Violin/the b note


uncle duke wrote at 2014-12-06 16:32:57
Mr. Lashof,  I tried a few of the bridge adjustment tips.  Trimming the bass side arm made the most notable difference.  Info. like what you sent makes one to become more involved than they already are, thanks.  My next questions are these-  to bring wood down to 0% moisture Mr. Kreit mentioned to use a temperature of 5 degrees F.  Do you think if the temperature was colder than 5 F. can the result be the same?  I was thinking just using an unheated garage this winter for that?  Next, if a 7/8th size violin is 96.25% the size of a 4/4 would I have to adjust the mode/frequency numbers given for a 4/4 assuming I learn the system for a 4/4?  Just use 96.25 to find what the difference should be.  I understand matching the plates tonewise before and after bassbar and f-holes but for a 7/8th would you start with going with a higher or lower tone for starters ?  Here's a question about amber.  I have enough to fill a 8 oz. cup with various size pieces. Is there a safe/easy way to make amber into the gold/yellow color before applying red/brown/oranges?  I don't believe I'd want to go the chlorophyll route.  In the previous answer you sent you mentioned neck angle and overstand, I got that right but would height and pitch be about the fingerboard?  It could be the underneath cove causing the bad sounding b notes that I'm experiencing.  I hope it isn't.  Thanks Mr.Lashof for your help.

David Lashof wrote at 2014-12-10 16:11:25
FYI - when you ask a question this way, I don't get notified of it.  I only happened to look and notice a follow up.  You are best asking a new question.

1. Wood moisture level.  I have never checked it, but I don't use wood that is less than 10 years old since I received it. If you are drying out green wood, it needs a minimum of 3 years air dried where it won't get too hot and "cook" too quickly. If it is too cold the first year, it can dry out too quickly and the wood can crack. After that I would think the cold will be fine.  Remember cold = dryness and forced heat is also dry.  The ends need to be sealed in wax or something to prevent splitting.

2. The graduation pitch is the same.  I don't use the mode system, just tap tones.  The thicknesses are reduced on a 7/8 size and with a few quick calculations, it appears that the difference is about the same as the size difference between a 7/8 and a 4/4. So for example a sound post thickness on the top of 4.5 would be 4.3 on a 7/8. I made a 3/4 violin top this way and it turned out great.

3. I have never used Amber, so I don't really have any advice for you. I currently seal with diluted shellac and a yellow Transtint. Then I use Holtier Brown violin varnish diluted with True Oil and color tint with transparent Oil colors (maximum of 5 coats of varnish).

4. Height and neck angle are really the same, sorry about that confusion, although some people measure the fingerboard height above the top, I don't, just the extension of the fingerboard at the bridge.  This removes the issue of different arch styles and only deals with the height for the bridge. Obviously right and left of center need to be the same. The pitch is the difference between the right and the left side of the fingerboard. Not all makers do this on the violin, but I tilt the board .25-.5mm to the E side and on the viola and cello, it is tilted .5mm to the C side. This is done after the neck is inserted into the body, before the fingerboard is glued on permanently. I continue the cove shape on the underside of the fingerboard to within 1 cm of the end of the neck.

I hope this answers some of your questions.


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David Lashof


I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)


I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

Awards and Honors
2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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