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New Fiddle
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damfino
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October 4, 2018 - 4:11 pm
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So a couple weeks ago I got a new fiddle. I had been searching on and off for a new one with a different sound to my Ming. I wasn't seriously shopping, just more browsing, until I stumbled on where I would get my next one. After a few weeks of emails back and forth with the luthier, we settled on the right one for me, and he sent it to me for a trial period. 

I was being picky, I looked over every inch of it, carefully listened to it while I played, and recorded, but as much as I tried to almost make myself dislike it, I found myself falling in love with it. It felt like *my* fiddle more than any fiddles I have played. I brought it to my fiddle teacher, and I think she would have kept it if I decided I wasn't going to, haha. She was amazed at how much it sounded like her 300 year old fiddle that she loves so much. Under the ear they sound very different (she had me play both for her) but they project the same.

I am not good at recording audio for fiddles, so my Ming and my new fiddle, which named itself Forest rather quickly after coming home, so neither of them record how they sound in person. At least you can hear they sound different, haha.

Anyway, here is a comparison video I just made today, the Ming is first, then my new fiddle. I played Whiskey Before Breakfast because it goes across all strings, and it's more fun than just doing scales. Just recorded with my iPhone.

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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October 4, 2018 - 8:41 pm
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Forest is smoother to my ear for sure, even when recorded on an iPhone and after whatever compression Youtube uses. Thanks for the demo... and lots of future fiddle pleasure to you and Forest together. violin-1267

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 4, 2018 - 9:24 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13705

Congrats on your new fiddle. 🙂
It always feels great to find a violin that plays and sounds the way you want it to.

In my opinion, we need to adjust the 905. Of course, I would know better if I could get my hands on it. It's not uncommon for a top to readjust after a little while on a new instrument. The tendency is for the soundpost to be too short. My Jan Larsson was readjusted a lot in the beginning when I picked it up from the maker. It would always start sounding like "s**t" until Jan got his hands on it. It stabilized a lot after say 10 years but it the difference every time he adjusted it was fantastic. I don't know if you are aware that we do lifetime adjustments on our instruments but we would even do that with the MJZ905.
I hope you bring it with you if you ever visit.

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

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mookje
The Netherlands
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October 5, 2018 - 1:35 am
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The forest has a beautiful sound Mandy, congrats and lots of fiddle fun 🎻🎻

 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!

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Mark
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October 5, 2018 - 3:08 am
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Mandy, 

Grats on the new fiddle sounds good.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
October 5, 2018 - 3:43 am
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Yes, Forest is warmer sounding, and certainly, comparing it to "where your 905 set-up is right now" - but that's fixable - I like the sound 🙂   Oh - EDIT:  I didn't mean that the Ming could be adjusted to sound like that, they will always have a different voice - I was really referring to the various issues and "shrillness" you were reporting about the MJZ.

I was going to talk about my own MJZ here - but it would be a lengthy discourse and would hijack your post - besides, I have quite an involved experimentation and investigation phase to go through yet - so - eventually I'll make it a separate thread to discuss my own findings.  New instruments can "open-up" in different ways after a reasonable amount of playing - some for the better, some requiring readjustment.

@damfino - out of interest - I don't know if you mentioned this - or I may have missed it - is this a brand new fiddle off-the-bench, which I suspect it is, or is it an older/second-hand instrument ?

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 5, 2018 - 7:12 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13705

BillyG said
@damfino - out of interest - I don't know if you mentioned this - or I may have missed it - is this a brand new fiddle off-the-bench, which I suspect it is, or is it an older/second-hand instrument ?  

I am wondering about your new instrument as well and probably missed the discussion.

Again, congratulations on your new baby.

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

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Heinrich
New Hampshire
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October 5, 2018 - 8:27 am
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Lovely, very nice Mandy

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damfino
my own little world
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October 5, 2018 - 9:03 am
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Thank you @bocaholly @Mark @mookje and @Heinrich 😀

@BillyG I don't mind if you hijack, since we're already discussing one MJZ905, why not add another 🙂 

BillyG said
@damfino - out of interest - I don't know if you mentioned this - or I may have missed it - is this a brand new fiddle off-the-bench, which I suspect it is, or is it an older/second-hand instrument ?  

Not bench or older. What the luthier does is get fiddles in the while (he told me where he got this particular one, but I don't recall off the top of my head, he just said he had bought all they had and wished he could get more) takes them apart, and regraduates them to a recipe he's worked out for a given model to get the sound he likes, puts in his own bass bar, then does the rest of the finishing and set up. So it's not bench made, but as close as I could get to it in my budget (ended up costing a bit less than the Ming).

He does do the same thing to old fiddles he gets his hands on, too, opens them up to give them the best voice he can, in his opinion. That was how I found him, I was originally looking for an older fiddle.

Fiddlerman said
In my opinion, we need to adjust the 905. ....My Jan Larsson was readjusted a lot in the beginning when I picked it up from the maker. It would always start sounding like "s**t" until Jan got his hands on it.

Haha, I think about 2 years ago was the first time I posted trying to figure out what might be going on with my Ming. It was opening up more and its voice was maybe not s**tty at the time, but making big changes that didn't sound nice, getting more harsh. It's worked its way to just very shrill and boisterous especially on the A and E strings... bordering on obnoxious, haha (and it is worse in the winter when the air dries out, right now is it's nice mellow humid season). I'm sure an adjustment could tone it down, and believe it or not, it is currently toned down a ton compared to where it was, because I slapped the side mount chin rest and stradpad on it. The side mount chin rest was very much on purpose to try and tone that thing down, lol. Still a nice fiddle, just needs something done to its set up.

Any recording I usually post of it, I alter the sound in garageband to try and tone in down, I lower the highs, and up the low.

The setup between the two is completely different, and I'm tossing around the idea of having the Ming changed to be more similar in set up. The action is a ton lower on the new fiddle, which makes it feel nicer to play, something I never would have thought of before having the new one. 

The new one naturally has a ton of opening up to do, but so far it is starting out a lot darker than the Ming. I like the contrast between the two voices.

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On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
October 5, 2018 - 9:53 am
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Ah right, thanks @Mandy    Yes, at that level of luthiership (is there such a word?) I can see how an experienced luthier can have-their-way with the instrument to get - if not exactly then pretty close - to a sound, feel and response they're aiming for.  I was reading up on top-plate shaping earlier and how it and the f-holes can affect body resonances as shown by the "tap-test".   Something I shall NEVER do, but interesting, and definitely a task for the experts...  cool_gif  

  Thanks for the invite to share the thread - but I will keep it for a later date, once I have everything done.    But in quick outline, I'm doing several things which include looking at the various body resonances (and comparing to other fiddles I have), I'll be doing the "tap-test" thing, trying out the bridge-mounted Barcus Berry pickup and comparing recorded sound from that as opposed to my shock-mounted studio mic, and looking at string vibrational harmonics/overtones.  [ most of the tests will involve using Audacity and the FFT spectrum analyses tools ] - so it will be an extensive post, to say the least  🙂   What's more, I'll be doing all of that before I even start to thin-down the new MJZ bridge or play with the soundpost !!!

I'm aware of a body resonance at around C to C# on a 440A on the FM Concert.  It is not a problem, it's just as if, at that particular point, it clearly sounds louder than Bb, B, D, D# and E - in fact - on certain strings it is *almost* like the sound of an open string - that's clearly an exaggeration - but you probably get what I mean.  Apparently, on certain top plates, depending on the grading, this can be one of the body resonances.  It has a name - (oddly the names are kind of similar to note names - but they're not really - A0, A1, B1, B1+, B2, Csomething ) but I forget without going back into the research material.   One of them is the body "air resonance" ( the Helmholtz resonance ).....   All very interesting (well to me it is !  OK, I'm officially a geek in training! )

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 5, 2018 - 10:46 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13705

damfino said
Not bench or older. What the luthier does is get fiddles in the while (he told me where he got this particular one, but I don't recall off the top of my head, he just said he had bought all they had and wished he could get more) takes them apart, and regraduates them to a recipe he's worked out for a given model to get the sound he likes, puts in his own bass bar, then does the rest of the finishing and set up. So it's not bench made, but as close as I could get to it in my budget (ended up costing a bit less than the Ming).

He does do the same thing to old fiddles he gets his hands on, too, opens them up to give them the best voice he can, in his opinion. That was how I found him, I was originally looking for an older fiddle.

I'm glad he had one that worked for you. This can be very dangerous though. I had a Jacob Stainer violin in my early 20's that I brought to a violin maker for adjustments and he told me that he could make it sound way better by re-graduating it, exactly as your guy does. This very reputable maker in Miami completely destroyed the sound in my Stainer and I couldn't really do anything about it. A very sad story when I think back to what it sounded like before he messed with it. I had so much confidence in this guy. These Stainers are very pricey today.

https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/price-history/?Maker_ID=1276

I'm not saying that this never works, but that it can mess an instrument up.

We've done a lot of similar work ourselves and we know how much you can affect a violin by changing, taking away or adding wood, etc. Our luthiers love this kind of work vs the set-ups that they do so many of every day.

Fiddlerman said
In my opinion, we need to adjust the 905. ....My Jan Larsson was readjusted a lot in the beginning when I picked it up from the maker. It would always start sounding like "s**t" until Jan got his hands on it.

Haha, I think about 2 years ago was the first time I posted trying to figure out what might be going on with my Ming. It was opening up more and its voice was maybe not s**tty at the time, but making big changes that didn't sound nice, getting more harsh. It's worked its way to just very shrill and boisterous especially on the A and E strings... bordering on obnoxious, haha (and it is worse in the winter when the air dries out, right now is it's nice mellow humid season). I'm sure an adjustment could tone it down, and believe it or not, it is currently toned down a ton compared to where it was, because I slapped the side mount chin rest and stradpad on it. The side mount chin rest was very much on purpose to try and tone that thing down, lol. Still a nice fiddle, just needs something done to its set up.

In any case Mandy, most MJZ905's are extremely dark and warm sounding compared to other violins. If you ever visit, you can test other 905's and exchange if we can't restore the original dark sound.

As for the bridge height. We set our instruments to high NAfME standards. You can never add wood to the bridge but you can always take some away.

That being said, many professional violinists want high bridges/projection for more power. Me for example.... Soloists often want it too.
Many players want softer mellower instruments with more comfortable lower string height, which in your case would certainly suit you better. One of the reasons is that you don't need as much pressure to get the string down to the fingerboard. Also, the harder you press the string down on the fingerboard, the better the sound quality.
We often bring down the string height to suit the customer and that sometimes entails reshaping the fingerboard to avoid the lower strings buzzing against when playing hard.

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

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
October 5, 2018 - 11:00 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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I love this stuff !   And it's precisely why, with a good instrument (the 905), I'm going to be doing these non-invasive experiments ! (well, the worst that will happen is the bridge being taken off and on a few times as I remove material, or a soundpost re-cut / re-position)  @Fiddlerman - thanks for the technical feedback Pierre thumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
my own little world
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October 5, 2018 - 11:10 am
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That's too bad about the Stainer 🙁 That would be very disappointing. 

Fiddlerman said

As for the bridge height. We set our instruments to high NAfME standards. You can never add wood to the bridge but you can always take some away.

 

Oh yeah, that's what the old guy I got my little German fiddle from said. He would set the bridge higher than he figured people wanted, because he could take the wood off easy enough, but not put it back, haha. (very interesting chatty guy, when I go to him I have to plan on about 2 hours of him just telling me stories)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 8, 2018 - 2:06 pm
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exactly

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

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
October 8, 2018 - 2:23 pm
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As a member of the MJZ club...and 905 also.  My violin is warm...especially with the Larsen strings.  I am looking to try other strings and I am due for a change.  But I couldn't be happier with my violin.

It is still so beautiful and the only time I get off sound is when I don't play for a few weeks.  It makes me pay for that.  LOL

 

LOVE MY MING!!!

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 11, 2018 - 3:47 pm
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Yeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaa!!!!
Thanks Toni

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

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damfino
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October 12, 2018 - 10:40 am
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@coolpinkone I agree, the Mings are beautiful instruments 🙂 Mine just opened up to be a brighter instrument, so I looked for something darker. So now I have a dark instrument with brighter characteristics (the Ming) if that makes sense, haha... but it is what it is ... and then the new one is an even darker instrument with a mellow sweet side (so far... has a lot more opening up to do).

I had originally thought after getting the Ming that I would look for a brighter instrument down the road to have a dark and bright, but the Ming ended up being my bright one (to my ear). My teacher told me when I first started playing that you eventually end up developing a very specific taste in tone, and that's true. I always leaned to dark tones, but but the type of dark tones I lean to has changed. And it'll probably change again at some point, and I'll end up with another fiddle, haha.

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
November 1, 2018 - 2:31 pm
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My Ming blows away my mind with the vibration and tone.   My soloist has the big boy deep voice.  I have always felt  that violin was a lone soul with its big deep voice.  Also I found the strings made such a difference.  I can't remember the stings... they were popular about 5 years ago around here.... my mind is a blank.  Now I use Larsen for both.  They need strings.   

My Ming violin is a case of a beautiful violin that actually does make me sound better than I am at times.  

Which is odd because I think in the beginning... you just have to learn and practice for years.. I stick with that... but the Ming violin actually makes me sounds better than I am ... but I do say that for 4-5 years I did put in the time. 🙂

Excited for a few projects here and the holiday tunes to lift my playing up a bit.  

🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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