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Is it possible??? Fiddlepogo finds another really great tweak...

Posted by fiddlepogo on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

... for fiddles with sprayed on finishes.

One of my fiddles in the last 6 years had the little gap between on of the f-hole tabs and the the rounded curve on the other side bridged over with varnish.  I didn't waste any time separating the conjoined sides of the f-hole, although I forget how I did it.

Anyway, I was looking at Stinky, and at about the same place where the finish was bridged over on one of the fiddles, I noticed BUMPS in the finish.  And in my experience bumps in the finish are NOT good for the tone... they basically stiffen a place on the fiddle that's supposed to be vibrating freely, and some other part of the fiddle then seems to vibrate too much, causing the sound to be out of balance.  Looking at the fiddle you can see how it's a natural thing for excess varnish or lacquer to collect on the lower corner of that bottom f-hole tab, and then drip down to the curve below, leaving a thick spot in the finish.

I don't know if this happens on fiddles with a brushed-on finish, but with a sprayed on finish, it's almost inevitable.

  Thinking about how to remove the bumps, I settled on a really sharp small Swiss Army knife, since it's a very narrow place, too narrow for most files or emery boards.

And the little Swiss Army knife worked great at shaving down the bumps without chipping the finish.  The results were even better than I'd hoped- the treble range improved in mellowness and clarity in BOTH Booker and Stinky.  I think this is because it's a pretty straight shot for vibrations coming from the bridge feet.

6 comments on “Is it possible??? Fiddlepogo finds another really great tweak...”

boxbow Says:
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 @7:50:55 PM

I am in awe. Half of me says you're out of your mind. The other half says I should look into that.
Are you one of those guys who uses Turtle Wax on his garbage cans?
Is your underwear filed alphabetically?
Do you comb your lawn?

mudbug Says:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 @2:06:34 AM

Do you watch "Monk" and wonder why it's funny?

Ozarkian DL Says:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 @8:22:18 AM

Tha quest fer perfection continues. He hath met tha enemy and it is 'Tha Fiddle".
Stay tuned fer tha continuing saga of "Pogo's Perfective Phiddle Ponderances".

You go guy.

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 @10:36:10 AM

No Turtle Wax on garbage cans.
No alphabetically filed underwear
No combed lawn.

I only get this obsessive when it comes to things I REALLY love, music, fiddling, bowing, and TONE. If anything, other things get NEGLECTED.

Actually, I don't watch "Monk", or any TV. Part of my fiddling obsession in my college daze was that I realized that TV would turn me into a couch potato, and couch potatoes don't practice!!! So I've never even OWNED one.
Occasional TV watching at friends' and relatives houses only confirms I'm not missing much.

Part of the fascination isn't just the tone though...
It's the "inquiring minds want to know" thing-
I want to know not just how my favorite instruments work mechanically, but also sonically. These experiments, in addition to improving my cheap fiddles, are helping me understand how the vibrations move through the fiddle to create sound. I've learned, for example, that the design of the f-holes is an absolute stroke of genius or inspiration. In effect, each f-hole forms two "reeds", an upper and a lower one. And little details on these "reeds" can really affect the sound, BIG TIME!

"Pogo's Perfective Phiddle Ponderances"

Pogo LIKES it!!!

tsaimichael Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @11:42:53 PM

I live vicariously through your tweaks! Fascinating fiddle revealations.

bj Says:
Monday, August 8, 2011 @11:54:51 AM

I wonder if there's a way to introduce the concept of placebo tweaks . . . ;-)

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