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Squash this idea about Strad's guitar shapes


Marty Kasprzyk
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6 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Hmm. You could as well muse if he was looking at the back of his wife, you know what I mean....

 

Wrong! Most wives (or humans of any description) have a much more conspicuous butt-crack, more along the lines of Yizhak Shotten's viola.

So for now, I am going along with Marty's vegetable theory. ;)

I am also fond of Andrew Dipper's Strad Magazine article about ff-holes being inspired by the shape of an orange peel. But I do hope this doesn't escalate into some kind of fruit-versus-vegetable war. :o

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30 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I am also fond of Andrew Dipper's Strad Magazine article about ff-holes being inspired by the shape of an orange peel. But I do hope this doesn't escalate into some kind of fruit-versus-vegetable war. :o

If the trend continues with inspiration coming only from biological fruits, does that tell us anything about Strad’s preferred diet?  Or maybe he was trying to achieve a ‘fruity sound’? ^_^

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6 hours ago, David Beard said:

Very cute.  But maybe you should be asking about what diner the first person to make a plucked vielle that shape had, centuries early.

Strad I think was just sticking within an old tradition.

Good points but I think it is better to look back at early bowed instruments rather than plucked ones.  The photo (1) below shows the painting of a bowed vielle used sometime before the year 1500 which also shows a squash-like shape.  Notice that the bridge is nearly flat which indicates that the instrument was used for playing chords--  all the strings were being bowed at the same time. Also notice the top plate appears to be quite flat and that the string angle over the bridge is almost straight. 

Later musical playing styles used individual notes which required a curved bridge so that the bowing hit only one string at a time.  This curved bridge in turn required bow clearance which was accomplished by narrowing the middle portion of the instrument or by using C bout cut outs like newly invented violins used. Plate arching of the violin also raised the bridge which also gave more bow clearance.   This made the string angle over bridge more acute which increased the downward string force on the top plate.  I suspect the bass bar was added to strengthen the more heavily loaded top plate.

 

1.  "Angel in Green with a Vielle" by associate of Leonardo da Vinci (Francesco Napoletano ?) ~1490-1499,  Panels from the S. Francesco Alterpiece in Milan, Courtesy of the National Gallery in London

 

Angel_in_Green.png

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The violin and guitars both developed from the vielle, which had plucked and bowed versions very early.  You were talking guitars, so plucked vielle.

You can see in art that vielles went through extensive variations.  But mostly all have in common:

Lute type instruments

Back and top plates sitting on sides

Waisted shape with lower bout biggest

Soundholes

Some sort of bridge on top plate

 

I suspect we get the word fiddle from vielle also, as well as the viol, violin, vieuhle, guitar, violette, violone, and probably other instrument families.

I suspect the geometry I've been studying in violins is a development of ideas present much earlier in some branches of vielle making in Italy, and likely in Spanish roots of the vielle.  But with so view surviving examples and available imaging, I can't yet follow up on this suspicion.

 

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On 11/4/2020 at 1:10 AM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

While making diner one night Stradivari was thinking about what shape his guitar should have.

Outlines of 3 Strad guitars.png

Squash.jpg

Absolutely true IMO. We can see also that the Baroque shape of the violin and its neck and fingerboard has a much more organic feel to it than the modern neck set which is rather mechanical.

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23 hours ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

We can see also that the Baroque shape of the violin and its neck and fingerboard has a much more organic feel to it than the modern neck set which is rather mechanical.

I don't think the modern neck set is more mechanical, the old one even includes metal and an inclined plane by jimminy, but I've never heard a really convincing explanation for how such a weird modification came to be and even more weirdly became literally universal

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Look at the bowed vielle Marty posted.  This ancestor of the violin shows a flat neck angle, a flat plate, and a low bridge.

I would guess that they found through variations and selection that an arched plate and a taller bridge worked better.  The then added a wedge to the straight neck so the fingerboard could chase the rising string angle, giving an easier action.

Then, later, when the violin necks mosified primarily to allow longer fingerboards and fancier high position play, they decide to eliminate the wedges and let the whole neck chase the string angle.

More or less.  

 

That's my wild guess on how the neck solutions evolved.

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On 11/3/2020 at 7:10 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

While making diner one night Stradivari was thinking about what shape his guitar should have.

Outlines of 3 Strad guitars.png

Squash.jpg

I wanted to make the point that the squash outline has a graceful shape of constantly changing curvatures very similar to Stradivari's guitars and his 1726 "Chanot-Chardon" violin.  The squash even has the same 4/5 upper to lower bout width ratio.

It is doubtful that fixed radius compass constructions can accurately generate the squash's shape.

 

Bell's strad copy.jpg

3976 Stradivari guitar front.jpg

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

It is doubtful that fixed radius compass constructions can accurately generate the squash's shape.

Well, yeah.  The squash isn't actually circle geometry.

But the guitars and vielle you show are.

The squash looks pretty similar.  But it's ultimately more complex.

The shapes of of the vielle and guitars are simplfied into circle geometry.   We've gone through this before.

Without testing yet, what I expect to find is the outer bouts based on vesica with a connecting arc with risers, same as violin but different proportions.  And the center bout based on a large cicrle, probably in proportion with one of the outer bout widths.  The connection to the center bout might just be bent spline shapes, but we'll see.  I'll check over the next few days.

 

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On 11/4/2020 at 7:27 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

After it was baked and sliced he took a big bite out of its side and realized this shape would give better bow clearance.

Sliced squash.JPG

I think I was wrong about the origins of C bout shape being just a haphazard big bite.  

My impression of Old Italian instruments is that there is a lot of variation in the oval C bout shape from various makers. One possible explanation for this is that they were simply copying different spaghetti squashes. Some are well rounded in their center area while others have straighter shapes as shown in the attached photo.

 

 

 

spaggeti_squash.png

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