Dwight Brown

Body Stop VS Neck Stop

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I was looking at some measurements of a Viola that is for sale.  It quotes Body Stop: 220 mm, Neck Stop: 146.  I always thought the stop length was the same as the Diapason, that is, from the top edge of the body to the bridge.  Is the neck stop from the nut to the top edge and the body stop from the top edge to the bridge.

 

DLB

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Yes, that's it.  They are usually in a 2:3 relationship, which is what is quoted there.  Talking with one maker, he explained that if the neck is long, it isn't much of a big deal, you'll just reach the note faster!  But if it is short, the higher notes are harder to reach, and players won't like it as much.  Old instruments may have had shorter necks, but they didn't play as high either.  

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I'm not so sure that the diapason is a measurement. I could totally be wrong here, though. I was always under the impression that the diapason is located by a measurement.

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Just now, Nick Allen said:

I'm not so sure that the diapason is a measurement. I could totally be wrong here, though. I was always under the impression that the diapason is located by a measurement.

You may be right, I am pretty close to "I haven't got a clue"

 

DLB

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I'm so proud , I did the math :-)  220+146 = 366

366/5 = 73.2

73.2 * 2 = 146.2 (or 2:3)

73.2 * 3 = 219.6 (or 3:2)

Works out pretty close.

DLB

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I don't know any of these terms.  I was under the impression that, let's say for this viola, the stop is 220, the neck is 144.  The diapason would be 364.  The actual string length would be somewhat longer, because it would be the inverse of the cosine of the angle of the strings from the nut to the bridge.  Maybe 8 degrees.  That would be 367.6  

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1 hour ago, Dwight Brown said:

I'm so proud , I did the math :-)  220+146 = 366

366/5 = 73.2

73.2 * 2 = 146.2 (or 2:3)

73.2 * 3 = 219.6 (or 3:2)

Works out pretty close.

DLB

Yes, the goal is typically a 3: 2 ratio on violins and violas these days. But there's a little more fudging room on violas. ;)

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For me the 3:2 ratio is very important. I switch between several different size violas and violin. A different stop/neck ratio throws me off more than anything else.

Right now I have a pretty decent 17.5 inch viola sitting on the "pile" with a short neck, been hemming and hawing about a neck graft or whether I should just move it along.

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Players adjust well to proportional changes. If your stop is 5mm shorter, but it is taken all from the neck it will be more of an issue for you as you get in to the upper positions as opposed to an instrument that had a 5mm shorter stop, but maintained normal proportions. That being said, variations of this 2:3 ratio are common and you will be most comfortable with instruments that are most similar to what you already play. The neck heel will also be a factor when it comes to the upper positions. The ratio may be right, but an excessively fat heel will still make the neck feel shorter.

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I agree with Tim.

Classical stop lengths are all over the place - broadly 3 to 2 but clearly not regarded as terribly important. We have become more and more enslaved to measurements ...

It's a bit like bow weights - very few players have any idea of whether a bow is 58g or 62g, but as soon as they can access the information it becomes strangely critical.

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Yes.  The classical makers seem to normally use the same 2:3 ratio that survives today.    So many of the old necks are altered, so that makes it harder to be absolute about this topic, but a few examples survive.   A relatively large percentage of unaltered necks are on odder sized instruments, which also complicates things.

It seems that a typical procedure with extra long or extra short necks was to alter the neck stop by 1/3 or 1/4 of the ratio unit.  So (2+1/4)::3   or (2-1/4::3).   Tenor necks tend to be shortened in this way from the 2:3, and things like piccolo violin's tend to get a lengthened neck in this way.

 

I would love to understand how we arrived at modern cello stops, and what there were historically.   For me, I haven't seen enough info about unaltered cello necks to even begin understanding the cello stops.

Any one else have info?   And maybe info about how viol stops worked? 

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58 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Yes.  The classical makers seem to normally use the same 2:3 ratio that survives today.    So many of the old necks are altered, so that makes it harder to be absolute about this topic, but a few examples survive.   A relatively large percentage of unaltered necks are on odder sized instruments, which also complicates things.

It seems that a typical procedure with extra long or extra short necks was to alter the neck stop by 1/3 or 1/4 of the ratio unit.  So (2+1/4)::3   or (2-1/4::3).   Tenor necks tend to be shortened in this way from the 2:3, and things like piccolo violin's tend to get a lengthened neck in this way.

 

I would love to understand how we arrived at modern cello stops, and what there were historically.   For me, I haven't seen enough info about unaltered cello necks to even begin understanding the cello stops.

Any one else have info?   And maybe info about how viol stops worked? 

The original cello Strad templates will give you one answer

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