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MMD > Archives > June 1997 > 1997.06.20 > 03Prev  Next

Tuning The Mills Violano
By Craig Brougher

The Violanos all tune differently, depending on the strings used. We
are not talking "slight differences," either. I have tried strings that
would not tune with a can completely full of shot.

Durrell's Violano needs a lot of work, and it isn't just a matter of
"tuning" that violin. That violano needs to be completely restored, and
I would begin with the piano soundboard and work my way out. The violin
needs to be split apart and rebuilt by a qualified violin-maker, and
refinished, as well. Then it probably needs a new sound-post and proper
bridge. The bridge is very important. Not all "rock" maple will work for
a new bridge, either. Bridges are checked for brittleness by dropping
them on a marble or steel plate and listening to the clink they make.
9 out of 10 bridges sold do not pass this test!

Regarding the violin, though, many violanos are harsh-sounding because
of the string selection and their choice of rosin. Different rosins melt
at different temperatures. You have to try a bunch of different kinds
until you find a rosin that has a sweet tone, especially on the E string.
I have found that in humid climates, a higher melting temperature is
better, but that isn't the whole story.

Selection of strings is very important. Here is my personal favorite:

    E-- Pirastro Chromcor
    A-- Jargar #2, A Medium
    G-- Piastro Eudoxa #4, 16-1/4" long
    D-- Pirastro Eudoxa #3, 17-1/4" long

Once tuned, the violin will stay in tune forever, or until a string
breaks, or the violin breaks down somewhere. If you don't know how to
tie off strings at the hook, then that can be a real problem, too. And
when the G and D strings are replaced, if they are wound gut, they
continue to stretch until they reach their modulus, anyway, so you have
to allow almost a half-inch at the hook setting so the weight cans will
be level when this happens. Screw the hook in about 1/4" and knot the
two big strings with the weight can end up high, so that once it
stretches half way, the can is level with the other cans. From there,
you will adjust the hook nuts until the can stabilizes at level.
Warming the knotted end before tying off the string will soften the gut
so you can make a knot.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Fri 20 Jun 1997, 12:53:55 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Mills, Tuning, Violano

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