must need a post adjustment.
  • There is something to "settling" as it pertains to elasiticity and load soak, but it is a very small factor when we consider the core tone of the instrument. Basically what it is now is what it will be, with different strings and conditions being the factors that can make it better or worse, imo

 

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Once you're past set-ups (try a Goldbrokat string on that E), transient humidity changes, and "settling in", some violins may suddenly change their overall acoustics after a few years, and some will remain whatever they started out as for 300.  Go figure. :)

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Thanks Jezzupe. Dwight,

i'm bringing #2 to an experienced violin player tomorrow. He is prepared to play it for 2 weeks and give his opinion then, like he did my #1.

I am a complete newbie to violins, but i will probably take some lessons with him to learn how to get good sound. And i will probably need a better bow as well.

The strings are Warchal Karneols, the model is the Del Gesu 'Sainton' from the Edward Heron-Allen book, but just the outline. ^_^

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50 minutes ago, Emilg said:

Thanks Martin, Addie, so it is more likely to be a setup problem than the (lack of) playing in, i will mess a bit with the soundpost and see what happens :)

Not what I said really ...! More likely to be an inherent quality of the violin you have made, assuming the set-up is "standard".

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Hello Emilg and welcome to Mastronet. I am one of the few here that thinks a violin will somewhat improve with playing and think that yours will get a little better in time. I also think that if you are a novice player you are not going to be able to pull the sound out of your new instrument as good as a wonderful player. Possibly the roughness you hear right under your ears while playing it is not heard by someone ten feet away from you. 

 

Do you have a mentor that is helping you with the various steps as you built your instrument? If you do not and have basically built your violin without any expert guidance maybe you could find someone to look at how your bridge looks and soundpost, tail piece, etc.

 

We would all like to see pictures of your new build! 

 

 

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On 3/4/2017 at 1:18 PM, Emilg said:

Is it likely the E will lose some harshness after a few weeks/months and will the G string get more 'free' after a while?

Yes, very likely and it doesn't need to take weeks/months : have the violin set up by a real expert ( which might cost real money ) and unless you made something very non-standard, it should be just fine. An alternative might be to become really good at what's described here :  http://www.darntonviolins.com/violinmagazine/book/setup.pdf  

But that's not easy when you do it only once in a while. Another thing is to become informed as to how a decent violin with a close to perfect setup sounds and functions. A slightly harsh E might not be that bad and playing high on G without chocking it takes some technique.

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5 hours ago, Emilg said:

Thanks Martin, Addie, so it is more likely to be a setup problem than the (lack of) playing in, i will mess a bit with the soundpost and see what happens :)

Soundpost set-up IS very critical.

Much like bridge fitting is.

The proper tension of the post, and an exact fit of it, are essential. Both ends of the post must match the curvature of the inside of the back and belly plates where they make contact - rather perfectly, with the post in the correct position (vertically) and location. Also, as I have mentioned, "tension" of the post is very important. Too tight, I believe, is the biggest - most common problem with sound posts on many new commercial violins. A newly finished (handmade) violin needs to be checked quite soon after stringing up for the first time - for correct "fit", that is: shortly after it is first brought up to tension with strings on. 

The post must move about freely with the sp adjuster - and yet be rigid enough to stand on its own without the strings on, or brought up to pitch. (my opinion) Setting a post up correctly is a job for learning, only by doing and redoing many of them.

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Thanks Viola, Jeff, Carl, Craig, I could not post for a while, i'm probably still limited to 5 posts a day?

Today i brought #2 to the experienced violin player. He will play it for 3 weeks and when i pick it up i will have my first lesson, thats pretty cool :rolleyes:

Soundpost adjustments and other setup changes will have to wait a bit, so #3 will get all the attention now.

If things went right there are a few photo's attached. I tried to do some antiquing, but i still have to learn alot about that too ;) The violin has some unintentional asymmetry (which is a good thing i read to my relief!) and the f-holes could be better, but overall it's not too bad for a second attempt i think.

back.jpg

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