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Old Growth NC Red Spruce vs Colorado Engleman

 
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Dave Chandler
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Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 673
Location: Mt Mitchell in North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:26 pm    Post subject: Old Growth NC Red Spruce vs Colorado Engleman Reply with quote

I've recently completed a violin using some of Simeon Chambers Engleman spruce, which had a density of .39 and this is the first of 21 violins that has a sound that I'm unaccustomed to hearing. mostly on the D string.

This particular piece was one of a higher specific gravity that he had available, and having used mostly Red Spruce for my earlier violins I'm thinking the new sound may be attributed to the spruce. I used similar graduatons as I had with the Red Spruce, but added about .2mm to the thicknesses thinking that there was about 10% less density than the Red Spruce just because of the species. However tonight I was reading an article about how new stands of spruce do not have the densities of the old stands of spruce. So I checked my red spruce supply (an AAA piece I cut in 2010), and I'm finding densities over .45 which is 20% denser than the Engleman I got from Chambers (a nice AA blank). (I know, I should have checked the sg of my spruce long ago)

The sound I'm hearing is sort of like I have water in my ears. Mostly on the D, somewhat on the G. I have a balsam spirit varnish on the instrument, and the sound seems to be improving as the varnish hardens, so it may go away. My wife thinks the lower strings sound better than my other instruments, but I don't and find it a bit disconcerting. I may have made the top a bit too thin, so that can't be undone unless I glue some wood back into the top. Would a thicker bass bar help to overcome this? I've tried different bridges, different strings, and soundpost locations and have not been able to overcome this "sound" although it has been minimized somewhat.

I'm starting a new violin, same wood sources, but am wondering what I need to change from my previous violin. Suggestions?
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Dave in the Blue Ridge
Southern Violin Association

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"I took the road less travelled, and now I don't know where I am." Marco Polo
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Michael Darnton
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1114
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the next violin, use the wood that works, and turn the rest of the Englemann into blocks and linings. I don't have a cure for the current one, however.
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Dave Chandler
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Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 673
Location: Mt Mitchell in North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may be that the varnish is hardening and the sound is changing. It has significantly improved since last posting on this subject. Playing it hard for an hour or two each day may also be having an impact. I asked my Concertmaster to try it this evening, she had tried many of my previous violins. She said this was my best. This was the first time I'd heard someone else play the instrument, and I was very pleased at the way it sounded.
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Dave in the Blue Ridge
Southern Violin Association

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm" Winston Churchill

"I took the road less travelled, and now I don't know where I am." Marco Polo
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