Sign in to follow this  
Andreas Preuss

New stop length?

Recommended Posts

Here is another thought I wanted to discuss with MN members. (I posted this before on FB)

What do you think of increasing the stop lenght just a few millimeters?

What are your thoughts and feelings about it? Or eventually, did anyone here make experiments with altering the stop length?

Is it a taboo to touch the standard numbers of 195-130? At least for violists and cellists it is normal to have instruments with slightly different stop length.

new stop length.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Guido said:

Do you mean in building a new instument and possibly upscaling all other proportions?

I wouldn't upscale all the proportions. In practical terms some DG instruments (like the Cannon) have a longer stop length without a longer body length.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In classical examples, stops are by ratio.  So for a normal violin, it is not traditionally 195 to 130 but 3 to 2.   The modern numeric standard is 3 to 2, with a stop unit of 65mm, giving 195 and 130.

By this rule, there is nothing wrong classically with a longer or short stop system, but the neck and body stop must be in proper proportion.  

Now for instruments were a longer or shorter neck was desired, they adjust 'by a part'.  SO, the ratio would be (2 +or- a part of the stop unit) to 3.   So for example (2 + 1/4)::3.

In this classic scheme, the farirly common modern cello stop of of 7 to 10 is actually (2 + 1/10)::3.

This scheme was also important as a number of other feature in classical work actually keyed their size of the 'stop unit'.   So for example, the height of the volute is most generally 3/4 the stop unit of the 2::3 neck and body stops.  So (3/4)*65mm = 48.75mm for the height of the scroll. 

 

Actually, most features of the stringing system ultimately keyed back to the stop unit, or in some instruments the stop unit after it had been adjusted 'by a part'.

 

 

So yes, by classical standards you're stops would be fine.   However, the implied bridge position should ideally also relate to the soundholes in a classical way.  And the soundholes classically also have some loose guide relations to body length, upper bout width, and lower corner levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I understand it strings are engineered for a particular vibrating string length so changing that should have an impact on sound/playability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As David Beard said! In some older instruments there was a golden section relationship of neck stop to body stop. 

Something to keep in mind - many excellent players of violin have small hands. Lengthening the stops, even by a little bit, can make things hard for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are also thinking of increasing the neck to keep the same ratio then I would be game.

Ludwig has a good point though. Light guage strings would probably work, but there would be limitations.

Also consider that you could probably never sell such a thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

As David Beard said! In some older instruments there was a golden section relationship of neck stop to body stop. 

Something to keep in mind - many excellent players of violin have small hands. Lengthening the stops, even by a little bit, can make things hard for them.

The golden section relationship in many old instruments was destroyed when they were cut down (mostly violas and celli) and even so most of them are sounding good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the pitch of A has varied quite a lot I don't think a few mm would make much difference. As far as playability is concerned I used to switch with ease between 2 classical guitars with scale lengths of 650 and 604.  I know it's not the same because there are frets but if you play properly your fingers are at the fret. So I don't think 3.75  mm overall will be a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

The golden section relationship in many old instruments was destroyed when they were cut down (mostly violas and celli) and even so most of them are sounding good.

Of course! Golden section, while interesting, is not some sort of magical recipe for good performance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a musician or two that can easily switch between violin and viola.  I dink around on both occasionally myself (every 2 years, when I build a viola), and I think anyone can adjust fairly quickly  to a different scale... although there could be an issue with not wanting to deviate from "the standard".  But what about some of the slightly undersized violins, with presumably slightly shorter scale lengths?  I am about done with a commission where a shorter scale was desired, at 193mm stop; I played it no problem, and it doesn't seem that there is much resistance to a shorter scale.

Aside from player issues, there are a couple of other things.  One is the string stress.  I don't think there is too much of a problem, except for the A string, which seems to be the one that is closest to its breaking point.  It's about the only string I have broken, de-wrapped, or otherwise had problems with.  A longer scale would just make things worse.

The other thing is the acoustic effect of having more soundboard in the upper bout and less soundboard in the lower bout.  Personally, I think it might be a good thing for a soloist instrument, as the upper bout generates a high percentage of the higher frequency output.  I've been doing a similar thing on my violas, using a long scale on a small body, and I like the result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

I know a musician or two that can easily switch between violin and viola.  I dink around on both occasionally myself (every 2 years, when I build a viola), and I think anyone can adjust fairly quickly  to a different scale... although there could be an issue with not wanting to deviate from "the standard".  But what about some of the slightly undersized violins, with presumably slightly shorter scale lengths?  I am about done with a commission where a shorter scale was desired, at 193mm stop; I played it no problem, and it doesn't seem that there is much resistance to a shorter scale.

Aside from player issues, there are a couple of other things.  One is the string stress.  I don't think there is too much of a problem, except for the A string, which seems to be the one that is closest to its breaking point.  It's about the only string I have broken, de-wrapped, or otherwise had problems with.  A longer scale would just make things worse.

The other thing is the acoustic effect of having more soundboard in the upper bout and less soundboard in the lower bout.  Personally, I think it might be a good thing for a soloist instrument, as the upper bout generates a high percentage of the higher frequency output.  I've been doing a similar thing on my violas, using a long scale on a small body, and I like the result.

Smaller is usually fine, larger is not necessarily so. Dinking around is one thing, but playing some of the more challenging repertoire, especially where multiple stops are concerned, is a different matter. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, deans said:

If you are also thinking of increasing the neck to keep the same ratio then I would be game.

Ludwig has a good point though. Light guage strings would probably work, but there would be limitations.

Also consider that you could probably never sell such a thing.

But Andreas is only talking about a very small increase in stop length. I think most people would regard 195 +/- 2.5 mm as a perfectly reasonable range?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dr. Ludwig said:

As I understand it strings are engineered for a particular vibrating string length so changing that should have an impact on sound/playability.

That's true, but in reality we make often compromises in the set up when the stop length (at the f nicks) is a few mm too long. And in those cases sound and playability is not affected to a noticeable degree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, JohnCockburn said:

But Andreas is only talking about a very small increase in stop length. I think most people would regard 195 +/- 2.5 mm as a perfectly reasonable range?

Yeah, I think so. I have a old German violin that has a long stop/string length, works well, I'll find it later and measure.

But beware of the ruler guys, even 197 could be regarded as a serious defect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, JohnCockburn said:

But Andreas is only talking about a very small increase in stop length. I think most people would regard 195 +/- 2.5 mm as a perfectly normal range.

Yes indeed, I was thinking from the beginning how much increase can be done so that nobody would actually notice if you wouldn't tell. 

I suppose some high end players having the stop length in their finger memory would eventually notice, but especially those guys seem to be able to adopt quickly to minimal changes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are other considerations, tail length for instance....and now we are off and running with bridge adjustments, SP placement etc.

I'll fall back on the comments of the Engineering dept at major string maker.....they are engineered for a particular VSL.

One thing, if the instrument is not setup for optimal sound and response, then mucking with VSL, tail length and SP placement is just random movement about a non-optimal pt.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Dr. Ludwig said:

 

I'll fall back on the comments of the Engineering dept at major string maker.....they are engineered for a particular VSL.

Well he would (say that) wouldn't he......Mandy Rice-Davies :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Yes indeed, I was thinking from the beginning how much increase can be done so that nobody would actually notice if you wouldn't tell. 

I suppose some high end players having the stop length in their finger memory would eventually notice, but especially those guys seem to be able to adopt quickly to minimal changes. 

I agree, and also imagine most people would think that changing the string length by a couple of mm can make a difference - but whether good, bad, or indifferent depends on each individual case.  But the numbers you have in the original post look like pushing the limit to me - just my opinion.

If I have a long or short stop length on a fiddle I'd be more likely to leave the neck 130 than make it longer or shorter.  I'd rather have the string length closer to the engineered length.  There are lots of things players can feel, but the 2/3 thing seems less critical to me.  If, for example, a violin has more rounded "shoulders" the neck will feel longer than if it has squarish ones, because the hand touches the body some cm.s away from the neck joint.  As long as it's close, for me that goes into the "they'll adjust" category.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David Beard said:

I didn't realize golden sections were ever used. When was that?

The only thing I've been able to observe are simple rational relationships.

I never made a baroque instrument but using the golden section the calculated neck length would be 120.5 mm. Quite short but not too far off to make an unplayable instrument. 

120.5x1.618=195.0mm

As far as I know most baroque necks were around 125mm. 

Golden Section was used to place f holes

On Amati instrument the center of the points of the f holes on a circle placed exactly at the golden section of the body length. If you check it on a full size photograph, there is probably a 1mm difference to the calculated length because using a divider on an arched surface distorts it. (Besides I think Del Gesu worked with the same system just with a lesser degree of precision )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, David Beard said:

So yes, by classical standards you're stops would be fine.   However, the implied bridge position should ideally also relate to the soundholes in a classical way.  And the soundholes classically also have some loose guide relations to body length, upper bout width, and lower corner levels.

Yes, the aesthetic is certainly s point to consider. Especially the relationship of the f holes to the lower corners will be noticed. But there are probably clever ways to cheat. Just spreading the f nicks 1.25mm plus setting f holes 1.0mm lower would bring the desired result and would be hard to detect immediately.

The Cannon has a body stop of 198 mm.

Could it be that Del Gesu had the same idea because there are more instruments during this period with a longer stop length?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Kevin Kelly said:

There are lots of things players can feel, but the 2/3 thing seems less critical to me.

For me this seems to be very important. I switch around with several different size/models of violas and violin, for whatever reason a consistent neck/stop ratio is critical, whereas string length is not (except on my largest viola). Other individuals may be different, and if dealing with just one instrument most people can probably adjust to anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MANFIO said:

Some old posts:

 

Very true! Old masters worked with proportions but were flexible enough to alter them. For which reason is not always clear. In some cases I think it came from working precision, but in some cases I really wonder if there weren't acoustical considerations involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.