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white instruments
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New member
April 8, 2015 - 12:11 pm
Member Since: February 27, 2015
Forum Posts: 2
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As I am learning to play, I have been building violins. Along the way,(and by default), word has gotten out that I have some limited experience with these most fickle instruments. Accordingly, several "white" violins have made their way to my door along with requests to:

1. What do I do now?

2. I already got the top off......

3. Sounds like crap, I think it is.....


My question, for the truly experienced of you, is whether you have seen some white instruments that simply have non-musical tops. By that, I mean tops where graduation, workmanship etc. seem to have little effect. They just seem to have "dead" tops.  

I can tell you that with even my limited exposure to tap-tones, I never would have put such a piece of wood on a violin. How could such a top end up on an instrument that otherwise seems to be very well made? 

I have only used one arching pattern which is quite high. I "think" I notice flatter arching on the few violins that suffer this condition. Thanks for all the info on this site.

Fort Lauderdale
April 8, 2015 - 8:15 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16062

Yes, there are many white violins that have tops that are not plate tuned and need to be graduated. It's a little bit of a shame if one doesn't take the time required for this very important step.
How is it going for you?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."


April 9, 2015 - 4:13 am
Member Since: March 15, 2014
Forum Posts: 244
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I was wondering if grain in the top plate made a differance too?

I have heard that the tighter the growth rings the better the tone? ie.. the more growth rings per in the better.

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

New member
April 9, 2015 - 8:26 am
Member Since: February 27, 2015
Forum Posts: 2
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For me, I am just enjoying the journey of arching , graduation, bass bars etc. I purchased a Scott Cao so I would have at least one violin that always has a top. The academic study of violins and the properties of construction are endless. The possibilities for great success and failure live close to each other. I am continuing the search for a WORLD CLASS G STRING.

OldOgre...I can't say for sure about the growth rings but most I see with tighter more even placement, seem to be better.


April 9, 2015 - 10:13 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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I suppose it may depend on the source for the in-the-white violin.  The ones I am aware of seem to mostly be just a factory violin taken out of the line at some point in the manufacturing process and sold because someone wants an in-the-white.

Neither machines nor people working under quotas where they have to produce a certain number of pieces an hour are going to be very choosey about the wood itself.  A luthier hand-building an instrument probably looks for more qualifications than just simple lumber grading.

So it seems likely that some in-the-whites may have been made of wood that looks pretty, but that an experienced luthier would have been more likely to choose for building a bookshelf or something than for a musical instrument.  Unless you can maybe get to hand-pick at a factory out of a hundred or more in-the-white violins, that is going to be luck of the draw.

"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

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