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Angled view of balsa-topped fiddle. 

Posted 12/8/2008 7:22:08 PM

This photo gives a better view of the 'lemon-slice' where the top's cutaway meets the cutaway in the rib. The cutaway in the rib was reinforced with basswood lining cut to match the arc. The soundpost is easily-visible in this photo. Setting & adjusting the soundpost is very easy on this fiddle. It can done using long tweezers. Ideas for future fiddles using this modification: 1) leave the waist-ribs as-found on both sides, but cut a reinforced access-hole on the treble-side waist-rib for soundpost setting and adjustment, permitting: 2) Instead of 'slices', employ holes (f-shaped or otherwise) elsewhere on the top--perhaps one in the top bout and one in the lower bout. 3. Don't veneer the top (tho I think balsa is kinda ugly, whether varnished or unvarnished) but use a small rectangular veneer of quartersawn spruce beneath where the bridge stands. 4.Veneer of quartersawn spruce rather than walnut or other hardwood. Inability to locate any, plus low funds, prevented using that method. I don't know whether the walnut is a plus or minus tonally. On one hand, balsa is really wild-sounding on it's own, so damping seems desirable. On the other hand, a veneer of spruce (plus the hide glue used to attach it) would also damp the balsa, while bringing more-legit tonewood properties to the fiddle. Any legit luthiers on FHO know of sources for small quantities of quartersawn spruce? I could get flat spruce milled for guitar/mando use, but that would require further thinning, which seems a waste of wood & money. 4) Making a similar flat-top using spruce instead of balsa. 5) experimenting with bracing beyond bassbar 'A' or ''X' or ladder bracing?? All such wonderings are inspired, in part, because of how pleased I am with this fiddle. I really like the sound. It's different from regular-fiddle sound, but a nice 'different.' It's a wee bit quieter than regular-shaped fiddles and tends towards warm-toned. It's all I've fiddled-on for about a month now. I built it right-handed, thinking to sell it, so I'm playing it 'over the top' style, which is more awkward than fiddling with the strings reversed for lefty playing. So, soon I'll porbably modify another junker fiddle thus, but lefthanded. More junker body/necks await! I got several here.

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2 comments on “Angled view of balsa-topped fiddle.”

Ozarkian DL Says:
Saturday, January 31, 2009 @12:35:20 PM

WOW.....ur quite the versitile fiddler & innovative luthier too. Like ur tunes & style.

bugsike Says:
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 @10:08:15 AM

I'm in MI. I can get quarter sawn ceder all over the place, a few bucks a foot for boards 6" wide by 1/2 (nominal) and anywhere from 8 foot up. I'll know how that sounds in a month or so, as I'm making a flat top fiddle with it soon. I'm a lefty too, have converted and repaired some, but this flat top will be my first "from scratch" fiddle. I'd like to know more about your experiance with the "flat top"

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