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l33tplaya

The Strad letters - Roger Hargrave's reply (AUG 2020)

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I don't know if this is typical or the fault of the much discussed USPS "slowdown,"  but yesterday I received both July and August issues of The Strad. :-(

In any case, in the one with Two Set on the cover (arrrgh), there's a letter from someone trying to argue with an article Hargrave wrote on string angle/force some time ago, and they had Roger respond and nicely set the letter writer straight. :-)  (actually, on the higher saddle, and it's possible effect on string force on bridge) Your thoughts? 

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The tension in the string and the angles the string makes going over the bridge (nut to bridge, bridge to tail piece) define the string force on the bridge.

For a set bridge height, baroque vs. modern tail piece will not affect the string angle of the string going from nut to bridge. So Hargrave must be inferring that a baroque tail piece floats higher above the top plate than a modern tail piece. This will lessen the angle of the string going from bridge to tail piece and thus somewhat lower the net force of the string pushing on the bridge.

I do not know if baroque tail pieces actually do float higher than modern. I will defer to the wisdom of those of have setup baroque tail pieces.

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My understanding was that Roger was suggesting that the "higher sitting" baroque tailpiece (because of the tail gut coming in from underneath instead from the end) together with the lower baroque saddle (usually the same height as the edge, no more) ended up with a string angle roughly similar to a modern tail piece with a modern, raised, saddle.

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4 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

If that is what he's saying he's wrong.

I will semi-agree. While a higher or lower saddle will change the force vector, positioning the tail adjuster higher or lower in the tailpiece will not. You've still got a net force vector going pretty much in a straight line between the bridge and the saddle.

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On 8/25/2020 at 9:40 PM, l33tplaya said:

actually, on the higher saddle, and it's possible effect on string force on bridge) Your thoughts? 

Are baroque fiddles still being played on using short lengthed and low overstanded necks thus leading to low height bridges and tailpieces fastened with harp wire like the olden days?

 

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Modern baroque violins almost always have a gut tailgut, which is what the evidence points to for most of the period.  Wasn't wire more of a transition period thing?

There are a lot of short necked baroque violins out there with low bridge heights based on common (or once-common) beliefs about baroque setup, but as knowledge that the neck lengths varied has come out, normal neck lengths have appeared more often.

"Overstand" is a confusing term to apply to baroque setup.  The function of overstand is taken up by the wedge shaped fingerboard in baroque violins.  You will find this set according to the vision of baroque setup applied by the maker, which ranges from "basically modern" through low bridge and high string tensions, to low bridge and low string tension.

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8 hours ago, Andres Sender said:

Modern baroque violins almost always have a gut tailgut, which is what the evidence points to for most of the period.  Wasn't wire more of a transition period thing?

There are a lot of short necked baroque violins out there with low bridge heights based on common (or once-common) beliefs about baroque setup, but as knowledge that the neck lengths varied has come out, normal neck lengths have appeared more often.

"Overstand" is a confusing term to apply to baroque setup.  The function of overstand is taken up by the wedge shaped fingerboard in baroque violins.  You will find this set according to the vision of baroque setup applied by the maker, which ranges from "basically modern" through low bridge and high string tensions, to low bridge and low string tension.

Agreed. In a nutshell, no-one today knows what the original neck projection of baroque violins was. Numerous experiments (along with experience) have demonstrated that neck projection drops over time, and even more so with extremes in humidity.

It does seem more-than-odd that someone would be dumb enough to measure the neck projection of a 200-300 year old violin, and presume that's how it was, originally

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24 minutes ago, Three13 said:

So what you're saying is that debating baroque set up is a perfect Maestronet subject - sort of like discussions about great tone?

I don't know what David B. thinks (the question was addressed to him), but I would say yes.

The baroque set up has been something in constant evolution over time, so without talking about a specific context and in the absence of objective data it is a rather academic discussion, the parallel with the sound I find it quite apt.

The discussion is based on ideas and interpretations rather than concrete and objective things.

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Davide:  There is objective data though.  It's incomplete, it doesn't hand you bridge projection on a platter, but it gives you some parameters.  If you integrate all the data you have a field of intersecting probabilities to explore.  Such explorations have yielded results which some people find valuable.

David B.:  There are dumb people in any group.  The trick is to have a group large enough to include a few very smart people, and organized in such a way that the smart people get the attention.  Some loud voices in the conventional violin world aren't the smartest, so at least in that regard it should be clear that although the early music world is small and has special challenges, in some of its problems it is not alone.  

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I think Hargrave once posted here that he thought original baroque neck projections (fingerboard height measured at the bridge) were about the same as modern necks today, and I have no reason to disagree.

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12 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Even if the bridge were the same height due to the fingerboard projection, the angle over the bridge would be less because the nut would be higher due to less angle on the neck

There's no reason both neck attachment methods can't have identical geometry. Where the nut ends up is discretionary, and will change with time under string load.

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14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I think Hargrave once posted here that he thought original baroque neck projections (fingerboard height measured at the bridge) were about the same as modern necks today, and I have no reason to disagree.

Roger argues the same for the rest of baroque setup in his articles published in the Strad a few years back. I haven't read the current Strad letter exchange, but if it is about  saddle hight - the argument is the same. Quote from Roger's original article

"BAROQUE TAILPIECES varied considerably, from flat inlaid maple to slightly arched solid ebony. However, in most cases the tail gut passed over a bottom nut or saddle that was initially no higher than the belly edge. The gut entered the tailpiece from below, effectively lifting the tailpiece to the height of the modern saddle. Making and mounting a Baroque tailpiece in this way creates a string angle at the bridge that is entirely similar to the modern angle.'"

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7 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

"The gut entered the tailpiece from below, effectively lifting the tailpiece to the height of the modern saddle. Making and mounting a Baroque tailpiece in this way creates a string angle at the bridge that is entirely similar to the modern angle.'"

I think that's where Michael and I are disagreeing with him.

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9 hours ago, David Burgess said:

There's no reason both neck attachment methods can't have identical geometry. Where the nut ends up is discretionary, and will change with time under string load.

That's the truth. Hell, you can even attach a neck with glue and nail/screw that has overstand. Enrico Ceruti was known to do it. 

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