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Plate Weight


Shunyata
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I lnow that experienced makers dont really weigh their plates, but I am a newish amateur and appreciate redundant guardrails (provided they are meaningful).

I have read that top plates are typically <70g and bottom plates <120g.  Is this with the platforms running in a straight line all the way across, or with the platforms contoured around the end blocks? 

There is so much weight in the platforms that it seems difficult to achieve these weights without going very thin.

Thank you in advance for your kind comments.

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46 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

I lnow that experienced makers dont really weigh their plates, but I am a newish amateur and appreciate redundant guardrails (provided they are meaningful).

I have read that top plates are typically <70g and bottom plates <120g.  Is this with the platforms running in a straight line all the way across, or with the platforms contoured around the end blocks? 

There is so much weight in the platforms that it seems difficult to achieve these weights without going very thin.

Thank you in advance for your kind comments.

I do it.:)

For me the weight is that of the finished plate with rounded edges, the final conditions, in short. If the wood is heavy, the platforms are the first ones I take out on the back, but I always leave them on the top.

I would consider a 120g violin back a bit heavy, I would prefer between 100 and 110g, or even less.

A 70g top would be fine, but if it were lighter I wouldn't be sorry...

There is not that much weight in the platforms around the blocks of my violins, about 2g on the back and maybe 1 g on the top (yes, I have sometimes tried to take them off even on the top, but it's not worth it for that little weight gain).

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7 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

I do it.:)

For me the weight is that of the finished plate with rounded edges, the final conditions, in short. If the wood is heavy, the platforms are the first ones I take out on the back, but I always leave them on the top.

I would consider a 120g violin back a bit heavy, I would prefer between 100 and 110g, or even less.

A 70g top would be fine, but if it were lighter I wouldn't be sorry...

There is not that much weight in the platforms around the blocks of my violins, about 2g on the back and maybe 1 g on the top (yes, I have sometimes tried to take them off even on the top, but it's not worth it for that little weight gain).

I also weigh the plates on violins. I like 60 to 70 grams with the bar glued in so about 3 grams less without the bar. I agree the extra wood at the blocks doesn’t really amount to much. Also think 120 is about as high as I would ever go preferring 100 to 110.

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I am currently convinced that weight is more important than taptones, although I record everything.

I use all torrefied wood for the top and the back, and maybe that is part of the reason I prefer slightly lighter plates... generally around 60 - 65 g for the top with bar) and 100 - 105 g for the back, sometimes less.  For regraduating cheap fiddles with dense wood, I might end up 5 - 10 g heavier.

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So I am working on a plate that is coming in at 79g before f holes or bass bar.  Given the measurements below, where would you thin?

Upper lung is 2.2mm and 2.4mm near the edge (about 1cm in from edge)

Bottom lung is 2.5mm, a little thinner on the E side.

Center is 2.7mm, 3mm at post, 3.5mm near edge.

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We are all repeating ourselves, for several years now, so I'll repeat my stand.

Why not do both and add a third

Decide what you want, not just aim for one of them, because you believe that all of them can't be done

1. Plate weight

2. Taptone

3. Thickness

It is possible to get them all spot on (and at the same time solve the equation with the number you want it to be)

 

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5 hours ago, Shunyata said:

So I am working on a plate that is coming in at 79g before f holes or bass bar.  Given the measurements below, where would you thin?

Upper lung is 2.2mm and 2.4mm near the edge (about 1cm in from edge)

Bottom lung is 2.5mm, a little thinner on the E side.

Center is 2.7mm, 3mm at post, 3.5mm near edge.

You appear to be working with very dense wood (do you know what you have?)

Assuming the stiffness is high as well, I'd go thinner to get below 70g, probably closer to 65g, thinning proportionally.  The grad pattern doesn't look too bad.  3.5mm at the edges looks to be on the high side.

1 hour ago, Peter K-G said:

We are all repeating ourselves, for several years now, so I'll repeat my stand.

It is possible to get them all spot on (and at the same time solve the equation with the number you want it to be)

Yes, we've heard that for years now, and if your goal is to solve an equation and get specific free plate numbers, that's great.  Now prove that it matters for the sound quality of the assembled instrument.

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2 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

It can be argued that the plate tap tones and the plate weight are equally important. 

Lots of things can be argued, since there is no agreed-upon way to evaluate the final results.

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Thank you for the advice, Don.  It is wood that I ordered from International Violin, but they made a substitution due to stocking issues, so I am not sure exactly what I have.  

Thinning the C bout edges to 3mm and bringing the center 2.5mm to got me down 77g.  I can probably shave another gram by going after a few thicker spots.

I will follow with additional posts on my progress.

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

Lots of things can be argued, since there is no agreed-upon way to evaluate the final results.

 I'm sorry, should have said: "Some well established violin makers and researchers (Bilbao project team) believe that plate impedance (mass times mode frequencies) is important.

But you are right-- some people always seem to disagree with other people's efforts.  One term for this effect is "NIH"--not invented here.

 

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

Now prove that it matters for the sound quality of the assembled instrument.

Prove that it hurts the sound quality of the assembled instrument :)

I know this isn't how burden of proof works.  I'm just genuinely curious why so many on this forum dismiss plate tuning, considering it is a low-tech, intuitive graduation technique that has been used by masters for a long time.  I'm all ears.  

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8 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Prove that it hurts the sound quality of the assembled instrument :)

I know this isn't how burden of proof works.  I'm just genuinely curious why so many on this forum dismiss plate tuning, considering it is a low-tech, intuitive graduation technique that has been used by masters for a long time.  I'm all ears.  

Makers who tune plates can turn out fine sounding instruments.  So can those who flex the plate with their hands, or use Chladni patterns, or come up with their own graduations scheme based on some kind of ratios, or any number of other rituals.  The issue is when anyone claims that their particular ritual is THE best way to attain the best results, as there is abundant evidence that it isn't.

My personal view is that none of that is terribly predictive of goodness, and my "ritual" is mostly reduced to using good wood, Cremonese-ish arching, graduation scheme somewhere between Strad and Guarneri, with the only "tuning" is to decide on weight... with some minor adjustments based on how the plate stiffness is looking and what the client wants.

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For the top plate I try to go as light as possible, not more than 65g with bb, preferably under 60g with bb. To do this properly arching height is an important factor. For graduations on the top I try to get as little thickness variation as possible. (Not more than 10 percent difference between thickest and thinnest areas) However the thinner and lighter the more difficult the setup of the instrument becomes.

For the back, weight is IMO not the most important parameter. On the back I try to get a graduation balance between upper and lower half, bass side and treble side with a stiff center which reaches the ribs.
 

In any case, after having thinned down in various experiments the back from the outside the overall tonal changes are not as big as one would expect. The best description of what happens is ‘sound color shift’.

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13 hours ago, Don Noon said:

You appear to be working with very dense wood (do you know what you have?)

Assuming the stiffness is high as well, I'd go thinner to get below 70g, probably closer to 65g, thinning proportionally.  The grad pattern doesn't look too bad.  3.5mm at the edges looks to be on the high side.

Yes, we've heard that for years now, and if your goal is to solve an equation and get specific free plate numbers, that's great.  Now prove that it matters for the sound quality of the assembled instrument.

The goal is tonal and playability copy.

How close do you think I could be if all the 3 parameters are the same and the wood is of close density.

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I can regulate the speed of my car by "feel", by watching neighboring traffic, by speedometer, or through my GPS.

I need at least one of these measurement systems.

Each of these measurement systems has circumstances where it's accuracy falters.  So you necessarily get somewhat inconsistent information from the systems.

An experienced driver takes in all the measurements and makes an informed judgement.  An inexperienced driver slavishly focuses on a single measurement system.

Plate tuning is like watching neighboring traffic.  Definitely helpful for regulating speed, but don't expect to accurately hit a target speed based on that input alone.  But don't ignore it either.

 

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I've had a top finish at 280 mode 5 and was a great fiddle, sold to a good player that already had an award winning fiddle.

Most of the time this doesn't work out and is mot recommended by me as a target, but it can work.

I've been very successful with mode 5 at 400 numerous times.

But use some wood that is  just a bit too dense and has  a lower speed of sound and you immediately reach the threshold of goodness that is available to you. You can't make it any better.

Weight and stiffness are far more important than anything else.

Good Wood is the key.

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UPDATE:  I have continued to work away at the plate.  Current weight is 73g and I feel afraid to go any further.  Advice is appreciated.

Upper lung is 2.2mm in the center and 2.4mm closer (about 1+ cm) to the edge.

Lower lung is 2.4mm on G side, 2.3mm on E side, and 2.5mm closer to the edge.

Center is 2.4mm, 2.7mm under sound post, and 2.9mm at edge.

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Wow, that must be really dense spruce.  Either that our you are making a viola.

If it was me, and I knew the wood had stiffness proportional to the density, I'd want to get the plate lighter, around 65g, and take off ~10% from those dimensions, with some exceptions:  more off of the lower bout G side and less of the lower bout E side.  Although I don't put much faith in taptones, they can give a general idea about the wood properties. Are the F's cut yet? 

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

 

I I'd want to get the plate lighter, around 65g, and take off ~10% from those dimensions, with some exceptions:  more off of the lower bout G side and less of the lower bout E side.  Although I don't put much faith in taptones, they can give a general idea about the wood properties. Are the F's cut yet? 

I would be curious about all 3 modes about now, how much stiffness is left?

I've been thinking lately about leaving the lower bout G side a bit thicker to help suppress wolfs. Maybe using up that energy in other parts of the corpus and restricting it in the lower bout might really help to eliminate a wolf's potential a bit.

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22 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

For the top plate I try to go as light as possible, not more than 65g with bb, preferably under 60g with bb. 

>

Is this before or after the varnish is applied?

Joseph Curtin's data (attached) on old Italian plates had the tapped tones and weights for obviously finished plates.

Tap_Routine_-_J_Curtins_Strad_article_06.pdf

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