FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Strad Varnish Secret uncovered
the composition and application are revealed
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Avatar
cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
Members

Regulars
August 19, 2012 - 2:17 am
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1774
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Discovery of the "secret of Stradivarius" in 2009

A German-French team of 12 experts (chemists, violinmakers, restorers) examined attentively five violins of Antonio Stradivari which are preserved in the "Cité de la Musique" of Paris. They published their study in the prestigious German scientific review for chemistry "Angewandte Chemie" (international edition).

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....1/abstract

 

According to this study the secret of Antonio Stradivari's varnish was uncovered. This varnish so often described as the only reason of the superiority of Stradivari consists of two fine layers. The first one is a layer based on oil, followed by a second one, which is a mixture of oil and pin resin into which Stradivarius incorporated various pigments used in painting, in order to vary the color. And that is all!

{These articles are for our bi-linguel members who sport French as a 2nd or 3rd language and can read it. For the rest, perhaps google translator will assist you.}

 

Voici quelques liens de journaux qui relatent cet événement.

Here are some links related to this event. hats_off

http://sciences.blogs.liberati.....arius.html

 

http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/....._3246.html

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Avatar
MikeV
Wisconsin
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
August 19, 2012 - 2:13 pm
Member Since: June 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 120
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Seems anticlimatic to me if that is really the only thing that sets apart Stradivarius from the others. I want secrets to be complex and mysterious. blink

"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work." - Mark Twain

Avatar
Barry
Members

Regulars
August 19, 2012 - 2:21 pm
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2661
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

maybe they broke down the varnish formula, but if they think thats what sets his instruments apart, well, I fear they are WAY off

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
August 19, 2012 - 2:33 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Sometimes, the secret ends up being "there is no secret ingredient".  The movie "Kung Fu Panda" touches on that. LOL

rofl

I am no expert in what makes a violin good.  But I wonder if Stradivari was a new luthier just starting out today and there had never before been any Stradivarius violins, if he would be considered a genius, or if maybe they wouldn't actually gain any popularity.

Not saying he didn't know what he was doing or anything like that.. But if the "rep" and historical/antique value wasn't there, I have to wonder how many people would consider them desirable instruments?  Would they even like the sound, if it wasn't a standard that was already considered "best" for so many years before anyone in this day and age ever hears a violin?

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
Barry
Members

Regulars
August 19, 2012 - 3:22 pm
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2661
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Good points Daniel. I read an article sometime ago where "trained" ears were put to the test to see if they could tell Strads from moderns and the moderns were chose most.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

Avatar
polkat
Member
Members
August 21, 2012 - 11:44 am
Member Since: August 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It was hardly just oil. Several other scientific teams have attempted this over the years (Nagvary (sp?) being just one) with considerably varying results. It is the ground that is important here, not the varnish, and everything from volcanic ash, borax, silicates, and even egg white has been suspected in it. Most of the presently existing Strads have lost great portions of thier original varnish layer but none of their ground coat, and so none of their sound quality.

 

Frankly, there is no Strad secret! The guy was just a damn good maker.

 

It should also be understood that, and I believe that DanielB may have been aluding to this, almost all Strads went through modern refitting, including neck length and angle changes, and it's quite likely that a surviving Strad today sounds nothing like it did when it's maker was alive.

Avatar
gkeese
Amarillo, Tx
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
August 21, 2012 - 2:00 pm
Member Since: May 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 304
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

How many of us have actually even heard a GENUINE Strad in person??  I bet only one, maybe 2-3, of us.  What does a genuine Strad sound like?  And I do not mean an audio clip.

I believe there is something special about Strads, but we will probably never know. 

But I have a theory:

Aliens-meme.jpg

roflroflroflroflroflroflroflroflroflroflroflroflrofl

facepalm

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

Avatar
cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
Members

Regulars
August 22, 2012 - 12:56 am
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1774
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have read articles written by professional mags like violinist.com, STRAD MAGAZINE, etc. where-in pro players mention that a particular Strad violin is difficult or slow to warm up and often takes an extra bit of effort to make sound good. If this is any indication of their stubborness as an instrument, all 3 of mine are that way, at a significantly reduced pricetag.

facepalm

 

Wouldn't you think that a $3 million or $5 million or whatever Strad shold almost play itself? I mean really... shouldn't a valuable instrument play easily, make the required sounds from G string to 3 octaves higher than the E string? and all clear and bright sounding... why would you spend a "kings ransom" on a violin that's difficult to play well?dunno

I just don't get it...

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
August 22, 2012 - 1:19 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I don't think that there is some simple secret everyone misses that is what Stradivari apparently made good violins. 

My theory is he was a talented luthier with a lot of experience.  So he knew how to take best advantage of a piece of wood and how to pick good wood.  From experience he knew how to vary dimensions and thicknesses just a tiny bit to get a good sound out of a particular grain or cut.  He may have fine tuned the instrument while in the white a bit after thumping them or maybe doing something like a trial string-up and playing for a little bit.  Then he finished them based on the best compromise between what the customers wanted and what he knew would be good.  We know he made compromises when he had to for customers.  I recall reading once that while he made some lovely inlaid violins, he didn't like to do it because he felt the wood had to be too thick for best sound to be able to inlay it properly.  So they weren't always even what he felt was the absolute best he could have made.

He probably tried a lot of things in the course of his life so far as ways to treat wood or variations on dimensions and thicknesses.  Probably knew more good ways to finish a violin than most.  And any that didn't turn out good in his opinion probably ended up firewood or at least they didn't get his name on them.

No miracles or big secrets where anyone could apply them and get a another Strad.  Just a master craftsman making a quality product.  And making it good enough to still be an excellent instrument even several generations later.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
King
Members

Regulars
August 22, 2012 - 6:41 am
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Who's to say that "Stradivarius" violin's are the best sounding instrument's anyway. Sure they have a beautifull sound, but I find it hard to believe that in 300 year's no one seem's to be able to duplicate their sound, but everyone want's the sound of a Strad. Maybe because they are old and have withstood time and are still being used that make's them so valuable, everybody want's one, plus that fact there aren't that many around and it could be more for bragging right's.

Here's an example: I had never tasted pizza until I was 15 years old, in fact, I had never even heard of pizza until then. One Sunday morning a friend came over to my house, instead of going to Church, he spent his Sunday morning's playing hooky.  Anyway, we were sitting there talking, he said, let's get a pizza, I said "what the hell is pizza", you've never had pizza he said. We bought a pizza...... WOW, best thing I ever ate, but it was the very first and for the last 53 year's i've been trying to find a pizza that duplicate's the taste of the very first one, I've eaten good pizza, but not like that. So I think people base their opinion's and compare sound to the Strad much like I base my pizza's on the original.

Antonio must have had a production line setup. They say he made a little over 1100 violin's in his lifetime, at that rate if he built them for even 70 of his 93 year's, he would have built 16 violin's per year, that average's out to about 1 violin every 3 week's.  That's steadily building violin's, excluding the other instrument's he turned out, Cello's, Harp's, Mandolin's and Guitar's.  That would leave him with no free time, no time to go to the bar or go bowling or even taking a couple week's for deer hunting. Go figure,,, LOL.

What about all the time he spent experimenting, build one, test it, take it apart and modify it and did ALL Strad's sound identical. Did he make his own tuning peg's, his own string's, bridge's ?  A lot of question's still unanswered. I doubt he ordered any of his supplie's from Ebay, was there a paint store nearby, he had no electric equiptment to aid in his work.

Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
August 24, 2012 - 7:00 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Fiddlestix said
 

Here's an example: I had never tasted pizza until I was 15 years old, in fact, I had never even heard of pizza until then. One Sunday morning a friend came over to my house, instead of going to Church, he spent his Sunday morning's playing hooky.  Anyway, we were sitting there talking, he said, let's get a pizza, I said "what the hell is pizza", you've never had pizza he said. We bought a pizza...... WOW, best thing I ever ate, but it was the very first and for the last 53 year's i've been trying to find a pizza that duplicate's the taste of the very first one, I've eaten good pizza, but not like that. So I think people base their opinion's and compare sound to the Strad much like I base my pizza's on the original.

 

 

Did you get that first pizza from Rafaeles on Hempstead Turnpike?

Avatar
Barry
Members

Regulars
August 25, 2012 - 3:26 am
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2661
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

The Irish figured it out along time ago....A dark and forthy pint can make any fiddle play right

 

ireland-4202

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: fiddle chick, BillyG
31 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3563

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80405

Newest Members:

bo, EKBanjo, charlieD, Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651