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H.R.Fisher

plate tuning specs ?

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Maybe some others can add to this story I recall from Ed Campbell. He said that he was sitting with Hutchins one evening and remarked that when he knuckle-raps a plate he hears an F note. Her eyes brightened. but said nothing. A year later her seminal Scientific American paper on violin plate modes appeared. 

I can attest to the number of school physics labs on Chladni plates that were changed to include violin-shaped plates. When I ran Rutgers U. physics labs I found one of the violin plates in a box of old experiments. 

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16 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Personally, I feel that Hutchins' contribution was that the plate vibrates in modes. Rather than asking which mode a Cremonese maker evaluated, she went off the tracks thinking that she had uncovered something that was better than what the old makers did. Then, plate tuning became numerology.

(added emphasis it mine)

Just a bit of background:  I got my mechanical engineering degree in 1974, and was a Catgut Acoustical Society member from the early 1980's where a lot of Carleen's papers were published.

A few things bothered me constantly:

1) There was never any data presented (that I recall) to back up the recommendations, such as "here are the taptones of a bunch of great Cremonese instruments".  (Joseph Curtin did that much more recently, and the numbers were all over the place).

2)  The obvious (to me) numerology of recommending certain round numbers or ratios... octaves, or things like that.  All of those aesthetically pleasing numbers get totally trashed when plates are glued to ribs and you stick in a soundpost and slap on some varnish, so how could it possibly mean anything?

This culminated in the Octet, a set of instruments based on scaling and ratios.  The "benefits" of those instruments don't seem to have overtaken the world, and having heard the Octet a few times, I didn't find anything I wanted to copy.

This was all before I started making violins, so I never gave the CMH recommendations much importance.  It is probably obvious  that I still don't.

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This is the "resource" /CMH silverbullet that is found every now and then. it's  easy to "believe" it when it is put like this (out of context) and quite strong statements. As I said previously it's also quite easy to confirm that NEJ it doesn't really work like this. At least not as a general solution. Took me three violins to give up. But now harm, they are all three okay playable violins. One of them is actually a really good folk music fiddle.

1.       An instrument of good quality results when mode 5 has a relatively large amplitude and its frequency in the top plate lies within a tone of the frequency in the back plate. If the frequency of mode 5 in the top is higher than that in the back, the tone quality is usually brighter. If this relation is reversed, the tone is somewhat darker.

 2.       Smooth, easy playing characteristics result when the frequency of mode 2 in the top plate lies about five hertz of that of mode 2 in the back plate.

 3.       If mode 5 is at the same frequency in a pair of top and back plates, the frequency of mode 2 in the top should be within five hertz of mode 5 in the back, otherwise the resulting instrument is hard to play and has a harsh, gritty tone.

 4.       Violins of exceptional quality have resulted when modes 2 and 5 are placed approximately an octave apart in each plate and at corresponding frequencies with high amplitudes in both plates.

 5.       A further refinement is to place the frequency of mode 1 in the top plate an octave below that of mode 2, so that modes 1, 2 and 5 are in a harmonic series. It is possible but difficult to adjust the frequency of mode 1 to this relation in the top plate; the adjustment cannot be made in the back plate because of the different structures of the two plates.

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On 12/9/2017 at 4:40 PM, Michael_Molnar said:

Personally, I feel that Hutchins' contribution was that the plate vibrates in modes. Rather than asking which mode a Cremonese maker evaluated, she went off the tracks thinking that she had uncovered something that was better than what the old makers did. Then, plate tuning became numerology.

Carleen Hutchins tested a set of top and back plates of a 1713 Stradivarius from the Wurlitzer shop and said:

"The response curves of top and back plates show a resonance of high amplitude and low damping at 360 Hz (mode #5) and another resonance at 180 Hz (mode #2) in both plates."

"Undue emphasis should not be placed on only one test of this kind, so it is hoped...further tests can be obtained"

Has anybody since then published any more information about matched plates of Strad's instruments?

 

She also said (2) this about plate tuning:

"It should always be used in conjunction with the traditional methods of tapping, listening, and feeling the stiffness in a plate.  It is not an end in itself."

 

As was mentioned earlier she advised Joseph Curtin to watch his plate weights and he's gone on to publish his helpful articles on tap tones and weights.

Notice in her above statement "high amplitude" and "low damping".  In any case I don't think it was she that went off the tracks.

 

1.  "Stradivarius Plate Tests", CAS Newsletter #37, May, 1982

2.  "Preface to the Retrospective on Plate Tuning", CASJ Vol.4, No. 1(Series II). May 2000

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Just now, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Carleen Hutchins tested a set of top and back plates of a 1713 Stradivarius from the Wurlitzer shop and said:

"The response curves of top and back plates show a resonance of high amplitude and low damping at 360 Hz (mode #5) and another resonance at 180 Hz (mode #2) in both plates."

"Undue emphasis should not be placed on only one test of this kind, so it is hoped...further tests can be obtained"

Has anybody since then published any more information about matched plates of Strad's instruments?

 

She also said (2) this about plate tuning:

"It should always be used in conjunction with the traditional methods of tapping, listening, and feeling the stiffness in a plate.  It is not an end in itself."

 

As was mentioned earlier she advised Joseph Curtin to watch his plate weights and he's gone on to publish his helpful articles on tap tones and weights.

Notice in her above statement "high amplitude" and "low damping".  In any case I don't think it was she that went off the tracks.

 

1.  "Stradivarius Plate Tests", CAS Newsletter #37, May, 1982

2.  "Preface to the Retrospective on Plate Tuning", CASJ Vol.4, No. 1(Series II). May 2000

Hi Marty!

Yes, she wrote these ideas, but still, I maintain that she did not practice what she preached. She essentially enabled the numerologists to bastardize a solid physics finding. 

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Carleen Hutchins tested a set of top and back plates of a 1713 Stradivarius from the Wurlitzer shop and said:

"The response curves of top and back plates show a resonance of high amplitude and low damping at 360 Hz (mode #5) and another resonance at 180 Hz (mode #2) in both plates."

I would think a better way to view this is the primary resonance of the plate is 180Hz, and 360Hz is simply the second harmonic.

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

In any case I don't think it was she that went off the tracks.

1 hour ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Yes, she wrote these ideas, but still, I maintain that she did not practice what she preached. She essentially enabled the numerologists to bastardize a solid physics finding. 

My impression from my years of CAS membership is that she was off the rails and in the weeds for a very long time, and there were plenty of numerologists happy to follow the path she cleared... but the path was still in the weeds and went nowhere.  Yes, there were a few reality-based statements here and there, but they were overwhelmed by unsupported mumbo-jumbo.  Just my opinion.

 

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3 hours ago, Don Noon said:

My impression from my years of CAS membership is that she was off the rails...

My impression too was that she had gone a bit off the rails, after attending a lecture in which she claimed that her instruments were so powerful, that people had accused her of putting electronic amplifiers inside.

Never ran across one that was all that impressive, not that I have heard or played everything close to her total output. But back when the Hutchins-worship thing was in full swing, we purchased and kept one in the shop, so people could compare for themselves. It did a good job of selling other instruments, including mine. :)

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So I bought some very good quality wood for my violin number 3, I sure do not want to mess them up so I'm most likely finish them thicker so I can always go thinner. What is the best safe way to tune the plates together. Another Luther who mostly does mandolin, is Rodger Simnoff , in his book he uses StrobSoft to tune his plates.

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1 minute ago, carl1961 said:

So I bought some very good quality wood for my violin number 3, I sure do not want to mess them up so I'm most likely finish them thicker so I can always go thinner. What is the best safe way to tune the plates together. Another Luther who mostly does mandolin, is Rodger Simnoff , in his book he uses StrobSoft to tune his plates.

Siminoff has been even further off the tracks than CMH. lots of smoke and mirrors in his theories. Likely he haven't built more mandolins than the two or three he photographed for his books on building and since they have been the only printed spurce for few decades there are rows of his followers who bought all of his snake oil.

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1 hour ago, carl1961 said:

 What is the best safe way to tune the plates together. 

If you have a good ear and don't happen to be tone deaf then a safe way can be to use the online frequency generator by Szynalksi.  It is not the best way but it is a safe way.

  I mention not being tone deaf because you will need to be able to pick out the generated tone that matches the tone of your plate when you think you're getting close to where you think you need to be or really anywhere during the carving process.  You may as well get a scale that reads grams for weighing - one of those $15.00 or so digital scales from Walmart will work for violin.

Arching height, shape and edge work should be given higher priority than just searching for the hz of your work and possibly the weight, though paying attention to weight while removing unneeded wood will get you to where you need to be quicker.

You'll notice when you see the orange colored screen at the tone generator website that the number 440 hz is present.  Take any piece of wood and try to see if that wood rings higher than that 440 hz tone or lower.  Next use the arrows to raise the tone or lower the tone to match the tone of the wood you have in hand.  Find pictures showing how to hold a piece of wood for checking it's ring tone.

What I do is turn the generator volume down to 2% or 3% and put on headphones over one ear and leave the other ear uncovered so that I can hear the wood being knocked on.  Don't leave the tone generator sound at 100% volume using headphones.

This method is a different type of testing that what you see with others who use the computer, speaker and sawdust. glitter etc, for viewing vibration of open plates but will get you close to where you need to be to get better help from some of the better makers here at Maestronet - you just gotta catch them at the right time for help.      

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On 12/08/2017 at 12:07 PM, H.R.Fisher said:

 

Final specs:

top 66gr w/ BB  ff

back 117 gr  [ very dense wood]

mode 1    T 96hz   B 116 hz

mode2     T 164hz  B 164hz 

mode5     T  355hz   B 339hz

The back rather heavy and already quite thin and my resource tells me  mode 2 top and back should be equal.

I'll see how it works out.

Attached is some tap tone data on old Italian violins that Anders Buen found in a 1930 Book? written by Otto Mockels.

Unfortunately the plate weights weren't recorded and there was no indication that any of the violins sounded good.

Tap_tones_from_Mockel.pdf

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On 7/12/2017 at 3:24 AM, Bill Yacey said:

If you enjoy chasing rainbows, you really need to read Vigdorchik; if Vigdorchik starts to make sense,  read Keith Hill.

 

2 hours ago, HoGo said:

Siminoff has been even further off the tracks than CMH.

No one beats Vigdorchik, that's tuning!! 

If this starts to make sense, it's time to go to the psychiatrist.....:lol:

5a2f129408234_Vigdorchiktuningsystem.thumb.jpg.8c248052dead5316a8afdee47e734f6e.jpg5a2f12bc71719_VigdorchikIsaak.jpg.d6c1f227915e0794ee861ec81acbb2ff.jpg

Yes, I have that book.....:ph34r:

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On 12/08/2017 at 12:07 PM, H.R.Fisher said:

 

Final specs:

top 66gr w/ BB  ff

back 117 gr  [ very dense wood]

mode 1    T 96hz   B 116 hz

mode2     T 164hz  B 164hz 

mode5     T  355hz   B 339hz

The back rather heavy and already quite thin and my resource tells me  mode 2 top and back should be equal.

I'll see how it works out.

I forgot to encourage you to keep very thorough records if you're making and fortunately selling lots of violins. 

 

This could be helpful if you ever get an IRS audit.

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49 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I forgot to encourage you to keep very thorough records if you're making and fortunately selling lots of violins. 

 

This could be helpful if you ever get an IRS audit.

 All my transactions will be in bitcoin:)

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On 12/8/2017 at 5:42 AM, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

A tip. Focus elsewhere. :rolleyes:

Let me guess. Does it have to do with catenary curves?

On 12/9/2017 at 3:40 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Carleen certainly thought it was helpful to have a pile of similar wood.  She told me a story where she planned to have a lifetime supply for back plates by having a whole tree of curly maple cut up and stored in the upstairs of a barn her son-in-law had in Vermont.  After a few years to dry the wood she went back to get some only to discover her son-in-law had sold it all to a gun stock  wood supplier for flint lock rifle builders.  She said the only good part of the story was that her daughter had later divorced him.

Carleen had the theory that the M5/M2 ratio should be 2.0 meaning that their frequencies should be an octave apart. But Joseph Curtin found ( see his "Tap Routine" Strad article) that many old Italian plates had M5/M2 ratios of about 2.3 and he made these comments:

"Modes 2 and 5 are of special interest, being most directly related to the stiffness of the plate across and along the grain."

"As mode 2 reflects the cross-grain stiffness of the wood far more than does mode 5, this suggests that the spruce found in old Italian tops may be stiffer along the grain, and/or weaker across it, than new wood."

 

Attached is a graph showing how one of my top's M5/M2 ratio was changing between about 2.0 and 2.4 with each thinning step on the inside surface of the plate.  Obviously the wood isn't changing so the M5/M2 ratio doesn't tell us much about the wood.  I went from new wood to old wood and back again to new wood behavior in 67 easy steps.

Jules' top plate steps.jpg

M2 and M5 of a single plate are like passengers on a bus. They travel together but are bound for different destinations.

 

"As mode 2 reflects the cross-grain stiffness of the wood far more than does mode 5, this suggests that the spruce found in old Italian tops may be stiffer along the grain, and/or weaker across it, than new wood." CMH

This difference of tuning says nothing about the relative stiffness of old wood vs new. Without knowing the differences in arching and graduation it is hard to say much of anything.

 

 

8 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Carleen Hutchins tested a set of top and back plates of a 1713 Stradivarius from the Wurlitzer shop and said:

"The response curves of top and back plates show a resonance of high amplitude and low damping at 360 Hz (mode #5) and another resonance at 180 Hz (mode #2) in both plates."

"Undue emphasis should not be placed on only one test of this kind, so it is hoped...further tests can be obtained"

Has anybody since then published any more information about matched plates of Strad's instruments?

 

She also said (2) this about plate tuning:

"It should always be used in conjunction with the traditional methods of tapping, listening, and feeling the stiffness in a plate.  It is not an end in itself."

 

As was mentioned earlier she advised Joseph Curtin to watch his plate weights and he's gone on to publish his helpful articles on tap tones and weights.

Notice in her above statement "high amplitude" and "low damping".  In any case I don't think it was she that went off the tracks.

 

1.  "Stradivarius Plate Tests", CAS Newsletter #37, May, 1982

2.  "Preface to the Retrospective on Plate Tuning", CASJ Vol.4, No. 1(Series II). May 2000

Weight is something to observe but let’s remember that Paganini (perhaps the greatest violin in history) thought his ‘Cannone’ was the greatest violin ever. It weighs ~445g.

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16 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

No one beats Vigdorchik, that's tuning!!

At the other end of the scale .. hmm .. sort of, is a book I read long ago, from Sweden. I've forgotten the name (and I don't worry). He claimed that the best Cremonese makers were utterly pedantic people and every part of the instrument should sound C#. Even when you tapped on one peg you should hear C#.

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14 hours ago, curious1 said:

Let me guess. Does it have to do with catenary curves?

M2 and M5 of a single plate are like passengers on a bus. They travel together but are bound for different destinations.

 

"As mode 2 reflects the cross-grain stiffness of the wood far more than does mode 5, this suggests that the spruce found in old Italian tops may be stiffer along the grain, and/or weaker across it, than new wood." CMH

This difference of tuning says nothing about the relative stiffness of old wood vs new. Without knowing the differences in arching and graduation it is hard to say much of anything.

 

 

Weight is something to observe but let’s remember that Paganini (perhaps the greatest violin in history) thought his ‘Cannone’ was the greatest violin ever. It weighs ~445g.

Posted on December 11th, 2010 by  Peter Sheppard SkaervedCharles-Philippe  Lafont-Variations on ‘La Vestale’ (Spontini) PSS-del Gesu (Il Cannone-strung with Gut strings and Paganini’s bridge design) London February 2006:

 

"When it came to sound, he (Paganini) was impressed by Lafont’s 1699 Stradivari, which later became known as the ‘Lady Tennant’. Indeed he was tempted to get a similar one for himself: It was reported that he felt that Lafont’s instrument was better than his. I wonder if this is a misunderstanding, partially arising from the number of violins with which Paganini was accustomed to using, and clearly, because of his use of scordaturae the need for multiple violins in one concert. Perhaps he realized that Lafont’s instrument was particularly suited to a certain kind of violin playing, particularly the highly agile, deftly coloured music of his French rival."

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47 minutes ago, Salve Håkedal said:

At the other end of the scale .. hmm .. sort of, is a book I read long ago, from Sweden. I've forgotten the name (and I don't worry). He claimed that the best Cremonese makers were utterly pedantic people and every part of the instrument should sound C#. Even when you tapped on one peg you should hear C#.

Luckily I have them all so you don't forget :) I copied every book on violin making I could find in the library. C# is great, I use it every day but for making software.

The book has some useful information on many things, tools, methods, a full scale dG drawing etc. It's over 300 pages.

WP_20171212_18_33_56_Rich.thumb.jpg.ca94c1dba043adfeb3872ab15b32fdc2.jpg

WP_20171212_18_36_19_Rich.thumb.jpg.c771537ef6c3165228915157cc7c69f0.jpg

WP_20171212_18_36_30_Rich.thumb.jpg.87b2df3af026cf1e0d9e143f62edf0b2.jpg

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21 hours ago, curious1 said:

Weight is something to observe but let’s remember that Paganini (perhaps the greatest violin in history) thought his ‘Cannone’ was the greatest violin ever. It weighs ~445g.

The weight of the 'Cannone' is 432.25 grams strung up as Paganini played it with 3 plain gut and a wound g-string, with replicas of the original bridge and tailpiece. It still has four iron nails and the stub of a fifth nail in the neck block and heel. It also has a wedge shaped fingerboard of solid ebony like the one Nicolas Sawicki made for him in Vienna in 1828. This can account for some extra weight.

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1 hour ago, Bruce Carlson said:

The weight of the 'Cannone' is 432.25 grams strung up as Paganini played it with 3 plain gut and a wound g-string, with replicas of the original bridge and tailpiece. It still has four iron nails and the stub of a fifth nail in the neck block and heel. It also has a wedge shaped fingerboard of solid ebony like the one Nicolas Sawicki made for him in Vienna in 1828. This can account for some extra weight.

H Bruce,

Could you take the plates off and weigh them for us and while you're at it please get their tap tones too.

Thanks, Marty

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48 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

H Bruce,

Could you take the plates off and weigh them for us and while you're at it please get their tap tones too.

Thanks, Marty

Might as well cut some samples out so I can get wood properties from them (there's plenty of extra wood in that fiddle, anyway).

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3 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

The weight of the 'Cannone' is 432.25 grams strung up as Paganini played it with 3 plain gut and a wound g-string, with replicas of the original bridge and tailpiece. It still has four iron nails and the stub of a fifth nail in the neck block and heel. It also has a wedge shaped fingerboard of solid ebony like the one Nicolas Sawicki made for him in Vienna in 1828. This can account for some extra weight.

Even if we say those add 10g (generous) we are still talking about a heavy violin. 

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