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Thread: Played a Virzi

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    No two mandolins sound alike regardless how we try. Yes as many variables were eliminated as could be so that is something but it has only been done once. Now if that could be done 10 times with similar results we could say we see a trend, 100 times would be closer to proof. That the problem with acoustic instrument, we "know" what we know we just can't prove it for there is no proof.

  2. #27
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Yes, if they were this fabulous, Loar, the ever seeker of divine tone, would have had them installed in every Loar.

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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    I've played two Loars, one at Carter's with a Virzi, and a 1923 at Lowe Vintage without one. The sample size is admittedly miniscule, but the non Virzi Loar Crushed the other one, in my hands and to my ears. The Virzi Loar is a very, very good mandolin, but I was in no way compelled to take it home, and it (my first Loar experience) left me a bit befuddled about what all the Loar fuss was about. The 1923 is one of the three best mandolins I've ever played, and educated me about the buzz. Of course, there was no way I could take it home, but now I get it...

    If you love your Virzi, good for you! If I found a mandolin I loved that had one, I'd buy it if I could. Just saying...
    Chuck

  4. #29

    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Quote Originally Posted by fscotte View Post
    A virzi adds weight to the center of a top. You can achieve a similar result by adding the same amount of weight with a little bit of clay. There's no evidence that a virzi does anything other than just that... Adding weight to the top.

    I suggest if folks want to hear what a virzi does, use the clay method. No its not wood, but its a very small amount of mass we are adding. The damping effect would be nil..
    This is an interesting point, especially as it suggests an easy test if anyone does a future "identical except Virzi" build. Four recordings: one with the Virzi instrument, one with the other, and one more of each instrument with the attached clay. If it's the weight as claimed, then one could produce the Virzi tone in the non-Virzi instrument with the clay... right?
    Playing a hexed Eastman 614 oval-hole with scroll (hoodooed with MandoVoodoo!), a Flatiron 1SH mandola (original owner), a McNally Ukulele Strumstick in CGDA mandola tuning, a McNally 4-string Chromatic Strumstick in GDAE octave mandolin tuning, and rocking my six-course, unison-tuned 12-string Ovation mandophone/extended cittern in CGDAEB Full Fifths Tuning...

  5. #30
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Sometimes if things are too simplistic, like maybe a 10-15 gram square block of spruce, or even a dab of clay, people dismiss it. But a virzi isn't simplisitic, it's a beautifully designed magic thingamajig that imparts angelic tones upon your ears, just like the ad says...

  6. #31
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    At the end of my post meant to say that if I found a mandolin with a Virzi that I loved and that I could afford, I wouldn't pass on it just because it had a Virzi. Didn't mean to imply that I'm searching for a Virzi
    Chuck

  7. #32

    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    I have a Duff H-5 mandola with a Virzi installed during the build process. While it's not the loudest mandola I've ever played, once you spank it for 15 or 20 minutes, this thing wakes up (yes, I'm one of them). You can hear a subtle but distinct reverb/chorus effect going on. It may be due to increased sustain as previously claimed but there is also a slight time shift in the Virzi's response vs. the rest of the top, hence the "enhancement". We all prize that "dry" tone in a fine old mandolin. The Virzi "hydrates" that dry tone and it may be an acquired taste.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  8. #33

    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    I have a Duff H-5 mandola with a Virzi installed during the build process. While it's not the loudest mandola I've ever played, once you spank it for 15 or 20 minutes, this thing wakes up (yes, I'm one of them). You can hear a subtle but distinct reverb/chorus effect going on. It may be due to increased sustain as previously claimed but there is also a slight time shift in the Virzi's response vs. the rest of the top, hence the "enhancement". We all prize that "dry" tone in a fine old mandolin. The Virzi "hydrates" that dry tone and it may be an acquired taste.
    Excellent post and goes a way to explaining why Virzi's may have come into being in their time, which was:

    1: Before there was anything called "Bluegrass Mandolin" and it's practitioner's fairly rabid desire for a strong "Fundamental" tone and any increased volume available. No one has ever argued that they make mandolins louder (except for that original Gibson sales sheet posted previously.)

    2: The music played on them at that time (for the most part) was going to be heard exactly as it was, and not through a microphone or any other kind of audio technology that would allow for any "tweaking" of any kind. The fact that they had F holes cut into them (which, lets face it, was nothing but a gimmick) may have appealed to Classical players looking for an edge.
    Amsterdam was always good for grieving
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  10. #34

    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Quote Originally Posted by Fretbear View Post
    The fact that they had F holes cut into them (which, lets face it, was nothing but a gimmick) may have appealed to Classical players looking for an edge.
    I guess that I'm not ready to face F holes as a gimmick. They "work" in different ways from oval holes but they do work and I like them a lot (but I do love my oval F-4).

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  11. #35

    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    I guess that I'm not ready to face F holes as a gimmick. They "work" in different ways from oval holes but they do work and I like them a lot (but I do love my oval F-4).
    I only meant in the Virzi; I love F holes on mandolins and how they make them sound.
    Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Fort Worth Blues

  12. #36
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Maybe they could have sold more f-holes with a little creativity...

    "We all know the A style mandolin, with it's single oval hole.. But now, through the diligence of our acoustic engineers, you can hear your mandolin in stereo! No more boring mono.. Now hear what your mandolin was meant to sound like. With revolutionary double f-hole technology, the broad dynamic range of the mandolin can pleasure the masses in stereo! Who wants just one hole when you can have two? Everyone knows two is better than one!"
    Last edited by fscotte; Apr-23-2017 at 1:38pm.

  13. #37
    Needs Improvement Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Played a Virzi

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    I have a Duff H-5 mandola with a Virzi installed during the build process. While it's not the loudest mandola I've ever played, once you spank it for 15 or 20 minutes, this thing wakes up (yes, I'm one of them). You can hear a subtle but distinct reverb/chorus effect going on. It may be due to increased sustain as previously claimed but there is also a slight time shift in the Virzi's response vs. the rest of the top, hence the "enhancement". We all prize that "dry" tone in a fine old mandolin. The Virzi "hydrates" that dry tone and it may be an acquired taste.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Yup. A Virzi should be doing much more than simply adding weight to the sound board. If it is installed properly, the intent is that it vibrates inside the air chamber of the instrument, adding its own distinct set of waves to everything else that's going on in there. Either by vibrating the air directly, or altering the vibration of the top, or both. There is indeed the potential for a Virzi to add overtones and even increase volume, depending on how the Virzi interacts.

    But I would hazard a guess that probably 95% or more of Virzi installations aren't living up to their potential. There are just so many variables involved that it would be impossible to simply glue one of these things on, close up the mandolin, and expect it to provide perfect behavior. I would think, at the very least, that one would have to tweak or tune the Virzi to match or complement the resonance of the top. But when the instrument is closed up, it would change the dynamic interaction between the Virzi and the top. I just don't know how a builder could get it perfect on every instrument and expect it to work perfectly across the range of the instrument. I suspect it might really enhance the bass, or mid-range, or treble of an instrument, but not all three equally.

    This is probably why it's so commonly known as the "tone reducer". The theory behind the Virzi makes sense, and it can occasionally work well, but I tend to think that the majority of installations just aren't done in such a manner as to make it work as intended.
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