Violin designed without tailpiece?
I'm always obsessing over the design of violins, and this thought popped into my head today:
Why do we have a tailpiece? Why is the violin not designed so that the strings can run back all the way to where the endbutton is? (obviously some design changes would have to occur to allow this).
The benefit I see to such a design is that you'd get very nice sympathetic resonance and a more open response from the strings in general. Theoretically, there would be more connectivity between the vibrations of the instrument.
My best guess for why NOT is that by lengthening the strings behind the bridge too much, you'd get "Feedback" when the sympathetic resonances found their way to the bridge at the same time the primary frequencies reached the bridge from the other side. So you'd probably get a lot of wolf tones.
Still, I like to think that if one experimented with it enough, they could get the vibrations through the endblock to cooperate with the vibrations through the bridge and nut.
Any thoughts? (yes, I've googled this)
Are you proposing a design? How far apart do you envision the strings being when they're tied down back there near the end button? And what will be holding them? Seems like something you ought to be able to try on a VSO.
Hmmm I do have about 20 or 30 violins I could experiment with this on. I'd need to get custom-length strings for it to work, though.
And what if we used magnets to hold up the string instead of the bridge. The strings would have to he highly magnetic, of course.
Harrison, that would simply prevent the vibrations from effectively reaching the body.
I have read that the timbre of string instruments tone has some relationship to the length of the string afterlengths (distance from bridge to tailpiece) as well as to the bridge, the sound post and it's location and the relative locations of all those elements as well. In my "experiments" I have found that some of my instruments (those I think are better) are quite sensitive to the stringafter lengths and some are not.
Chanot made some violins with the strings attached similarly to the way guitar strings attach.
Yea, Chanot did make violins with similar styles in which the strings were attached like a guitar.
Most likely getting a clean tone in such setup would be a nightmare! Not sure that I see why you would want to do that. I would think that you’d most likely end up with the most wolfy instrument on the planet.
My feeling is that this idea is most likely to work with a solid bodied electric violin.
Having no tailpiece would not improve the sound of the violin but it certainly would change it. The after length is tuned so that the A string will sound an E, the D String an A, etc. This effects the tone and resonance.
Hey Eric, that link doesn't seem to work for me!
Eric, (and Erik), I got Error 404, too.
I'm going to be honest: I just hate all electric violins (because of their sound).
Very interesting, Eric. What have your results been with this design? Obviously it's a nice weight reduction, but it must have an effect on sound as well.
It was an experiment. It's actually adjustable with Kevlar and a set screw. We put it on a viola and had some very influential folks giving feedback. All agreed. louder, Americans liked it more than the Europeans. Not much depth or nuance compared to wood. Clear bright.
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