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Woodland

Boxy, honky nasal sound.

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Thank you for your input Michael.  Just to be clear, I am proposing the top is being strengthened not stiffened, and if I miss refererenced earlier that was a mistake.  This may be semantics, but if we refer to embolding the arch, strength is releative and relative to where the force is applied, and I do not see stiffness as such.  Might be a bowmaker thing.

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44 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Martin, can you come up with a new term which refers to the "everythingness" of neck positioning? I must be a French word though, or Jerry is bound to reject it. ;)

"Inclinaison ..."

:P

Or if we want to get all Foucault, maybe "l'être de la manche".

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I am not sure that any of these performance issues can be totally controlled in advance due to the  inconsistency of the materials involved. Add to that the fact that there is no single, ideal sound for a violin at all and it will always be necessary to adjust and fine tune the instrument after it is set up.There are many variables much easier adjusted than the apuis so it makes sense to go with what will be most comfortable to play given the arching and model and use the other variables to get the desired result for that particular violin and or player.

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

For me that word is string angle. You can argue about whether it's important or not, and which angle is "right" but the top of the bridge is where the rubber meets the road on this problem. What it is, how it gets there, which parameters you adjust to get what you want, those are all variables, but string angle is the victim of all of these changes, not a cause, and the others are all causes.Tonal results are a combination of the string angle and the other changes you make in other things to get there have their individual effects on that and on other things as well. 

For example, I'm not certain that raising the saddle height and raising appui have the same effect on tone, though they might have the same effect on string angle. Likewise for any other individual variable. So string angle doesn't sum up the tonal effects, but it's still a sum of all of the other adjustements, a victim, not a cause--the sum of all the other changes.

No one talks about bridge height much. . . . . another interesting problem. I've never just kept raising appui, saddle height, and bridge height while maintaining the same string angle. I have suspicions about possible results, but they're not based on experience.

I made an experimental viola with a bolted on adjustable neck.  The treaded bolt could slide up and down in a slot in the top block with a sliding nut so the over stand height could be adjusted.  I also made slightly tapered shims that could be inserted under the neck heel  for independently adjusting the string angle.

The bottom block had a vertical threaded bolt tail cord anchor that could be screwed in and out  to adjust the "nut" height.

After trying lots of different adjustment combinations I eventually concluded this activity was an excellent pacifier for viola players. 

Adjustable-overstand.jpg

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2 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

For me that word is string angle. You can argue about whether it's important or not...

No one talks about bridge height much. . . . . another interesting problem.

Not directly aimed at this quote, but there are a lot of folks here waving their arms frantically about forces and physics, which bear near-zero relation to the stuff I'm familiar with.  It's a new year, and nothing seems to have changed. 

I did a test of radical saddle height variation, which changed the string angle over the bridge radically, with less-than-radical results (which theory predicts).  David Burgess mentioned a similar test, but neglected to mention the results here.

There could be some second-order stuff going on with string angle, overstand, and saddle height, but there's nothing in the physics I know that supports a major effect on tone.  Just to be clear... I don't discount highly experienced opinions on subtle changes in this regard, and can think of some second-order effects that could be observable.

Bridge height is the opposite... theory (and my limited experience) point to huge tonal/playability variations possible here.

 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

 Just to be clear... I don't discount highly experienced opinions on subtle changes in this regard, and can think of some second-order effects that could be observable.

Thank you Don for the input and the caveat; I would hate to be in the position of believing science or my lying eyes (ears).:D

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

Not directly aimed at this quote, but there are a lot of folks here waving their arms frantically about forces and physics, which bear near-zero relation to the stuff I'm familiar with.  It's a new year, and nothing seems to have changed. 

I did a test of radical saddle height variation, which changed the string angle over the bridge radically, with less-than-radical results (which theory predicts).  David Burgess mentioned a similar test, but neglected to mention the results here.

There could be some second-order stuff going on with string angle, overstand, and saddle height, but there's nothing in the physics I know that supports a major effect on tone.  Just to be clear... I don't discount highly experienced opinions on subtle changes in this regard, and can think of some second-order effects that could be observable.

Bridge height is the opposite... theory (and my limited experience) point to huge tonal/playability variations possible here.

 

 

 

 

Actually I did really take that on board. 

It led me to realise that a lot of what I thought of as relating to string angle actually relates to the amount of wood in the bridge (which i now regard as super-important) and the feeling of tension or slackness in the strings (which I regard as having a major impact on player perception of tone).

I thought your experiment was great, but I also wasn't satisfied that your recordings told enough of a story. I believe that if I had been playing the violin with the string angle modified, it might have felt (and therefore sounded) very different to me, particularly as regards 1. how stable the bow felt on the strings, 2. how consistent the notes were, particularly intonation in double-stopping and 3. how the high harmonic content was affected.

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Even if "Physics" is telling something, I'm pretty sure there is somekind of a fine threshold in the angle/nut placement. This depends also a lot on top arch and how a particular violin is constructed. I think of a sailing board when you pull up the sail, there is a spot when it's not difficult to pull it up.

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35 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I thought your experiment was great, but I also wasn't satisfied that your recordings told enough of a story. I believe that if I had been playing the violin with the string angle modified, it might have felt (and therefore sounded) very different to me, particularly as regards 1. how stable the bow felt on the strings, 2. how consistent the notes were, particularly intonation in double-stopping and 3. how the high harmonic content was affected.

Martin, I agree. During our experiment at Oberlin, the changes with differences in string angle were much more apparent to the players than to the listeners. The violin played and behaved very differently as the string angle changed (no changes to the bridge), and so did the technique required to get the most out of the fiddle.

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4 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Martin, during our experiment at Oberlin, the changes with differences in string angle were much more apparent to the players than to the listeners. The violin played and behaved very differently as the string angle changed (no changes to the bridge), and so did the technique required to get the most out of the fiddle.

That makes a lot of sense to me.

And of course, ultimately a listener is always listening to a player, not to a violin. 

So even if the violin "sounded the same" to a listener when the string angle was hugely reduced, it would be a different story if they had to judge 2 performances of a demanding piece by an accomplished player.

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I've come to believe that the best approach for adjustments is to attack interface perceptions rather than tonal results. Once you clear impediments out of the way, most players are satisfied with their instrument, and tonal questions often fall out of the way, as long as they were matter of taste. So what I look for is the things that might cause the player to stop and change his attack or bowing to fix some issue that could turn into a sound issue--noisy or slow attack,  lack of separation, strings or individual notes acting differently from others, that sort of thing. These are all things that cause the player to mentally reset what they're doing to deal with a local problem. Take that away, and everything is happier.

Then, as Martin says, the performance improves because the path is smoother.

Along the way I am of course looking for things I don't like to hear and fixing those--I don't mean to minimize that part of it, but those things seem to bother my players less than what they feel. Plus it seems to be that as gross problems are ironed out, everything gets tonally better from the outside, perhaps because the instrument's total efficiency is being increased once the impediments have been lopped off. I guess adjustment is a holistic problem as I deal with it.

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Getting back to Jerry's  conceptualization of the overstand as a "lever"...If I am picturing this correctly, this lever variable affects the  location and direction of the force exerted by neck root on the upper block (and plates).   Countering the force from the neck root is the glue joints between the upper block and plates and between plate edges and ribs/linings.

The lower the appui, the more the force is directed lower on the block (and more effectively countered by a combination of the glue joint between upper block and BOTH plates).

  The higher the appui, the more the force is directed towards the top of the block (and top plate).    How much of this increased force is transmitted to the free plate - thereby "strengthening the arch - would be tough to measure and could vary with the strength of the glue joints.   And, do all arches need more strengthening?

And, yes, I am picturing  the nut being raised when the overstand is raised (to keep standard bridge height).

EDIT   On further reflection, I now see that the force of the neck root on the body is countered by the entire box assembly (plates and rib assembly), not just glue joints.

 

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Mostly adjustment is about how the instrument feels to the player and not the sound.  As was mentioned, once problems are dealt with and you can get feedback from the player through markers in the sound, how they are interacting with the instrument, and environmental changes since their last good instrument days, the sound takes care of itself.  Of course I am usually dealing with instruments that the player knows intimately, so their comfort level goes way up when things are starting to work well again.  

On a side note, this is one thing that always bothered me about the acoustical end of things....very little I have seen is aimed at the interaction between player and instrument.  As Don mentioned, the physics do not account for so many of the experiences we all are familiar with, so why doesn’t the focus change?  It is hard to see a human reaction from a bridge hammer.

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1 hour ago, Brad H said:

 The higher the appui, the more the force is directed towards the top of the block (and top plate).  

Yes, the higher the appui (such a disgusting word :lol: ), the greater the end-to-end compressive force on the top. Imagine an overstand of 100 mm, with the string tension applied to that long a lever. You'd probably get a large initial increase in the top arching height.

1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

I've come to believe that the best approach for adjustments is to attack interface perceptions rather than tonal results.

That's pretty much what I do as well. And generally, I find that when an instrument is working and feeling the best, sounding its best will have already dropped into the bag.

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13 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

On a side note, this is one thing that always bothered me about the acoustical end of things....very little I have seen is aimed at the interaction between player and instrument.  As Don mentioned, the physics do not account for so many of the experiences we all are familiar with, so why doesn’t the focus change?  It is hard to see a human reaction from a bridge hammer.

I think it's because knowing what the player is experiencing is kind of a dark art, very difficult and time consuming to learn, and impossible to fully measure (at least so far).

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

I think it's because knowing what the player is experiencing is kind of a dark art, very difficult and time consuming to learn, and impossible to fully measure (at least so far).

Fully measure; sounds like rocket science.

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6 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Fully measure; sounds like rocket science.

I once had a rocket which was partly filled with water, and partly filled with compressed air. It would descend on a parachute. How about you?

Probably much too dangerous for "kids today". ;)

Geez, how is anyone supposed to learn anything, without being seriously injured a time or two? :lol:

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6 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I once had a rocket which was partly filled with water, and partly filled with compressed air. It would descend on a parachute. How about you?

Probably much too dangerous for "kids today". ;)

Geez, how is anyone supposed to learn anything, without being seriously injured a time or two? :lol:

Hell, I had rockets with flame and engines.  Used to replace the parachutes with back powder and glue on the nose cones.......it is a wonder I still have most of my fingers and had no prison time.:ph34r:

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1 hour ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

.....

 

Melvin,

What is your take on the effect of changes in overstand height on tone or on the box itself?  

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3 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

.....

 

 

1 hour ago, Brad H said:

Melvin,

What is your take on the effect of changes in overstand height on tone or on the box itself?  

Aren’t the five dots pretty self explanatory?

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6 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

 

Aren’t the five dots are pretty self explanatory?

Well...if it had been 2, 4, or 6 dots, all would be clear.   When I saw 5 dots, I said to myself,  that's "odd":P

And, I still hope to hear Melvin's input on the topic.

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8 hours ago, Brad H said:

Melvin,

What is your take on the effect of changes in overstand height on tone or on the box itself?  

I was hoping we could all become a bit more precise with the language.

The changes that Jerry has been positing (strengthening to the arch etc) are due to raising up the nut position, not increasing the overstand.

If you leave the nut where it is relative to the plane of the body and simply change the overstand, there is no change to the forces.

If you move the nut up but leave the overstand as it is, then all the changes that Jerry is talking about will happen.

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