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LLDub

Fingerboard Angle Last 300 Years

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Give or take a month or so.

Has there been a trend over time to an increased angle for the fingerboard relative to the top plate?    I believe I understand that is the case.

If so, has this been quantified in a way that would help date violins, given an original neck?  Also, if so, are their countries of origin in which these changes were greater or lesser?

Thanks.

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See Roger Hargrave's website for his articles "Evolutionary Road" and "Period of Adjustment". Great articles from a trustworthy authority. 

Short answer - things have gotten a bit 'steeper' since Andrea Amati, but not as much as you might think. 

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One single thing can't be used for attribution purposes. And these changes occurred in a long period of time, and in a different time depending on the region.

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4 hours ago, LLDub said:

...Has there been a trend over time to an increased angle for the fingerboard relative to the top plate?...

Which angle are you asking about -- the one that you see in a side view of the instrument or the one you see in an end view?

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6 hours ago, LLDub said:

Give or take a month or so.

Has there been a trend over time to an increased angle for the fingerboard relative to the top plate?    I believe I understand that is the case.

I don't think there's any way of really knowing. The examples of remaining original necks will certainly have sagged over time, because that's what necks do, whether baroque or modern. Those who are naive enough to consider measurements of those old remaining necks to represent original specs, should probably be given a good flogging. ;)

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12 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I don't think there's any way of really knowing. The examples of remaining original necks will certainly have sagged over time, because that's what necks do, whether baroque or modern. Those who are naive enough to consider measurements of those old remaining necks to represent original specs, should probably be given a good flogging. ;)

Consider me flogged 

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One thing to consider is that they had to play the damn things. I'm just looking at Bertali ciaccona, along with the usual Biber that's on my stand. They needed to have a bridge high enough, with enough curvature, to play cleanly without hitting the C bout. There are a lot of different geometries to achieve this, but overall I think a typical fiddle back then had more angle than we sometimes envision.

There is an article by W. Monical that has pics of a variety of different original instruments. And then factor in the changes that David mentioned.

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

See Roger Hargrave's website for his articles "Evolutionary Road" and "Period of Adjustment". Great articles from a trustworthy authority. 

Short answer - things have gotten a bit 'steeper' since Andrea Amati, but not as much as you might think. 

I found these articles a useful source as i was building my first baroque instrument. Another is Stuart Pollens book on Stradivarius. Many of the original neck templates show a 85 degree angle. 

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27 minutes ago, ClefLover said:

Consider me flogged 

Consider it to be more of a symbolic flogging then real, OK?  :)

And consider the flogging to be addressed to  a host of people who don't know much about how instruments change over even one lifetime, and not specifically targeted at you. ;)

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One of the reasons, I think that the strad templates can be of use as they give an idea of what the intended setup 'might' have been. 

Here is a link to an article by Stuart Pollens that looks at the issue of baroque setup in relation to the Strad artifacts

&httpsredir=1&article=1235&context=ppr

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29 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Consider it to be more of a symbolic flogging then real, OK?  :)

And consider the flogging to be addressed to  a host of people who don't know much about how instruments change over even one lifetime, and not specifically targeted at you. ;)

;) darn, I like a good flogging 

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As others have already pointed out, there’s a strong argument that projection wasn’t much different on baroque instruments. I think the most noticeable difference would really be in the shape of the fingerboard (wedge-shaped vs. modern).

There are a lot of ways to determine the age of a violin, but neck angle alone doesn’t give much info. For one, it’s not clear that projection was standardized to the extent that it is today. Also, necks move over time, so it’s not always possible to be certain of the maker’s intent. 

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Well, there is for example the medici tenor viola, whose bridge has been recut and placed a wedge under the fingerboard, so the neck went down  quite a bit. 

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54 minutes ago, ClefLover said:

;) darn, I like a good flogging 


And I once dated a gal who liked to be tied up. She requested it, but I was averse enough to the notion of using force, even fake force, that I never tried it. 

We ended up going our separate ways. Neat gal in many ways. She had a couple of Masters degrees in engineering, and her bondage creativity reflected that. :o

I hope she's doing well. :)

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I also think that modern and baroque neck angle must have been very similar because of simple ergonomics in playing. Nobody would have done  impossible things! 

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Existing Baroque era bridges don't appear to be much different in height than modern bridges, so I don't think the fingerboard inclination has changed much since then.

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Bridge height depends on several combined values such as neck angle and wedge thickness so it is possible to have a high baroque bridge with a straightish neck that gives light downward pressure of the strings on the bridge.

 

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10 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I don't think there's any way of really knowing. The examples of remaining original necks will certainly have sagged over time, because that's what necks do, whether baroque or modern. Those who are naive enough to consider measurements of those old remaining necks to represent original specs, should probably be given a good flogging. ;)

Mmm - I'm not too sure - wouldn't a bad flogging make more of a lasting impression?

cheers edi

Edited by edi malinaric
spelling correction

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2 hours ago, Mark Caudle said:

Bridge height depends on several combined values such as neck angle and wedge thickness so it is possible to have a high baroque bridge with a straightish neck that gives light downward pressure of the strings on the bridge.

 

I take this into consideration but probably it gives poorer sound, more stress on the instrument and could also cause the bridge to bent. 

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If nut and saddle are in the same place and the bridge height is also the same, the main difference between "modern" and baroque setup will be whether the desired projection is achieved by overstand and an angled neck, or by a wedge-shaped fingerboard 8(or wedge under the fingerboard). 

I think the main effect will be that the root of a modern neck can be thinner than the combined thickness of baroque neck+wedge, making higher positions easier.

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20 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Which angle are you asking about -- the one that you see in a side view of the instrument or the one you see in an end view?

I was thinking side view, overlaying a mental protractor.  For argumentative sake, consider a neck with a shim which reduces the angle of rise, more towards the horizontal.   That could reduce the fingerboard height at it's bridge end by a few millimeters, for a given neck.    It suggests that originally, the neck was made to one "standard", and then down the road modified to a different standard.   Alternatives would be to recut the neck, or replace it.  In my original question I was simply wondering if there were "standards" which evolved over time (for whatever reason) that resulted in a lower neck angle being decided as "best", vs "X" number of years earlier, and if those changes were dramatic enough to observe and be quantifiable.  Perhaps it's nothing more than a luthier's own preferences when repairing/setting up 100+ year old instruments.  

 

Edited by LLDub
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It's very difficult to summarize 300 years in a few words.

In fact, there is no standards in baroque violin making. The word baroque doesn't mean anything because there are a lot of differences between two violins for the same date and there is no linearity in changing.

But if I had to summarize, fingerboard projection doesn't changed a lot because of the bridge's high necessity.

Neck angle, fingerboard shape and  implantation on belly changed depending on soundboard curve.

On high arched soundboards, wedge shaped fingerboard was a necessity. On flat arched violin, a slight neck angle is good enough to free fingerboard from soundboard.

Like f holes or varnish, neck can be a typical element to determine a violin's origins.

The problem is that the often have been "modernized" and it seems not to be a problem for most people. When I was looking for a baroque violin, it was inconceivable for me to buy an original violin with a modern or rebaroquized neck. And that's where trouble started ;)

 

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