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Tap tone test , top plate


Arsalan
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47 minutes ago, scordatura said:

That is encouraging because the top I am currently working on has quite a bit of runout...

If you catch it in time, you can glue it up with the sides spun relative to each other to straighten it out somewhat. You need full thickness only near the center, so this can work. If it's like the trees in my photo rather than a sawing problem, that puts the mess more out at the edges which may or may not be good. Or you can split the difference.

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On 5/17/2022 at 5:58 AM, Michael Darnton said:

It's wood not a bell.

Unless you happen to be making a bell.

It's a bad habit to assume that more of anything is better, just because. Still looking for actual proof that wood that rings makes better violins. Making good violins from ringing wood does not prove that violins from non-ringing wood would be worse.

I doubt it , by tapping the wood we only check the bell possiblity ... 

I think it also check the vibrational properties too ? What do you think ? 
the wood that vibrate better , maybe make a different tap tone ? To a regular piece of wood ? 
 

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1 hour ago, Arsalan said:

I think it also check the vibrational properties too ? What do you think ? 
the wood that vibrate better , maybe make a different tap tone ? To a regular piece of wood ?

What do you mean by vibrational properties? What does it mean "better" vibration? These are extremely vague terms that may "impress onlookers" but are hardly quantifiable or traceable into quality of instrument.

For me every piece of wood is "regular", it's all growing on trees.

"Tone"wood dealers often spread BS stories that make beginner thing that "tonewood" is some sacred species growing in secret places known only by them and processed in some special correct manner, but in reality it is JUST wood. 30 years ago I had the same bad understanding when I tried to get some "tone"wood for my first attempts but couldn't locate any local seller, everyone had just regular lumber. It took me few years of reading about wood processing that it is just pieces of wood selected by various criteria that can vary from place to place but generally aesthetics and lack of natural growth defects are the most important to most. After that you can find dealers preferring any other random property from density, speed of sound, crossgrain stiffness etc.

Much of my "tone"wood came directly from forest from maple trees that would otherwise end as "regular" lumber or spruce logs or splits that were destined to be sold for firewood but otherwise ticked all the boxes of "tonewood".

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Listening to a very recent recording of a client who is pretty "grammy'ed out" the guitar sounds so good, so even and the top material so came from Rafael Lumber, an ACE hardware distributor, remember kids, ACE is the place with friendly hardware man....and women too! and occasionally "tonewood"

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Read the description below the photos on this one:
https://reverb.com/item/11715897-taylor-gallery-series-pallet-guitar-2000-natural

The very best guitar I ever made was a test using top wood that had so little lateral stiffness that you could roll it up into a three-inch tube! That's why now when I hear some old shop lore as fact I QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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38 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

Listening to a very recent recording of a client who is pretty "grammy'ed out" the guitar sounds so good, so even and the top material so came from Rafael Lumber, an ACE hardware distributor, remember kids, ACE is the place with friendly hardware man....and women too! and occasionally "tonewood"

 

5 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

I have also found great wood in unexpected places like piles of firewood but in all these cases it is a

one in a million to find a piece without knots, grain irregularities or runout.

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8 minutes ago, donbarzino said:

to find a piece without knots, grain irregularities or runout.

Pointing out that this never stopped the old Italian guys. I have seen plenty of often-gigantic knots, irregular grain, odd cuts, runoout etc in those violins.

Mantegazza cello top. We have sold this one a couple of times, and I don't remember even a single customer asking about the knot.

image.png.a23aa23d3fdfb09a8312c4dd5c803082.png

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6 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

I don't remember even a single customer asking about the knot.

It's clearly not a knot.  It's where Mantegazza picked up the top before the wood was dry.

 

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FWIW...as interested as I am in the entire topic of miniscule differences between violins...and given how much time I've spent comparing f-holes and button shapes, etc. over the years...

...I still can't tell the difference between a Strad and a Del Gesu if I have nothing to directly compare against. 

So if I can't tell tiny differences apart, I don't expect the vast majority of violin buyers (who really don't care) are able to or are overly interested in learning about.

What a greater percentage of (most?) violin buyers might be interested in would be obvious, unmistakable signs of quality or whatever may indicate a higher purchase price or status...even if those 'signs' aren't all that meaningful.

So...the flame of the wood would be such a sign.  We are conditioned to equate bold flame with higher quality.

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34 minutes ago, Rue said:

FWIW...as interested as I am in the entire topic of miniscule differences between violins...and given how much time I've spent comparing f-holes and button shapes, etc. over the years...

...I still can't tell the difference between a Strad and a Del Gesu if I have nothing to directly compare against. 

So if I can't tell tiny differences apart, I don't expect the vast majority of violin buyers (who really don't care) are able to or are overly interested in learning about.

What a greater percentage of (most?) violin buyers might be interested in would be obvious, unmistakable signs of quality or whatever may indicate a higher purchase price or status...even if those 'signs' aren't all that meaningful.

So...the flame of the wood would be such a sign.  We are conditioned to equate bold flame with higher quality.

This is one dilemma. Given the outlines of some historic Strads vs DGs it could be more difficult to tell the difference. But given a solid lesson or two, and the visual memory that's required for some ( especially for those in the business, ) to keep track of corners and f- holes. Pinch the corners of your violin... Strad or DG?

Some do want to be educated before a purchase. Moms tend to use ears, Dads, their eyes. Huge, horrible generalizations... But for the mom, wherever in the house and listening to years of practice, might notice somethings more than the father. At one shop, the mom to dad ratio when visiting the shop was likely 8 to 1. When the instruments get expensive, the who family will visit at least once to see what the experience is about.

Moms remember the order of which instruments were played, while many dads struggle. Not a dig at dads...

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9 hours ago, Arsalan said:

I doubt it , by tapping the wood we only check the bell possiblity ... 

I think it also check the vibrational properties too ? What do you think ? 
the wood that vibrate better , maybe make a different tap tone ? To a regular piece of wood ? 
 

Obviously this has been mentioned before, but guitar construction and bowed instrument construction is a little different.

I play some archtop guitars that have graduations, but most of the other acoustics are fairly uniform in thickness. Without soundposts, there is an array of bassbars, bracings, glued to the tops. Guitars are plucked and the sonic decay, for some instruments is their characteristic and personality. Aside from effects and pizzicato, most bows create a sustained sound.

Understanding the properties of wood makes sense. For the guitarmaker, finding the most resonant wood made sense. Bell like tone was perhaps desired.

Whether we float or tap or measure any numbers of un- carved pieces, the desire is to make a nice instrument. Indicators, insights, guidance, helps. There are several bowmakers I know who do live and die by their Lucky meters ( this is what we call them, not to be intended as a disrespectful joke ) but again, it indicates to them some data that allows a bit more confidence in the process of creation.     

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

Maybe you need to adjust that. Some of the best wood I have seen is on the $800 lowest Jay Heide model.

Adjust my example of an easy to identify "sign" that most (or at least many) people look for?

I imagine that flame - when it is on poorer quality "tone wood" -  is also used to command higher than deserved prices - again, because people associate it with high quality.

Another example of a quick visual that people focus on is "shiny" wood...smooth, mirror finishes. They think it's a sign of high quality.

And of course..."fancy violins" are assumed by newbies to be special finds. Why would anyone put in more work and then charge less? It is a valid question.

Hard to tell someone who isn't interested in learning that they need to avoid (or at least be wary of) any shiny, fancy violin that catches their eye...and to not assume that  violins with plain wood backs are automatically awful. ^_^

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12 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Posting a picture like that in a thread about tap-tones, seems like a sly way of saying you think that tap-tones are a total waste of time:)

And yet the makers of those pictured historical violins most certainly relied on tap tones, and knocking on the wood. Makes some of these modern makers seem quite full of themselves if they prefer dead wood

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46 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

And yet the makers of those pictured historical violins most certainly relied on tap tones, and knocking on the wood. Makes some of these modern makers seem quite full of themselves if they prefer dead wood

While it's very reasonable to think they had ideas about good and bad wood, and that they likely listened to the wood in somw way that might have included tapping, it's also completely unfounded to think they shared in any modern era ideas of pitch based 'tap tones'.  

 

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6 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

Pointing out that this never stopped the old Italian guys. I have seen plenty of often-gigantic knots, irregular grain, odd cuts, runoout etc in those violins.

Mantegazza cello top. We have sold this one a couple of times, and I don't remember even a single customer asking about the knot.

image.png.a23aa23d3fdfb09a8312c4dd5c803082.png

He just wanted the wood working challenge of having to do edge work on and around a knot :lol:

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19 hours ago, HoGo said:

What do you mean by vibrational properties? What does it mean "better" vibration? These are extremely vague terms that may "impress onlookers" but are hardly quantifiable or traceable into quality of instrument.

For me every piece of wood is "regular", it's all growing on trees.

"Tone"wood dealers often spread BS stories that make beginner thing that "tonewood" is some sacred species growing in secret places known only by them and processed in some special correct manner, but in reality it is JUST wood. 30 years ago I had the same bad understanding when I tried to get some "tone"wood for my first attempts but couldn't locate any local seller, everyone had just regular lumber. It took me few years of reading about wood processing that it is just pieces of wood selected by various criteria that can vary from place to place but generally aesthetics and lack of natural growth defects are the most important to most. After that you can find dealers preferring any other random property from density, speed of sound, crossgrain stiffness etc.

Much of my "tone"wood came directly from forest from maple trees that would otherwise end as "regular" lumber or spruce logs or splits that were destined to be sold for firewood but otherwise ticked all the boxes of "tonewood".

Thank you for your reply , I am a beginner and I don’t really have enough experience and knowledge to be able to find out which one of all these info and criteria’s are correct or not , but I think you may be right at least to some extent ... thank you to open other side of all these ideas which mostly are not really proven scientifically....

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On 5/25/2022 at 10:13 PM, jacobsaunders said:

Posting a picture like that in a thread about tap-tones, seems like a sly way of saying you think that tap-tones are a total waste of time:)

I am ejoying Albert Berr, Geigengeschichten on your recommendation. A rattling good read about the violin trade. Just read the part where he suggests that the "secret" was not the Strad or Guarnerius model, or the varnish, but a traditional understanding of wood selection. He says that Del Gesu only used one log for his tops, and others used only a few during their career (?true), implying they somehow knew how to pick a suitable tree. He mentions Kessler among those who used very old wood from church beams, and whose violins sounded good at first then lost their quality.

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8 hours ago, John_London said:

I am ejoying Albert Berr, Geigengeschichten on your recommendation. A rattling good read about the violin trade. Just read the part where he suggests that the "secret" was not the Strad or Guarnerius model, or the varnish, but a traditional understanding of wood selection. He says that Del Gesu only used one log for his tops, and others used only a few during their career (?true), implying they somehow knew how to pick a suitable tree. He mentions Kessler among those who used very old wood from church beams, and whose violins sounded good at first then lost their quality.

I look forward to hearing from you after you've read the part about "Dazio" (p 133 in my copy)

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