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  #41  
Old 06-04-2007, 07:01 PM
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Exclamation what so many of us observe about old and "played-in" instruments.

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what so many of us observe about old and "played-in" instruments.
Yes David, I believe that what IS, just IS!!

"What so many of us observe about old and "played-in" instruments."

The best way to have a Bass that sounds old and broken in is to have a Bass that is old and broken in..lol

[quote]When I posted this, a heated and agitated discussion was not what I had in mind.[/qoute]

So who got heated and agitated here? This is a topic with one foot in the 'Twilight Zone' ..
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  #42  
Old 06-04-2007, 09:38 PM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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David,
http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Life-...1002971&sr=1-1

Your theory reminds me of this fabulous book. You might enjoy it.
It's not that I doubt the validity of your ideas; just that they seem to be so theoretical as to have no possible application to anyone I can think of.

Personally, I've got enough to think about just concentrating on my playing.


BTW, Einstein was ridiculed mercilessly early in his career. The fact that people may not want to listen shouldn't discourage you.
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  #43  
Old 06-05-2007, 12:03 AM
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David,
http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Life-...1002971&sr=1-1

Your theory reminds me of this fabulous book. You might enjoy it.
It's not that I doubt the validity of your ideas; just that they seem to be so theoretical as to have no possible application to anyone I can think of.

Personally, I've got enough to think about just concentrating on my playing.


BTW, Einstein was ridiculed mercilessly early in his career. The fact that people may not want to listen shouldn't discourage you.
Well, I don't think I can claim thermodynamics as "my theory" but when you see one of those bumper stickers that says "Honk, if you passed P Chem!", I'm one of the people who can honk. The connection between vibration, heat and the wood chemistry was just something that occurred to me as I was re-reading this thread while stirring some sugar into hot coffee. I probably should have pointed the coffee out as an example, but I kind of ran past that part (too much caffeine), but that is a good illustration of heat and agitation. Developing film (agitation every 30 seconds, tight control of the temperature because it will not develop colder than 60 degrees and will badly overdevelop above 75 degrees, and the agitation is necessary to freshen up the reactants in the gelatin layer) is another. And not unlike the hemi-cellulose / cellulose in wood, the film fixer will attack the silver image when it is done dissolving the unexposed silver salts, so that has to be carefully timed also. Well, it's just a laboratory recipe really. Just like cooking to me. What can I say? I plead guilty to being a chemist nerd. What's that got to do with music you might ask? Well a violinist and a pianist invented Kodachrome. Couple of Einsteins there for sure. They knew enough about harmony to apply it to light. It was a 14 step chemical process. Still the most permanent color film process there is, or was maybe. Digital is taking over. I think it is only processed in Switzerland now.

Thanks for the link, Clink. Almost all the nerds get flack at some point. Usually doesn't slow us down. Right now I'm building an off-the-grid studio in the middle of a major metropolitan city to illustrate that all we need for energy is the sun. Well, it better be enough because it is all we really have. Of course the previous mayor of Atlanta (he should be about half-way through his federal jail sentence about now) would have denied my building permit because his cronies wanted to force me to sell my properties to them cheap. So I had to wait for that @#$%! to be out of office before I could proceed. That one was a real exercise in thermodynamics;- the building design I mean. I'm using vacuum tube heat collectors that work in temperatures well below freezing and even on cloudy days. The entire roof is a translucent polycarbonate skylight. It will use a subfloor hydronic tube radiant heat system. Passive cooling is provided by a couple of 150 year old oak trees that shade the whole site, if these survive the current drought. If it ever rains again in Georgia (we are beginning to wonder) all the roof water will be collected for household use. In a normal year that will provide 46 gallons / day. The vacuum tube heat collector technology is 30 years old, and pretty well proven by now. It is not too expensive to do it all either. Definitely better than burning the midnight oil. I guess it has put me in this mode of ****yzing everything in terms of heat loss and gain. I'll be glad when it is finished.
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  #44  
Old 06-05-2007, 01:13 AM
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Red face tech talk...

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That one was a real exercise in thermodynamics;- the building design I mean. I'm using vacuum tube heat collectors that work in temperatures well below freezing and even on cloudy days. The entire roof is a translucent polycarbonate skylight. It will use a subfloor hydronic tube radiant heat system. Passive cooling is provided by a couple of 150 year old oak trees that shade the whole site, if these survive the current drought. If it ever rains again in Georgia (we are beginning to wonder) all the roof water will be collected for household use. In a normal year that will provide 46 gallons / day.
And you waste your free time talking to us Bass players?

I have a hard enough time using the microwave oven...lol
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  #45  
Old 06-05-2007, 08:37 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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I was re-reading this thread while stirring some sugar into hot coffee.
That's your problem. Drinking it black will help you think more clearly.
Whassamadda, don't you like coffee the way it is.
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  #46  
Old 06-05-2007, 11:07 AM
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Default waiting for breakfast

So here I am stirring the coffee again. It's not necessary. The sugar would disslove anyway, given enough time. But I'd like to drink it now, or at least in this lifetime. And even if it were not hot, the sugar would eventually dissolve anyway also. As long as it does not make a saturated solution and crystalize out. What is is, but a chemist would say what is is because of Brownian movement (no, that's not what happens after you eat a brownie). At room temperature Thermodynamics favors a uniform sugar solution in the water in the coffee. And by attempting to understand why what is is, the chemist might be able to make what isn't is.

And if I had a really sensitive thermometer, perhaps that old mercury one that I used when I hand developed 4x5 Ektachrome, I could see the coffee get hotter as I stir, because the stirring really is the heat, just like the heat is the stirring.

I have this 1965 Harmony Classical guitar. It was Dad's guitar. Dad didn't have a lot of time to play it, let alone time to waste posting on a DB internet forum. He read pulp fiction while his coffee got cold. Well, as was common with those inexpensive student guitars of that era, the solid spruce top was much better than the craftmanship that glued it to the mahogany sides, back, and neck. In short the intonation was horrible, and over time the instrument just mostly sat in the case in a closet. No one could bring themselves to sell Dad's old guitar, so as executor of his will, I wound up being the caretaker of it with the understanding it would be a family heirloom. So one day in the mid nineties I got it out of the closet and strummed it. It wasn't in tune, but something had changed over the years. The tone was incredible. So I did some research and fixed the bridge bone using the factory specifications for the string clearances at the 12th and 17th fret that at the time were published on the internet by the Korean company that bought the old Harmony brand name. And now the guitar sounds fabulous. But no one stirred it for 25 years or more. It simply aged in the case. In this case, I think it is evidence that the perceived improvement that I heard in tone would have happened anyway due to aging. Playing it over the years might have speeded it up, but that didn't happen in this case, although I do play it some now. Also the top color was very different even though it had been in a dark closet. What had been a very light colored spruce top had become a honey golden color. And the top had a hairline crack right down the middle where it was joined (no problem, there was a brace right under the join.)

I guess what I am saying is this, and it is really the only part of my idea that is theoretical, the rest is well accepted, and that is this: That the changes we perceive as a result of aging or playing, or by Reumont's procedure, are all really the same thing, just happening at different rates depending on various factors that speed up the inevitable changes in the wood as it progresses toward the state most favored by Thermodynamics. I think that is as simply as I can state the concept. I would never pretend that it is fact. It's just an idea. What is, is, and by thermodynamics, what will be, will be.

And I will graciously thank Mr. Ken Smith for indulging me and allowing me to post my idea here and remind him that I have no better way to waste my time than in the present company here. Oops. The coffee is cold!
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  #47  
Old 06-07-2007, 08:32 AM
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Default Robot

I had an old ISB magazine...back in the days when they looked like newspapers... that had an article and a picture of a guy and his son with a gizmo the dad had rigged up to bow open strings on the sons bass, while the son was in the army. It was made with a couple of pulleys and the old man would turn it on using a timer each day!
I saw a Nova program once where a guy played a new violin and they were able to take pictures of the molecules in the top of the violin. The molecules looked like so many sperm trying to move out of a chunk of other sperm. Don't laugh! Then they handed him a Strad..... the molecules had actually carved a path in the top, looking something like a river!
Something to think about? Or bull****?
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  #48  
Old 06-07-2007, 10:04 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Paul,
I don't think I'll go near my bass today, thank you.
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  #49  
Old 06-07-2007, 03:15 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Originally Posted by Paul Warburton View Post
I saw a Nova program once where a guy played a new violin and they were able to take pictures of the molecules in the top of the violin. The molecules looked like so many sperm trying to move out of a chunk of other sperm. Don't laugh! Then they handed him a Strad..... the molecules had actually carved a path in the top, looking something like a river!
Something to think about? Or bull****?
Sounds like Joseph Nagyvary has got himself back on PBS again. How many times has he rediscovered the "secret" of Stardivarius? I lost count.
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  #50  
Old 06-07-2007, 03:20 PM
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Lightbulb Path in the Top?

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Originally Posted by Paul Warburton View Post
I had an old ISB magazine...back in the days when they looked like newspapers... that had an article and a picture of a guy and his son with a gizmo the dad had rigged up to bow open strings on the sons bass, while the son was in the army. It was made with a couple of pulleys and the old man would turn it on using a timer each day!
I saw a Nova program once where a guy played a new violin and they were able to take pictures of the molecules in the top of the violin. The molecules looked like so many sperm trying to move out of a chunk of other sperm. Don't laugh! Then they handed him a Strad..... the molecules had actually carved a path in the top, looking something like a river!
Something to think about? Or bull****?
Paul, this is probably just some old Worm tracks. I have a few Basses that have old Worm marks so looking inside, one would see the tracks they made while feeding.`

If only a dead Worm could talk...
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  #51  
Old 06-07-2007, 03:23 PM
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Thumbs up "secret" of Stardivarius?

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Originally Posted by Bob Branstetter View Post
Sounds like Joseph Nagyvary has got himself back on PBS again. How many times has he rediscovered the "secret" of Stardivarius? I lost count.
Bob, the real secret I seek about Strad is how he lived to 93 years of age in the early 18th century! Forget about his Varnish, I want some of that Pasta and Wine!
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  #52  
Old 06-08-2007, 12:14 PM
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Well, all theories aside, I had another practical experience with this last night. I had been playing with a couple of folk fellows for about a year and last year due to other commitments, family, etc., these two fellows took a long break. We have a gig soon requested by an old fan so last night we put the band back together and the perception of both of those fellows was that my bass was both louder now and has more bottom end now. I haven't changed anything about the set-up of the bass in almost 3 years now. They were using amps on the dreadnoughts to keep up with my volume. Of course for the last year my bass has been getting a lot of playing time.

Just out of curiosity, how large are wormholes and the worms that chew on basses? I have some odd looking almost microscopic looking little winding patterns forming under the finish of the bass on the top where the corner blocks are glued to the top. Could that be a sign of an infestation? It is just in the areas where the corner blocks are. I'd take a photo, but I don't have any macro attachments for digital cameras and these are really, really, tiny little lines.
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  #53  
Old 06-08-2007, 12:49 PM
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Lightbulb Sound and worms..

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Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
Well, all theories aside, I had another practical experience with this last night. I had been playing with a couple of folk fellows for about a year and last year due to other commitments, family, etc., these two fellows took a long break. We have a gig soon requested by an old fan so last night we put the band back together and the perception of both of those fellows was that my bass was both louder now and has more bottom end now. I haven't changed anything about the set-up of the bass in almost 3 years now. They were using amps on the dreadnoughts to keep up with my volume. Of course for the last year my bass has been getting a lot of playing time.

Just out of curiosity, how large are wormholes and the worms that chew on basses? I have some odd looking almost microscopic looking little winding patterns forming under the finish of the bass on the top where the corner blocks are glued to the top. Could that be a sign of an infestation? It is just in the areas where the corner blocks are. I'd take a photo, but I don't have any macro attachments for digital cameras and these are really, really, tiny little lines.
Worm holes are about the size or a small pin maybe 1mm or so at most. I have never seen the actual worm myself, just the holes.

Basses shift in the summer and winter. Some basses sound better one season or another depending on the bass and its set-up. On wood aging, I doubt your Bass was aged as well as some of the older instruments especially those by the master makers. Then again, many quick made instruments were not seasoned as well and after 100 years, look much worse that well season wooded made instruments well over 200 years old.

One of the secrets is not a secret. It's just good quality and care in every step of the making. This is something that many makers could not afford to do money and time wise. They needed to make a living as well. The Back on my Hart Bass (c.1830) is to die for while my Loveri Back (bass made 1873) is just the opposite although I have seen worse, much worse and on Basses half their age!
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  #54  
Old 06-08-2007, 01:18 PM
Bob Branstetter Bob Branstetter is offline
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Default Nagyvary

I knew it had to be Nagyvary and it was. Here an article on his latest brainstorm. This time the "secret" is borax. He seems to come up with a new "secret" about every ten years. He always gets lots of free air time on PBS and more grant money from the government whenever he announces his latest "discovery". When his "discoveries" are questioned by organizations that have been doing serious violin research for over 50 years such as the Catgut Acoustical Society, his answer is always something like this quote. "The American Chemical Society has confirmed my research and my basic premise - that chemicals are the prominent reason why a Stradivarius has such a distinct sound."

Soooooo - If you want to find out about great violins, visit your local chemist.
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  #55  
Old 06-08-2007, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Branstetter View Post
I knew it had to be Nagyvary and it was. Here an article on his latest brainstorm. This time the "secret" is borax. He seems to come up with a new "secret" about every ten years. He always gets lots of free air time on PBS and more grant money from the government whenever he announces his latest "discovery". When his "discoveries" are questioned by organizations that have been doing serious violin research for over 50 years such as the Catgut Acoustical Society, his answer is always something like this quote. "The American Chemical Society has confirmed my research and my basic premise - that chemicals are the prominent reason why a Stradivarius has such a distinct sound."

Soooooo - If you want to find out about great violins, visit your local chemist.
To a chemist, biology is nothing but chemistry; to a physicist, chemistry is nothing but physics; to a mathematician, physics is all just mathematics; to a philosopher, mathematics is just applied philosophy. It seems to be a matter of people ****yzing things from their own limited perspective in any case. But I tend to look at things in terms of the chemistry as well, not this is an endorsement of Nagyvary. I'm not familiar with his claims. But it is a very easy out to say that something is due to chemistry and nothing else because everything has a characteristic chemistry. It's quite different to look to chemistry for possible causes rather than "secrets". You know me, I think the idea that something is a "secret" is all BS. It just means we don't know why and probably Stradivari, if we could ask him, didn't know why either, even if he knew how. For years photographers thought sodium thiosulfate was sodium hyposulfate. The fixer didn't work any better or worse after its true chemical nature was described.

It is just as easy to say it is due to the weather because the weather is always there too. Incidentally, Ken, I think you are right about the summer / winter thing. My bass sounds better in the summer. I probably need to cut a winter soundpost for it. The one that's in there was cut in late August and one that I cut earlier in April of that year is about a sixteenth of an inch shorter.

I think Stradivari's secret was working with the construction phases in the natural cycles of the seasons. (that's not a real serious statement, but if it were, it would affect the chemistry, and Nagyvary would probably point that out.) If someone breathes on a piece of wood, it affects the chemistry. Everything effects the chemistry. If you want an all inclusive answer, the details will always be found in "the chemistry". The real question is one of cause and effect. What causes the characteristic chemistry? Chemistry by itself is just a snapshot of a state at a particular time. Without more to understand what makes the chemistry happen, it is a very open ended claim. Just like these people that find all of this supposed significance in the "numerology" of the pyramids' construction. It is all hindsight ****ysis, which is quite risky.

This is getting off topic, but my recent construction project in hindsight looks like someone built it using the fibonacci series for the various proportions. You can find the whole series in there. You know why? Because we wanted to not have to cut the boards so much. That left us starting with 4x8 sheets and the whole series proceeded to appear after that one fact. Totally coincidental. And then it is also lined up with the sun, (which was deliberate), but also convenient since the whole street was layed out on a North / South and East / West grid. If one looks for answers in a certain way, they usually find a peg to hang their hat on. It is tough to be totally objective.
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  #56  
Old 06-08-2007, 02:16 PM
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Default Right on, Bob.

I hope this is not a infringement:

From that article:
"According to Nagyvary, further work is needed to ascertain exactly what went into the chemical treatment. But, he said, his "educated guess" was that it was oxidising minerals that were used to protect against wood-boring beetle larvae."

Further work is needed, means I am running out or grant money??? A little more:

"I assume that either there was a location where the wood was treated, or the solution, a mineral powder, was provided to the craftsmen, and they soaked and boiled their wood in that solution to kill the woodworm and to stop the growth of rotting fungi....."

Assumptions primarily. Not very convincing, but still an interesting theory. And even if there is a difference in the chemical wood content, I am more inclined to believe it was the skill of the carver that made the critical difference. I should boil my bass in these minerals just in cast though. Do you think that will hurt the tone? Maybe I should let the worms chew a bit more first??
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Old 06-08-2007, 04:54 PM
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should boil my bass in these minerals just in cast though. Do you think that will hurt the tone? Maybe I should let the worms chew a bit more first??
I've been working on violins, violas, celli and basses for well over 40 years and I've yet to see worm damage in modern instruments. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I will say that it is it is about as likely as you getting hit by a meteor this afternoon.
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  #58  
Old 06-08-2007, 10:37 PM
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I've been working on violins, violas, celli and basses for well over 40 years and I've yet to see worm damage in modern instruments. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I will say that it is it is about as likely as you getting hit by a meteor this afternoon.
That's good to hear. I'm guessing these little lines I'm seeing are something else. They are so small;- hairline but squiggly. I'm thinking since it is in the block areas only that it has something to do with end grain meeting the top plate. Probably seasonal expansion and contraction. Mostly this DB is real stable. I have the strings at about 5 mm on the G going up to about 11 mm for the low B. It only changes about a .5 mm seasonally. I don't even have bridge adjusters on it. I don't know know what I'd use them for. I'm crossing my fingers that it stays that way a few more years.
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Old 06-10-2007, 11:19 PM
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Default The true secret of Stradivari that Nagyvary missed

This was too amusing not to post, and since I own a Kremona, I'll share it:

"There is an old story that Stradivari and Amati used to buy their wood from the majestic Bulgarian Rodopi Mountains . Part of the secret of the Kremona instruments lies in the acoustic characteristics of the Spruce and Maple woods coming from Bulgarian mountains. "

- from the newly incarnated homepage of the now American company: KremonaUSA

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:11 AM
Greg Clinkingbeard Greg Clinkingbeard is offline
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Good thing I've got a cup of good black coffee to wash that down with.
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