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String tension


Rustle
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Using the same set of strings on two different violins...

Bridge and nut heights are similar. They are on the low side of the range. The angle over the bridge is not excessive.  String lengths are standard.  

One violin feels fine. The other one my finger tips really hurt. 

Have you experienced this? I just can't figure out why? 

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If the string lengths are the same they will have the same tension. Is the height of the strings above the board the same? And as WB just mentioned, what about scoop?

Sometimes a stubborn violin that doesn't respond easily also feels like the strings are tighter, at least to me. Cant really explain it.

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11 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Is the fingerboard scoop the same on both violins?

When you say the bridge heights are the same, do you mean the total height of the bridge?

 

 

8 minutes ago, deans said:

If the string lengths are the same they will have the same tension. Is the height of the strings above the board the same? And as WB just mentioned, what about scoop?

Sometimes a stubborn violin that doesn't respond easily also feels like the strings are tighter, at least to me. Cant really explain it.

I checked the FB scoop. That is the problem.  I just had this FB dressed by a luthier to make it easy to play. Well the scoop in the middle is 2mm. And my comfortable violin is more like .5mm. I guess I'll have to tell the luthier that there's way too much scoop. But the FB is getting too thin so I'll now for sure need a new FB :(

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I wouldn't say 2mm is excessive, but how and where are you measuring this? Generally, there is more scoop under the G string, and less needed for the E.

Your violin fingerboard with 0.5mm scoop, sounds essentially flat to me, and I would prefer it to be more than this.

Where the deepest part of the scoop is makes a difference too, centralised, or more towards the nut, which I much prefer.

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26 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

I wouldn't say 2mm is excessive, but how and where are you measuring this? Generally, there is more scoop under the G string, and less needed for the E.

Your violin fingerboard with 0.5mm scoop, sounds essentially flat to me, and I would prefer it to be more than this.

Where the deepest part of the scoop is makes a difference too, centralised, or more towards the nut, which I much prefer.

Well, the scoop is a personal thing and there are many different opinions, but for me 2mm is waaay too much, it would be too much even for a cello.

0.5 mm sounds good, I usually do 0.5mm on the G string, 0.45mm D string, 0.40mm A string and 0.35mm E string, with humidity around 50%, a bit more scooped if humidity is low when I make the fingerboard. max scoop in the middle of the fingerboard, so at about 1/3 of the string length.

With a 2 mm scoop, in addition to the pain in the fingers, there could also be problems with intonation.

 

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13 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Well, the scoop is a personal thing and there are many different opinions, but for me 2mm is waaay too much, it would be too much even for a cello.

0.5 mm sounds good, I usually do 0.5mm on the G string, 0.45mm D string, 0.40mm A string and 0.35mm E string, with humidity around 50%, a bit more scooped if humidity is low when I make the fingerboard. max scoop in the middle of the fingerboard, so at about 1/3 of the string length.

With a 2 mm scoop, in addition to the pain in the fingers, there could also be problems with intonation.

 

Would you replace the fingerboard on my violin a set the scoop as you described? 

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There are many aspects of the instrument that play into perception and feel.

My rather simple thoughts on this is that many students can feel a .5mm difference at the nut, but they are less likely to feel a 1mm difference at the bridge. I realize that this is a simple and an oversimplified answer to your comments.

We find ourselves playing in lower positions so my assumption is that one might notice it more in that area.

The second thought is that if one is trying to achieve a similar tone quality on instruments with nearly identical dimensions, and one is more difficult to play ( produce that tone, ) a player might strain and squeeze the instrument that is more difficult to play.

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Ideal scoop possibly depends on tension of strings as well.

On mandolins and guitars neck relief (same as scoop on violins) is adjusted by truss rod. Generally heavier strings need less relief than lighter strings.

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4 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I think Weisshaar recommends 1mm for G and .5mm for e, but if I'm working on an old violin and the fingerboard is somewhat less say .5mm G .3mm e I might not worry about it

Yes, that what I recall from the book. I have the Weisshaar book and a couple other spec sheets.

This violin is way higher.  I have full body small fiber neuropathy,  and it painful to play. And this is why I really can't work on instruments myself anymore.  I haven't recovered from the bridge I fit last week. The nerves are set off and I have a lot more pain  than before. The luthier was going to make it easier to play.  Well it's worse. I don't dare go back to him. 

Now I  need to find someone who can properly replace the fingerboard and make it have minimal scoop. I can try to get exact scoop measurements from my other 2 violins that are comfortable.  

Where should I send my violin????? There's no where to take it here. 

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9 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

Where are you located?

Sent you a message.  I can not travel due to pain. I have to mail it somewhere,  but don't know who to send it to that will actually do what I'm asking. 

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16 hours ago, Rustle said:

Would you replace the fingerboard on my violin a set the scoop as you described? 

I don't know, it's hard to tell without seeing the violin and knowing what height the sides currently have and what the transverse curve of the fingerboard is (i.e. how much wood is available). Maybe it could be possible without changing the fingerboard, distributing the straightening equally between nut side and bridge side, but you have to consider the effect on the projection at the bridge too, and you should have to live with the sides that will become irregular and the neck that will become a bit thinner towards the nut. There are too many aspects to consider, the decision rests entirely with the luthier who will eventually do the job.

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4 hours ago, Rustle said:

 

Now I  need to find someone who can properly replace the fingerboard and make it have minimal scoop. I can try to get exact scoop measurements from my other 2 violins that are comfortable.  

Where should I send my violin????? There's no where to take it here. 

Is it really necessary to replace the fingerboard? Maybe I'm missing something, but it shouldn't be necessary to thin the fingerboard any more than it already is, since to  reduce  the scoop you just have to take down the high spots and leave the low (thin) spots alone. OTOH, since the "book" scoop that I learned was 0.7mm under the G, who knows where someone would put a 2mm scoop? Hard to say for sure without a look, but should be able to leave the thin spots alone.

I'm getting pretty old myself, and more and more sensitive to the nuances of setup. Little stuff like nut height, scoop, bridge curve and string height make a huge difference in how cleanly and easily I can play traditional or dance music up to tempo. Some of my country music and other fiddle clients play as many as 15-18 shows per week, and they really appreciate an easy-to-play setup as well.

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3 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

Is it really necessary to replace the fingerboard? Maybe I'm missing something, but it shouldn't be necessary to thin the fingerboard any more than it already is, since to  reduce  the scoop you just have to take down the high spots and leave the low (thin) spots alone. OTOH, since the "book" scoop that I learned was 0.7mm under the G, who knows where someone would put a 2mm scoop? Hard to say for sure without a look, but should be able to leave the thin spots alone.

I'm getting pretty old myself, and more and more sensitive to the nuances of setup. Little stuff like nut height, scoop, bridge curve and string height make a huge difference in how cleanly and easily I can play traditional or dance music up to tempo. Some of my country music and other fiddle clients play as many as 15-18 shows per week, and they really appreciate an easy-to-play setup as well.

It's already borderline thin. The high area toward the nut could be taken off, but not the high area at the other end. That would definitely make the end too thin. It's about 3mm now. But I'm not going to be playing on the last one inch of the board. 

 

I guess I  need to unstring it and take photos.  Or draw it out on paper a take photo, so you can see.

I already had to use a thicker bridge to compensate for the thin FB. If I take more off on the area by the nut and take the nut down, I'm risking destroying the tone even more. The luthier just made the new nut. It's probably going to be hard to remove. If I could get the nut off, I  can work on that part a little. If it ruins the tone,   I'm not physically able to replace the FB. I do have  a stash of fingerboards that I bought 20 yrs ago. 

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I am not an authority, but IME minor changes in fingerboard thickness don't make gross changes in tone that can't be "adjusted around", and the only reasons I've found for replacing an otherwise sound fingerboard are that the neck is bowing because the fingerboard doesn't support it, by which time the board has sometimes come loose on its own, or the fingerboard is too flexible in high positions, which is awfully thin given normal left hand technique. Always happy to be corrected.

Nuts generally come off very easily, if attached with the usual two tiny drops of glue. I usually use a single-edge razor blade between neck and nut, or else a little block of wood and a tiny hammer. I usually start with the razor blade in case the nut is glued on too tight and wants to split.

YMMV, of course. I mostly work on old instruments, 90 to 200 years old and replace far  more lost or damaged fingerboards than I do ones that are worn out.

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8 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I am not an authority, but IME minor changes in fingerboard thickness don't make gross changes in tone that can't be "adjusted around", and the only reasons I've found for replacing an otherwise sound fingerboard are that the neck is bowing because the fingerboard doesn't support it, by which time the board has sometimes come loose on its own

Agreed. If the board is too thin, the board and neck can bow, thereby increasing the scoop.

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9 hours ago, Advocatus Diaboli said:

Have you checked the string heights at the nut?  If the nut wasn’t lowered adequately after the fingerboard being planed that could be the issue.  

 

8 hours ago, martin swan said:

Plenty of good advice here already but a handy rule of thumb is that the amount of scoop should be equal to the thickness of the string.

 

14 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I am not an authority, but IME minor changes in fingerboard thickness don't make gross changes in tone that can't be "adjusted around", and the only reasons I've found for replacing an otherwise sound fingerboard are that the neck is bowing because the fingerboard doesn't support it, by which time the board has sometimes come loose on its own, or the fingerboard is too flexible in high positions, which is awfully thin given normal left hand technique. Always happy to be corrected.

Nuts generally come off very easily, if attached with the usual two tiny drops of glue. I usually use a single-edge razor blade between neck and nut, or else a little block of wood and a tiny hammer. I usually start with the razor blade in case the nut is glued on too tight and wants to split.

YMMV, of course. I mostly work on old instruments, 90 to 200 years old and replace far  more lost or damaged fingerboards than I do ones that are worn out.

Thank you all for all the info and things to check.

The  thinness of the fingerboard isn't causing the neck to bow or those types of things. It's not as thin as I thought.  Just looks that way from the side because it curves down.  

The FB had a little lip right by the nut. So I took that off with a chisel, and then I was able the take down the string heights more and re-dress the nut. 

Then I took down the string heights at end of FB about .5 to .75mm. ...lowering the bridge, then thinning it a bit etc. 

So, I did what I could at both ends. It feels more similar to my other violin now. The tone seems better after these changes too. My finger tips still hurt but the nerves are very aggravated.  I need to stop playing for 5 days, and let the nerves settle. Then I'll see how it goes.  Hopefully it will be good. I've got Pirastro Perpetual Cadenzas on it. They are supposed to have lower tension. If these end up bothering my fingers I could try light a gage set. Maybe Evah greens light gage? Or the Larsen Virtuoso that I already have. 

Thanks again, everyone here that has been so helpful.  

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16 minutes ago, deans said:

Violinos are low tension too, and might feel softer under the fingers.

Thanks :) I've never tried those. I'll keep them in mind if the sets I have still cause pain, even with the lower action set up. 

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