Fun Science Study: Stradivarius and Great Tone Woods

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 1973Marshall, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    In a History Channel Special about "The Little Ice Age" it showed that there have been different eras of "mini Ice Ages" in our history. They have different theories, such as short term cooling of the sun or volcanoes blocking out the sun etc etc.


    Either way, they used the special to show how the weather changes lasted for decades and probably led to things like the French Revolution, etc because weather changes distorted crop production and hurt resources etc etc etc

    They then covered Stradivarius. A scientist led a study where he theorized that "Global Cooling" bred tone woods that sounded "a cut above" the rest. Well apparently Stradivarius was born in 1644, and a volcano or something erupted in 1645 resulting in decades of cooling.

    When they looked at the woods Stradivarius used, they were from high altitudes where poor soil, cold, etc caused trees to grow slower with more density. A comparitive study of tree rings and Stradivarius violin grain showed that these more "dense" woods were probably the huge contributors to the "tone" of these famous violins.

    Cool, huh?
     
  2. rubbersoul

    rubbersoul Member

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    Yeah...I saw that episode a little while back and thought it was pretty cool. It makes sense to me...aren't the weird connections in science cool?

    Cheers.
     
  3. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    i met someone here in texas whose family member had a freezing process for improving the tone of your acoustic instrument. i can't remember his name. i was supposed to receive some printed information via mail but that never happened. anyone else heard this?
     
  4. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

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    Cryogenic treatment?
     
  5. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I bet eric johnson has seen this documentary...
     
  6. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    yup, supposedly he was working with someone from the stradivarius estate trying to replicate the tone of a strad.
     
  7. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    :bkw:bkw:bkw:bkw

    Wow, they discovered the secret of Stradivari's tone...... again......

    I haven't seen it, but professor Nagyvary didn't happen to be involved in the discovery, did he? :crazy If you're not familiar with his opinions and revelations, think Ed Roman.....
     
  8. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Member

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    Ha, I saw that today too! But they did mention that other violins from the same era, using the same woods still don't sound like a Strad.
     
  9. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    I thought one of the things that made Strads different than other instruments of the era was that he had his own secret recipe for the finish he used.
     
  10. TimmyPage

    TimmyPage Member

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    And that's why all guitars sound better in Canada, eh.
     
  11. Zhurh

    Zhurh Member

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    I've seen Indian fiddles made outta local AK grown birch (gets minus 65 here every winter), and they don't sound any better to my ears than fiddles from Europe.

    [​IMG]

    I don't think that there is any one factor that ensures the perfect instrument, more a combination of many.
     
  12. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    Oh, CRAP!

    I thought they said Strat not Strad

    who cares about violins? =)~
     
  13. ecvMatt

    ecvMatt Member

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    I saw that show too, i thought it was pretty interesting. IIRC< they said he was VERY picky about the cuts he used.
     
  14. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    For a good read on violinmaking, pick up a copy of The Violin Maker by John Marchese. It's about a modern NY-based luthier and contains a lot of factual and practical insight (as opposed to speculation of the sort referenced here in this thread) and surprisingly little BS.

    There are many, many parallels to what we all obsess over here, although the whole issue of adding metal and electricity and cables/effects/amps/speakers to the equation muddies the (already murky) water considerably.
     
  15. Scrutinizer

    Scrutinizer Member

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    Thank you so much! My dad would love that book. I checked at Amazon and there are two books by Marchese with titles starting with The Violin Maker. Which of these do you recommend?
    The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop
    The Violin Maker: A Search for the Secrets of Craftsmanship, Sound, and Stradivari
     
  16. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Same book. The first is the hard-cover edition. Second is the paperback.

    Heh, heh... Nagyvary comes up in Marchese's book, and that's exactly who popped into my mind when I read about him!
     

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