francoisdenis

Who do retouch thicknesses from outside ?

Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Even if there WAS a repeatable method to adjust externally, I don't see how you'd know what to adjust on a white instrument, as it will be a very different animal after varnishing and aging for a few months.

My response to that is very simple. If you think the sound of a violin when played is different when it is in the white, as opposed to when it is varnished and has had some time to age... what about the difference between the sound of a violin when played and the sound of the plates when you rap your knuckles on them?

Isn't the latter difference even worse, in fact, much, much worse, and many, many times bigger?

So the idea of adjusting on the outside in the white would seem to be attractive, as it converts an utterly hopeless situation into a merely bad one.

And if it is, however, unworkable for other reasons - well, I've already told you my tricky idea of using it to acquire knowledge by building only a prototype violin that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm - sneaky!

This has all the signs of morphing into a "carve the inside first debate.

I must admit that using a catenary chain to carve the inside, closing the box and then "tap" tuning the outside has a certain appeal...

- it automatically takes into account the individuality of the plates.

- it's more convenient than having to open the box to effect any change

- it can be done on a stringed up instrument for immediate feedback.

- I can see our 'tap-toners" publishing desirable front and back tuning charts

- and changes in application of varnish as a fine tuning step

The comment at 1h24 sums it up quite succinctly.

cheers edi

cheers edi

Share this post


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

Maybe that's all we need to know? ;)

My experience is exactly the opposite , starting from a too thick top

it came out that the most significant improvement for my ears was reached thinning "the island"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Quadibloc said:

So the idea of adjusting on the outside in the white would seem to be attractive, as it converts an utterly hopeless situation into a merely bad one.

:)

Defend the use of machines to measure vibratory modes on the one hand
while rejecting the idea of acting on a white instrument under the pretext that we are dealing with "two different animals", says something about our society and how science impacts our relation with our senses.
On the other hand we can also see in this attitude a long continuation of the Pythagorean concepts. The idea that there would be in aesthetics some rational reasons to find, seems to cross centuries and generations

Share this post


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

My experience is exactly the opposite , starting from a too thick top

it came out that the most significant improvement for my ears was reached thinning "the island"

'Maybe this is all we need to know ;)'

This was my answer to Don Noon who seems to be very sceptic from his own experience.

I think I outlined how I would approach the carving from the outside to achieve a controllable result and me too I would start with a too thick top. 

 

Share this post


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

Defend the use of machines to measure vibratory modes on the one hand
while rejecting the idea of acting on a white instrument under the pretext that we are dealing with "two different animals", says something about our society and how science impacts our relation with our senses.

"The use of machines to measure vibratory modes" doesn't seem to me to be something that needs defending. Of course using oscilloscopes and microphones for measuring sound waves in a repeatable and objective way is valid.

What the machines are blind to is the aesthetics of the sound they are measuring.

So the belief that certain old Cremonese instruments sound better, whether or not it is true, is a necessary starting point for choosing the violins to measure. When Dünnwald found that there was a measurable sonic difference between those and quality instruments from the best luthiers at the time he did his work, we learned something.

That "our relation with our senses" is different now that we have alternatives - that we trust a photograph more than an eyewitness account - doesn't seem to me to be a bad thing that needs correction either. Human beings make mistakes and tell lies. Something that can be laid flat on a table for everyone to look at, facts that can't be disputed, have value even when they're incomplete and limited.

But I do agree that a luthier ought to be able to gain a feel for how varnish changes the sound of his instruments. And the scheme I suggested - rejecting finishing instruments from the outside on a different ground, that the end product would be filled with little bumps and hills - avoids the varnish issue altogether.

Adjust one's prototype instrument from the outside, once you have the sound you want, don't varnish it, as it is not for sale anyways. When you adjust the plates of a production instrument, after the initial hollowing-out is done, varnish those plates - and then try to make their tap tones, already in their varnished state, match the tap tones of the unvarnished prototype.

No need to mentally extrapolate from unvarnished to varnished, even if that is doable. No need to mentally translate from the "thunk" of a tap tone to the sound of playing the finished violin. Possibly, however, a need to very carefully listen to subtle characteristics of the "thunk" of the tap tone - as it differs so much from the sound of playing a violin, what is obvious in that sound may be hidden in the tap tone.

As to whether one will need an oscilloscope to help one - well, one tries to avoid that sort of thing because it is expensive and cumbersome. And we have the proof that Stradivari could manage without one. But we can't all be Stradivari, and this isn't something I worry about too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Quadibloc said:

So the idea of adjusting on the outside in the white would seem to be attractive, as it converts an utterly hopeless situation into a merely bad one.

There seems to be an assumption that there is some ideal state to be achieved, and that it is possible by some careful method of thinning that one can shape the sound of an assembled but unvarnished instrument to match this ideal.

I don't believe any of it, but would be happy to examine anyone's evidence to the contrary.

Of course, if you start with plates that you know from experience are too thick, and then shape from the outside, viola, you have proven it works.  To yourself, maybe.  The real test of external tuning would be to see how it compares to instruments (by the same maker) where the final thicknesses are determined as best as possible beforehand.

I do look at taptones as I thin the plates, as one measure of overall plate stiffness, to decide when it's thin enough, in an overall sense.  I also look at the actual thickness, weight, and absolute stiffness measurements too... and could likely do just as well without most of them.

Good wood + good arching + reasonable thickness = good instrument.   Thicker or thinner only determines what character of good instrument you get.  My opinions, currently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My latest violin was made without tapping at all, just to prove to myself that it's possible. It is probably my best violin so far.

BTW I've never been a 'plate tuner'. I don't even record the modes on the finished plates. Only, with this violin I went to the extreme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe we are incorrect in conceptualizing thickness graduating and arching as separate processes.

Any removal of material, as in graduating, also changes the arching. Removal of material from the outside

increases the radius of curvature of the arching thereby softening the arch and removal of material from the inside decreases the radius of curvature thereby stiffening the arch.

I do assume that there is some more ideal state to be achieved by careful adjustment of everything, especially

graduations and arching. These processes are some of the most sensitive, interesting and exciting aspects of

making a violin. Without centuries of patient application of them by instrument makers our poor musicians

would still be beating on rotted hollow logs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, francoisdenis said:

The thincknesses of the edge were my first interesst but I don't get any obvious result on this side. What I noticed for sure is : closer your are to the bridge more effective is the result. Furthermore dispite my effort, I never really managed to change the caracter of the sound but you can efficiently arrange the balance and the homogeneity of the instrument.
Already a usefull beginning

I find the comparison of balancing very interesting. Thank you.

 

From personnal trials, I noticed that once in the ball park of thicknesses, there is a kind of balance of "bridge/central area" vs.  "waist area" (that would be the areas at the latitude between the corners and widest bouts): when one removes wood on one area, the other area needs to be re-balanced. On upper bout and on lower bout, independently. By playing on this balance, the ring mode 5 can become plain or re-gain the upper harmonics . It's a game of: "I was there just one cut of scrapper ago, so I need to re-balance the other area to get back there". It would not be aiming straight at a point, but trying to balance each area to improve the M5 until there is no further improvement and each additional scrapping needs re-balancing to get back where M5 was best. I observed the same with bass-bar shaping.

My personal goal is M5 with upper harmonics (not only loud/distinctive, but charged with something else than a loud bass pan) and whisper sound from the plate when the fingers are stroking the edges of the upper or lower bouts.

The above are just personal observations . Some people with far more experience may have a much better insight!.

Saluti,

sug

 

Share this post


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

Ahhhh....but what is the "Ideal" circumference, wall thickness, species of the perfect hollow log?

You need to copy what Gronkavarius did, as he was the best logmaker ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Don Noon said:

There seems to be an assumption that there is some ideal state to be achieved, and that it is possible by some careful method of thinning that one can shape the sound of an assembled but unvarnished instrument to match this ideal.

I don't believe any of it, but would be happy to examine anyone's evidence to the contrary.

 

I may be misunderstanding what you are saying here.

I don't know if there is one single ideal state, say the sound of the "Lord Wilton" Guarnerius, towards which all violins should aspire.

But I know that some violins are better than others, even if the position of those at the topmost level of the general hierarchy of esteem may be dubious.

Also, thinning plates... changes the shape of the Chladni patterns that you see on them. So that there is more involved than average thickness seems to be a reasonable suspicion. Maybe not a whole lot more - that while one could make a mistake of making a plate with really thin and really thick spots all over, that maybe the ideal plate only has a few simple differences from one with uniform thickness certainly is a possibility.

Since there seem to be many differences between violins of the same average thickness - and only a limited number of choices of wood - it's natural to look where one has the opportunity to introduce a lot of variation. Could it all be pointless? Is there somewhere else to look instead - or, as appears to be your position, is there not really that much to look for; good wood and good craftsmanship will make a good violin, without the need for some complicated secret formula.

Well, I would much prefer to any spooky secret formula simply making adjustments to things that do change the sound until it is right. That doesn't seem to be stepping outside the bounds of proper craftsmanship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very revealing subject.....I don't think you can really judge a violin until it has been played a few years......The idea of tuning up something just off the bench is ridiculous..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Don Noon said:

You need to copy what Gronkavarius did, as he was the best logmaker ever.

That definitely makes the point effectively that if it is alleged that taking a simple approach to violin making, without trying to do anything fancy with thickness gradation, might be claimed as not furthering the cause of progress... then surely it should be considered that Cremona-fetishism is the annihilation of progress.

But while I had a chuckle, I think that progress is still happening on many fronts. If contemporary luthiers aren't acknowledged as beating Stradivari, they're still ahead of Vuillaume. The mystery of Cremona has sparked activity by physical scientists which has been a stimulus to experimentation by luthiers.

It should soon be possible to copy the currently detected and known physical differences in the sound of violins by Stradivari in violins made today. Then what?

Will that sonic feature become less important, once it is no longer associated with the dollar sign?

Or, if it does genuinely make it easier for a player to reach the point where he is getting a good sound from the instrument (I remember seeing it noted that this isn't an unalloyed good thing, as one might have a violin that can't be made to sound anything else but saccharine) will it do what some of Stradivari's most ardent partisans (such as Joseph Silverstein, player of the "ex-Camilla Urso" Guarnerius) have hoped for - boost the cause of music education?

If violins sound like Stradivaris in some measurable respect, and people stop thinking of that as better, of course, the myth might not disappear; some will say they're better in another way that hasn't been measured yet.

But if the result is violins that sound better - adding that component of sound, which has been highly valued, to what is already part of the contemporary luthier's art may allow the areas in which they have already surpassed Stradivari to be better appreciated.

That would be the most exciting possibility of all, that luthiers would no longer be in the shadow of the past, but could go forward combining the virtues of a Stradivarius that are highly sought after with what they can add.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

until it has been played a few years

At least.... and by a good musician....  a solist  at least...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the introduction to the topic. The discussion can only take place if we have an idea of what happens between the instrument in white, the instrument varnished, the instrument played ... But it seems that the members of this forum have more vague preconceived ideas that real experiences to share in this area. So I will not dwell on the experimental protocols I would just say that, in my experience,  improvements that I noticed related to the playability and equality of the instrument and the "openness" of sound specially on the medium strings.
The idea was to correct problems on experimental instruments and the goal  being able to avoid these problems at the very conception of the instrument.

That have been achieve more in refounding my vision of the archings than the thicknesses

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, francoisdenis said:

:)

Defend the use of machines to measure vibratory modes on the one hand
while rejecting the idea of acting on a white instrument under the pretext that we are dealing with "two different animals", says something about our society and how science impacts our relation with our senses.

Well said.:wub:

I am also trying to get rid of all the scientific stuff and data overload.

I am permanently thinking about what I call POSC

process oriented sound construction.

There must be a simple method to do thicknessing from the outside. At least we can say that the thickness puncher is used best for making a uniform thickness. And maybe all what we recognize as graduation is in reality the result of taking away the 'unecessary' materiall from the outside. 

In a practical sense it is very easy on the back but rather time consuming on the top. For making a cross check with the sound it is advisable to keep the string tension on the instrument all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Good wood + good arching + reasonable thickness = good instrument.   Thicker or thinner only determines what character of good instrument you get.  My opinions, currently.

!!!!!!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

This is a very revealing subject.....I don't think you can really judge a violin until it has been played a few years......The idea of tuning up something just off the bench is ridiculous..

 

!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, francoisdenis said:

As I said in the introduction to the topic. The discussion can only take place if we have an idea of what happens between the instrument in white, the instrument varnished, the instrument played ... But it seems that the members of this forum have more vague preconceived ideas that real experiences to share in this area. 

 

One might think about varnish from the inside, adjust from the outside, open instrument to remove the varnish, close and varnish outside. Sounds a bit weird, but might be worth to give it a try (seriously, I am trying to make a joke here)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of mine needed "re-touch" after 2-3 years. I used quite fresh wood and not heat treated, for the top. It had become too bright and had lost it's tone (for my taste). I had complete documentation for all the parameters so there was now fear involved. I scraped ~2,5 g off (wood) mostly from c-bout edges and in the middle and re-varnished it.

WP_20160408_003.thumb.jpg.bf67efece9e50617245b448ba481937c.jpg

WP_20160409_001.thumb.jpg.52db2f72bdae7f90f98631df84ec5446.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

One of mine needed "re-touch" after 2-3 years. I used quite fresh wood and not heat treated, for the top. It had become too bright and had lost it's tone (for my taste). I had complete documentation for all the parameters so there was now fear involved. I scraped ~2,5 g off (wood) mostly from c-bout edges and in the middle and re-varnished it.

WP_20160408_003.thumb.jpg.bf67efece9e50617245b448ba481937c.jpg

WP_20160409_001.thumb.jpg.52db2f72bdae7f90f98631df84ec5446.jpg

 

... AND?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

One of mine needed "re-touch" after 2-3 years. I used quite fresh wood and not heat treated, for the top. It had become too bright and had lost it's tone (for my taste). I had complete documentation for all the parameters so there was now fear involved. I scraped ~2,5 g off (wood) mostly from c-bout edges and in the middle and re-varnished it.

WP_20160408_003.thumb.jpg.bf67efece9e50617245b448ba481937c.jpg

WP_20160409_001.thumb.jpg.52db2f72bdae7f90f98631df84ec5446.jpg

 

I'm curious as to why you chose to regraduate from the outside, rather than taking the front off.

I've had violins stiffen up over a few years, and had to thin them a little. I think spruce can do that, and it seems to coincide with it's letting less light through. I fully expect that many of my instruments will need thinning a bit in years to come. 

I worry that a violin, made to the minimum working thickness when new, might be limited by that as it matures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.