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DoorMouse

Block Zones Strad only?

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I was just wondering if the unhollowed upper and lower block zones that Sacconi illustrates below are found in instruments by other Cremonese makers or if they are exclusive to Strads with original graduations?

Sacconi.jpg

"The zones however, at the extreme upper and lower edges, defined by transverse straight lines which pass over the internal edges of the head and tail blocks, by Stradivari were always excluded from the hollowing out ... It is therefore a serious error to eliminate this reinforcement as has unfortunately been done in many instruments."

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How do you know if Sacconi's illustrations and statements are correct?

I've never seen a thickness map or photograph of one of Strad's top plates that show this straight line "Sacconi platform" of unregraduated plates.  So I question whether or not plates like Sacconi's illustration exist.

If original Strad straight line plates do indeed exist I have never seen any comparisons that show they as a group any sound better than the hollowed out ones.

 

 

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Oh, that's interesting.  I'd never questioned whether Sacconi was correct or not.  
I seem to remember Roger H. making some mention of these zones as well.  

Has anyone seen these first hand in the wild?

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I have seen just one. It is no more literally there as a defined line than there is literally the line drawn around the edge about 6mm inside all around in Sacconi's drawing that represents the platform the ribs and linings are glued to. In both cases, those flat zones are gracefully blended in so that you don't see them as defined space. Take it more that straight out from the ends of the blocks is a thick zone that represents the thought of the block platform continued laterally, a little bump of an area where the main graduation pattern of the plate doesn't reach into. In that sense, it's the same soft blending line that goes all the way around inside the corner blocks and linings, more like there wasn't any intent to add discontinuity to that line by digging up around the sides of the end blocks.

If you didn't know it was supposed to be there, you wouldn't have seen it. It's the opposite of what a lot of amateurs and beginning makers do when they feel like they have to get that 2.5mm out as close to the linings as possible, and leave a sharp step around the edge.

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Nearly all notable old fiddles have been "raped and scraped" into conformity with what was regarded as the ideal conformation for best sound. It started in Italy with the Montegaza brothers, and those that escaped their attention ended up in Villaume's & similar shops getting the same "improvements" done to them.

I suspect that having escaped this may be one reason why the Vieuxtemps Del Gesu is so noteworthy in timbre & volume. A moot point, probably. But when you consider the number of first-choice Strads in relation to the number of them that survive, not much doubt remains.

And not to be a total ass, but anybody trying to cast doubt on Sacconi's familiarity with Stradivaris, or his obsessive attention to detail where they were concerned is in dire need of a clue.

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36 minutes ago, A432 said:

 

And not to be a total ass, but anybody trying to cast doubt on Sacconi's familiarity with Stradivaris, or his obsessive attention to detail where they were concerned is in dire need of a clue.

I simply reported what I have personally observed. Perhaps you haven't observed anything?

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I hope to discuss this subject with Sacconi some day if I have good fortune.  But I believe Strad's 1714Titian violin is generally regarded as a pretty good violin. 

Sacconi's own book "Secrets of Stradivari" in his figure 89  shows a photo of the Titian's top plate (attached) which clearly shows that the area around the blocks don't have the straight line that Sacconi claims Strad used.  Also attached is Terry Bowman's CAT scan of the Titian plates which also shows the areas around the blocks were thinned.

So it is necessary to either think that Sacconi was wrong and that Strad did thin the areas around the blocks OR that somebody subsequently regraduated them.

Rather than wondering who did what,  a better question for makers is--What sounds best?

If somebody can show me there is an even better sounding Strad than the Titian with a straight line like "Sacconi platform"  I'll accept  it as the correct way of making the plates.

Titian top photo.jpg

Terry's Titian cat scan.jpg

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Not so jumpy, Jacob.

I did not contradict you in the least.

My objection was to this:

How do you know if Sacconi's illustrations and statements are correct?

Because Sacconi, among other accomplishments, literally "wrote the book" on him. This is widely acknowledged as the foundation of subsequent study of classic violins.

And I do hope you'll have that conversations with him, because it will be in heaven. :)

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34 minutes ago, A432 said:

Not so jumpy, Jacob.

I did not contradict you in the least.

My objection was to this:

 

 

Because Sacconi, among other accomplishments, literally "wrote the book" on him. This is widely acknowledged as the foundation of subsequent study of classic violins.

And I do hope you'll have that conversations with him, because it will be in heaven. :)

And as we all know no author ever got even a small detail wrong..... Genesis anyone ???

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1 hour ago, Michael Jennings said:

anyone ???

It isn't possible to write something that will be interpreted as science that will be considered accurate in an age other than the one in which it was written.  IOW, even you couldn't do any better, writing today.  Logically, it ends with a demand for perfect knowledge, which isn't for here.  Obviously.

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I think it is rather the question if the block platform as hypothesised by Sacconi has the importance Sacconi claims. 

I was doing this on my own violins for pure convenience with the thought: 'If a restorer doesn't like it he/she might feel free to scrape it away.'

Likewise I think that Strad started like this and just eventually forgot to smooth out the line. Nothing of great importance.

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All I can add is that I recall Don, I and other had discussed this before, not so much as it pertained to Strad's work, but just the overall engineering, I have always been a proponent of this style of finishing off and feel this mast and bow platform aids in reducing unwanted body torsion under a dynamic load

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6 hours ago, A432 said:

Not so jumpy, Jacob.

I did not contradict you in the least.

My objection was to this:

 

 

Because Sacconi, among other accomplishments, literally "wrote the book" on him. This is widely acknowledged as the foundation of subsequent study of classic violins.

And I do hope you'll have that conversations with him, because it will be in heaven. :)

Some people take every word that L. Ron Hubbard wrote as gospel. I don't believe anybody, unless I can verify it myself.

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9 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Some people take every word that L. Ron Hubbard wrote as gospel. I don't believe anybody, unless I can verify it myself.

^ this

 

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wait,  you mean L.Ron Hubbard is wrong?   :O

LOL  how has your species managed to survive for as long as it has.  

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19 hours ago, A432 said:

Not so jumpy, Jacob.

I did not contradict you in the least.

My objection was to this:

Because Sacconi, among other accomplishments, literally "wrote the book" on him. This is widely acknowledged as the foundation of subsequent study of classic violins.

And I do hope you'll have that conversations with him, because it will be in heaven. :)

There are a couple of folks part of the MN community who learned their craft directly from the first generation of professionals who mentored with Sacconi -- so they are in a far better position to comment. (you might want to do a bit of research to find out who Jacob is as well).  Don't underestimate the value of MN and those who post here. With a bit of searching you can uncover interesting detail that extends our knowledge beyond what's written in Sacconi's book. Apparently his views evolved over time like many.

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15 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I think it is rather the question if the block platform as hypothesised by Sacconi has the importance Sacconi claims. 

I was doing this on my own violins for pure convenience with the thought: 'If a restorer doesn't like it he/she might feel free to scrape it away.'

Likewise I think that Strad started like this and just eventually forgot to smooth out the line. Nothing of great importance.

I'm more of a blender... rounding off the sharp edges, and carving slightly around the end blocks on the bass bar side.

But I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference, at least on its own, that can't be obscured by slight modifications to the overall graduation scheme.  Of course, something extreme like carrying a 2.5 mm thickness right up to the blocks I think would not be good.

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Jacob said he had never seen evidence of this, and that he only believed what he saw himself.

Nothing I said contradicted him.

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And a P.S., since things that seem obvious to me apparently don't to others, that Sacconi's views continued to be fine-tuned since writing the book is undoubted.

But at issue was not his views on this or that, but the pattern of graduation he found in the tops of Stradivari's violins, and/or the accuracy of his measurements of these. Those are not opinions but, when they haven't been scraped away, facts.

FWIW

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24 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I've never heard of one of Saconni's violins. Does anybody know how well they compare with Strad's?

I think he gave them all to Patrick.  

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Gaspar Cassado made his career with one. Another of his 'celli is in the sparebankstiftelsen loaner stable.

Rembert Wurlitzer bought many of his later works for his own collection.

From a now taken down Ruening offering description (May 16, 2018):

Quote

 Considered by most to be the greatest violin maker of the 20th century,Simone Sacconi can also be regarded as the most important follower of ...

FWIW

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7 hours ago, A432 said:

Jacob said he had never seen evidence of this, and that he only believed what he saw himself.

Nothing I said contradicted him.

Illustrate a Strad that is graduated like that, or give it a rest.

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