Sign in to follow this  
germain

Arch protector... how necessary is it?

Recommended Posts

My luthier is a big fan of arch protectors. Pretty much all violins that I have restored with him are fitted with that little stack of cardboard. He even places a mark on the fingerboard so you place the arch protector to its exact location. I am very curios about your thought and input on this...

019P28161.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried it before.  As a player, I found my violin needed extra 30 mins to “warm-up” after using this.  (The response of my violin slows down).

My guess is, the extra pressure exert altered the tightness of the sound post. My violin did sound like having a “too tight” SP before warm-up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, germain said:

My luthier is a big fan of arch protectors. Pretty much all violins that I have restored with him are fitted with that little stack of cardboard. He even places a mark on the fingerboard so you place the arch protector to its exact location. I am very curios about your thought and input on this...

019P28161.jpg

What on earth does this contraption achieve?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

17 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

What on earth does this contraption achieve?

They're supposed to keep the neck from pulling up and causing the fingerboard to sink....  I use something like this when my instruments are in the case, but mine have some fairly dense foam covered with felt (so as not to scratch the varnish).  I  can't prove that they're effective, but in more than five decades of playing I've never had the neck sink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Kat Dunham said:

 

They're supposed to keep the neck from pulling up and causing the fingerboard to sink....  I use something like this when my instruments are in the case, but mine have some fairly dense foam covered with felt (so as not to scratch the varnish).  I  can't prove that they're effective, but in more than five decades of playing I've never had the neck sink.

Thank you. So I imagine that they are used by people who like to travel with their instruments a lot? Like to differing climate regions? 

Or is it mostly to keep the neck from falling from string pressure? In which case the instrument is poorly constructed.

If it's a matter of humidity, then wouldn't the wood warp regardless if the protector is in there, only to "release" once the apparatus is removed?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like cases arranged like that.  If something falls on it, it's got a way to go before it kills the violin.  Unless something's going to fall on it from below they all should be like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this really going to stop neck sagging? Dense foam or steel, if the neck is weak the fingerboard is not stiff enough to hold it. In such case board will bend or can separate from neck, am I wrong?

If it is to prevent change of geometry because top arch is weak and wants to bulge up (just about at the place where the protector is placed) it won't stop the other side unde tailpiece bulge and also may leave damage to varnish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

 

Or is it mostly to keep the neck from falling from string pressure? In which case the instrument is poorly constructed.

Instruments with poor archings or which are very thin are most susceptible, but any instrument will distort under sustained string pressure,  particularly under high humidity conditions.

1 hour ago, HoGo said:

If it is to prevent change of geometry because top arch is weak and wants to bulge up (just about at the place where the protector is placed) it won't stop the other side unde tailpiece bulge and also may leave damage to varnish.

Correct, it won't do anything for bulging under the tailpiece. A smooth underside to the arching protector, covered with something like waxed paper, will usually eliminate or minimize varnish damage,  provided that it is removed or moved periodically, as with a normal playing schedule. One probably wouldn't want to use one with super-soft varnishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It works well as long as it is in. Mine are made of multiple layers of card stock so it is very dense when the neck exerts pressure on it. I have not noticed any problem with the sound. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the principle but I am curious if this is something that is really necessary or recommended for most people.  Living in an arid climate, I’m mostly concerned with cracks rather than distortion.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we addressing the idea that the wood will still want to warp even with one in? 

Like the same tensions building up, just putting pressure on the protector, which essentially holds back the warp. Kind of like a levy that is filling up, ready to burst if not for the levy, but the water is still all there. 

Or am I just making things up? In which case throw me in the bin. 

Share this post


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

Are we addressing the idea that the wood will still want to warp even with one in? 

 

Reducing or redistributing some of the stresses will reduce the rate of warpage. It's not a cure-all, but can be extremely helpful in environments with high humidity, where the owner doesn't control the humidity levels. While wood will become less resistant to "creep" as moisture content increases, the curve gets much steeper when relative humidity levels rise above about 80%. I recommend a maximum of 60%, but dangit, people don't always follow my orders. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still struggling to see this as reasonable or meaningful.  Seems unlikely to significantly help in the way desired. And very likely to lead to unintended damages.

 

??? Trying to have an open mind, but my instincts are just rebelling about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Still struggling to see this as reasonable or meaningful.  Seems unlikely to significantly help in the way desired. And very likely to lead to unintended damages.

 

??? Trying to have an open mind, but my instincts are just rebelling about this.

Shops in more humid areas have much more experience with this. For example, the humidity here right now is 96%.

It seemed like almost every violin out of the Meonnig shop came with one. The humidity in Philadelphia right now is 91%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Japan most of the shops have arch protectors that are made of leather. They keep different thickness pieces on hand and cut and glue them together.

Going from Seattle to Kyoto in summer the neck will drop so far that it needs a reset. If the arch protector is in place whent he violin is not being played, it doesn't. I think that unless your violin travels to very differeng climates or it is very thin and unstable that you don't need to worry with one of these. 

Normally graduated instrument will drop if they go to a place that is very humid, and the arch protectors seem to keep that from happening so quickly. They probably can't stop movement completely, but they will keep you 3.5 and 5.5 string heights from becoming 5 and 7 overnight, which I have seen happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, duane88 said:

keep you 3.5 and 5.5 string heights from becoming 5 and 7 overnight, which I have seen happen.

I have a large, old, highly arched viola, it could be been made into a barometer. Have to keep an extra close eye on humidity for that one, fortunately its easy where I live now compared to the East.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope they develop one for people, so I can slow down my "distortion".

However I have found "the secret", which of course is not curtate cycloids with their isochronous vibratory symmetry, and it's not a cantanery curve, the secret, which apparently only comes with age, is to follow the outline of my ever expanding belly and to proportionately transfer that "arch" to my instruments. 

Which of course makes these devices absolutely useless as my arching is practically bullet proof, which ironically has the complete opposite effect when this "arch" of my protruding belly is somehow "oscillated".

You see, they don't call it the belly for nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, duane88 said:

Normally graduated instrument will drop if they go to a place that is very humid, and the arch protectors seem to keep that from happening so quickly. They probably can't stop movement completely, but they will keep you 3.5 and 5.5 string heights from becoming 5 and 7 overnight, which I have seen happen.

Are you sure it is neck that "drops" and not the arch rising because of the humidity? That is pretty much inevitable with large changes.

I work on mandolins with very stiff necks rigidly attached to quite massive neck blocks and certainly the arch goes up and down with humidity swings, while the neck geometry doesn't change at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is certainly disagreement concerning the wisdom of these gadgets.  I think of them as a remedy for the problem rather than a cure, but in my experience they do have some use in prevention... and can buy some time before a player is faced with a reset or a graft... but (only) for some instruments.  Lately, when I do make one, I use a cork center and a layer of card stock (covered with a slick plastic skin).  I still have some the old leather ones made by one of the larger violin houses in Chicago during the '60s... I keep thinking I'll have more made, but I don't have need for them often enough to bother.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't it be better to just store a violin with its strings loosened? 

And if one is storing a violin for a long period without strings, should the post be dropped, too?

Share this post


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

I hope they develop one for people, so I can slow down my "distortion".

However I have found "the secret", which of course is not curtate cycloids with their isochronous vibratory symmetry, and it's not a cantanery curve, the secret, which apparently only comes with age, is to follow the outline of my ever expanding belly and to proportionately transfer that "arch" to my instruments. 

Which of course makes these devices absolutely useless as my arching is practically bullet proof, which ironically has the complete opposite effect when this "arch" of my protruding belly is somehow "oscillated".

You see, they don't call it the belly for nothing.

I have never met you. And we both might be getting pretty close to the age of "jelly belly syndrome". But I would presume that your body doesn't have a fingerboard, under which one can wedge various stuff to tweak the belly shape. ;)

5 hours ago, HoGo said:

Are you sure it is neck that "drops" and not the arch rising because of the humidity? That is pretty much inevitable with large changes.

I work on mandolins with very stiff necks rigidly attached to quite massive neck blocks and certainly the arch goes up and down with humidity swings, while the neck geometry doesn't change at all.

To me, it seems to be a combination of both on violins through cellos. I haven't yet learned to solve the problem of top deformation (aside from making some arching and thicknessing recommendations which seem to contribute to a reduction).

1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

Wouldn't it be better to just store a violin with its strings loosened? 

And if one is storing a violin for a long period without strings, should the post be dropped, too?

Yes, a reduction in string tension would be a good thing for long-term storage, in my opinion. That's what the conservators do with the Paganini Guarneri.

Dropping the post too? I'd say that this would depend on whether the post (and post positioning) is moving things back in the direction of the original arching shapes, or making things worse. Could be one or the other.

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.