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First fiddle and plate weights


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So I’m building my first fiddle and have some questions involving my plate weights. So far I only have the back plate and garland complete. My plate weight is at 124 currently but my fiddle is a little bit larger than usual but not much. I still have the button area as a large block and the edges are not finished as far as rounding so I expect to end up closer to 120  but the rest is mostly considered finished. I made my own mold from watching David beard videos and using a compass and a few other info sources and a lot of Davide Sora videos for a lot of other guidance. Thank you guys for what you do.   I Wish I had nailed it but I’m ok with it seeing it’s my first attempt. The fiddle ended up larger than I planned due to  mostly lack of knowledge. I’m a fiddler not a violinist so fingers crossed. Lob 359 upper 170 mid 113.5 lower 209. My mold to finished garland figures were off. Arching 16.3   On my speaker set up mode 5 best at 360 mode 2 at 170. Thickness is 5 middle  to 2.5 lungs. There’s only about an almond sized spot at 5 then to 4.5. My wood is red maple and red spruce. Density to my best ability is .65 on maple and .42 spruce. I guess my biggest question is should I thin it more to get the weight down?or does it weigh more due to it’s a little bit larger size? Also if there’s any advice on what you see I didn’t ask about please feel free to honestly comment. I have no grand ideas of making fiddles for money I’m just a poor boy from Arkansas that feels like the only way I’ll ever afford a fine violin is to figure out how to make one. I really appreciate that so many good makers on here share their knowledge for us. 












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Looks great, especially for a first effort.

I think the back plate would work fine at 120g, and probably not that much different at 110g.  For that large size, I'd want to keep it above 105g, but it depends on what kind of fiddle you want... tight and bright or more mellow.

The top would be more sensitive to weight and stiffness, around 65g without bar would be a reasonable point.

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As Don says, I would try to reduce the weight of the back, first of all reducing the area of the lower block which is too wide, trying to make a transition with the thickness less hooked, and reducing the thicknesses in the center bringing the area to 5mm towards the 4.5mm, and the 4.5 towards the 4, keeping the target of the M5 frequency 350 Hz or slightly less. I would also refine the perimeter with more care, reducing the area of gluing to the ribs and corner blocks to just over the bare minimum, avoiding a hooked transition here too. If all of the above still leaves you room (frequency above 350Hz) I would also thin the upper and lower areas by a few tenths. If your center bout is 4.5 mm up to the Cs, I would also consider thinning the area of the Cs to at least 4 mm, or even 3.5 mm, which in my opinion is more appropriate given the density of the wood.

At present your nodal lines seem a little thick, by reducing the thickness they could be better defined and become tighter.

Disclaimer: whoever decides to put my suggestions into practice does so at his own risk.:ph34r:


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Thanks guys I will definitely make some adjustments the lines are pretty much just strait across with the blocks. Also In the c bout area it goes to around 3.2 to 3.5 on the edges. Brad when you say blocks are bigger than they need to be are you referring to the block itself or the block area on the back? Blocks measure top block 53.5x 17.5 lower 48.5x18.5. I would like a more mellow fiddle. I’m mostly just a first position fiddler but I do intend to one day play more in higher positions. For the graduation I tried to use Davide’s from YouTube but I also seen it on here somewhere. I just added a half mm to the center but the rest was pretty close. I think I'll thin it down a little. I  just want you guys to know how much I appreciate the feedback. 

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Bravo for your first back and ribs! Two excellent makers have already chimed in, so let me just add an anecdote. For my first fiddle I used an old piece of probably American maple with mineral streaks like yours. I made it thick on purpose (Cannone grads) and at first I thought it came out great, powerful, complex, great low end, but as the varnish hardened and the exposed wood oxidized, the high end got more and more harsh. A couple of years later, I popped off the top and re-graduated to more "standard" thicknesses (i.e. 4.5 center of the back) and the violin is much better balanced and enjoyable to play.

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