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Mat Roop

How to create a growly violin

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Working on a family heirloom, cheaper than cheap, violin. The desire is for a deeper, more growly, tone.
What specific things can I do to move the violin towards that effect? 
The top is off right now, and I will be installing a new bass bar. back thickness at the center area is way thin.... I do not plan on a patch to build it up.... as per previous advice.
 Thanks for your thoughts... Mat

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9 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

You can go a long way with good set up.  6.5 post, plenty of tension, good bridge width, good neck set measurements, poiriette, proper after length, and good strings.

Hello Jerry.

It looks very familiar to me, as there are not many more things that you could do without having plates off.

Anyway, if I understand correctly - the point is to get deeper tone - to me it means 'more complex'. And based on your experience - wouldn't 6,5 post kill the complexity of tone? I would be cautious with it even knowing about plates thicknesses, however you can always make it 0,5 thinner easily.

I had once a violin to set up with soundpost way too fat, which clearly killed the sound, made it flat and not resonant at all. After making a new one (thinner) post the sound alived and later actions (brigde, strings, after length) was easier than previously.

Although all things you've mentioned are important, one thing seems crucial to me in relation to complexity of tone - position of sound post (not too close, not too far) what on 'cheaper' violin shoudn't be very difficult to find.

Could you please explain what 'poiriette' means? Never had a France-origin teacher.

Best regards

Jaro

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16 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

What specific things can I do to move the violin towards that effect? 
 

  I had a cheaper than cheap once.  I used a dremel with a sanding attachment to thin the ribs carefully.  They were every bit of 2mm+ thick.  

  Maybe after you get done with the bassbar you could give the neck angle a mm extra height before reassembly.  Might need a new bridge if you do that but there will be more downforce at the bridge location.

  I removed wood inside from the bout areas of the belly until I could see light shinning through with the help of a light bulb.  About a 60w bulb I think.  A higher watt bulb would allow safer, less wood removal.  A lower watt bulb will enable more wood removal with the risk of going through the other side, ruining the spruce.  Notice I said spruce - the lights won't shine through the maple or at least I haven't went that thin to find out - don't worry about the maple, be safe.   

  After all was said and done I did get an easier playing fiddle but did not get the growling you're after.  Or I haven't played it enough to see if a growling sound can be had.  Put that on the to do list.

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5 hours ago, ______ said:

Hello Jerry.

It looks very familiar to me, as there are not many more things that you could do without having plates off.

Anyway, if I understand correctly - the point is to get deeper tone - to me it means 'more complex'. And based on your experience - wouldn't 6,5 post kill the complexity of tone? I would be cautious with it even knowing about plates thicknesses, however you can always make it 0,5 thinner easily.

I had once a violin to set up with soundpost way too fat, which clearly killed the sound, made it flat and not resonant at all. After making a new one (thinner) post the sound alived and later actions (brigde, strings, after length) was easier than previously.

Although all things you've mentioned are important, one thing seems crucial to me in relation to complexity of tone - position of sound post (not too close, not too far) what on 'cheaper' violin shoudn't be very difficult to find.

Could you please explain what 'poiriette' means? Never had a France-origin teacher.

Best regards

Jaro

A lot of things there. Poiriette is neck tilt, setting the neck .5 mm higher on the G side proportionately increases the downward force on the lower strings.

I have never had the experience that a 6.5 post limits the complexity of tone, and to the contrary, using thinner material can move things toward flaccid.  The point being more to get everything on a level playing field where variables are known; then once you have the familiar change things in predictable, repeatable ways to shape results.

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2 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

A lot of things there. Poiriette is neck tilt, setting the neck .5 mm higher on the G side proportionately increases the downward force on the lower strings.

I have never had the experience that a 6.5 post limits the complexity of tone, and to the contrary, using thinner material can move things toward flaccid.  The point being more to get everything on a level playing field where variables are known; then once you have the familiar change things in predictable, repeatable ways to shape results.

Well said.

To be precise, the violin I've mentioned was a german origin child violin in 1/8 size with quite narrow bouts. Very tricky to set up and introverted one. Diameter of sound post was about 6.25.

Regards

Jaro

Edit: Thanks a lot for the explanation :)

Edited by ______
update

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On 11/9/2018 at 11:41 AM, Mat Roop said:

The desire is for a deeper, more growly, tone.
What specific things can I do to move the violin towards that effect? 

To give specifics, it would be helpful to know more specifics of the current state... weight of the top, taptones, and perhaps signature modes of the (previously) assembled instrument.

Generally, however, thinning out the top would be a way to get a deeper tone, unless it's already too thin.  Growly has more to do with middle frequencies above the signature modes, and IMO is more related to the wood and arching, and not so easy to get if it isn't there already.

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11 hours ago, Don Noon said:

To give specifics, it would be helpful to know more specifics of the current state... weight of the top, taptones, and perhaps signature modes of the (previously) assembled instrument.

Generally, however, thinning out the top would be a way to get a deeper tone, unless it's already too thin.  Growly has more to do with middle frequencies above the signature modes, and IMO is more related to the wood and arching, and not so easy to get if it isn't there already.

This is why I was asking what model is was made after, and how big the body is. Some models are much harder to get the tone he's after.

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Hi Everyone... good ideas! Without referring to each response... here is the general lay of the land...

The violin has a strad label, has a 12.5mm high arch, Ribs are 32mm high X1.2 mm and no linings…. But has upper and lower blocks. New linings have been installed.

The top is generally about 3.5mm thick overall except 3.8 at the bridge area. weight of the top without bass bar is 88 gm.. I plan on installing a standard spruce bass bar... not sure of the final shape. Arching is 12.5 mm high.

the back upper bouts are about 3.7mm and lower bouts 3.8 both gradually tapering down to 2.8 in the middle. 

 

Thanks for your thoughts and advice! Cheers, Mat

 

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My idea of growl would be the typical DG sound on the G and D string. Here is a masterclass by Robert McDuffie who plays the 1735 Ladenburg DG. Charissa's violin growls too, but alot less.. (but i could be wrong)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=250

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=550

 

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4 hours ago, Emilg said:

My idea of growl would be the typical DG sound on the G and D string. Here is a masterclass by Robert McDuffie who plays the 1735 Ladenburg DG. Charissa's violin growls too, but alot less.. (but i could be wrong)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=250

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=550

 

Wow.  What a teacher!

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I tend to think that a reasonable center back mass has something to do with this capacity in a violin.  And that having that mass less connected/dampened in to the sides also contributes.

(Just tuitions. I can't defend these ideas.)

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3 hours ago, l33tplaya said:

Wow.  What a teacher!

This looks alot less scary than those old Heifetz masterclasses :rolleyes: and also. what a violin!

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14 hours ago, Emilg said:

My idea of growl would be the typical DG sound on the G and D string. Here is a masterclass by Robert McDuffie who plays the 1735 Ladenburg DG. Charissa's violin growls too, but alot less.. (but i could be wrong)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=250

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEKtZm_izk&feature=youtu.be&t=550

 

I think his violin has a low density spruce belly and hers is medium density... (but i could be wrong)

 

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Those examples just sound like normal good violins to me.  Personally, I  thought by growly you meant rough and grainy, maybe good for a style of fiddling. 

At the beginning of Manfio's bench thread there's an example of a fiddle with a thick sound with a lot of body to it.  My favorite fiddle at the moment has a viola-like quality on the middle strings sometimes, kind of like errrk errrk.    It has a thinnish top, like Don was suggesting, but doesn't have any problems from it.  It's a normal size fiddle.

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You are right Bill... The fiddle belongs to a first class PEI fiddler, and the way he described it was he likes a deeper gritty tone as the opposite of a tinny tone.

From what I am hearing, a thinner top is what I need to get to. On an existing instrument I am always concerned about going too thin... But I think I will shoot for about 2.8mm overall and 3.0 at the post.

 Cheers, Mat

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On 11/11/2018 at 7:06 AM, Mat Roop said:

The top is generally about 3.5mm thick overall except 3.8 at the bridge area. weight of the top without bass bar is 88 gm.. I plan on installing a standard spruce bass bar... not sure of the final shape. Arching is 12.5 mm high.

the back upper bouts are about 3.7mm and lower bouts 3.8 both gradually tapering down to 2.8 in the middle. 

88g without a bar is extremely  heavy for a top, but then 12.5mm is extremely low for the arch.  I have experimented with lower arching, and can't say I have had anything work decently below 14mm.  And then, the back graduations are screwy, too.

So, who knows.  I'd give it a shot to thin out the top to below 70g, put in a relatively stiff bar, and hope for the best.  The taptones as you thin might give some clues about what the spruce wood properties are, and suggest some place to stop thinning.  Or not.

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For the record... the dimensions of the top are Length 351mm; Upper bout 164; Center 108; lower bout 205mm. 

I have it thinned to generally 2.8mm and 3mm at the post area weighing 77gm ... So that is still heavy considering the over all dimensions are a tad on the small side.... compared to the  Strad Messiah.

More scraping:)... I'll try to focus taking more off the edges closer to where the rib liner inner edge would be... I think I can get it to under 70 gm. 

 Thanks again for your good advice Don... Cheers, Mat

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