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Rib Taper hypothesis #43,759


sospiri
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1 hour ago, Kevin Kelly said:

My question is whether the idea that there should be a direct relationship between neck length and bridge location isn't a modern assumption that may not have been true for Amati or Strad.

The discussion, after the rib taper had to do with the misconception that the Stradivari necks were as long then as they are now in the modernized version. Whether or not there was an exact relationship or proportion is not what I was trying to demonstrate. As the Lady Blunt shows, with a 195 mm position at the notches and 120mm gluing surface for the fingerboard, which also determines the position of the upper nut in relation to the edge, you can't get a 330 or a 328 mm string length. The other fingerboard by Stradivari, in the MdV, described as having come from the "Soil" of 1713 which has a 198 mm notch position, the bridge has been moved up by a couple of millimeters, has a neck gluing surface of 118 mm!! I don't see an exact proportion either. My point was that the necks were shorter and were lengthened. That's all.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Kelly said:

ps. long ago I stopped nailing necks to violins, after I had to "modernize" one of my baroque violins that had a nailed-on neck - what a huge PITA that was. 

That may be the main reason why if fell into disuse. After 250 years of violin production, I can imagine that so many of those instruments needed their necks reset, that attaching with nails wasn't seeming like such a good idea any more.

At least screws can be removed, replaced or tightened without needing to remove the top or back.

I heard a rumor that this is why Philips and socket-head screws were invented. It's all about fiddles. :D

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

That may be the main reason why if fell into disuse. After 250 years of violin production, I can imagine that so many of those instruments needed their necks reset, that attaching with nails wasn't seeming like such a good idea any more.

At least screws can be removed, replaced or tightened without needing to remove the top or back.

I heard a rumor that this is why Philips and socket-head screws were invented. It's all about fiddles. :D

Were the necks reset or completely remade with the modern measurements, along with a new bass bar?

 

6 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

The discussion, after the rib taper had to do with the misconception that the Stradivari necks were as long then as they are now in the modernized version. Whether or not there was an exact relationship or proportion is not what I was trying to demonstrate. As the Lady Blunt shows, with a 195 mm position at the notches and 120mm gluing surface for the fingerboard, which also determines the position of the upper nut in relation to the edge, you can't get a 330 or a 328 mm string length. The other fingerboard by Stradivari, in the MdV, described as having come from the "Soil" of 1713 which has a 198 mm notch position, the bridge has been moved up by a couple of millimeters, has a neck gluing surface of 118 mm!! I don't see an exact proportion either. My point was that the necks were shorter and were lengthened. That's all.

So the string lengths were 1 cm shorter than today? Is that why the modern bass bars were made much higher also, to counteract the extra string tension?

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2 hours ago, francoisdenis said:

you are probably right...

I remember reading Roger's article with great interest, finding it very stimulating  but;  as soon as  I started making woodenforms by hand and then making corners with the little templates ,I came across troubles managing the symmetry of the shape. So my pb was no longer the asymmetry but the symmetry... Afterwards I realized that the angle adjustment could affected only the top contour in a small amount (and not the corners or only one). Then I  compared many outlines and found that it didn't seem to work as the article said. In short, It ended up  that, following my expérience,  this  hypothesis remains plausible for the setting of the neck but has nor  (or only a minor asymmetrical) effect .

just to say that it's not so obvious to me 
 

 

Well, even I have never found a correspondence of the asymmetries 100% justifiable with the Hargrave method observing the original instruments, and surely you have analyzed many more than me and with more "targeted" attention to these aspects. But I also noticed that sometimes the asymmetries are not attributable to the simple imperfect tracing with the small corner templates, because often all the C is displaced and this would not be possible with the slight asymmetries obtaineble with imperfect tracing of the corner blocks. Then I am once again convinced that also the corner cutting was guided mainly by eye, and if you have a good eye, excessive asymmetries will be corrected, if you care to do it.

(Del Gesù probably didn't want to worry about this in favor of speed working, but Stradivari or Amati were in another league;))

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I am not a bad enough workman to put a neck in so crooked that straightening it accounts for existing outlines, but I can easily see a busy shop with a single mold of each model would have someone making rib sets, removing them from the forms, hanging those on the wall (where they would warp slightly) so that he could keep making more rib sets on the same forms. Rinse and repeat. Thus all rib sets would vary slightly. I devised an easy plan for laying them out later for tracing on the back and moving forward from that when I tried working that way. It isn't hard at all. And as David says, hard to put in nails where the form is there!

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

Were the necks reset or completely remade with the modern measurements, along with a new bass bar?

So the string lengths were 1 cm shorter than today? Is that why the bass bars were made much higher also, to counteract the extra string tension?

Were the necks reset or completely remade with the modern measurements, along with a new bass bar?

Initially I have seen instruments where the neck was lengthened at the heel and the thumb position raised up. The position of the upper nut in relation to the rib line doesn't seem to change much but you do have a longer string length and consequently greater tension to get the string up to pitch. This also allowed for a fingerboard with less of a wedge shape and a relatively slimmer neck. As time went by, music and playing techniques continued to progress, violinmakers in their quest satisfy the musicians for playing comfort, acoustic performance and standardization resorted more and more to neck grafts and heftier bassbars. Kyung-wha Chung played most of her professional career on the Harrison Stradivari (a long pattern violin that is over 360 mm in body length) that only has the original neck lengthened and raised at the neck root.

So the string lengths were 1 cm shorter than today? Is that why the bass bars were made much higher also, to counteract the extra string tension?

Not everywhere and perhaps not always. This is about a specific time in Cremona. Bassbars were not too standardized either, kind of under the bass bridge foot, slab cut, quarter cut, long and short. I have seen many more slab cut bars in the older instruments (year rings oriented 90° to the belly). The general tendency is to make stronger and stronger bassbars. IMHO often too strong and heavy.

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27 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Since we have the edges of the puzzle pieces, we can hold everything on an equal scale and put the pieces back as they were.

With this, we can look at the candidate measure points (the 'liberties at the margin') and see that the 2:3 ratio does apply.

801806920_stopsunreset.thumb.jpg.c7e721b053934ce227a3bdfb4eef8d4d.jpg

 

 

David,

Honestly, to me you are over fudging it. Anyway, the concern with me wasn't to obtain a "solve it all" proportion but to emphasize that the necks were verifiably lengthened from their original state. Many makers do not believe this to be the case. Not to mention the creation of an overstand (appui, abstand etc.) but not necessarily a significant change in string angle. All of which would lead to the modern set-up.

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

That may be the main reason why if fell into disuse. After 250 years of violin production, I can imagine that so many of those instruments needed their necks reset, that attaching with nails wasn't seeming like such a good idea any more.

Plus it seems to me the straight out neck wouldn't resist pulling as well and it might need to be done sooner.

Is there any records of early principles on repairs including resetting an original neck that had become too low?  Is just whittling down the bridge as far as you need to unacceptable only to just us moderns?  Does a baroque setup respond as badly to that?

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2 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Plus it seems to me the straight out neck wouldn't resist pulling as well and it might need to be done sooner.

Is there any records of early principles on repairs including resetting an original neck that had become too low?  Is just whittling down the bridge as far as you need to unacceptable only to just us moderns?  Does a baroque setup respond as badly to that?

Almost all necks, even in modern instruments are destined to lower somewhat. Much depends upon the structure.

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2 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

David,

Honestly, to me you are over fudging it. Anyway, the concern with me wasn't to obtain a "solve it all" proportion but to emphasize that the necks were verifiably lengthened from their original state. Many makers do not believe this to be the case. Not to mention the creation of an overstand (appui, abstand etc.) but not necessarily a significant change in string angle. All of which would lead to the modern set-up.

I wish I also had clear enough side images of the Harrison.

I did not fudge anything in putting the pieces back together.

As you say, it does demonstrate that the necks were lengthen.

As for the 'liberties at the margins', that is no fudge.  It is simply not up to you or me to decide for ourselves which among several logical options an old maker should use to apply a ratio.

Further, in things less ambigous, like the proportions of bouts, we don't consider them to take 'liberties at the margins' then there is no consistent ratio approach.  But if we recognize that principal, then all of the Cremona examples show the length to lower bout width to be 'a part less than double', and all the other bouts have either a direct simple ratio with the length or a relation with one of the other bouts that is 'a part less'.

The whole system I'm proposing is not unreasonable or fetched.  It can be expressed in these principles'

 

1) they measured by ratio between features.

1.a) They favored using the same ratios other makers before them had used 

1.b) The took 'liberty at the margins' in applying the ratios. (Gives them a little more room to steer their work while stick within traditional choices.)

1.c) The 'follow rather than corrected' variances as the work continued.

1.e) most of the ratios had a form of 'a part different'

2) the made their 2D shapes by the simplest geometry of arcs and lines, and bound their 3d shapes with such 2d geometey.

2.a) They favored using the same geometey choices as other makers of their tradition

 

Is their any other actually simpler way to concieve they work?  And if you hypothize these principles, then all old the example work suddenly becomes very easily and clearly 'readable'.  And you find find great consistency across all the work.

 

Of they didn't generally rely on measuring with ruler to set things, what easier way could set things but by simple ratios.  And there is great historical context and precident for this.  See, DaVinci, Vitruvius, et al.

 

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5 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

 My point was that the necks were shorter and were lengthened. That's all.

Yes, I understood that - my comment wasn't in response to you, it was  just a general question about whether one should expect to find some particular ratio of neck length to stop length in the original Cremonese instruments the way we expect to see in modern instruments, especially, as you point out, the stop lengths vary quite a bit. Does that mean many different neck lengths for many different models of violin?  Maybe it did. Just an interesting question.

Thanks, by the way, for the information about the Soil fingerboard. I wonder how confident you are that it goes with the Soil?

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12 minutes ago, Kevin Kelly said:

Yes, I understood that - my comment wasn't in response to you, it was  just a general question about whether one should expect to find some particular ratio of neck length to stop length in the original Cremonese instruments the way we expect to see in modern instruments, especially, as you point out, the stop lengths vary quite a bit. Does that mean many different neck lengths for many different models of violin?  Maybe it did. Just an interesting question.

Thanks, by the way, for the information about the Soil fingerboard. I wonder how confident you are that it goes with the Soil?

It IS an interesting question but we have too few surviving examples to draw a concrete answer.

The fingerboard came to the Stradivari Museum through Simone Fernando Sacconi along with the original neck of the Soil, removed for a neck graft and with the letter G in the pegbox. The neck had already been blocked up at the root. The G in the pegbox, according to latest ink analysis at the museum laboratory, was put there by Count Cozio, not by Stradivari. Evidently this is the same situation for the Messiah. 

I really don't know the previous history of the neck and fingerboard in detail.

Edited by Bruce Carlson
readability and emphasis
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13 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

'liberties at the margins', that is no fudge. 
Sure it is, just as is "degrees of freedom".

The alternative, however, is to discard ideas that one has embedded in spite of them not working. I don't see any evidence that the classical Cremonese were either sloppy or casual about their designs.

How do you decide where they were supposed to measure between an outer edge and a mold/rib/purf line.  Why is it your choice rather than one more detail to observe?

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

I was I also had clear enough side images of the Harrison.

I did not fudge anything in putting the pieces back together.

As you say, it does demonstrate that the necks were lengthen.

As for the 'liberties at the margins', that is no fudge.  It is simply not up to you or me to decide for ourselves which among several logical options an old maker should use to apply a ratio.

Further, in things less ambigous, like the proportions of bouts, we don't consider them to take 'liberties at the margins' then there is no consistent ratio approach.  But if we recognize that principal, then all of the Cremona examples show the length to lower bout width to be 'a part less than double', and all the other bouts have either a direct simple ratio with the length or a relation with one of the other bouts that is 'a part less'.

The whole system I'm proposing is not unreasonable or fetched.  It can be expressed in these principles'

 

1) they measured by ratio between features.

1.a) They favored using the same ratios other makers before them had used 

1.b) The took 'liberty at the margins' in applying the ratios. (Gives them a little more room to steer their work while stick within traditional choices.)

1.c) The 'follow rather than corrected' variances as the work continued.

1.e) most of the ratios had a form of 'a part different'

2) the made their 2D shapes by the simplest geometry of arcs and lines, and bound their 3d shapes with such 2d geometey.

2.a) They favored using the same geometey choices as other makers of their tradition

 

Is their any other actually simpler way to concieve they work? 

I think so. I rather like Marty's squash idea.

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/347195-squash-this-idea-about-strads-guitar-shapes/

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13 hours ago, David Beard said:

I wish I also had clear enough side images of the Harrison.

I did not fudge anything in putting the pieces back together.

As you say, it does demonstrate that the necks were lengthen.

As for the 'liberties at the margins', that is no fudge.  It is simply not up to you or me to decide for ourselves which among several logical options an old maker should use to apply a ratio.

Further, in things less ambigous, like the proportions of bouts, we don't consider them to take 'liberties at the margins' then there is no consistent ratio approach.  But if we recognize that principal, then all of the Cremona examples show the length to lower bout width to be 'a part less than double', and all the other bouts have either a direct simple ratio with the length or a relation with one of the other bouts that is 'a part less'.

The whole system I'm proposing is not unreasonable or fetched.  It can be expressed in these principles'

 

1) they measured by ratio between features.

1.a) They favored using the same ratios other makers before them had used 

1.b) The took 'liberty at the margins' in applying the ratios. (Gives them a little more room to steer their work while stick within traditional choices.)

1.c) The 'follow rather than corrected' variances as the work continued.

1.e) most of the ratios had a form of 'a part different'

2) the made their 2D shapes by the simplest geometry of arcs and lines, and bound their 3d shapes with such 2d geometey.

2.a) They favored using the same geometey choices as other makers of their tradition

 

Is their any other actually simpler way to concieve they work?  And if you hypothize these principles, then all old the example work suddenly becomes very easily and clearly 'readable'.  And you find find great consistency across all the work.

 

Of they didn't generally rely on measuring with ruler to set things, what easier way could set things but by simple ratios.  And there is great historical context and precident for this.  See, DaVinci, Vitruvius, et al.

 

Hi David, Rather than asserting what was ... may be it would be more constructive to demonstrate it in a more effective way. When it comes to ratios, please could you provide us a set of measurements that anyone can double check?
(for exemple Bruce gave me slightly different measure of the Canon original neck length)
In addition, evaluating the nature of a difference (of  measurement) between a theory and an observation is never simple. The discussion on the explanation of the asymmetry of the contours has just given us an example. Several theories emerge (and it is what makes this forum interesting for me)

So what are the  "original" measurements you propose for this violin?

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3 hours ago, francoisdenis said:

What do you mean Kevin? It is just a "feeling" or you have element to bring?

 

As far as I know there are only five Cremonese instruments for which we know the original neck length. Two are tenor violas, two are small violins, and one is the Lady Blunt. I say this because four of them have their original necks still attached by their makers, and the Lady Blunt has its original fingerboard definitely associated with it. The Soil is another candidate, but it would have to be clear that the board is definitely from that instrument. If anyone knows about another Cremonese instrument where the neck hasn’t been removed and replaced (like the Amati tenor in Oxford) I would be interested to know about it.

There is, as far as I can tell, nothing at all to tell us what the original neck length of any cello was. There are neck templates in the Museo, but those are all longer than they need to be, and there’s no mark to clearly indicate where the string ends or where the root ends.

The five instruments are

 

Stradivari tenor

A. Guarneri tenor

Lady Blunt

Bros. Piccolo

Del Gesù quarto

Add to this the Soil if you like.  This list spans about 120 years.

The violins, in spite of their different sizes, have kind of similar neck lengths, in order: 120, 118, 119*, 118 (* I don’t have a quality measurement of this neck, but it’s close to that)

The two tenors have similar neck lengths, at 156 and 158

 

If I were to look for a relationship between neck length and some other aspect of these instruments, there are two possibilities that I can see- stop length and body length.

 

If we exclude the two small violins, the ratio of neck to stop length for the list above is (to two decimal places)

0.60 Strad. Tenor

0.60 Guarn. Tenor

0.62 Lady Blunt

0.60 Soil

 

The ratio of neck length to body length is

 

0.33 Strad tenor

0.33 Guarn. Tenor

0.34 Lady Blunt

0.33 Soil ( I have 356 for a body length measurement)

 

So from this meager list it looks like either one is a possible direct relationship, but the body length maybe is a better match. It’s possible that they are both a match, because in these cases, the ratio of stop length to body length is pretty consistent also (which would have to be the case)

 

These are

0.56 Strad tenor

0.55 Guarn. Tenor

0.56 Lady blunt

0.56 Soil

 

The next issue is that the relationship of stop length to body length varies quite a bit. I have measured lengths that vary from 54.6% to 56.3% for violin, and 53.6% to 54.6% for viola and cello. Interesting that there are two ranges.

So what I notice is 1) we have a very tiny sample size, 2) that sample size is uncharacteristically consistent in the ratio of stop length to body length 3) guessing from the sample, it’s possible that the stop length, body length, or both (or none)  could be used to find the neck length 4) it’s not possible to have "both" be true for most Cremonese instruments. If the stop length or body length were used as a reference then it would have to be one or the other.

 

my own guess, for the above and for other reasons that have to do with my own bullshit, is that it’s more likely that the neck length may have been related to the body length, and not the stop length. 

my opinion is subject to revision without notice...

 

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58 minutes ago, sospiri said:

Is this an inevitability? Or does it quite often not happen? It seems like a rather dogmatic belief to me.

Look at the structure under tension at tuning pitch and you'll understand why it is and, as I said, "ALMOST all necks". Instruments that are overly thick and heavy in their component parts will likely bend less but they probably won't sound very good either. In a violin that functions well you are often trading off between structural stability and acoustic performance.

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25 minutes ago, Bruce Carlson said:

Look at the structure under tension at tuning pitch and you'll understand why it is , as I said, "ALMOST all necks". Instruments that are overly thick and heavy in their component parts will likely bend less but they probably won't sound very good either. In a violin that functions well you are often trading off between structural stability and acoustic performance.

I made a violin with a rather thin top and it sounded pretty good.  I took it to a local violin shop to see if they would sell it on consignment and the owner said no because the top looked too thin without even playing it.

Do you have any idea when violins started to be sold through violin shops rather than from the original makers?

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