I'm on the fence about buying a new violin vs a vintage one.
There seems little doubt that a brand new instrument, properly made, will not sound as open and resonant as it will ten years down the road, even if it's made from old wood. It will not have its maximum low-frequency vibration, as the wood is still stiff. It will not have its maximum HF content, as the glue and finished have not fully crystallized.
There are ways to make a new instrument sound more "broken in" but this entails making various parts too thin, thus shortening the life of the instrument and probably lessening the overall sonic potential that it might otherwise have had.
Assuming, though, that we are discussing a properly-made, new violin, from a builder who's clients understand that patience is required:
1: How many years would be considered hte minimum for this type of instrument to really loosen up, to the point that you could stand performing with it? (just looking for some subjective, ballpark opinions)
2: Is it mostly a matter of time, or does the amount of playing contribute? It has been suggested by some that the vibrations from actually playing it help "set" the cells, finish & glue in such a way that they will better conduct the desired frequencies, but has this ever been proven?
3: Are there any techniques for speeding this up?
3a: Does storing at a higher temperature help? if so, how high is actually dangerous? What about low humidity?
3b: Some luthiers believe that hanging a new guitar in front of your speakers helps, as the guiatr absorbs vibration from the cd's you play. Of course, a flat-top guitar work in a significantly different way than a violin. Has this ever been shown to help a violin?
-Any other thoughts on the subject?
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