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Urban Luthier

T-Nut on Viola

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I'm setting up a viola with a cello style pegbox using at t-nut. I was inspired by the Archinto viola I saw in the flesh this summer at the RAM. Carving the scroll was a lot of fun. Long story short, I really didn't think the setup through.

The nut on the Archinto is about 10 mm and the t-part across the peg box is another 6 mm so the result is the strings actually dig into the T part of the nut possibly even through to the pegbox itself! See the photos below.

My question is this, is there anything that can be done to minimize this before I finalize things? Possibly Pare back the slope of the peg box before I install the T part of the nut?

I decided half way through to do this in baroque setup (with a morticed neck) although this shouldn't affect the the nut

Any guidance would be helpful!

 

archinto scroll 1.jpg

archinto scroll 2.jpg

IMG_20181123_171358141.jpg

_DSF6047.jpg

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What exactly is different with the original, assuming it doesn't have this problem? Would be my first question.

From here I'd say it becomes a choice of the lesser evil.

A. Cut away from the peg box and T part.

B. Have the stings start to drop later on the actual nut (which seems quite wide).

C. Relocating the pegs is probably not an option.

Maybe a combination of A & B?

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thanks for all your advice -- I will likely pare back the bottom of the peg box and see where this takes me. This isn't a big deal as I haven't installed the T portion of the nut. Wont know for sure until I get it all together

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8 minutes ago, Conor Russell said:

I think that if I were making a baroque  viola, I'd abandon  the  extended nut, and bring the fingerboard to the pegbox shoulders.

if i make another baroque viola with cello-style box, I will likely do what you suggest

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So why are some Strad violas set up with this long nut while others aren't?
It looks like the MacDonald and Cassevetti have shorter nuts while the Archinto and Medici have long ones.
The T section varies as well.  The Tuscan-Medici has a much shorter T section. 680758572_ScreenShot2018-11-23at11_41_14PM.thumb.png.62152f2c2b20ef3c08035059ef7bc82a.png

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3 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

So why are some Strad violas set up with this long nut while others aren't?

Probably to alter the vibrating string length.

It also moves the fingers away from the pegbox shoulders, which invariably can be an annoyance.

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8 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

So why are some Strad violas set up with this long nut while others aren't?
It looks like the MacDonald and Cassevetti have shorter nuts while the Archinto and Medici have long ones.
The T section varies as well.  The Tuscan-Medici has a much shorter T section. 680758572_ScreenShot2018-11-23at11_41_14PM.thumb.png.62152f2c2b20ef3c08035059ef7bc82a.png

As noted above the T nut is to allow clearance for the left hand so it doesn't bump into the checks of the pegbox when when playing in first and more importantly half position. 

Looking at these pictures of  the other strad violas it is possible the bottom of the pegbox wall was pared back during conversion to help overcome the issue I've run into by copying the Archinto setup. Something I'll likely do

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1 hour ago, Christopher Jacoby said:

Without that T nut, it’s hard to play in first position. Your hand has a hard time resting high enough to comfortably place first fingers in tune

Maybe I have skinny fingers, but I've never found this to be the case personally. 

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I spent a few min paring back the bottom face of the pegbox wall to about 4 mm. Kind of in between the Medici and Cassevetii shown above. Hopefully it will be enough to allow the strings to clear. Wont know for sure until i do the setup.

Is the current setup of the Archinto Hill's work? I'm sure there is a logical reason for it, but it seems a bit odd to cut grooves though the top of the t nut into the pegbox itself for the strings to ride. 

IMG_20181124_122903580.thumb.jpg.efe4b4fce633fcea4ab69f3c411bb3bd.jpg

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Yes, the T nut is used to reduce the string length or to move the left hand away from the uncomfortable (for many players at least) shoulders of the cello type scroll, or both, as some here mentioned.

Sometimes a part of fingerboard is sawed in its place and a T nut is installed in order to reduce the string length. 

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1 hour ago, Urban Luthier said:

I spent a few min paring back the bottom face of the pegbox wall to about 4 mm. Kind of in between the Medici and Cassevetii shown above. Hopefully it will be enough to allow the strings to clear. Wont know for sure until i do the setup.

 

That's the reason why I like to have the holes already drilled at this stage, so I can install the pegs (not to the final measure), to avoid unwelcome surprises at the stage of the final set up where the work to remedy would be more complex and time consuming.

I do not like the unknowns....B)

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2 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:
That's the reason why I like to have the holes already drilled at this stage, so I can install the pegs (not to the final measure), to avoid unwelcome surprises at the stage of the final set up where the work to remedy would be more complex and time consuming.
I do not like the unknowns....B)

Well it has been a good learning experience nevertheless (this is my 3rd instrument).

I will look at drilling the peg holes before I install the neck. next challenge will be to figure out how to map them in this rather unusual configuration. The C peg will likely need to be higher than the centre line

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15 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

 The C peg will likely need to be higher than the centre line

 

Almost surely, otherwise it is almost inevitable that the C string will touch the T-nut.

On my first viola with cello jaws, despite the peg 1 mm above the centerline it happened to me anyway, but I simply left it so, rounding well the point of contact, it works anyway but aesthetically it's a bit odd.

This viola entered the final at the Cremona Triennale competition (1991), so it must not have been penalized much by this detail, or maybe yes, because it did not win the gold:D

Now I do not make the cello jaws anymore, problem solved.....:)

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The Turtis model Violas were always chalenging re. „T nuts“. Turtis wanted a scroll with „Cello“ shoulders, but was petrified that the shoulders would be „in the way“ when playing in the 1st. Position. This was an irrational worry in my view, since 1st. Position is a good Inch down the fingerboard. I would have thought that on a new viola, the best antidote would be to make the neck the right length, so that a „T nut“ is not required. If the strings fowl on the back of the „T“, one may get a little wiggle room by making a thicker fingerboard, but I think I would question „why T-nut" at all.

I showed a Richardson-Tertis modell of my fathers,with a complicated T-nut by Jacobus filius Wilf here

 

 

 

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On 11/24/2018 at 3:12 PM, jacobsaunders said:

The Turtis model Violas were always chalenging re. „T nuts“. Turtis wanted a scroll with „Cello“ shoulders, but was petrified that the shoulders would be „in the way“ when playing in the 1st. Position. This was an irrational worry in my view, since 1st. Position is a good Inch down the fingerboard. I would have thought that on a new viola, the best antidote would be to make the neck the right length, so that a „T nut“ is not required. If the strings fowl on the back of the „T“, one may get a little wiggle room by making a thicker fingerboard, but I think I would question „why T-nut" at all.

I showed a Richardson-Tertis modell of my fathers,with a complicated T-nut by Jacobus filius Wilf here

I think it is more half position where the paranoia comes from. Plus the fact that the chin of the scroll on the baroque originals sits almost a cm below the line of the nut. (Although Antoine Tamestit seems to get along ok with the Mahler strad which is set up this way)

You are right of course the easiest thing would have been to do a violin style pegbox on a correctly proportioned neck -- which would have obviated the need for a t-nut altogether. I just liked the look of the cello-style pegbox and wanted to give it a try

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I had quite a few eye rolling reactions on my Conte Vitale pegbox "reincarnation", from the customers, altough they all said that thay do not have any particular problems in 1.st p. 

Anyway, I did it on 2 of my violas and stoped. I make "violin-style pegbox"  now on large and small ones. But I do like it, I must admit.

140518459_ViolaAG17scrollsidel.thumb.jpg.b355dcd034d1450288e6304cd6c09195.jpg1476064194_17AGfrontscroll.thumb.jpg.92c9ec4ba74e13641f4722f8be7eac90.jpg225141724_17AGbackscroll.thumb.jpg.c9b3652314f0c99b6ab1127e76eca5db.jpg

 

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