I have designed a new stringed instrument tail piece. It greatly enhances the resonance and power of all bowed, stringed instruments. It compliments my new bridge and together they make any violin sound like a Strad! Here is how to build your own new violin tail piece. To build this design for larger stringed instruments you must increase the strength of these component parts I explain how to use. Email for more info.
1- Go to Home Depot, etc. and buy a pack of stainless steel braided picture hanging wire. Get the strongest type. It comes in a rack card. Next, if you are doing a violin, buy a 3/8 inch round brass tube. They come in foot long lengths and have a wall thickness of about 1/64 inch.
2- For violins cut a one and 1/4 inch (1 1/4") length of tube and drill four 3/32 inch holes equally spaced by 1/4 inch in the center of the length of that section of tube. Only drill through one side of the tube. That will leave 1/4 inch space between each end of the tube and the beginning of the line of 4 side by side anchor holes for your strings.
3- Remove all burrs. 4- Unwind two stainless steel wire strands 13 3/8 inches long from the picture hanging wire cable. Leave these two wires braided around each other. Pass one end of this cable end to end through the brass tube and tie this cable's ends together with a double knot forming a closed loop Leave your knot outside the tube for now. 5-String your violin strings from the inside of the tube to the outside of said tube. Put them in their proper order one into each hole using the end knot or end fitting of each string inside the tube to block it from coming out of the hole. This will leave each string hanging out of the side of the tube for the entire length of each string. 6- Slip the steel cable knot so it is totally inside the brass tube. 7- Restring your violin by placing the steel cable of your new tail piece around the anchor nut at the end of your violin and then putting the bridge back in place and the strings back in their respective tuning pegs. 8- Tune and play your violin. NOTE: You will experience more violin sound using my new tail piece design because you will be eliminating the sizable block of wood the old style tail piece represents. It absorbs a good bit of the vibrational energy created when you bow your strings. With your new tail piece much of this previously absorbed energy will get to your bridge and down into your violin where it can be magnified and heard. YES, the fine tuning devices which fit only on the string are what you use for fine tuning. I don't use any fine tuning devices since their weight somewhat mutes the sound. In keeping with my research I also designed a new bridge which enhances the sound even further but I am the only one who knows how to build it. I have also composed and registered at the copyright office two new musical works both about 32 minutes long. One is a new symphony and the other is a violin concerto. I have CD sound recordings of both which really sound like a full orchestra is playing them. If you have a job playing with a famous orchestra let me know which one and I will send you a free CD of either work. John
but I want my violin to sound like a Guarneri.
I also am interested in a Guarneri tone.
Dear folks: Thanks for reading my text on my new tail piece. To visualize what it looks like just imagine your old tail piece missing and all the beautiful wood under it now open to view! The small brass tube I describe will be apparent an inch or so behind your bridge and running parallel to it for less distance that the width of the bridge itself. An added benefit is that if you want you can tilt the brass tube so it makes the lower strings longer than the higher pitched strings. Some people say this is a good thing to do. I leave that up to you! The thin steel cable I describe is about 1/64 of an inch wide. It's two strands, spaced about an inch apart, run elevated across the violin where the old style tail piece used to be. They are so thin they show up in a very small way. If you have your skin against one of these strands as you play you can feel it vibrate. As to my mention of a Strad sound, I was just trying to explain the increase in resonance you will notice. It may well sound better than anything you have ever heard! I am quite sure that each violin will present a different sound but that sound is sure to enhance your enjoyment of your violin. John Schneider
John, I have difficulty threading strings into the holes in pegs, so the prospect of trying to thread a string through the drilled hole in your tube from the inside when you've only drilled through one side of the tube fills me with dread. How do you do it?
John, I have difficulty threading strings into the holes in pegs, so the prospect of trying to thread a string through the drilled hole in your tube from the inside when you've only drilled through one side of the tube fills me with dread. How do you do it?
Dear Mr. Rokos: Thanks for your note. I would suggest you use a pair of small needle nosed pliers and grasp each string in the jaws of this tool then guide the string into its proper hole. Start with the "D" string, then the "G". Now poke the tool into the other end of my designed tube to move the "A" string into its hole. Lastly put the`"E" string into its hole using the pliers. Pull each string's whole length through its hole after you get it inserted before you do the next string in turn.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
This morning I sent a set of 4 pictures to see if they could be added to this discussion. I don't know if I did it right but I know the email with pictures was sent. If you want me to send you pictures directly to your email I will be glad to give it a shot and somehow you can get some pictures. Let me have your email at email@example.com. Best regards, John
It seems to me, as I visualize this tailpiece. that a maker of trapeze tailpieces for jazz guitars could replace the mount and wire trapeze with a cable or even gut and you would have something similar, though a little easier to string. Especially if instead of groves you could machine holes similar to those in a traditional tailpiece.
Here is just one example of a trapeze tailpiece for a guitar.
This is a link to Chrome 6 String Archtop Trapeze Tailpiece Bridge on Amazon.com
(edit) Just had a thought, to modify the OP's design. If you look at the tube from the base end. On the ends a small grove the width of the hanger cable cut a 3:00 o'clock to maintain alignment of the tube. At each string location an appropriate size hole at 9:00 o'clock for the string to pass through. At 12:00 o'clock, directly in line with the string holes a hole just large enough for a ball end to fit through. This would be easier to string, though you could cut a string size slot between the two holes if you would like.
BTW: personally I plan on sticking with the traditional tailpiece. but this is an interesting idea.
The proposed way of stringing means that it is not possible to change strings one by one. If the D string breaks I have to remove the G to replace it. Why not a hole on the side of the tube facing away from the bridge. A hole large enough to fit the ball of the sting through.
All fun and games until someone looses an eye.
One is not persuaded that fitting such a tail piece to one's Stradivari will make it sound more like a Stradivari.
Charles has a point. Anything anyone can think of adding as a nod to safety? Wrap insulating tape round the picture hanging wire? Thread it into rubber or tygon tubing? Wear laboratory safety glasses when playing?
why does it have to be just a hole in the first place. If you could cut a groove extending from the hole then the string could be front loading.
Dear friends: Thank you all for your interest in my new tail piece design. I should answer your concerns with my experience. There is no possibility that anyone is in any danger from a string recoiling if it breaks. To have a recoil develop you need much more tension than the strings on a violin. In addition, you would need an elastic string to act in any way like a breaking rubber band and violin strings just aren't elastic. When they break, which is hardly ever, they snap and then just lay there without exhibiting any recoil. So, there is no danger of getting slapped in the face by a breaking string. Also, the replacing of a broken string is NOT a problem. It can easily be slipped past its neighboring strings inside the tube without even relieving the tension on the other strings. There is enough space inside the tube to change a string without bothering the other strings in any way. If you are trying to insert a used string you would use a small needle nosed pliers as I have already instructed. A new string is straight at its end, not curled, so it can easily be directed into the appropriate hole in the tube. I don't understand why there is such an active number of doubters willing to try to discourage other people from trying new ideas when these doubters have no experience in doing what they say can't be done! In other words, these people who say it can't be done have no way of knowing that - especially since I just revealed my design so recently that no one responding with their own advice can possibly know what they are saying based on their own personal experience. I, on the other hand, have done what I am describing and it works just as I have indicated. John Schneider
How about using a carbon fiber tube as a Deluxe model? Ultralight weight. Stiff. Etc, etc...
Why not simply cut off the "tail" part of you current tailpiece, leaving just the four mounting slots for the strings, plus a little extra to attach your new extra long tailgut to, and bing bang boom: you've just turbocharged your violin!
It will then match your other fittings and not look like a piece of pipe from Home Depot on your $20,000 violin.
John, I think Charles was thinking of the picture hanging wire going into an eye, rather than a string. I must admit I am.
Seraphim's idea seems to have some merit.
Dear friends: Thanks for your interest in my results which have succeeded in making violins more resonant and powerful. Much time and money has been spent by many other people trying to find the answers I have been successful in discovering before they did despite all their years of research. I will try to answer all your questions. First of all, like I explained in yesterday's answers, violin strings and picture wire are not elastic so will not recoil and hit you in the face if they break. That event would require much more tension in the string than any wooden device like a violin could impart. I have been using my tail piece and new bridge for years without any breakage. You play now on a violin that has no potential to put out your eye and my design has no more potential for string wear and breakage than current tail pieces and bridges! Next, if you decide to ignore my instructions and use some other way of doing what I have discovered I can tell you that the weight of the tail piece assembly is of paramount importance. Even a fraction of a gram makes a difference in sound. Also, metal vibrates very efficiently compared to wood or carbon fibers, etc. So the steel cable helps magnify the vibrations coming from your strings. I hope I have helped nullify some of the bad ideas raised by people with good intentions but no research behind their ideas. My years of research have led me to the design I have explained to you. Benefit from it! Best regards, John
There is no "magic bullet" with either low mass or high mass (weight) tailpieces. Each instrument wants what it wants.
I haven't found much player enthusiasm for the sound and playing characteristics produced by ultra-low-weight tailpieces. A lot of these things have been tried already.
All of my fiddles already sound like Strads, so I can't think of any way to improve them. And the bridge I tried was absolutely horrible.
Louder does not equal "better"
What if I put your new bridge and tailpiece on a Strad? Will it sound even more Strad-like?!
Dear friends: Thanks again for your continued interest and comments about my research which led to this new designed tail piece. Some of you are now saying "there is nothing new under the sun".Well, replacing a wooden tail piece with two strands of wire after 300 years seems to me to be something new. Who am I and how dare I fly in the face of such a long tradition? Pipsqueek and upstart! Men were never meant to fly but the Wright brothers didn't listen. So, although I don't compare to the Wright brothers, I'm not listening either and I haven't for all these years I have been working on this project trying to make my violins sound better. Yes, I gave away over a hundred bridges a few years back and some thought they were the best thing since sliced bread and others said no. I can't explain the "no" people since my results were all wonderful or I would not have even mentioned it on violinist.com. One guy back then even had the stupidity to write in and say I was running some sort of con game. Thankfully another person who had their head on straight wrote in and said "How could Schneider be running a con game? He's giving the bridges away!" I am giving away the results of years of research by telling you all how to build a tail piece for about a dollar each. What more can I do. It really works and I have over 70 years of violin playing under my belt. I have seen all the great players in concert and in some cases sat only 60 feet from them. Which leads me to answer one of the most recent questions - can my tail piece and bridge make a Strad sound better? I don't know since I have never had a Strad, etc. to try them on. If I had I would try. I did play the Smithsonian's Stainer once for about 45 minutes and it gave quite a mellow sound. Time to go to church! John
"I can't explain the "no" people since my results were all wonderful..."
It's probably a conspiracy of the "violin mafia". (wink)
Dear David Burgess: Thank you so much for your kind comment on my bridge. That made my day. I play my violin every day just for the enjoyment of hearing the bell like quality of sound it produces from all 4 strings. The lowest 4 notes on the G string are the most amazing when compared to how G strings sound with a regular tail piece. But that is my violin and it has both my bridge and tail piece installed. It is a Strad copy over 100 years old and was used in the Pittsburgh Symphony in the years when Victor Herbert conducted in 1900. I have used it since 1943 when my mother bought it for me for $150 from Kashier Brothers. They were the preeminent violin makers in Pittsburgh for probably 50 years. John
Dear folks: I am in the process of trying to understand how to get pictures to you. Until I figure that out I can send you pictures if you just go to my own email and ask for photos. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks, John Schneider
"...metal vibrates very efficiently compared to wood or carbon fibers, etc. So the steel cable helps magnify the vibrations coming from your strings..."
And it imparts a distinct sound quality as well.
Here is a violin with an all metal resonating chamber.
Dear Mr. Protos: Thanks for the link to the all metal violin video! It doesn't hurt to have a pretty girl to play for you! It looks like a cross between a trumpet and a violin. But it is something all the folks responding to my discussion would enjoy watching. I must say however, my tail piece sounds like a violin and in no way like the all metal item on this video. Best wishes, John Schneider
Your always conspiring,
It`s in in your hard wiring,
I`m just perspiring.
I think I`m retiring.
Dear friends: I am quite hopeful to hear from any of you who are interested enough to want to have a better sounding violin. If you did make one of my tail pieces and used it on your violin please let me know how it worked out. Thanks, John
John, I would like to learn more about that bridge you describe. i have a wittner ultra light tailpiece so i dont think i will go trough the trouble of drilling holes in a round metal tube for they will surely not end up in one straight line, although I am all for innovation. I started to play in my 40th year of life and I am still amazed at how very inconvenient and un-ergonomic some parts of violin and bow are constructed.
Dear folks: Thanks for your most recent postings of your comments today. All I can say is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating! For a dollar each tail piece what do you have to loose? As I reported before, I have had my newly designed bridge and tail piece on my violins for many years without any discomforting incidents. You bring up points which others have also labored under and I have done all I can to reassure you new friends of mine that a string breaking will be no cause for any alarm. The bridge on any violin is curved where its feet meet the belly of the violin. This curve keeps the bridge from slipping sideways if a string breaks, especially when the bridge is anchored against the violin with the tension of the other strings holding it down. If the bottoms of the feet of the bridge were flat you might have more tendency for the bridge to move sideways but not with the curvature all bridge feet have. Said curvature when placed against the curvature of the violin's belly locks all bridges completely in place sideways. You can test this by trying to dislodge your bridge sideways. It won't move if all the strings are tuned unless you forcefully lift the bridge to counteract the string's tensions. When you have slightly lifted the bridge and strings together - which requires much stress - you can make slight adjustments to the sideways position of the bridge but only as long as you keep forcing the bridge up to reduce the friction between the feet of the bridge and the belly of the violin. Try it! I believe you both might profit from looking at pictures of my new designs. As I mentioned above, send me an email with your own email address and I will email pictures to you of my violin with my new inventions in place. My email is email@example.com . There are two wires anchoring the strings to the violin, not just one. You will be able to see this in the pictures. In playing the violin your skin normally does not come in contact with these two support wires. Even with a minimal height chin rest there is no contact. Again, as I suggested before, I would suspect that someone in your family or among your friends can drill four holes in a straight line and even if the line isn't perfectly straight there will be no problem in the final piece. Just send them my instructions and pictures and even if they don't live close to you they will succeed in making the tube properly. Please email any other concerns you might have. My designs are completely safe and they work just as I have claimed. They make a much more glorious sound come from your violin. If they didn't do as I claim I would not have had any reason to trouble you folks on violinist.com with lies! What would I have to gain in telling complete strangers any lies? I am not running for president of the USA. John Schneider
You should run for president, you make about as much sense as our presidential candidates!!!
For instance your tail piece design makes about as much sense as printing Billions of dollars a month to fight deflation.
Dear folks: Again, many thanks for your comments. I enjoy a lively discussion as much as you all seem to. You are all correct in saying in one way or another that the violin is a mystery. For hundreds of years people have tried to discover why the famous old violins play so much better than most other violins. A few luthiers today are actually the equal of the old ones from Cremona. I am not one of those so you would have to ask these living luthiers what their secrets are. I don't think you would find out but skilled craftsmanship itself goes a long way to making a violin work properly. Personally I have spent years of research on just that subject and my results have been to my liking. I have freely passed on my revelations to you all in the hope that you will have an open mind enough to try my design. But when asked why these things work to make such an improvement you can see that I can only scratch my head and propose possible answers. I have no way of knowing for sure. There are just too many variables which enter into the acoustics. Just like many of the people you folks have quoted and the books you have referenced, the real answer will never be completely known. I have however been very successful in coming up with designs which have made my violins and other people's violins sound much better than they do with old style bridges and tail pieces in place. I hand made and tested well over a hundred different bridges made of many different shapes and materials from crystal to Titanium in my successful effort to improve violins. Many of you who have entered into the discussion have stated conflicting ideas about what an answer might be. For instance, some of you have said weight has nothing at all to do with tail piece construction while others have said they use ultra light tail pieces so they don't believe my design would be of any help. Then that makes me wonder if the brass tube I use helps to magnify the sound vibrations in some way I don't understand. But my bottom line is it plays so much better with so much greater resonance, beauty and power that I will never go back to my old accessories even if they can boast of ancient and cherished designs. Best regards, John Schneider
Dear respondents: Thanks again for your interest. Since I have replaced a wooden tail piece with metal I can believe that humidity will have less of an effect since wood is much more hydroscopic than metal. The question about the possibility of your sound post falling if you remove all your string tension at once is somewhat possible although not common. I suggest to stop that from happening then before you remove your string tension you stick a piece of paper tape firmly against your sound post and then to the inside of your violin's belly and back. By doing this you will be connecting the sound post with both top and bottom surfaces it presses against. This will hold the sound post in place while you replace your tail piece and then restring your violin. Be sure to put some pressure on the tape so it sticks to all the surfaces you are trying to connect to one another using that tape. When you have replaced the strings and they are under tension you can reach into the violin through the "F" hole with a tweezers and grasp the tape and pull it out. Lacking such skill you can take your violin to a luthier or a family member who can perform such an operation with the skill necessary for success. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. John
the email adress you state isn't receiving mail
It is a real shock that firstname.lastname@example.org isn't receiving emails. I just deleted a ton of advertising emails that came in today! Please copy the email address I have above and use it to contact me. It should be working since it was 15 minutes ago! I assume that you want copies of my photos and if I get your email address I will surely send them to you. John
Dear friends: I keep hoping for someone to spend an extra hour with their violin and give it a face lift with my new tail piece. You will be amazed at your results. True, violins are all different and I expect some will respond better to this new design then others. But of the three or four that have had my face lift, they have all shown a marked increase in resonance and power, especially on the G string. Here's hoping someone will try! Best regards, John
Why not use the kevlar tail gut for this application instead of the steel wire?
Easier to tie.
Hi fellow violinists: Thanks again for all your interest and continued dialog on this most important concept - that is if you want your violin to sound better. I use metal because it has more tendency to vibrate at different frequencies thereby enhancing the power and resonance of the violin's sound. NOW HERE IS THE REALLY GREAT THING I HAVEN'T MENTIONED UNTIL NOW !!! YOU CAN CHANGE THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE SOUND COMING FROM YOUR VIOLIN USING MY NEW TAIL PIECE. THE BRASS TUBE I DESCRIBE WHICH ANCHORS THE FOUR STRINGS IS ABLE TO HAVE PIECES OF DIFFERENT MATERIALS INSERTED INTO AND THRU ITS HOLLOW INTERIOR! THESE DIFFERENT MATERIALS - SUCH AS TIGHTLY ROLLED UP ALUMINUM FOIL - WILL MAKE YOUR VIOLIN SOUND DIFFERENT! If you allow such materials to extend out of the ends of the tube they will even have a different effect on the sound than if they are completely tucked inside the tube. When you insert different materials inside the tube you can make them go completely through the tube from one end to the other or you can fit them just as you would a plug into each end without pulling them completely through the tube. So you can see there are endless trials you can make for no cost at all. You can try wood, metals, plastic, fabric, silver or aluminum powder in a bag etc.. The open tube allows any type of contents. How about sliver or other bell like metals to add brilliance to your violin's sound. You could try wood of one type or another if you wanted a more mellow sound. Your imagination is your only limiting factor. I have done this and it does work. Some materials might not work as well as others but you now have the opportunity to make your violin sound exactly how you want it to sound. You could even change the tube's packing depending on what composition you are performing. Some music wants to be mellow and some wants to be brilliant, etc.. Try it! You may find the "lost chord". Please let us know what your personal results are. Best regards, John
Paganini goes steampunk?
Dear friends: I am not trying to be controversial. I am just passing along my results of these past years of research so the violin community can profit from my experiences. My results are real and my 70+ years of hearing violin sounds tells me so! As a boy from the age of 6 until 18 I took violin lessons once a week and from 15 on it was twice a week. From 15 on I would practice 6 hours a day 7 days a week! Why all this effort? Back then you could count the really world famous violinists on one hand. Their names were household words known to almost everybody. I thought I might make my parent's sacrifice of money for all my lessons worth their effort. At age 18 I had to decide between the violin and a business/engineering college course. I sat with my violin teacher, Mr. Bartoletti, and said I would never be a famous violinist. He agreed. I then said my sight reading was not good so orchestra work was out. He agreed - but then he threw up his hands and in a very loud voice said "But don't teach". Years later I accidentally met him again. He was the owner of a local appliance store. He said our conversation of many years ago had made up his mind to quit teaching! Maybe my lack of brilliance as his student or maybe just the low pay? He never explained. As it turns out my greatest happiness now that I am 80 is my wife, my family and my violin. I play it usually an hour a day just for comforts sake. So, humor an old man trying to make your world a little better. Again I say I have no reason to promote this. Try it and you will understand my elation with my results. I know as well as you do how a mute effects a violin's sound. Obviously this tube stuffing method I describe has the very real potential to change the sound as well but in a very different way. Compared to a mute it actually enhances the sound. Best regards, John
John, it is obvious that all this kind of thing will affect the sound that the instrument conveys to the ear of the player. What methods have you used for checking the sound at a distance? Sorry, but it's a question that needs to be asked - Not so sorry if you have an answer ready!
Charles Cook's "Break Test" looks interesting - They do 2mm fibre as well.
I tested out this new idea at the Strad Fest this past weekend. I filled the tube with a very novel filling that I thought would really bring out the best.
I showed up, uncredentialed at the stage door.
"Whoa!" said the burly guard towering over me.
"Only players with real Stradivarius are allowed"
Undaunted I opened my case to reveal the instrument within. A few other of the staff huddled around, wanting to see what the hub bub was all about.
"HA!" exclaimed one, "That is just some cheap Chinese EBay fiddle! And look at THAT tailpiece! Ha ha ha!"
Snickering abounded as I carefully removed the violin from its' case and prepared to play.
The laughing stopped immediately as my bow drew forth the first sonorous notes of Bach's Chaconne. Tears filled the eyes of many who had previously mocked me.
"It's true" said one wiping a tear from her eyes "It's a Strad! Just listen to it!"
The doors were thrown wide open, a red carpet was rolled out and I strode confidently into the hall.
Xiang Yu was sawing away on his 1666 Serdet when I walked onto the stage.
"Well, you're pretty good ol' son," I said with an air of authority "But sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it's done."
All jaws dropped as I lit into a little known folk tune:
"Fire on the Mountain." Run, boys, run!
The Devil's in the house of the rising sun;
Chicken's in the bread pan picking out dough.
Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no..."
Eyes wide with amazement the crowd reacted in shock. The hall reverberated with sonic perfection. LACO Music Director Jeffrey Kahane fell off his piano bench in stupefied amazement. One audience member rent his tuxedo jacket in twain and shouted "I am not worthy to hear such virtuosity!"
I rounded out my performance with a moving rendition of "Turkey in the Straw" that brought down the house.
"How does that violin produce such a sweet, sweet sound???"
There are many Strads out there: Ruby, Milstein, Kreisler...etc.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you "The Canolli"
Bravo Mr. Protos !!! Thanks for a really, really good time reading your wonderful creative writing. And the photo was hilarious !!! Thanks so much again for your time and effort !! Now to John Cadd's questions. Yes, I use just two strands of the strongest stainless steel picture wire. As I mentioned, they are sold in a rack card package at Home Depot etc.. I think the cable as purchased has about 6 strands wound together so you have to separate out two strands from the rest. Leave them wound around each other and knot the ends together once you have threaded it the whole way through the brass tube. As far as to how the tail piece effects the sound I can only explain that it increases the resonance and power of the sound. I don't have any scientific explanation why that happens - sorry. Maybe some pastry would help! Best wishes for your success! John
Glad you liked it John. I had fun writing it.
John S, Did you fail to spot my question or did you ignore it?
Dear John Rokos: I apologize for not giving you an answer yesterday but I got home late and was a little bleery eyed. I can take this opportunity to give a brand name to the stainless steel picture hanging wire. It is "OOK" brand but there are others which would serve as well. My OOK brand advertised it would hold 100 pounds but of course we are using only about 20% of the wire strands. NOW TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION ABOUT TESTING THE SOUND AT A DISTANCE. My luthier friend in England used his violin he made with my bridge and tail piece on it to play at his church services. I have also used my violin with my new bridge and tail piece at services at my church. My wife sat in the back of the church and reported she heard me loud and clear. My English friend also had the same comment. Another friend at my church who is now retired spent his whole adult life inventing and selling hi-fi audio speakers. He was seated about 50 feet away during one of my church solos and reported he heard at least 100 decibels. So those are the results using my violin with my bridge and tail piece. I have not used a decibel meter on it at those distances since it would be awkward with a church service going on. An empty church would give a different result than one filled with people. So, I hope this helps answer your question. I realize that it is not a scientific answer but it is the best I have to give you. I will pass on the comment made by a solo violinist who is known around the world and has performed with all the great orchestras. He asked not to be identified. This was years ago before I invented my new tail piece. I say that because my new tail piece in combination with my new bridge gives an even greater improvement to a violin's sound. Well, after trying my violin with just the new bridge he said " It doesn't sound any better than my violins". The case is that his violins are two Strads and a Del Gesu. My violin is just an old student type made in Germany. You can draw your own conclusions. Best regards, John
If somebody asks me what I think of their fiddle, I often don't share what I really think as I don't want to offend. Similarly, could the owner of two Strads and a Del Gesu, be being gentle with you?
John, I really don't wish to be rude, but have you considered that as one ages, one looses the ability to hear upper frequencies, and could this design be bringing out higher frequencies to compensate? Does this violin then sound "better" or just brighter?
Dear Carlo and John: You are quite right about the effects of aging. I am quite good at hearing however and do a good job singing. In fact, there is nobody I know of who can sing as well as I can with the exception of most operatic tenors. I am sure that I have lost some of my hearing in the higher frequencies. It is good I can't sing that high. My old adage is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in the ear of the listener. In fact that same idea extends to all our five senses! So, in the case of my violin with its new bridge and tail piece, what you hear is what you get. I have no way of knowing what will tickle your fancy. All I can say with certainty is that I am so happy with my results and the compliments of my listeners when I play my old violin that I will never again go back to using an old style bridge or tail piece. I hope I have touched on some good answers for you. There is nothing definitive about how people relate to music and to violins in general. There are too many variables involved for anyone to be absolutely correct about how they perceive violin performance compared to how someone else hears it. You have all read many articles about scientists doing all they can in their labs to build instruments that will show them the secrets the guys from Cremona developed by trial and error some three hundred years ago. Guess what? They still haven't found all the secrets! DEAR JOHN - JUST READ THE REST OF YOUR COMMENTS ON WIRE STRENGTH. I have used the two strands of wire from the 100 pound test cable for years and never had one break. Neither have I had any puncture wounds while playing or even while tying the knot I describe in the twin steel wires. I place the knot inside the tube after all playing strings are placed into their holes, said holes being the four that you drilled in the side of the tube. I have never had the slightest bit or hint of trouble with the design I described in my original write up. I have no idea how it will effect the sound if any other arrangement is used other than the one I explained in the original text I submitted to violinist.com Best regards, John
ah, that was the problem with the creation. nobody was around to give god that advice. no wonder.....
I would have been more confident to answer this 50 years ago, but I think it counts as two, because each arm of the loop carries half the force; which is why the last Golden Spiral A Stings (I was about to "correct" the spelling, but what I am leaving unaltered seems strangely appropriate) I used before I gave up on the brand in despair always broke at the knot.
If the strings exert 50lbs of pressure, does that mean that each end (at tailpiece and at the nut) sees only 25bs of that pressure?
If so, then each of the dual strands at the tailpiece must see only half of the half, which is 12.5lbs. That must explain why a single strand is sufficient for this purpose.
No, each end of a string feels the whole pressure of the string. The figures are 50lb and 25lb.
Nobody has reacted to Charles Cook's contribution or my comment on it. The material in question is claimed to be stronger and lighter than steel and safer if it breaks.
Dear John and John plus other readers: I am so glad you are interested in my work enough to do work of your own to advance what I have struggled to investigate. Some real progress can be made. As you know from previous answers I have given - I don't have all the answers! I haven't had a string break for so long that I don't remember what brand they are. I am only performing at church these last years and most of the good folks there don't even realize if your violin is in tune. We are always thankful that they are there at all however. My trial and error development of this idea came up with two steel wires holding the strings. I was chicken to try just one strand! I thought two would be a good safety approach. One idea presented today had me thinking. Did God have something to do in directing my stumbling research? It is hard to decide since no one knows the mind of God. Apparently He does "sweat the details". Perhaps there are violins played in heaven? The Bible tells us that they do a lot of singing there! We'll know soon enough. My 80 years tells me sooner than later for me and my gal! Best wishes, John
Near-death experiences cannot be relied upon, whoever has them (other than 1st century Christians and, of course, Christ Himself), but that Salvation Army guy's observation that the wounds of Jesus are the only man-made things in heaven is probably a truism anyway.
Bravo John Cadd: Your efforts deserve a great reward and I hope that will be the case. I am sure there are other ways to achieve the same results I have. Your approach isn't exactly the one I outlined in my original text above but I hope it works out well for you. I am very pleased you are involved to the point of actually making this effort. I wish you great results. Best wishes, John
There is no way that each end could feel the entire 50lbs. You would be making force out if nothing and be able to create a perpetual motion machine if that were true. It would imply being able to create 100lbs of total pressure(50lb at each end) with only 50lbs input.
Bravo John Cadd: You are the winner! The first to successfully build my tail piece and verify my findings. That in scientific terms is a big deal. Some after thoughts. Yes, your intention of canting the brass tube to lengthen the G string behind the bridge will have a good effect on all the strings. When you are working with a straight tube then all the strings, other than the E string, will get a proportionate lengthening compared to their neighboring string which makes all of them play with more resonance. I am glad your resonance improved by your estimated 30%. That would be noticeable when playing. I have just made a more accurate measurement on my two steel cable strands. Each strand measures .020 inches in diameter. Wound together that would give a total of .040" or 1 mm diameter in a two strand cable. Perhaps this will help you to compare to what you have in place. Again, many thanks and I hope with a little adjusting of the brass tube's position you will get more resonance from your strings - especially the G string. My tube's front edge is 1 1/2" away from the bridge at the E string and 1 5/8" away from the bridge at the G string. You might also consider rolling up an ultra thin sheet of aluminum foil until it is 3/16" in diameter and 2 and a 1/4 inches long (2 1/4"). Thread this through the hole in the brass tube until it protrudes equally on each end of the tube. I found that would improve the sound as well. If you have any way of getting copper foil you can substitute that for aluminum foil. Either way it will improve the sound. Don't fold it back into the tube. Let it project on either end. Best regards, John
Dear John Cadd: Again, thanks so much for all your effort on behalf of my new designs. Sorry your analysis has now turned sour on the tail piece you made. I, of course, have had extremely better results with the tail pieces I have made or I would not be bothering you good folks who read violinist.com with my claims! My results, and especially the results of my luthier friend in England, have all been very positive and elating. He is over 80 years old and some years ago won a national prize for the high quality of the tonal output produced by the violins he makes. I can expect he has a good chance of knowing how violins should sound. Based on your conversations with me here on violinist I believe you may have used a steel cable that contains more strands of wire than just the two strands that I instruct are to be used for making my tail piece. It also seems from your description that the cable you used may contain a strand of plastic line included in the wrapping. Correct me if I wrong. As I mentioned in my submission yesterday, I only use two strands of 20 thousandths inch diameter stainless steel wire wrapped around each other. I have been sending pictures of my tail piece and how it is installed to folks who send their request to me for said photos along with their email address. Please email your email address to me if you would like to see these photos. My email address is email@example.com. As I wrote here some weeks ago, I would be glad to send these same photos to anyone who requests them. They might help clear up some parts of your construction details. As I have mentioned in other texts I wrote here on violinist, it is my experience over the years that even the slightest change in what I have described as my design will have in most cases a drastic effect on the sound coming out of the violin! I remember in one of your responses you mentioned the possibility of insulating the steel wires to prevent puncture wounds to the violinist's hands. I don't know if you used this idea but I had responded that there was no need, based on my experience, for anything other than the two wound bare stainless steel wires. I had never had any problem with these bare steel wires. After they are knotted and the playing strings are in place in the tube said knot with its loose ends is slipped inside the tube where it is entirely protected from any contact with the player's hands, clothing etc. You had also mentioned in one of your submissions the bending of the brass tube by heating it until red hot, cooling it and then bending it. I hope you didn't go to that trouble since I instruct that the brass tube is to be used in its original straight condition. You had also mentioned using some clamps to hold the wire's ends together rather than tying them in a knot to secure them to each other as I instruct. You may think that I am nit picking but my years of experimenting show otherwise! Having never had any reason to dislike the knotting approach I have never resorted to clamping said wires together rather than knotting them together. So, as I stated in a previous entry to this dialog, in my years of experience with the development of my bridge and tail piece, every little change can make a big difference in the sound. In that regard, I mentioned recently that just the addition of some rolled up, super thin aluminum or copper foil inside the brass tube has made a positive improvement to the sound and response my violin exhibits. That is something I don't try to explain nor do I make any apologies for such seemingly insignificant changes. I am sure it would seem to most of you reading this that such an inexplicable result is worthless. But I am just thankful for each improvement I can wrestle from my efforts to succeed unlikely as it may seem to those who try to analyze everything. I would suggest that before you condemn what I have accomplished you make a tail piece just as I instructed in my initial text above. Also, please look at the pictures I would like to email to you. They should help in your understanding of what I have accomplished. I, and all the other violinists who tried my new tail piece, have liked their results and would not, like me, ever return to using the old style bridge and tail piece designs. Best regards, John
I emailed you for pictures, but why not just post them here?
Dear Harvey Dam: I spent several days trying to get my pictures onto violinist.com but had no end of trouble. Other people are smarter than me in that regard. I am sure that it would be very easy if I just knew which mouse clicks to make but I never figured that out! I have sent you pictures from my email library and hope that will help you. Best regards, John ------------------------------------------------------------- Dear John Cadd: I am completely satisfied with my instructions written above and have no problem with using my two strand picture hanging wire. Each strand is .020 inches in diameter and so the two strands together give a wire which in total is one mm thick. I can say after years of using this wire, it has never shown any tendency to snap. The knot I use is the old square knot everybody ties. I have no idea if the fishing line you used would work as well as the picture hanging wire I recomend but I am very suspect that it can be having a bad effect on the sound, especially if it has a strand of plastic at its core and a coating of plastic all over it! You should be able to buy the picture hanging wire at any hardware store. In the USA Home Depot is where I bought mine. The brand name of the wire I happened to purchase is "OOK". I will have to continue to use the picture hanging wire I had my success with since I have no reason to experiment any further with the type of wire. I subscribe to the old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". As far as the brand of strings I use - as I said before - it is so long ago that I put them on my violin that I am not sure I remember. I think they were "Wonder" brand strings. I hope I have answered all the questions everybody has asked. If not, write me again. Best regards, John
Dear John Cadd: My strings are all metal clad rather than gut. The E string is just a wire. Yes you are right that different violins will respond differently and I said as much in a previous note you can locate somewhere above. I have often said that there are so many variables involved in violins that I can't explain why some designs would work while others don't. I just yesterday came upon an extension of the idea that aluminum foil rolled up and threaded thru the brass tube improves the sound. I will explain it in more detail later if someone actually makes progress in building a tail piece to my specifications. This addition of foil has added much more power to my violin's sound but don't ask me why. You did ask why there is a difference between your results and mine. I can only say again that it can't be explained even by a scientific lab evaluation. I can say with confidence that such people with sound labs have been trying for years to discover a way to improve modern violins so they can sound like the old masters works of art but without any completely great success. My new tail piece - by trial and error - has gone a long way in sounding like the old master's works. --- Now to the steel wire question. It may well be some of the difficulty you are having. First of all it is made of 7 strands of steel wire while my recommendation is for 2 strands. Your cable is plastic coated while mine is bare of any coating. I am sure the plastic coating is binding together the 7 strands of wire in this cable and thereby reducing their ability to vibrate freely. This probably is a part of the reason why you are not getting the best results possible. I hope I have answered your questions. If not, please write again. Best regards, John
Dear correspondents: In my original text above I provided all the information needed for some interested violinist to duplicate my new tail piece. I have noticed some folks tend to make changes to my instructions when considering building a tail piece of their own. In previous submissions that I have made I warned against this - not to be mean or bossy but to hopefully get you success the first time around. For instance. a few years ago a company came out with a new sugar substitute. I love lemon pies and yet hate the calories they represent. My wife, who makes perfect lemon pies, substituted this substitute sugar for real sugar in a pie. It was impossible to eat it was so gummy. The company even responded to our phone call that lemon pies were one thing their stuff wouldn't make at all. So my friends, by chance I am the only expert on how to make my new tail piece. So, if you want to do it right you will be wise to follow my instructions to the total of their contents. Best wishes, John
In that case I'll just put up the pictures that you emailed me.
Dear Harvey Dam and John Cadd: Thank you Harvey for getting my pictures on this web site. It was quite helpful and thank goodness you did that for me. Ain't computers grand - especially when you know where to click your mouse. I suggest John that you don't give up yet! The brass tube should be 3/8 inches in diameter and have a 1/64 inch wall thickness. Also the stainless steel wire should have no coating and be .020 inches in diameter. Then when these two wires are braided together they will present .040 inches total diameter. I can say that my recent research has shown that a normal maple bridge will work very well with the new tail piece so your results will be excellent if you can build my tail piece to my specifications. By the way, my promise still stands, I can reveal a further explanation of how to utilize the foil insert into the brass tube I mentioned a few submissions back. Let me know when you have all in order and I will elaborate on the foil technique which boosts sound even further. Best regards, John
Sorry, but two wires 0.020 inch diameter are equal to one wire 0.0283 inch diameter, NOT one wire 0.040. Simple arithmetic. And those strings look from here like the cheapest of Chinese steel strings. Just what most people DON'T use.
Dear folks - one and all: I can only say that everything up to the time I sent out my text to all you good violinist.com readers has been 300 years of prolog. That may sound like a mindless boast but wait until you hear the results if you bother to make my tail piece for yourself. You can calculate and figure all you want but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the beauty of sound is in the ear of the listener! Make yourself a tail piece according to my exact instructions and you will know what I am talking about! Best regards, John
Dear John Cadd: You have been a mainstay in my hopes that someone would have success in building my tail piece. If you send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I have an idea that would be well worth your time to investigate. Best regards, John
Here is an email I received from my luthier friend John Woodfield in England. He has been kind enough to record using my new tail piece. His message to me which accompanied the recording follows. I will do my best to get his recording onto this page although it might be awhile until I realize just how to do that! As John says in his email, this recording amplifies the overtones beyond that which the ear would hear but it proves that the overtones are really there. Such loud overtones exhibited on this recording are not noticed to such a great extent by the normal ear's hearing when playing using my new tail piece. However, as I said, this recording device is hearing them which proves they are really being produced by using my new tail piece. Here's John's email. --- I have fitted your tail piece to an old violin that I found in pieces many years ago and have only just got round to restoring and fitting up. To give you an idea of what it sounds like I attach my rendering of the 'Ashokan Farewell'. This has been recorded using an i pad application called 'Singaling'. Using this has enhanced the reverberation considerably, but the quality of sound resulting from the violin has much to do with your tailpiece. Do feel free to use the recording if you wish but please, if you do, it would only be right to mention the contribution of 'Singaling'. It is an enjoyable app. to use and a useful one too.
Here's a link to my drop box where you should be able to hear my friend play using my tail piece. Remember, the recording method he used greatly emphasized the overtones so it will have quite a echo. It proves however that the new tail piece really has great resonance and power! John
a href="dropbox.com">Ashokan definitive
When a soundpost falls over it doesn't usually mean its too short, it just means its positioned too loose, ie towards the bass bar, a slight movement of the post towards the right, away from the bass bar and its no longer too loose, of course if in that position its now outside the foot of the bridge, its too short......
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March 21, 2014 at 01:46 AM · How about some pictures? I'm interested to see what this looks like.