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Study confirms superior sound of a Stradivari is due to the varnish

Spkrdctr

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I really don't think that is right. I mean, everyone knows about the electric Stradivarius. But now we're talking tubas. What could be cooler than a beat up horn? And a very big one at that? I think it calls for experimentation. Amplified experimentation. How about a Meyers pickup running through an Echobrain peddle, or the MXR Eddie Van Halen flanger, into a Marshall stack? Would that work?

Below links to Yuiko Onishi (Senri Kawaguchi on drums) playing her amplified saxophone. I'm not sure she's big enough for a tuba. But it might be something she could work out. And that would even be better than cool.

Do they make pink tubas? Or purple?



Hmmmm they are missing a tuba in that band!
 

rdenney

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Do they make pink tubas? Or purple

3A17421D-7E0C-4E1F-9B6F-CA1D64B7C1F0.jpeg


But Pat Sheridan is the exception to every rule.

Rick “who does know a guy that plays Dixieland tuba on a plastic sousaphone with a metallic fade paint job” Denney
 

TulseLuper

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No.

In the tuba world, those who have the scratch will take their old instrument and restore it to far better than it was when new. But there are only a handful of instruments that have historical value because of who played them, and those are either still in use or otherwise out of circulation.

Rick “tubas aren’t cool” Denney

Do modern violin makers do that sort of thing? Make a perfectly new violin look like a beat up model?



View attachment 154044

It's sort of a regional thing, but many french horn players remove the lacquer from their instruments. They end up looking tarnished/dull. Some prefer how they play without the lacquer. I meant to do it to my fancy british french horn but never got around to it. Not the same as the guitar you mention because it's for a practical purpose, but still.
 

dfuller

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They REALLY say that???
Yep, and largely it's true. The way I play is not the same as how someone else does - our vibrato will be different, our picking will be different, our phrasing will be different, etc etc.
I kind-of assume there is MORE difference in acoustic guitars?
Yes and no. Acoustics are much, much more sensitive to the materials used and the construction as the body acts essentially as a loudspeaker. Electrics it matters less, but as with literally anything audio related the transducers make a massive difference in the sound (in this case, the pickups - and boy oh boy are those a black art! Nobody seems to have bothered doing impedance sweeps or what have you, but that's the reason they sound they way they do combined with the magnetic field strength determined by magnet material and how it's shaped via polepieces).
I actually thought the varnish altered the accoustic signature of the instrument for a second :D

I can say that with acoustic guitars it does, albeit very slightly. Older instruments (early-mid 20th century, for the most part) use nitrocellulose lacquer, which is thin and dries very hard - it doesn't really impede the wood resonating as much. Newer ones (especially cheaper instruments) use much thicker polyurethane or polyester lacquer which is much easier to apply, but it's always thicker and usually doesn't cure nearly as hard. They tend to be a little quieter, a little duller. Good quality modern water based lacquers can do what nitro does, without the downsides (nitro is pretty nasty stuff - it's the same stuff as guncotton, and the solvents used to make the lacquer are plenty toxic).
 
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diddley

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Janine Jansen played 12 Stradivari on her new cd.it apeared 10 of september 2021 on the Deccastore it's sold out, so if you can find it buy it and test it for yourself.
 

Inner Space

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Electrics it matters less, but as with literally anything audio related the transducers make a massive difference in the sound (in this case, the pickups - and boy oh boy are those a black art! Nobody seems to have bothered doing impedance sweeps or what have you, but that's the reason they sound they way they do combined with the magnetic field strength determined by magnet material and how it's shaped via polepieces).

OT, but yeah ... the physics of a vibrating string are complex to start with, and we have to note that the bottom three (or four) strings of a six-string, and all of a bass's strings, have no actual witness points - i.e. they're not really clamped either end. It's the winding that's clamped. The pickup reads the steel core inside the winding. All kinds of stray vibrations leak up to the tuning peg and down to the tailpiece, and then bounce back again. It's a mess. No wonder electric guitars all sound individual.
 

Cbdb2

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From https://www.cnrs.fr/en/sound-projection-are-stradivarius-violins-really-better

"The results of the study showed that on average the listeners preferred the recent instruments to the Stradivarius violins and found that they had better projection. Furthermore, neither the violinists nor the listeners were able to systematically distinguish the two kinds of violin. Two other blind studies, conducted by the same team in 2010 and 2012, had already shown that violinists preferred recent instruments to famous Italian violins, while being unable to distinguish between them."
 

Cbdb2

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OT, but yeah ... the physics of a vibrating string are complex to start with, and we have to note that the bottom three (or four) strings of a six-string, and all of a bass's strings, have no actual witness points - i.e. they're not really clamped either end. It's the winding that's clamped. The pickup reads the steel core inside the winding. All kinds of stray vibrations leak up to the tuning peg and down to the tailpiece, and then bounce back again. It's a mess. No wonder electric guitars all sound individual.

If the core wasn't clamped the strings would stretch forever never staying in tune. The pickup reads the steel AND nickel.

"At the core is a six-sided high-carbon steel wire, typically called core or music wire. Music wire is hexagonal, as the edges give the outer wrap wire something to grab. The formulation for winding the string, including the tension and the number of wraps manufacturers use, are regarded as trade secrets as it’s that formula that gives a string its particular vibration and sound."

From: https://reverb.com/news/guitar-strings-materials-construction-and-benefits-explained
 

Inner Space

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If the core wasn't clamped the strings would stretch forever never staying in tune. The pickup reads the steel AND nickel.

Yeah, but I'm a bass player, using flatwound strings wrapped in plastic tape, which ain't magnetic. No nickel involved. The steel core isn't reliably witnessed at the nut or bridge, and what I said applies.
 

Cbdb2

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Yeah, but I'm a bass player, using flatwound strings wrapped in plastic tape, which ain't magnetic. No nickel involved. The steel core isn't reliably witnessed at the nut or bridge, and what I said applies.

Lots of bass strings use nickel so I don't get your point. None of the string (wound or not) is clamped at the bridge and nut it just rests there (witnessed) so both winding and core are witnessed the same.
 

Blumlein 88

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LTig

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As we guitarists say, "the tone is in the fingers". No matter which instrument and amp you are playing, you sound like you.
Though that doesn't stop us from gear rolling and spinning myths about classic instruments and electronics that would humble the staunchest of subjective audiophiles.
A few years ago I listened to Tianwa Yang playing Britain's violin concerto. In the middle one of the strings of her Garnieri violin broke and within 2 seconds she exchanged her violin by the one from the 1st violin player. The sound was very different after the change, very mellow, soft and laid-back.
 

Blumlein 88

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Well this is when you don't want to break out the Strad for a bit of playing. I seem to recall a lady violinist doing something similar. In her case she used one of the carbon fiber violins.

 

Inner Space

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Lots of bass strings use nickel so I don't get your point. None of the string (wound or not) is clamped at the bridge and nut it just rests there (witnessed) so both winding and core are witnessed the same.

Do the experiment for yourself - hold a pickup above the strings, between the nut and the pegs, and between the bridge and the tailpiece. You'll find output in both places, because neither the nut nor the bridge provides a reliable witness point. Always better to bring data, rather than mere assertions.
 

anmpr1

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Charles Altmann of the Altmann Attraction DAC hip 15 tears ago was a lacquer guy.

http://www.mother-of-tone.com/lacquer.htm
All other electric guitars from Gibson and other manufacturers, are lacquered with modern synthetic lacquers, such as acrylic or polyurethane lacquers. Instruments that are lacquered with these artificial substances, look very good, have a durable finish, but sound just like crap.

When I read stuff like this I know I'm in Cloud Cuckoo Land. The electric guitar version of silver wire interconnects and directional Ethernet cable. What about those famous guitarists playing vintage guitars with the finish worn off? Or Joe Bonamassa playing last year's production poly saturated made in China Epiphone? They sound 'just like 'crap'? Ridiculous.

Of course, this is the guy who thinks a lack of 'mains noise' is going to make your amp sound sweeter at night, and advises you to run your amp off a car battery, using special lacquered spruce feet on the circuit board, in order to 'mellow' the sound. What a joke!

As others have said, total musicality is in the fingers that are playing. The instrument is secondary--as long as it is not really garbage to begin with. A half a million dollar '59 LP in my hands is going to sound... not very good. A two hundred dollar Firefly in the hands of Jimmy Page is going to sound like Led Zeppelin. And it would have been the same for David and Igor Oistrakh, on the violin.

Obviously acoustic instruments by construction are going to show more differences in sonic quality than something like an amplified solid body electric guitar.
 

rdenney

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All other electric guitars from Gibson and other manufacturers, are lacquered with modern synthetic lacquers, such as acrylic or polyurethane lacquers. Instruments that are lacquered with these artificial substances, look very good, have a durable finish, but sound just like crap.

When I read stuff like this I know I'm in Cloud Cuckoo Land. The electric guitar version of silver wire interconnects and directional Ethernet cable. What about those famous guitarists playing vintage guitars with the finish worn off? Or Joe Bonamassa playing last year's production poly saturated made in China Epiphone? They sound 'just like 'crap'? Ridiculous.

Of course, this is the guy who thinks a lack of 'mains noise' is going to make your amp sound sweeter at night, and advises you to run your amp off a car battery, using special lacquered spruce feet on the circuit board, in order to 'mellow' the sound. What a joke!

As others have said, total musicality is in the fingers that are playing. The instrument is secondary--as long as it is not really garbage to begin with. A half a million dollar '59 LP in my hands is going to sound... not very good. A two hundred dollar Firefly in the hands of Jimmy Page is going to sound like Led Zeppelin. And it would have been the same for David and Igor Oistrakh, on the violin.

Obviously acoustic instruments by construction are going to show more differences in sonic quality than something like an amplified solid body electric guitar.
Guitars have to work as guitars, just as other instruments do. When world-class performers play on a crappy instrument, they still sound great. But the question is: What are thy having to do to make that great sound? I've certainly heard high-end performers pronounce that instruments they were trying were "crap", or, more likely, "unplayable". They still sounded great on them.

As for me, I lack the skills necessary to overcome a poor instrument. That same skill limitation means that I won't sound world-class (to say the least) on a world-class instrument, but I will certainly sound better.

The interaction between a musician and an instrument is, at least in part, mystical. Music does not work at a purely analytical level, and here the placebo effect counts, as do purely emotional responses. But that does not mean that performers should be swayed by every cross-breeze that comes their way. I do know musicians who replace their instruments every year or two in search of something better. Often, it's just a tool to stave off boredom, and there's nothing wrong with that. Even some top pros have struggled to find their own voice on the instruments available to them. But their listeners would never know it--musicians are often looking for something beyond what listeners experience. An instrument still has to work--for guitars, the frets have to be aligned, the neck has to have the correct shape, and all sorts of other characteristics I have no knowledge of. Tubas have to have valves that work quickly and reliably, tight tolerances, tuning slides that are accessible and that move smoothly, balance, physical fit to the player, and on and on. All that is in addition to the sound it makes. Just as a camera is more than its sensor image quality, a musical instrument is more than its sound.

I heard one top performer play a tuba, and after ten minutes put it down and said "the scale on this instrument is unusable". That means it is not in tune with itself. My intonation sense is pretty good (at least when listening to others), and I detected nothing amiss in his intonation. But the question from his perspective is: How much work does it take to make this thing play in tune?

Rick "even painters have their favorite brushes" Denney
 

Galliardist

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In some ways, yes, but not so that the maker wouldn't recognize them. Most now are fitted with steel strings, which is certainly the biggest change. And they are tuned quite a bit higher than in the day, which means those strings are tighter and there is more stress on the neck. Many have probably had the fingerboards and nuts replaced. But the belly and back, etc., wouldn't be changed, and those are important in multiple ways, as I understand it.

Rick "think of it as a Stad interpretation of modern steel strings and A-440+ tuning" Denney
On the contrary. All Stradivarius violins are heavily modified/modernised, mostly done in the first decades of the 19th century. The box was made flatter, meaning the sides were cut back. The soundboard and back were thinned sometimes to improve resonance. A longer and flingerboard was added along with a lower bridge, the resulting angles allowing for higher tension in the strings, and the wooden post was replaced by a metal one. All these changes reflected improvements made in the interim period to improve the volume and projection of the instrument.

The imperfections seen in those instruments today reflect the effects of those changes.

The myth of the Strad is tied up with the myth of Paganini who played one of these converted violins. Of course he used a modem bow, and a quite different bowing technique as well. The sound would be very different to that of the baroque original.
 
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