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Plate tuning


Crimson0087
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I am starting to tune my plates. I believe I understand the concept but I see different sources for what the frequencies should be. Right now my top is close to 367 mode 5 and mode 2 is like 170. Is this good? This is a first violin so I just want an idea of what I should shoot for. Should I bother with mode 1? I read it should just be above 1/2 of mode 2? Also it's 79 grams before f holes and bass bar. Too heavy? What's too thin for area between c bouts it's mostly between 3-3.5

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I don’t do plate Tuning any more because I find weight of the top plate by far more important than frequencies of tap tones. 

A top plate of 79g is simply too heavy. I usually try to come down to at least 65g without bassbar. If tap tones become too low according to whatever theory, I don’t care any more. 

If the plate doesn’t work, either the arch was wrong or the wood too heavy. 

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Let's see - 367 x 367 = 134689.  134689 x 79 = 10640431.

Using the J. Masters method for a belly plate you'd want to get closer to 8000000 rather than the 10640431 from above. 

Most people don't figure their wood this way but it can help some imo.

The formula is called m5 squared multiplied by plate weight.

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1 hour ago, CaseyLouque said:

post-25136-1224022475_Strad_back_graduat
Found this on the plate tuning website. 

I found this information interesting to look at possibly useful.
This is not a recommendation from me. Please refer to experienced makers.

 

image test.  Ok that seems to be working.

This is the map I used when graduating the back plate on my current build.  For the belly plate I made it 2.5mm even thickness.  I haven't strung it  up yet so how well it will hold up I don't know.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Crimson0087 said:

How thin is too thin in any given area? I am afraid of going too thin and the violin breaking under pressure. Particularly how thin is too thin between the c bout where the pressure from the bridge is?

This is a question that always arises, but it is bound to remain unanswered. Or rather, the only honest answer is that it depends on the properties of the wood you are using. Perhaps some mathematical formula could be found to relate the properties of the material to an optimal thickness, but considering the non-homogeneity of the wood it would be rather unlikely to arrive at something actually usable in practice.

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 As an amateur maker i have found that giving attention to weight is more important than messing around with plate tuning. Plate tuning is somewhat like taking your blood pressure,it may be one indication of your health but proper weight is of greater importance.

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

Perhaps some mathematical formula could be found to relate the properties of the material to an optimal thickness...

Ever the optimist.  But until there is agreement on the "optimal sound", it isn't even rational to try for an optimal anything.

At best, perhaps you might be able to find a formula to correlate with a particular region in the sound universe.  

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My personal “theory “ is thatThe basic “problem “ with plate tuning is that essentially any plate can be “ tuned “ to a wide variety of basic pitches depending on where the material is removed from , pull from the ends and perimeter the pitch will move up , remove from the middle area and the frequency will drop …. Rather what is needed is a certain overall stiffness to much and the violin tone is tiny to loose And wolf notes will emerge. 

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I'll throw another wrench in by saying that since around 2000 I have mainly made either heavy "Cannone" type violins, or Strads variously tending towards those thicknesses, and don't believe that low weight of the plates has anything inevitable to do with quality. If the structure is pure, the weight doesn't have to be low: thin wood is a crutch for a structure that doesn't want to do what it's supposed to and making it lighter (thinner) helps a structure to move that was made so that it wouldn't. Make it so that it will move, and low weight is a liability because you are locked into making to accommodate deficiencies.

I *think* I said that all the ways it can be said. :-)

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1 minute ago, Michael Darnton said:

I'll throw another wrench in by saying that since around 2000 I have mainly made either heavy "Cannone" type violins, or Strads variously tending towards those thicknesses, and don't believe that low weight of the plates has anything inevitable to do with quality. If the structure is pure, the weight doesn't have to be low: thin wood is a crutch for a structure that doesn't want to do what it's supposed to and making it lighter (thinner) helps a structure to move that was made so that it wouldn't. Make it so that it will move, and low weight is a liability because you are locked into making to accommodate deficiencies.

I *think* I said that all the ways it can be said. :-)

I have been happy with pretty heavy grads, too. 

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On 2/8/2022 at 6:44 PM, Michael Darnton said:

I'll throw another wrench in by saying that since around 2000 I have mainly made either heavy "Cannone" type violins, or Strads variously tending towards those thicknesses, and don't believe that low weight of the plates has anything inevitable to do with quality. If the structure is pure, the weight doesn't have to be low: thin wood is a crutch for a structure that doesn't want to do what it's supposed to and making it lighter (thinner) helps a structure to move that was made so that it wouldn't. Make it so that it will move, and low weight is a liability because you are locked into making to accommodate deficiencies.

I *think* I said that all the ways it can be said. :-)

Maybe talk about what you mean by”pure”.  my understanding is that… All else being equal…  a high arch form can be thinner than a low arch form , and so it seems there is a relationship to consider, also wood dense could also contribute to final graduations…..as far as movement goes , I don’t understand your statement, isn’t it movement that creates sound? Specifically out of plane movement?  FWIW I’ve focused on the plowden as a primary model and have tried to produce as “pure” of model as I can, I won’t speak to whatever tone is achieved as much as it seems to me that a uniform pattern shape grads weights ext  and uniform wood certainly seem to produce uniform results. Lots to consider… it seems the only thing we really know for sure … is that “ plate tuning “by itself , isolated from model and wood density eat, means absolutely nothing. Vigdorchik was wrong .

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4 minutes ago, Crimson0087 said:

Well I hope tap tones are astrology lol. I got weight down to 72 but my M5 is 277

Any Idea what the specific gravity of your wood is? For a soft piece say .32 specific gravity  3.5 my got be fine but a heavy piece , say .45 might t be overkill , I note you haven’t mentioned arch height or profile, a very flat arch with swept edges in a soft  wood will need very different graduation parameters than a highly arched   Model with a Full football type Brechian edge , perimeter type work , either form may be perfectly doable …. But each requires a different approach to succeed. The old timers … they say to make a bunch , like 25… 50 … 100 , then you learn a thing or two. Mostly though, take -heart -courage and follow through, if the tone is small and thin with a lot of tin you can always rip the top off and redo the grads ,or make another and compare them  . Mostly …. it will sound like a violin if pretty standard models , specific gravity-of wood , grads and weights are used… …. The number of same tree Strads Peter Radcliffe has found MIGHT be some sort of hint …. Best of luck soldier on , don’t get to connected to tap tones , focus on good strong joints and you will be fine . 

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7 hours ago, Crimson0087 said:

Well I hope tap tones are astrology lol. I got weight down to 72 but my M5 is 277

Even if they aren't astrology that doesn't mean (a) that having numbers that are very different from "normal expectations" will necessarily be a problem and, more importantly, (b) that forcing the numbers to be "correct" will improve the instrument.

If you are consistently using more or less the same wood, and more or less the same outline/arching, then checking whether your weight and tap tones are more or less the same as usual might tell you something. In this case we don't know much about your wood, outline, arching, etc. So it's possible that you have a whole bunch of extra wood there compared to "normal expectations." But, it's also possible that something else is different from "normal expectations." For example, your arching may just not allow for the M5 you want. That doesn't mean it's going to be a bad instrument though (or, even if it does, it doesn't mean that messing around more with the graduations is going to "fix" it).

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11 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Plate tuning is astrology for violinmakers.

Depends if you tune to frequency or ringing quality.

Too much ‘ring’ (low damping) seems to be not good. In any case I started to listen more to the sound quality of the tapped tone. 

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12 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Perhaps some mathematical formula could be found to relate the properties of the material to an optimal thickness, but considering the non-homogeneity of the wood it would be rather unlikely to arrive at something actually usable in practice.

I think in general we should get away from the idea that we can calculate anything for the reason you mention yourself.

What is really needed is just an building approach which contains sound calibrations in the process of making and along the way gather experience to limit it to the minimum.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I think in general we should get away from the idea that we can calculate anything for the reason you mention yourself.

What is really needed is just an building approach which contains sound calibrations in the process of making and along the way gather experience to limit it to the minimum.

I perfectly agree.

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