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Fiddleheads (or scrolls)

Richard Bridge 23 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Silas 23 Apr 10 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 23 Apr 10 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Silas 23 Apr 10 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,guest - Jim Younger 23 Apr 10 - 07:31 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Apr 10 - 07:34 AM
Sorcha 23 Apr 10 - 08:43 AM
Howard Jones 23 Apr 10 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,guest - Jim Younger 23 Apr 10 - 10:18 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Apr 10 - 11:05 AM
Sorcha 23 Apr 10 - 04:30 PM
Jack Campin 23 Apr 10 - 06:00 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM
s&r 23 Apr 10 - 07:03 PM
Bernard 23 Apr 10 - 07:23 PM
Sorcha 23 Apr 10 - 09:19 PM
Darowyn 24 Apr 10 - 03:47 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Apr 10 - 06:22 AM
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Subject: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM

Why are fiddleheads (or scrolls) that silly shape with no proper machine heads? If they were like a small guitar machine head with 4 decent Grover machine heads surely fiddles would be easier to tune and change strings on.

In fact why aren't fiddles made like guitars with a flat top? A flat top guitar sounds so much better (99% of the time) than an arch-top. I suppose getting the waist small enough to wield the bow could be hard.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:34 AM

Take him away and burn him.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:47 AM

Did Swarb not used to play a fiddle with guitar tuners fitted? Dave T


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:57 AM

Nah, that was a guitar with a fiddle body attached.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 07:31 AM

I don't agree that flat top guitars sound better "99% of the time" than an archtop guitar. I picked up a pre-WW2 archtop last year and it has a great sound - different from my Martin and Gibson, sure, but just as good in its way ... and it isn't even a celebrated brand. Probably made by Harmony though ... well, possibly.

My view on violins is they're fine as they are. Grover style tuners would make them neck-heavy and bad for balance - although I know some players of 'old time' like those kind of tuners and cope okay.

Fitting fiddle strings is easier than fitting mandolin strings (4 not 8), and less dangerous. Just make sure you have a pair of tweezers to pull the A string through to give enough length for purchase ... it can get cramped at that part of the peg-box. And you can always use a tailpiece with integrated tuners and make fine adjustments at that end if you need to.

Don't know about Swarb ... but 'Rags Reels and Airs' has a cover photo of such tuners on his fiddle... but I believe it was a hardanger fiddle in that shot. Might be wrong ... it was a long time ago.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 07:34 AM

If the weight of grovers is a problem - first there would be a weight saving by removing all that non-functional carving, and second you could fit little waverleys or the miniature gotohs which are not bad.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 08:43 AM

My fiddle has machine heads, and steel strings. I 'think' the problem is that 'gut' or the modern form, perlon, nylon, etc, don't take kindly to machine heads. Not SURE about that.

A fiddle has an arched belly AND a sound post. Guitars don't have a sound post to transfer the sound from front to back. A fiddle resonates from the whole body, not just the top.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 09:06 AM

Geared violin pegs are available, for example Perfection Planetary Pegs

Opinion on these among violinists and fiddle players seems divided. I don't play myself, but those I've mentioned them to don't feel a need for them. However as a guitarist myself I share Richard's puzzlement why not.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 10:18 AM

One reason 'why not' might be they would look ugly - a matter of taste, of course, but it's a violin, not a guitar. Why be puzzled? You learn the violin, you learn to tune it ... with pegs and maybe fine tuners on all 4 strings. Can you imagine a Strad with Gotoh tuners? Yeuch!


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 11:05 AM

The big Gibson jumbos do indeed have a soundpost - partly to stop the underbraced front collapsing. Plenty of classical guitars with gut/nyon strings have machine heads, but the widely used Dominant violin strings are steel core aluminium wound (I just happen to have one o the kitchen work surface - lying there, not fitted to make a musical egg-slicer, you understand).

Beauty is a matter of convention and taste: generally women like men and men women, and some men like fat (Rubens) women but I like skinny ones.

I'd forgotten about those planetary pegs, Howard, but quite so.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 04:30 PM

OK, Richard, I didn't know that. My learning experience for the day.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:00 PM

Another kind of planetary peg is the Peghed.

They both cost a friggin fortune. Do they ever show up second-hand?

My interest in them is for the cobza/koboz - eight wooden pegs attempting to hold a the lower 8 of a 12-string set. With difficulty. The only instrument I've tried that was anywhere near as difficult to tune was the Black Sea fiddle, and with that you can at least fit clip-on fine tuners. But a Peghed or Perfection set of 8 pegs would cost more than I paid for the cobza itself.

My page on the cobza/koboz


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM

Simple - the violin is an ancient design - several hundred years old. The word is "Tradition".
Guitars are 'modern' junk - their ancestors did not have metal machine heads.


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: s&r
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 07:03 PM

Only the E string in a dominant set has a steel core: all the others are wound on perlon

Stu


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 07:23 PM

"A fiddle resonates from the whole body, not just the top."

...which is why you shove it under your chin, so the back is free to vibrate -it's very unusual to see someone play a guitar with the back free to vibrate. Even more unusual to see them stick it under their chin!


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 09:19 PM

LOL, Bernard!


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Darowyn
Date: 24 Apr 10 - 03:47 AM

The reason for the difference in body design is more fundamental.
A guitar is basically percussion. You pick the strings once and the body of the guitar must sustain the note.
A violin uses forced vibration in Arco mode. The strings vibrate through a stick-release cycle as they are bowed.
Body induced sustain would be counter productive.
A violin played pizzicato has a very short sustain, and the reason for this is that the top of the body is arched and thus very rigid longitudinally, and braced to the back with the soundpost, stiffening it further, especially in the lateral direction. This applies to the whole violin family- even the ones that are played upright against the body!
They are designed to prevent sustain, and always were.
The reasons for the tapered pegs in the head are mostly just excuses for the fact that "we have always done it that way, and we don't want to think about changing it"
Now where have I heard that attitude before?
In my garage, I have the head end of an acoustic lap steel that I'm planning to build later this year. It will have a carved scroll box (I've done that bit already) with guitar machines fitted- just like double basses have had for many years.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Fiddleheads (or scrolls)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Apr 10 - 06:22 AM

I'm not sure that the issue of sound is as simple as sustain. If you compare the unamplified sound of an electric bodyless violin with a "normal" one it is at once obvious that body resonance is used as a non-electrical form of amplification, and the characteristic sound of the violin seems to be substantially about the frequency distribution of the resonance. Resonance tends continue beyond the duration of the input that creates "forced vibration".

But thinking as I type (hard after a St George's night last night) maybe there is something other than resonance at work - compare the banjo. The forced vibration in the skin results in a very loud sound, but very little sustain. It would be interesting to compare the bowed sounds of a one-string fiddle and a one-string banjo. I bet the banjo would be loud, but with a very different character of sound.

Come to think of it, not all members of the violin family have very short sustain: upright basses sound on for quite a while.

And indeed the arched top will be in principle less resistant to thrust than a flat one (all other things being equal) - the first-order Euler crippling strain on a straight beam is high if my memory of engineering at university is true.

More thinking required here before we can finish the design of the mudcat modern fiddle...


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