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Hide glue acoustic qualities


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Hi all, 

There are many reasons we use hide glue; that is obvious.  However, I have never heard acoustics cited as a reason.  So I put it to you: wouldn't this matter?  I've by no means tried all the glues out there, but not one of the white glues, yellow glues, cements, CA glues, or epoxies I've used (NOT ON FIDDLES!!) is nearly as brittle as hide glue. They all dry to be a bit soft in comparison to hide glue, which is extremely strong and brittle.  As such, the speed of sound in hide glue should be much faster than in, say, Titebond.  Thus the corpus of the instrument would behave as a unit, and not each part in isolation.  I conjecture this would result in a violin with better playability, projection, and clarity.  Is there any truth to this hypothesis?  Would a violin constructed with a softer glue sound worse?  Or even perhaps better?  

Please share your thoughts below, and thank you for indulging my musings on the matter.  

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Since glues are normally used to glue two pieces of wood together, the glue line does not usually experience much vibrational stress, and therefore would be of minimal influence on acoustics.  For a large soundpost patch or breast patch, it might be more important... or for folks who think that a hide glue ground is a good thing.

I have tested a whole lot of coatings years ago, including epoxy and fish glue... but for some reason didn't test hide glue.  I have heard of guitar builders switching back to hide glue from what they had been using, presumably for a small acoustical gain.  But they have a lot of braces glued to the plates.

IMO, speed of sound would be of far less importance than damping effects, and both would be insignificant as long as the glue lines were kept thin and tidy.  If I was going to use a glue as part of the varnishing system, I suspect that hide glue would be less deadening than the others.

 

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You can let aside commeical glues, of course they have their purpose in industry, and focus on natural glues. 

Bone glue is very nice for construction. I would say some times I prefer it for the making process and let hide glue for repairs. Fish glue was also used tremendously in Mediterranean countries, from Spain to Egypt and to all kind of instruments. 

The best glue is the good joining and right clamping. 

I know guys that join plates with Titebond. Since they do perfect joints, glue comes in second place. 

 

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6 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Since glues are normally used to glue two pieces of wood together, the glue line does not usually experience much vibrational stress, and therefore would be of minimal influence on acoustics.  For a large soundpost patch or breast patch, it might be more important... or for folks who think that a hide glue ground is a good thing.

I have tested a whole lot of coatings years ago, including epoxy and fish glue... but for some reason didn't test hide glue.  I have heard of guitar builders switching back to hide glue from what they had been using, presumably for a small acoustical gain.  But they have a lot of braces glued to the plates.

IMO, speed of sound would be of far less importance than damping effects, and both would be insignificant as long as the glue lines were kept thin and tidy.  If I was going to use a glue as part of the varnishing system, I suspect that hide glue would be less deadening than the others.

 

A thin rubbery glue joint between the relatively rigid wood parts could act as a "Constrained layer viscoelastic damper" which could add some damping to an assembled instrument. There is probably an optimum damping amount. Too little damping might be undesirable--could be one reason why brass violins haven't caught on.

The 3M company makes a light weight damping tape that might help suppress wolf notes caused by excessively high resonance peaks.  A nodal analysis could be used to show the location of the offending vibration and a small strip could be applied where most of the bending happens.  This would add very little weight to the plate so it wouldn't affect the other resonances much.

3M™ Vibration Damping Tape 434 is a low temperature, silver, dead soft aluminum foil tape. The constraining layer is coated with a pressure sensitive viscoelastic polymer on a blue polyethylene easy release liner. This tape absorbs and dissipates vibration and reduces noise.
 

 

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We use beewax, or something similar, for fixing the accelerometers while doeing measurements of structure borne noise. There may be a resonance between the 20g-ish accerlometer and a hard concrete floor e.g. around 3-4 kHz or higher if the layer is thin and the contact is good. Abcove that less energy is picked up by the acclerometer due to vibration insulation effects, but below the resonance it it will follow the concrete.

I think the requirement for hardness of gue to not influence the acoustics probably is not super important if the glue suface is very thin. The hide, rabbit or fish glue is reversible, a very important property.  

The most important damping effect in violins is probably the holding for playing.

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This is very interesting!  I should clarify, the only glue I've used on violins is hide glue, with the exception of joining a couple plates with Titebond.  I listed all the other glues to prove a point, not to say I've used them on instruments.  

48 minutes ago, Anders Buen said:

The most important damping effect in violins is probably the holding for playing.

Thoughts on shoulder rests?  I forsook mine when I realized my fiddle sounds better without it.  Also helped me loosen up my playing.  

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4 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Thoughts on shoulder rests?  I forsook mine when I realized my fiddle sounds better without it.  Also helped me loosen up my playing.  

I've ditched shoulder rests and chin rests.

A slight change of technique in position shifting  was all that was required.

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4 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Thoughts on shoulder rests?

I never use them, but in a bit of testing they seem to add "resistance" to the instrument.  If the instrument is more compliant than the player likes, then a shoulder rest might be an improvement.

Chinrests add mass to a different area of the instrument, and I have never liked the sound without one.  Sidemounts seem to do better to my tastes.

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45 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Thoughts on shoulder rests?  I forsook mine when I realized my fiddle sounds better without it.  Also helped me loosen up my playing.  

They do make a difference. I have recently seen through some curves for a presentation. There are regions in the spectra where the chinrest version of the test is louder than without. I use side mounted ones and prefer them to be light. 

I havent done systematic tests with different types of chinrests though. But see that the Guarneri type clamped over the endblock do gice changes to the impact hammer spectra. Modes move quite a lot.

I think the playing test is better than the impact hammer rig test for this. I play scales half and whole notes as loud as possible and make a long time average spectrum of that. Essentially taking an FFT of the whole file. Mic position and distance from the player, the room and its conten as similar as possible. 

If you repeat three times, it is possible to make errorbars to see if there is a difference or just variation from take to take.  

I see I have misunderstood the question. I use shoulder rests because it is better for my neck.

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1 hour ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Chinrest info is interesting too!  I've always experimented based on intuition, and never in a scientific way.  It seems I have some data to collect.  :)

Not long ago a new book about some Hardanger fiddle makers came out. It is written by Kjell Midtgaard, a retired medical doctor, harding fiddle player, painter and collector. The book is mainly about Olaf G. Helland.

There is also a chapter on one of my family makers: Fathers uncle, John H. Tjønn and some words from John youngest sister, Bergit, who was a fine player. She used to play with chinrests as one of the factors to get an instrument to work. I did not know before reading it. She and her oldest sister Ingebjørg looked after me and my brother wile our parents were on tours. She tested the instruments that was produced by her father and brother and gave feedback. And she spent time at the Buen farm to help my grandma. And at Buen lived my maker and player grandpa A. Buen. Maybe they worked a little together too. One playing, the other listening at distance to decide the carrying power or other factors. 

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28 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Could you say why?

Some of the effects one get from holding and playing an instrument will not appear in the impact hammer rig. In particular the added damping by the chin, shoulder and hand, holding the instrument, can't be monitored in the vibration insulated rig. 

I have tried to hammer the fiddle while holding it, - cumbersome. But then it should give the damping effect, if the fiddle can be held naturally. 

Bowing it and recording is a better approach I think. If you are a geek like me, the sound file is analyzed further. If you are happy listening, that can of course, be done. 

I think analysing the spectra give more fine information beyond possible detection just listening.

The rig is nice for analysing what happens to the violin body with the chinrest in place or without, or with different designs and mounting. 

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9 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Some things shouldn't be repaired.  :ph34r:

A great read, too.  https://imslp.org/wiki/Violin_Method_(Bang%2C_Maia)

Hiyas, Jezzupe!  :)

Ah yes, the "Bang method" :lol: for those that don't know , Maia Bang was Leopold Auer's personal assistant and student and she basically compiled all his teaching methods into her "method" For those that don't know Leopold Auer was one of Paganini's better students and was known through his life as one of the better violin teachers out there and a direct "descendant" of Paganini's  methods and techniques.

And...in those techniques she pretty much makes a point of not using rests, and that when properly wielded, the violin will "couple" with the chest cavity of the human player by being "pinched" between the collar bone and chin....and that proper breathing along with proper "clamping" basically makes a human torso that has expanded lungs filled with air part of the instrument and or can effect the tone, as if a secondary sympathetic resonant chamber

the only comfort she would allow was a small cloth to be placed between the chin and collar bone, not unlike the poor souls trapped in VD's basement.when she yells down, "it puts lotion on it's skin!!!" :lol:

edit: and I've just discovered that if you "google" her name, the side bar on the right has her born in 1879 with no death date listed and an age of 141 years old , so apparently she's like one of those highlander dudes just like VD, as she cuts silk scarfs on her blade and mutters to herself  "there can be only one" :lol: 

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