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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Blame The fiddle , Not The Player !

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

leather Britches - Posted - 04/01/2011:  06:13:38

Hello ,

While I hate to say it , I have suspicions that my fiddle has physical limitation that are preventing
me from playing in closed positions.
I had my fiddle looked at by my luthier a few times and when ever he does work on it he always
apologies for a less then perfect set up. He tells me that I need a neck reset, but because my fiddle's
heel does not sit in a block, it would be a very costly repair and would far out way the value
of the fiddle.
From my understanding, most necks fit into an upper block that have a dovetail fitting ,
were as, my fiddle has no such block. The heal is fitted between the ribs with the back and top
helping to stabilize the joint.

You can see how the neck connects:

From what I am told, because of this, the neck angle can not be properly set, and
a lower bridge hight had to be used. A 3/4 size bridge was used because the hart of the bridge was in a better position, and
it would be better to get the action across the fingerboard at a playable level.

Now this all seems to make sense to me and while the fiddle does play pretty good in the open and first position, when I
try to play higher then that, say a two octave A scale starting on the G string or higher, there is very little projection, and resonance.

I realize that my technic could be better and I wonder how a better fiddler would do with it, but what really made me think the fiddle
is more of a source. Is I played a different fiddle and while it was a only a $1,000.00 fiddle ( not a 5K or 10 K ) the higher positions came out real nice.

What I wondering is does this situation make sense to you, I trust my luthier, but I like to hear what others think.

Thanks for reading

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/01/2011:  08:01:11

Well, $1000 is a huge step up from where you are. I have a fiddle with the same issue. Makes for ridiculously low bridges. I'll have
to try the 3/4 bridge trick on mine.

richdissmore - Posted - 04/01/2011:  08:03:33

i trusted my luthier all so he was self taugth to repair fiddles will some jobs he could do he was not that good thank god he retired . runed one fiddle for me. takeing it to him cost$450 oo by the way the fiddle was new.some times it pays to shop around now i go to kerinthian violins in milwaukee 2900south delaware ave. she is a trained to be a luthier. a home schooled luthier is good some times not all ways you may have to buy your self a new fiddle some time

bj - Posted - 04/01/2011:  09:49:48

Your luthier is most likely right. I just got a fiddle constructed like this that needed a neck angle adjustment and it was a bear to do, and probably WAY past my skill level, but I did it anyway. I wasn't all that pleased with the results, and would probably avoid doing similar repairs in future.

One possible workaround is to install a wedge under the fingerboard, but any weight you add to the fiddle will adversely affect the sound and projection. This isn't a recommended or optimal type of solution, but if you don't have the dough for an upgrade at the moment, it might at least make your fiddle better in upper positions.

woodwiz - Posted - 04/01/2011:  10:10:03

Looks like you have room enough to do a neck pullback. I think you can do that even on a neck-through construction.

Putting a shim under a fingerboard isn't my favorite solution, but sometimes it's the only thing that makes sense. I've done a few of them, and never noticed that it hurt the sound any. With the other changes entailed, there was usually a distinct improvement.

You can get some pretty satisfactory fiddles for around $400 and up. Fiddles built like yours usually have very limited potential.

carlb - Posted - 04/01/2011:  11:07:43

I have a fiddle exactly as you describe, no neck block. The end of the neck IS the block. Fiddles like this are easily seen from the outside as the top is completely intact (the dovetail type fitting of necks to most violins requires that a small piece of the top be cut out). When I get a moment, I'll post pictures of just what I've described.

Now, the finger on mine was very thin and one day a white spot appeared. I brought it to my luthier to have a new fingerboard put on and he handled it just as BJ described. Underneath the fingerboard is a wedge starting at about 0.5 mm and rising to about 2.5 mm. He has no experience with these kind of neck attachments and hopefully the neck will never have to be reset. Only the Lord and a few others might know how to do it.

I like the sound of the fiddle, however, now it's my 2nd favorite.

Edited by - carlb on 04/01/2011 11:11:00

Lion's Head 1


carlb - Posted - 04/02/2011:  09:24:33

Here are the two pictures I promised. I've also included the finger board shim in the picture of the fiddle without a neck block.

Edited by - carlb on 04/02/2011 09:26:05

Fiddle with Neck Block

Fiddle without Neck Block

woodwiz - Posted - 04/02/2011:  11:10:19

I'm puzzled why the shim is left so thick at the scroll end. That just means it has to be that much thicker at the heel end. Curious.

leather Britches - Posted - 04/02/2011:  13:46:27

My luither did mention putting in a shim ( it slipped my mind ) I do not
Why I decided against it. Maybe it was
Just a question of cash flow. I'll Have
To ask him about it again.
I think it may have had something to
Do with neck being off center.the bridge naturally goes off center because the neck alignment is of.

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