Hi there,

 

I finished my first CBG a while ago, and it was a great success. check out my page for photos. Now, i'm on to a new project

 

I bought a violin a few months ago, but couldn't really play it because i moved into dorms at university. So i played it for a few weeks, then it sat around for months, then i sold it. I'm now moving back home so i can play again, but i don't have a fiddle to play on, thus i'm going to build one.

essay over, onto the questions.

 

I have a box and some wood to make a neck out of, but i can't work out how to make a fingerboard. they need to have a curved cross section, like a guitar only much more extreme. how would i go about making that curvature evenly and smoothly. or is it worth just buying one? god forbid.

 

next, i wanted the option to make it quieter if need be, for practicing at night or similar. I had a mute for my 'real' violin that cut the volume by 60% ish, so i was going to make one of those. the other thing i was thinking of was leaving the box open so i could stuff it with cloth to soak up the sound. Would that have much of an effect? it dosen't need to sound very good when 'muted', just enough for me to hear it and not wake up the neighbourhood.

 

final thing (I think) is about tuning pegs. On standard violin pegs, the stick is tapered, meaing you get a tighter fit, but you have to have a tapered hole which you need to have a special tool (that i don't have, of course) to make. Can i get away with just using a regular drill and pushing the pegs in hard. or should i try making straight edged pegs myself that won't taper.

 

thanks in advance for any replies.

 

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Here's a picture of the bridge end of a cello fingerboard. Most violins don't come this way, but are planed down under the G string in the customization process. I used the cello picture to illustrate this more clearly but the violin is to a lesser degree.


Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:

You're describing a compound radius, I believe.  In that case you can draw out two radius templates and use one at the nut and one at the bridge end.

Ben said:

The thing about carving your own fingerboard is that the radius is not consistent. While it is close to symmetrical at the nut, it becomes more asymmetrical towards the bridge. My suggestion is to buy a fingerboard. Here's one for $11! As for the pegs, either splurge on a peg shaper/reamer, or go with geared tuners. As someone who tunes 30-40 violins a day, 5 days a week, the most notable difference between an $89 violin and a $350 violin is the fit of the pegs. If you can't tune your instrument, there's not much use for it. I usually end up replacing my students' pegs right away. If you're not planning to work on a bunch of violins though, its probably not worth it to shell out the money for the shaper/reamer set.

Use machine geared tuners. I have built a few electric solid body violins and the fingerboard was the most work. Here is the chart I used.http://www.centrum.is/hansi/mesvioli.html  Scroll down for fingerboard.I would recommend buying a fingerboard, I didn't because they are not available here. I made templates and rolled mine on a belt sander then hand sanded. Don

http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageEV1.html

a view of his tuner layout.

 

Wow Don! Thats nice.

Don Thompson said:

Use machine geared tuners. I have built a few electric solid body violins and the fingerboard was the most work. Here is the chart I used.http://www.centrum.is/hansi/mesvioli.html  Scroll down for fingerboard.I would recommend buying a fingerboard, I didn't because they are not available here. I made templates and rolled mine on a belt sander then hand sanded. Don

http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageEV1.html

a view of his tuner layout.

 

Amazing craftsmanship Don.

Don Thompson said:

Use machine geared tuners. I have built a few electric solid body violins and the fingerboard was the most work. Here is the chart I used.http://www.centrum.is/hansi/mesvioli.html  Scroll down for fingerboard.I would recommend buying a fingerboard, I didn't because they are not available here. I made templates and rolled mine on a belt sander then hand sanded. Don

http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageEV1.html

a view of his tuner layout.

 

Now I'm just totally fascinated.  Can you give a little history on this?  I'm pretty unfamiliar with these types of instruments.  I always just though it was a round arc.

Ben said:

Here's a picture of the bridge end of a cello fingerboard. Most violins don't come this way, but are planed down under the G string in the customization process. I used the cello picture to illustrate this more clearly but the violin is to a lesser degree.


Josh, one of the need things about the violin is they are made so the top comes of easy to do repair work on the instrument.
 The glue is hide glue, it is not uncommon to find an old instrument that has been stored for yeasr in the case completely in peices. This is because mite bugs eat the glue.
Cheeers

Bob

Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:

Now I'm just totally fascinated.  Can you give a little history on this?  I'm pretty unfamiliar with these types of instruments.  I always just though it was a round arc.

Ben said:

Here's a picture of the bridge end of a cello fingerboard. Most violins don't come this way, but are planed down under the G string in the customization process. I used the cello picture to illustrate this more clearly but the violin is to a lesser degree.


Most violin fingerboards have what is called a scoop in the middle part. Similar to the relief in a six string guitar. This setup allows the bridge to be a bit lower allowing for the upper register notes to be more defined and clearer but not requireing so much strength to achieve . Strong practiced players would prefer a flatter fingerboard. What I refer to as scoop or relief is when you set a straight edge on the fingerboard you can see light in the middle. I wouldn't worry too much about such details on my first build. It's a fiddle your building not a Strad. Just be sure you don't have a hump in the middle. A straight edge is your friend. Also, thanks for the compliments, however I included the pic to show it is possible to craft your own fingerboard. I gave that violin to a friend who plays it to this day and much better than I ever could.

Kind regards, Don
Bob Harrison said:

Josh, one of the need things about the violin is they are made so the top comes of easy to do repair work on the instrument.
 The glue is hide glue, it is not uncommon to find an old instrument that has been stored for yeasr in the case completely in peices. This is because mite bugs eat the glue.
Cheeers

Bob

Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:

Now I'm just totally fascinated.  Can you give a little history on this?  I'm pretty unfamiliar with these types of instruments.  I always just though it was a round arc.

Ben said:

Here's a picture of the bridge end of a cello fingerboard. Most violins don't come this way, but are planed down under the G string in the customization process. I used the cello picture to illustrate this more clearly but the violin is to a lesser degree.


Very nice build Don. I bet it is just great to play.

Is the lighter wood mahogany, does the type of wood matter, I have come across plastic ones.

Cheers Ron.

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