Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reiland Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Join TDPRI Today

A trio of violins

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by jayyj, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Sadly there will be be no guitar content in this thread - sorry about that!

    I posted a miscellaneous photo of an electric violin build in my Bowie thread and a few people asked about it, so I said I'd do a build thread next time I started one. My previous violins have been thrown together in a fairly ad hoc manner as I played around with ideas but I'm pretty happy with how the current design in looking and I'm planning on making some violins to sell this year, so I need to think about a better set up for making a few at a time as well as tweaking a few things from the previous prototype.

    Here's the prototype:

    [​IMG]

    It's made much the same way as my guitars with Danelectro style mdf and pine construction.As a consequence it's quite heavy - no worse than a few commercial violins such as the NS Designs Wav and an improvement on a routed out wood version I tried a few years ago, but I'd like to get it down a bit. I'm also tweaking the bridge and tailpiece design.

    I personally prefer playing five string violins, which cover the range of both violin and viola. However, since I'm not making these for myself, I'm going to do a four string as well and, because I'm a mad bastard, I'm doing a six string with a low F to get right down into cello range - if it doesn't work it'll be a cool wall hanger. First up I'm going to copy the prototype dimensions onto a template, then I'll make duplicates for the other two:

    [​IMG]

    I already had a template for the inside of the peg box, but it's been crudely shortened and I want to be able to rout the inside and outside from the same template. With the insides cut into fresh MDF I'm remarking the centreline before doing the outside:

    [​IMG]

    Here we go: thin, fat, and 'Oh my god, you're kidding, right?':

    [​IMG]

    The obvious way to cut these would be a table router but I don't have one and I'm pretty much at capacity for how many tools I can fit into my tiny shop. So, I've been thinking about how to use a hand router to cut them in a safe manner. This box is the exact depth of the neck blank with the template on top so I should be able to run the router around the edges as if doing a pickup rout - as an added plus, the shavings will collect in the box so I can empty them into the bin, which is a big improvement on my current system of sweeping up whenever I can no longer see the workshop floor.

    [​IMG]

    We'll see how well it works in a few days!
     
    Freekmagnet, Cheap Trills and Mat UK like this.

  2. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I'm going to duplicate the box idea for the body: aside from routing the outside edge (previously I've done the outside edge on a belt sander), routing the neck pocket was a real pain on the prototype and this will make it a lot easier, and I can use it as a clamping jig whilst assembling the body as well.

    [​IMG]

    The 6mm top and back on the prototype were way too heavy and I ended up having to thin it down on the belt sander to try to lose some weight. This time I'm starting with 3mm. Here are the tops cut out with a jig saw:

    [​IMG]

    However, the tops are pretty flexible and the prototype has big neck and tail blocks keeping things stable that I want to do away with again to reduce weight, so I'm going to need a way of strengthening the body. This pine centreblock weighs almost nothing and should do the trick:

    [​IMG]

    I don't really need that massive great jig to glue it in but hey, it'd be a shame not to use it...

    [​IMG]
     

  3. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    Funny, the idea of building violins in a style similar to typical electric guitars had never occurred to me. :)
     
    jayyj and Barncaster like this.

  4. Forum Sponsor Sponsored posting

  5. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    The big difficulty is the weight, which is critical on a violin as you're having to hold it up as you play. I've tried a Tele thinline version of this build and gave up halfway through because it was too heavy even before the neck went on. I think this one should be ok.

    In as far as using guitar designs as a basis for violins, one thing I really want to bring to this design is that I feel like pretty much all commercial electric violins are built to a certain style that really doesn't suit all players - as if the only electric guitars available were Super Strats and other pointy 80s things. I want to do something that taps into the retro appeal of old Danelectros, Supros etc, that someone in an indie or post rock band would be comfortable playing.
     
    jvin248 and Freekmagnet like this.

  6. hfw01

    hfw01 Tele-Meister

    214
    Jan 12, 2012
    United States
    Nice. So glad to see you doing a build thread on this. I have a violin project started that I have promised my kids I will finish next.
     
    jayyj likes this.

  7. mcgeorgerl

    mcgeorgerl Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    216
    Sep 8, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Wishes answered. Was wondering what I was going to do with some of my off-cuts then I saw this tread. Ooooh... I want one!
     
    jayyj likes this.

  8. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I know I said the centreblock weighed almost nothing, but I still started to worry about whether it was the lightest possible solution. This modification only saves a few grams but hey, it all counts:

    [​IMG]

    That done, I'm going to make a start on the sides. The prototype has sides like my guitars with spruce blocks cut roughly to shape on the bandsaw, which is quick to glue up but leaves a fair bit of unnecessary wood inside the body. This one is going to be glued up with the blocks as thin as I dare do them by hand, then I'll rout out the inside to get them down to half a cm final thickness. Here I'm making out a block to cut down on the bandsaw:

    [​IMG]

    And this is the layout ready to glue:

    [​IMG]

    I always run out of clamps glueing the blocks at this stage and it takes ages doing a could of blocks at a time so I'm going to try to make a clamping system specifically for the violins using the building jig. The stack of mdf in the background is made up of cauls that can be screwed down onto the jig:

    [​IMG]

    This should be ideal for gluing the back on as well, so I think it's worth the work. My original bolting idea didn't work but I have a plan B ready to go - just need some longer bolts.

    Lastly for today I cut out the template for routing the inside walls of the sides:


    [​IMG]

    It feels like really slow progress at the moment but hopefully all these jigs and templates will make the next few much quicker to put together.
     

  9. midget bar

    midget bar Tele-Meister

    289
    Mar 29, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    This is a great thread. I am loving the this build style. I think your investment in templates and jigs makes sense, once you get a set system things will go great.
     
    jayyj likes this.

  10. rscalzi

    rscalzi Tele-Holic

    Age:
    54
    853
    Jun 7, 2010
    Macomb MI
    Very cool. Been thinking about trying a violin myself.

    Looking forward to following your progress.
     

  11. Deegatron

    Deegatron Tele-Meister

    132
    Feb 5, 2014
    Alberta, Canada
    AHHHHH this is freaking cool. loving the progress so far. I'm not particularly well versed in violins but your design looks to me to be a very original take on the basic concept. love it... not to mention the extended range... that's badass too... I'm very excited for this thread to progress further!
     
    jayyj likes this.

  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    I have a half completed violin on my bench, same idea you have of using the guitar practices to alter violin construction. Hadn't been thinking about the Danelectric side though, that is an excellent concept.
    Take a look at the Yamaha "silent" electric violin if you haven't yet, they did a good job at minimal design.

    The reason nearly all violins are shaped the way they are is because the famous violins were shaped that way (Stradivarius) and the violin market is the origin of the 'tone wood' arguments that go into construction methods as much as the wood itself. So all must fit the same concept to be bought by 'serious' classical players.

    Targeting the indie and country music markets is a great idea. If you can streamline your process as you make more of them you could probably hit the student violin market, where there is more volume of demand though pricing becomes an issue.

    .
     

  13. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    The new Yamaha with the bent wood sides looks really cool, although I've yet to see one in the flesh.

    It's interesting that there were a number of makers in the 19th Century - Chanot and Staufer are good examples - who produced instruments that tried to evolve the violin beyond the 17th C Italian masters. They are by all accounts fabulous sounding violins but even at that point the Strad and Guernari patterns were unshakable as the bench marks for violin making.

    I was chatting to my brother in law the other day who's a musician involved in organising the UK's annual goth festival - he thinks there are plenty of goth bands with fiddle players who might go for a snakeskin violin!
     

  14. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Time to see if the jigs work.

    Firstly the sides need gluing up, so on go the cauls. They work ok. I ended up tacking together the various bits of each side with a few drops of superglue on the corners plus Titebond on the middle so that they wouldn't move around too much when I was getting the cauls on, but that's no problem.

    [​IMG]

    Then, with the sides glued on, it's time to screw the body down and set up the template. Although I won't be gluing the back on for a little while I need the height of the body and template to be flush with the top of the jig, so the blank for the back is sandwiched underneath the body. I'll cut the inside first:

    [​IMG]

    It works! Took three passes and about ten minutes including set up time which is pretty good going, and as I'd hoped most of the dust went into the jig. Here it is routed:

    [​IMG]

    Now for the outside:

    [​IMG]

    Again, went perfectly - I have a body that matches the template. Now, that's a first...

    [​IMG]

    Lastly I just need to glue on the back and trim it flush. I'm going to use the cauls again but I don't really need the whole jig. A piece of mdf, some wedges and a couple of G clamps and it's looking good:

    [​IMG]

    Here it is, trimmed and ready for the next stage:

    [​IMG]

    I'll get the other two assembled to the same point before I do any more on it.
     

  15. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I'm a bit low on time for today but I can get a few little jobs done.

    I'll make the other two bodies at the same time. Here are the cross bars for the centreblocks, bundled together so I can cut all four at the same time:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here they are ready to assemble:

    [​IMG]

    Shouldn't take too long to get the bodies together.
     

  16. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    17
    396
    Nov 25, 2016
    Brookfield, WI
    those are going to be very Pretty! I've been playing violin for 11 years. Are you considering a acoustic (or rather normal) violin at all?
     
    jayyj likes this.

  17. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I've made a few medieval fiddles before, which were historically made with the body and neck carved out of a bit block of wood with a glued on soundboard although I did mine using more modern techniques, bending the sides on an iron. I've never completed a carved violin although I do have a set of rough carved top and back plates around somewhere so one of these days I'll finish it off.
     
    Marn99 likes this.

  18. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Before I cut out the side pieces I'm going to make a template to make it easier to draw out the necessary shapes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's a lot quicker and more accurate than switching between the outline and inside template.

    Sides done for the next two:

    [​IMG]

    There's a raised section on the body of this design that raises the tailpiece and helps make the body look a little less slabby. I might as well make a template so I don't have to measure them out with a ruler every time. Here's the template:

    [​IMG]

    And three sections cut out and ready to glue on:

    [​IMG]

    I'm out of time again but I've got one of the bodies set up ready to root, so next session I can crack on with it. The bodies aren't far off being done now.

    [​IMG]
     
    oldfish and Barncaster like this.

  19. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I got the routing done on the second body easily enough:

    [​IMG]

    But the third didn't work so well. Whilst I was routing the bass side outer face I could hear creaking as I went, then there was a nasty cracking sound and this happened:

    [​IMG]

    Whoops! Ok, I can fix this. First of all, I can see why it happened: I was getting very lazy about how much I was taking off with the router and removing way too much in one go. So the first job is to get it on the band saw and get it down to 1-2mm away from where it needs to be. Lesson learned.

    Next up I'll remove the damaged area with a razor saw and true it up with a file. I could remove the whole section but I don't see the need - might as well just take out the damaged bit. That wood wedge is holding the bit that cracked back in place.

    [​IMG]

    Now to cut a new section out of fresh pine, taking it as close to being the right size as possible and glueing it into place with masking tape:

    [​IMG]

    Finished: you can see the joint but it will be covered with the vinyl skin so I'm not too worried. I didn't rerout the inner section as it won't ever be visible unless someone literally takes it apart.

    [​IMG]

    Time to get the top on. I'm getting the hang of doing these quickly now:

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow's project will be neck pockets.
     
    Barncaster, hfw01 and Mat UK like this.

  20. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    737
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Ok, neck pocket templates. I need to make three for the three neck sizes, and I want them to screw into the building jig so I don't have to mess about with clamps. When I did the prototype clamping up the neck pocket template was a nightmare of fiddliness, so I'm keen not to have to go through that again. Anyway, firstly I need to cut out three sheets of MDF to the same size then drill the mounting holes so that they will all line up to the same hols in the jig:

    [​IMG]

    Then it's time to rout out the pocket using the old trick of clamping scrap wood against the neck template:

    [​IMG]

    Done!

    [​IMG]

    This is the idea of how the template fastens onto the jig, although I've just spotted I need to build an angle into the pocket. Violins have a very steep neck angle compared to guitars so it's going to be a big angle.

    [​IMG]

    I'll laminate some pine blocks onto the templates so they're angled - needs fine tuning but they're more or less the right angle:

    [​IMG]

    Whilst I was waiting for the glue to dry, I made up a similar jig to cut the pickup access hole. The preamp will be attached to a control plate that screws onto the back, but it needs a small rebate in the braces. I can also install the pickup through this little rout. Here's the jig:

    [​IMG]

    And the completed rout. Easy!

    [​IMG]
     

  21. oldfish

    oldfish Tele-Meister

    401
    Aug 23, 2015
    uk
    what a great build thread look forward to seeing more of this
     
    jayyj likes this.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.