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Andreas Preuss

Purpose of tuning the fingerboard

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On 9/26/2018 at 7:36 AM, FiddleDoug said:

Typically, the finger board gets its final shaping and finishing after it's on the instrument, so how could you tune it before? If you want to play those games, you should probably tune the chin rest as well.

But violins didn't have chin rests when Stradivarius was alive! They did have fingerboards, though.

Although I quite agree that tuning the fingerboard is unlikely to have been the secret of Stradivarius (but it hasn't been tried yet!) I have seen claims that the neck of the violin, since it's involved in several vibrational modes, does need to be tuned somehow.

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47 minutes ago, Quadibloc said:

But violins didn't have chin rests when Stradivarius was alive! They did have fingerboards, though.

Although I quite agree that tuning the fingerboard is unlikely to have been the secret of Stradivarius (but it hasn't been tried yet!) I have seen claims that the neck of the violin, since it's involved in several vibrational modes, does need to be tuned somehow.

Tom Croen has studied the tuning of fingerboards. 

http://tomcroenviolins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/A_Fresh_Look_at_Fingerboards.pdf

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23 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

It's coming in with the new series of artificial finger boards. They have a Titanium truss rod that allows tuning after shaping or re shooting via an allen key in the nut

Jimi Hendrix would appreciate them.:D

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What I really want to know is: If you tune the fingerboard, then you plane the fingerboard, do you save all of the shavings, weigh them, and glue something to the board to re-establish the weight/pitch? 

You know I'm kidding, right?

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15 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

It's coming in with the new series of artificial finger boards. They have a Titanium truss rod that allows tuning after shaping or re shooting via an allen key in the nut

Saves s lot of time and is reversible! Thanks, Melvin, will check it out some time on the future.

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16 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

On a violin with a strong A0 mode (265-280 Hz) it gives more liveliness to c/c# if you split it with a strong B0 mode

Ok.

Now here I need some translation help, because it sounds all Greek to me.

you have a strong A0 mode. Ok.

you have a strong B0 mode ok?

and where do you adjust the frequency of the fingerboard to? In between?

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16 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

On a violin with a strong A0 mode (265-280 Hz) it gives more liveliness to c/c# if you split it with a strong B0 mode

 

34 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Ok.

Now here I need some translation help, because it sounds all Greek to me.

you have a strong A0 mode. Ok.

you have a strong B0 mode ok?

and where do you adjust the frequency of the fingerboard to? In between?

The theory goes that if you tune them to the same frequency, the non-radiating B0 will split the strong-radiating A0 into two smaller peaks.

However, I have never actually seen evidence that it actually does this on a real violin, and my tests have not shown it to occur.

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22 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

 

The theory goes that if you tune them to the same frequency, the non-radiating B0 will split the strong-radiating A0 into two smaller peaks.

However, I have never actually seen evidence that it actually does this on a real violin, and my tests have not shown it to occur.

Thanks for the translation, Don.

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42 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

 

The theory goes that if you tune them to the same frequency, the non-radiating B0 will split the strong-radiating A0 into two smaller peaks.

However, I have never actually seen evidence that it actually does this on a real violin, and my tests have not shown it to occur.

I've seen it demonstrated at Oberlin a couple of times (no spectral display to show what it was doing), and the player and listener impressions were that there was a slight improvement.  Seems like this adjustment might be rather fugitive though.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

 (no spectral display to show what it was doing)

As far as violin vibrations and adjustments go, this is relatively simple and straightforward in its physics, and should be easy to measure if it actually works.  I have been able to measure splitting B1+ with tailpiece vibration and splitting Th max with mass on an afterlength, but as yet haven't been able to measure this one, in spite of several attempts (same result with playing impressions and recorded scales).   

Still, the theory says it might be there... although at this point, any possible benefit appears so minuscule that I wouldn't bother with it.

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B0 can be quite strong if the backplate and B1+ is strong and not too high in frequency (too stiff)

It's easy to "tune" B0 if you know the backplate and the B1+ it will give.

I just choose a FB blank that is 95-100 g with a frequency of 590-610 Hz.

when it is ready (about the right thickness and form) the weight will be ~65 g and give a strong B0 ~ 270-275 Hz

This will automatically split A0

 

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In my instruments the coupling of a0 and b0 modes like described by Schleske lead to a slightly more lively feel of the violin but I would describe the difference as rather homeopathic (is it written like that?). 

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4 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

In my instruments the coupling of a0 and b0 modes like described by Schleske lead to a slightly more lively feel of the violin but I would describe the difference as rather homeopathic (is it written like that?). 

Schleske also discribes finger board "twisting" modes that splits B1+, which is interesting because it could be a stable way to split it and eliminate wolf note. But that is far more difficult.

 

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One of the worst finger boards I have tryid was high dens, very low ringing ebony, I think it was Indian?

 The violin felt dead on lower strings, a new great finger board made quite a difference

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28 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

Can you provide evidence of this?

Sure, sorry about the bad video quality, it's difficult to hold a phone to record and tap at the same time (B0 at the end)

 

 

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One more time...

I took a fiddle with the fingerboard resonance far off of the A0 frequency, and added clay  to the underside to bring it down to match A0.

With my normal spectrum resolution (4096), there was no apparent effect (lower two images, tuned on the left, untuned on the right).  Going up to 16384 resolution (top two images), a slight splitting was visible.  However, the distance between the two peaks is only 9Hz, so both peaks are closest to C#.  Not a big effect, but why not.  Of course, with humidity changes or fingerboard planing, the match would go away.  I may diddle with this some more in the future, but it still doesn't seem like a big deal and not worth much effort.  If I see more like what Peter shows, then I'll reconsider.

832137354_A0split.jpg.79057aad86a49cd75fab1d099d097baf.jpg

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

One more time...

I took a fiddle with the fingerboard resonance far off of the A0 frequency, and added clay  to the underside to bring it down to match A0.

With my normal spectrum resolution (4096), there was no apparent effect (lower two images, tuned on the left, untuned on the right).  Going up to 16384 resolution (top two images), a slight splitting was visible.

Both seem (to me) like rather low resolutions, to see detail. My opinion is that details matter, but I could be wrong.

Peter, is that a smartphone app you are using? if so, which one is it and how much does it cost?

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Splitting a resonance peak by coupling lowers the peak amplitude and spreads the response over a wider frequency range.

One function of the multitude of branches on trees is to prevent large wind induced oscillations that could lead to high stresses that would damage the tree.

Attached is a presentation  "Tree Structure  - Dynamics"  which shows (see slides 23-29) how coupled resonances of the branches reduces the resonance peak heights by adding more and more of them.

The complex interaction of air resonances, body resonances, fingerboard and tailpieces can also have numerous chances of peak splitting which evens out the response of the violin such that overly loud or weak notes are avoided.

Presentation_Dynamic_Loading_of_Trees.pdf

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On 9/27/2018 at 9:22 PM, Don Noon said:

I too find that the sound (and bow response) with a chinrest is far preferable.  If you consider a free beam, the middle will move one way and the ends will move the opposite way.  Adding mass to the ends of the beam (like a chinrest and scroll) will decrease the movement at the ends, reducing the "opposite movement" of the lowest modes.  The frequency will change as well, but the main effect  I think would be changing the mode shape.

The fingerboard mass might act in a somewhat similar manner.  But in any case, I haven't yet found any specific connection between the fingerboard frequency and the frequency response of the violin, so "tuning" the fingerboard (frequency-wise) I do not yet see as being effective.

 

On 9/27/2018 at 5:42 PM, David Burgess said:

:P

It's easy enough to start sticking clay to the sides and underside of a fingerboard, and see what you think. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't,  just like some people prefer the sound of a violin with  a chinrest (like me),  and some prefer it without. (Of course, people who prefer it without are messed up.) :lol:

Don't just listen.... part of it is the response, and the feedback the player gets from the instrument, so you need a fairly good player to assess this.

My half-baked theory on why this can be effective is that one doesn't want to waste energy vibrating parts of the instrument that don't emit significant sound, or don't communicate useful vibration to a part which does, so added stiffness or mass there can be beneficial.

Hi David and Don,

how about the sound between the side mount / across the tailpiece chin rests? I feel the tonal characteristic quite different between these types of chin rests.

I can also notice the difference when I screw the chin rest harder (over the tailpiece type only). My illusion?

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5 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

The complex interaction of air resonances, body resonances, fingerboard and tailpieces can also have numerous chances of peak splitting which evens out the response of the violin such that overly loud or weak notes are avoided.

That certainly sounds like something that would improve the sound of a violin. It may add charm to a violin that the notes don't all sound the same, but notes with very strong resonances, even if they fall short of being wolf tones, and notes that have a dead fundamental, one would think, can't be good things.

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Thanks everyone for contributing to this thread. 

For all what I read so far, adjusting the fingerboard makes rather minimal changes in the sound. It is more like flattening out with a scraper an unevenness only visible under a bright lamp. 

So for all possible sound adjustments it is rather at the end of the priority list.

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