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Oct 15, 2019 - 9:14:43 AM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

Has anyone scraped or sanded or used paint remover to take off the finish and leave only the unfinished surface in a search for a better sounding fiddle. I thought that perhaps a soft satin patina would be better than the hard varnish or laquer that is on there now. If so please share your experiences. Jim.

Edited by - jimbob3 on 10/15/2019 10:02:13

Oct 15, 2019 - 10:00:41 AM

441 posts since 9/1/2010

Seems kind of risky, but I guess if you don't play it otherwise and have little invested in it then it may be worth trying.

Any thoughts on just having it re-voiced by an experienced luthier?

I had contemplated doing something to remove the glossy look of one of my fiddles. My research online brought back suggestions of using rottenstone (mixed w/olive oil) and even automotive rubbing compound. Just milder abrassives in general.

Oct 15, 2019 - 10:14 AM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

Thank you Michael for your reply. I was thinking of using Meguiar's Smooth surface clay kit for automobiles. They are from Irvine CA. 92614. I have nothing to do and all day to do it. HaHa!
I was going to scrape but I found this kit in the back of the garage already paid for 10 years ago.
And as we both know Free is good and I can always say I am cleaning out the garage.

Oct 15, 2019 - 11:59:04 AM
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78 posts since 11/28/2018

If not using varnish led to better sound quality I think the master luthiers would have figured that out centuries ago. Think of the time they could have saved.

Oct 15, 2019 - 12:01:44 PM
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231 posts since 1/5/2009

The finish is part of the tone production.
If you just want to dull the finish, first determine what finish was used. That will determine what method you need to use for this application.

If you do not know what finish is on it, then just use some 2500 grit micro-mesh. You just need a medium to float the partials away. This is much like wet sanding. If you use water insure you do not let any water or moisture inside the instrument. Also inspect the instrument for open seams before you begin what ever method you chose.

Oct 15, 2019 - 1:53:41 PM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Woodcutter

If not using varnish led to better sound quality I think the master luthiers would have figured that out centuries ago. Think of the time they could have saved.


Yes indeed Woodcutter, you mentioned "think of the time they could have saved"

My kids and grandkids keep saying "Time is money"  When they have made as much sawdust as some of us they will realize "Time is the interval between heartbeats"

Oct 15, 2019 - 1:55:10 PM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Fiddlemaker5224

The finish is part of the tone production.
If you just want to dull the finish, first determine what finish was used. That will determine what method you need to use for this application.

If you do not know what finish is on it, then just use some 2500 grit micro-mesh. You just need a medium to float the partials away. This is much like wet sanding. If you use water insure you do not let any water or moisture inside the instrument. Also inspect the instrument for open seams before you begin what ever method you chose.


Oct 15, 2019 - 2:25:29 PM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

Hello Fiddlemaker5224,
The fiddle is a 4/4 student model called Skylark Brand, it was made in 1978 and is serial number 19924. The front and back are nicely bookmatched spruce with a beautiful tight grain.
The label has the language from the Orient which ( in my ignorance of other cultures in the world ) I do not understand. The luthier was certainly a craftsman as the insides are very clean and no glue dripping of any kind visible. Having spent a lifetime in harp and guitar lutherie and repair I appreciate the attention to finer details. But and this is a big But....the job of finishing somewhere in that oriental factory in 1978 was not of the same caliber. Hense my quest to refinish my beautiful sounding preloved (Craiglist) treasure. The varnish or lacquer has to go.
I might even get out some of those old French Polish crystals I have under the dust in the bottom drawer over where the dog sleeps on his mat.
I am familiar with the wet and dry 2000/2500 grit process from many a long night doing so.
Boy I do ramble Fiddlemaker5224, I am sorry. Jim.

Oct 15, 2019 - 2:47:38 PM

231 posts since 1/5/2009

I suspect that the finish is lacquer. Then you know the process for removing it.The instrument may not sound as well when you have refinished it. Also the Value of the instrument may hit the bottom of the mine shaft.

There are other things that can be done without affecting the finish. If the finish is in such terrible condition. Then you can use this as a learning experience.

It is your instrument, you must decide, do I want to sell the instrument at a later date? Do I wish to pass it on to a grandchild?
Questions that affect the value with what you propose to do.

I would suggest that you find a damaged instrument that is similar you can experiment on.

Oct 15, 2019 - 2:52:12 PM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

Thank you for your promptness in responding Fiddlemaker5224. Jim

Oct 17, 2019 - 5:18:19 AM
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835 posts since 1/25/2008

Skylark violins have the reputation of being really poor instruments. (referred to as a "violin shaped object" (VSO). Trying to improve the tone may be a fools errand.

Oct 17, 2019 - 5:59:29 AM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by FiddleDoug

Skylark violins have the reputation of being really poor instruments. (referred to as a "violin shaped object" (VSO). Trying to improve the tone may be a fools errand.


Hello FiddleDoug,

Thank you for your insight, I guess I am indeed fortunate with my 1978 preloved treasure from Craiglist. As the old saying goes....."Don't believe everything you hear or read" by the way the Meguiar's Clay kit is working wonders for a nice satin patina finish. Jim

Oct 17, 2019 - 9:51:17 AM

4284 posts since 9/26/2008

I recall a member doing this very thing to a fiddle, removing some of the shine, and getting a different /better tone.

Oct 17, 2019 - 10:51:54 AM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I recall a member doing this very thing to a fiddle, removing some of the shine, and getting a different /better tone.


Thank you ChickenMan.  As an experiment in the 70's I made 2 identical guitars. I finished one with a satin finish and the other with 5 coats of lacquer with wet and dry between coats. Four out of five very good guitarists at the folk club favored the satin finish. Thanks again ChickenMan for your confidence boost. Jim

Oct 18, 2019 - 3:26:20 PM

kjb

USA

672 posts since 6/8/2013

I would not think that you would improve the sound , unless the finish is thick, you would get more results( if it is possible to get it to sound better at all) with different strings , soundpost reset , taking it apart and re graduation , if it is too thick

a poorly contoured violin will never sound good, (with some exceptions I guess)

Its like trying to get a ford fiesta to run and sound like a rolls royce, it just ain't gonna happen.

that's why people either buy or get gifted better sounding violin. I am not sure what percentage of violins are not very good but I would think its at least 75% , be glad to hear what other people think about that number , I am just guessing .

Oct 19, 2019 - 5:55:21 AM

jimbob3

Canada

9 posts since 9/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by kjb

I would not think that you would improve the sound , unless the finish is thick, you would get more results( if it is possible to get it to sound better at all) with different strings , soundpost reset , taking it apart and re graduation , if it is too thick

a poorly contoured violin will never sound good, (with some exceptions I guess)

Its like trying to get a ford fiesta to run and sound like a rolls royce, it just ain't gonna happen.

that's why people either buy or get gifted better sounding violin. I am not sure what percentage of violins are not very good but I would think its at least 75% , be glad to hear what other people think about that number , I am just guessing .


Thank you Kevin, you wrote ""a poorly contoured violin will never sound good (with some exceptions)""

And then we have the new electrics such as Robert Mendoza plays on Perfect (Violin cover official video on Utube.) A different shape and sound in the hands of a virtuoso. Jim

Edited by - jimbob3 on 10/19/2019 05:57:34

Oct 19, 2019 - 7:40:13 AM

kjb

USA

672 posts since 6/8/2013

Yes electrics are a different horse

Oct 28, 2019 - 11:52:38 PM

harpon

USA

147 posts since 6/10/2013

Originally posted by Woodcutter
If not using varnish led to better sound quality I think the master luthiers would have figured that out centuries ago. Think of the time they could have saved.

I also have to think of the conditions that many people were living in centuries ago- even the best homes were primitive with little heating and no plumbing, and can you imagine traveling with a violin, and the questionable cases they must have used? Varnish may have become much more of a tradition simply because of the protection it afforded the instrument.

I too have experimented some with guitars and ukeleles, although not much with violin or viola, and it seems that usually less finish is better. There may be, and probably are exceptions.

The newer fiddles tend more to spruce top I think. I got a cheap Rothenburg for about $120 a half dozen years back and although cheap, they were still using maple on all sides- the compact and hard wood has a great sound- I think maybe a spruce top- a larger grain especially, may even project better with a good clear coat, but I always tend to think that any mass, whether a coating, paint or simply thick timber, tends to cut out textural overtones.

I've recently tried out brass parts on some steel string guitars- while the resonance seems like it may last a tad longer, the overtones disappear with the heavy steel mass, and I don't recommend them. Tusq saddles on the other hand are an immediate noticible improvement, and easier to fit than the nuts.
fiddlehangout.com/forum/attach...eID=28364


 

Edited by - harpon on 10/28/2019 23:55:50

Oct 29, 2019 - 3:38:45 AM

kjb

USA

672 posts since 6/8/2013

funny with the angle of the pic it looks like the top bouts are larger than the lower bouts

Oct 29, 2019 - 4:17:50 AM

4284 posts since 9/26/2008

Also, isn’t spruce the wood of choice for violin tops? The back, however, no way.

Oct 29, 2019 - 4:48:48 PM

kjb

USA

672 posts since 6/8/2013

yes almost always spruce but I have heard of different types of spruce , mostly The "

"correct species of spruce is called “picea abies” which comes from Europe. The 0ther 34 species of spruce are probably used in most of the violins which are made in mass quantity today.Feb 16, 2012 "

although violins that sound good have been made from different backs but always hardwoods as far as I have learned

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