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View Full Version : Fidolin Mk II -- with video...



Jake Wildwood
Sep-11-2009, 5:57pm
Here's the next fidolin from another batch of beater violins I took in. This one's previous life was as a 3/4 fiddle (like the last one) of decent West German stock. Nice tight spruce top, rather mundane but decent flame on the back and sides. It had no fingerboard, tailpiece, etc... so it was ripe for the transition!

This time around I used a 14" scale which put the bridge below the f-holes on the belly. I think you can hear in the clip that this guy has a bit of a sweeter tone with less cluttered overtones and really decent balance across the strings.

I took out the soundpost on this one, too, so we'll see how that goes. I might stand it back up to see the effect on tone... though I like it as is, to be honest.

The 14" scale is nice and gives me some more space and a better overall feel for the instrument, though the increased tension drives the top too much and it feels forced tuned to GDAE (these are standard mandolin 034w to 010 p-bronzes). Thus I've tuned it down to FCGD for the clip and until I can locate (in my string bin) the right gauges to give it "just the right" tension. I'm also tempted to use flatwound violin strings, too... we'll see... might give it an even silkier, jazzier tone.

Enjoy!

Jake Wildwood
Sep-11-2009, 5:58pm
More pics...

Jill McAuley
Sep-12-2009, 10:39am
Lovely tone out of that, Jake!

Cheers,
Jill

hank
Sep-12-2009, 10:58am
So come up to the lab and see what's on the slab. I see you shiver with antici... PAtion. :popcorn:

toddjoles
Sep-12-2009, 2:48pm
Wow! Sounds great! Other than the obvious external mods, are you doing anything else internally, like removing the sound postost on these?

Jake Wildwood
Sep-13-2009, 4:36pm
Jill: Thanks!

Hank: I know, I know... ;)

Todd: The last one I left the soundpost standing. This one I removed it, but might put it back in to see how it sounds.

Patrick Hull
Sep-13-2009, 5:54pm
I like it, I like it. I've often wondered why we dont use more violin build techniques...perhaps because the viokin is a more fragile instrument. Looks like you're going to need some work on the tailpiece...and I wish we could get some fine tuners on mando. Do they just not work on your model? Are they not workable on a mandolin? Perfect that and I think you can make some money...

JeffD
Sep-13-2009, 6:07pm
and I think you can make some money...

Seriously.

Jake Wildwood
Sep-13-2009, 6:11pm
Pat: The violin is more fragile... to an extent. The compact size of the body makes it very durable, however. I've revived more "gone" violins than other "gone" instruments because of this... with ukes as a close second to "goners-come-back."

As for the tailpiece... yes it's a bit silly to have these screws, but they work in this "testing phase" for these projects. If I scratch-build or get to the point where this isn't just a curiosity of mine, my desire is to have loop ends that go around guitar-style bridge pegs on the end, a la balalaikas... and then over the violin-style "saddle" -- I sort of think that removing the violin-style tailpiece (I could have easily cut a spare down and re-holed) adds to the tone on this instrument because of the addition of the bridge-to-tailpiece vibrating length.

As for fine tuners: they work with a violin-style tailpiece, though I don't really see why they'd be necessary. I've used some new Grover banjo/uke friction tuners at the headstock and if you're at all used to tuning with standard friction pegs, these are a breeze. Cut-down slotted guitar headstock tuners would be another good option on these instruments (which I've installed for customers on violins) as that gives you the same ease of tuning that mandolins have... though they're heavier than violin pegs which these Grovers aren't.

billkilpatrick
Sep-14-2009, 3:23am
curiouser and curiouser. sounds great - looks good too ... but (my 2 euro-cents) i'd even off the fingerboard extension. as it is, the mix of old and new looks a bit odd ... incongruous.

jake - do the grover friction pegs keep their tuning as well as the traditional geared tuners?

- bill

Ben Milne
Sep-14-2009, 5:45am
great concept. i would love to see a short violin style tail piece i think that would look the goods. perhaps try putting the soundpost further back towards where the bridge now resides? keep in mind that they can take a while to settle back in... i like the idea of using violin flat wounds...

Sheryl McDonald
Sep-14-2009, 6:01am
Surprise! I would never have thought you could get that type of sound out of a 3/4 size violin. That almost turns that instrument into a travel mandolin. I like it.

Bill Snyder
Sep-14-2009, 6:31am
Some of ya'll must have missed Jake's thread on his first try at this. You can see that thread HERE. (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=52949) It has a video attached of the first "conversion" he did.

Jake Wildwood
Sep-14-2009, 10:51am
Bill: I was tempted to remove the extension, too. I think that it'd look good (proper?) with a fully fretted board of ebony or rosewood with some binding... aesthetics are second to function while I'm getting these closer to what I want. :)

RE the Grover pegs -- they hold tune just dandy and are far easier to use than regular wooden fiddle pegs. The trick is getting used to tuning with them... you've gotta back-and-forth it a hair until you have the right pitch. Uke players and banjo players would have an edge on the competition!

Vanner: I'll give the violin style tailpiece & strings a shot next go around. I have a Czech 3/4 with a slightly flatter original fingerboard that I'm quite tempted to shave down to a gentler radius and fret. It also has a tailpiece ripe for the cutting.

More updates as they come...

In short though I'm really happy with the sound and feel I'm getting out of these two so far. I think the 3/4 size with the bridge placed below the f-holes like on this guy is superior to the last one. Spreads tension more evenly across the body and gives it a slightly darker, less hectic, tone.

I originally wanted to do these guys because I had been reading up on some old Italian mandolin-like instruments with 4 gut strings on a fiddle-ish body, tuned GDAE. I think it'd be worthwhile to try these out with a set of GDAE nylguts, too... we'll see.

billkilpatrick
Sep-14-2009, 12:02pm
I originally wanted to do these guys because I had been reading up on some old Italian mandolin-like instruments with 4 gut strings on a fiddle-ish body, tuned GDAE. I think it'd be worthwhile to try these out with a set of GDAE nylguts, too... we'll see.

we're on the same page ... i'd love to play a period-ish looking instrument with GDAE tuning. i sing and play with a small medieval music group and at the moment, i play oud. this is ok in confined spaces but in a piazza, its projection is limited to only those in the immediate vicinity. i use nylgut strings on the oud.

i asked about grover pegs in the equipment section of the cafe - thinking i'd replace the geared tuners with 8 friction pegs. tim2723 said i might have trouble squeezing all of them on the pegboard as the buttons would be knocking against each other. makes sense ...

DerTiefster
Sep-30-2009, 3:50pm
i asked about grover pegs in the equipment section of the cafe - thinking i'd replace the geared tuners with 8 friction pegs. tim2723 said i might have trouble squeezing all of them on the pegboard as the buttons would be knocking against each other. makes sense ...Hmmm. What about deleting the buttons and using something like a Torx or hex recess? You'd use an Allen wrench-like tool. It could even be a glorified tuner button with a recess like the tuner buttons have, but removable so you use it on one string at a time. (You sounded like you would like a potential solution to consider) Nice instrument alteration(s). Would "fiddolin" be a better spelling? When I see "fidolin" I think of old "Fido" the dog and lose the Fiddle context. But I'm usually lost, anyway.