Sign in to follow this  
J.DiLisio

Strad Saddles?

Recommended Posts

I was just browsing the instruments on the Royal Academy of Music website and noticing that several of the Strads have saddles with a half round apron hanging down.  Some appear to be made from two pieces of ebony.  Are these original or maybe modern in the style of the original saddles?  What is the function of this shape?  Are these glued to the varnish? 
 

Also, why are there purfling strips where the ribs meet?

tailStrad1.jpeg.6409bed13c1588e3c73ac84f16b68fc6.jpeg

tailStrad2.jpeg.dabf531d13053b436fdf6271374b2fe0.jpeg

tailStrad3.jpeg.a0eefece90440a2a7a4326f1223b477b.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, that's useful to know. I'm just starting work on a Baroque cello with the same style saddle and I was puzzling over it. This cello is more a collection of repairs than an instrument. It has a Wurlitzer repair label which looks like 1901 but I'm not sure. I'll know more when I get the top off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This style is used for taller saddles to prevent them from torquing forward in response to the pressure

of the tail gut. When the saddle tries to twist forward the lower extension  presses against the lower part of the tail gut ,

between the saddle and end pin and prevents any rotation  of the saddle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have discussed these and other saddles at length before... for people who are better with the search function than I am.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, donbarzino said:

This style is used for taller saddles to prevent them from torquing forward in response to the pressure

of the tail gut. When the saddle tries to twist forward the lower extension  presses against the lower part of the tail gut ,

between the saddle and end pin and prevents any rotation  of the saddle.

That makes perfect sense.  Those saddles do all look high. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's interesting is that when you find some 17th-18thc Italian violins that seem to have retained their original saddles, you often find some sort of supporting insert, even when the saddles are about the same height or barely higher than the edgework. A lot of these violins had fairly wide edge-rib overhang when new, so I'd guess the saddle insert was a way to keep the saddle from collapsing towards the end pin, without having to cut too far into the top. Some of these original (or early replacement) saddles barely go past the purfling line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

That makes perfect sense.  Those saddles do all look high. 

Do they? 

This is not specific to tall saddles or related to their height - nor is it just a Hill innovation. Many makers used this style of saddle - Kulik and Enrico Rocca come to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, martin swan said:

Do they? 

This is not specific to tall saddles or related to their height - nor is it just a Hill innovation. Many makers used this style of saddle - Kulik and Enrico Rocca come to mind.

Based on the edge height, that first one looks to be around 8-9mm.  As I understand it, it is common to have a high saddle on older/ more delicate instruments because it relieves the pressure a bit. 

That's based on conjecture I've gathered from the internet. feel free to correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2020 at 12:30 PM, DoorMouse said:

Based on the edge height, that first one looks to be around 8-9mm.  As I understand it, it is common to have a high saddle on older/ more delicate instruments because it relieves the pressure a bit. 

That's based on conjecture I've gathered from the internet. feel free to correct.

Wouldn't the original saddle height depend on the arching height?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worth having a look at the Stradivari "Medici" viola of 1690 - the only known instrument by Stradivari which retains its original set up.

It looks to me that the main purpose of the lower saddle was to stop the tail gut wearing into the soft spruce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Someone, at some time, may have believed so.

But you don't believe it? Don't you think the afterlength angle should be the same with a 17mm arch vs a 14mm arch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, sospiri said:

But you don't believe it? Don't you think the afterlength angle should be the same with a 17mm arch vs a 14mm arch?

I'd be looking more at the total string angle over the bridge, hoping that it could be adjusted with neck angle and overstand. I usually set the neck projection lower on high-arched fiddles (to use a lower bridge) with the goal of keeping the string angle and downforce from getting too high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2020 at 5:57 AM, sospiri said:

Wouldn't the original saddle height depend on the arching height?

No.   The few surviving original examples show a simple hard insert into the edge.  No finagling of height.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I'd be looking more at the total string angle over the bridge, hoping that it could be adjusted with neck angle and overstand. I usually set the neck projection lower on high-arched fiddles (to use a lower bridge) with the goal of keeping the string angle and downforce from getting too high.

Thanks, that makes sense.

11 hours ago, David Beard said:

No.   The few surviving original examples show a simple hard insert into the edge.  No finagling of height.

Does this explanation ring true?:

https://www.damianstrings.com/baroque set-up.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/20/2020 at 9:15 AM, sospiri said:

Does this explanation ring true?:

https://www.damianstrings.com/baroque set-up.htm

I think it would be best to take the facts he put forward and do your own theorizing about them (assuming you're good at integrating your ideas with fundamental facts).  It is certainly worth thinking about the effects of flush saddles and thick tailguts, but since we don't have enough historical bridge heights, and most people still seem determined to ignore the historical record as to string thickness, one is unlikely to find the full solution regarding baroque setup in one ready made package.  Nor, for that matter, having figured it out, to find a player willing to learn to play on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/14/2020 at 5:52 PM, DoorMouse said:

I was just browsing the instruments on the Royal Academy of Music website and noticing that several of the Strads have saddles with a half round apron hanging down.  Some appear to be made from two pieces of ebony.  Are these original or maybe modern in the style of the original saddles?  What is the function of this shape?  Are these glued to the varnish? 
 

Also, why are there purfling strips where the ribs meet?

tailStrad1.jpeg.6409bed13c1588e3c73ac84f16b68fc6.jpeg

tailStrad2.jpeg.dabf531d13053b436fdf6271374b2fe0.jpeg

tailStrad3.jpeg.a0eefece90440a2a7a4326f1223b477b.jpeg

If I recall, Heron Allen mentioned this was an expedient compromise that even Strad utilized when the rib joint didn't glue up perfectly.

Whether this happened during new construction or a later repair is an interesting question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

If I recall, Heron Allen mentioned this was an expedient compromise that even Strad utilized when the rib joint didn't glue up perfectly.

Whether this happened during new construction or a later repair is an interesting question.

Didn't Stradivari mostly use one-piece lower ribs? So I would suspect that any joint there would be an artifact of a repair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Didn't Stradivari mostly use one-piece lower ribs? So I would suspect that any joint there would be an artifact of a repair.

That's what I understand too; perhaps my memory is slipping  little. I'll have to dig out my copy and re-read this.

Maybe it's a result on some cut-down instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! My brain didn't fail me,  this time!

Page 233 in my copy, about half-way down the page, he writes that Guarnerius constantly did this, and even Strad did not disdain to make use of this happy expedient.

However, this doesn't mean Heron Allen knew what he was writing about. I suspect much of his historic information was passed on from George Chanot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.