I am going to buy a German Roth

I am going to buy a German Roth

I have been looking around for a year or so to buy a fiddle. I tried a few now, and the latest I tried was a brand new Roth. It caught my hear for the cleanness of the sound( this also has been mentioned in another discussion) and is in my price range. I think the bass sound better than the high but still the high are not bad at all.

One little thing, it got 2 stripes in the varnish each sides of the fiddle on the top. The "luthier" retailer, who is trustable and very good fiddle player, told me that it is not a weakness and should not break and assure me that he would fix it for free if anything happens because of this. Of course, I got about 10% off because of this.

I am studying dendrochronology, the study of tree ring, and it seems to me that it is the same growing ring on each side of the fiddle that has this stripe. I would almost think that the tree had a trauma that year and the varnish somehow penetrate more in that one particular ring.

I love the sound of it and it is one of the best sounding fiddle I tried in that price range.

What would you do! Any advices, opinions?

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

It is the same ring. The top of a fiddle is made by taking a block of wood and inch or so thick and slicing it down the middle, folding it over and gluing it so the two halves are symmetrical. It will have been a particular year in the tree’s life where something out of the ordinary happened. Maybe a drought, or particularly wet, or disease?. You tell me, your the expert. I’d be interested.

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Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

Thought you’d left the weiller bit out.

Oh, a fiddle?

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

They *can* sound the same….in the wrong hands…

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

Heh, I tried playing Kitty’s Rambles on my neighbor’s rottweiler once, but it kept coming out as Dogs Among the Bushes…..

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Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

That’s cos you’re a cat.
Geez, I wish someone WOULD throw some dogs among the Bushes (The Georges, that is…)

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

Meow.
🙂

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Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

My old German fiddle (maker unknown, and I don’t believe the label inside!) has what is known as a "watermark" on the back. It looks like a very irregular fine black crack (which it certainly isn’t) meandering almost the length of the back near the centre line. It doesn’t affect the tone or structure in anyway and is a distinctive identifying feature - as also must be the wood marks on yours, Carabus. Someone told me it’s the tree’s protective reaction to a fungus. Any comments, Carabus?

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

Lazyhound, your fiddles black mark is known as spalting by woodturners, most of whom actively seek out heavily spalted wood for their projects. As far as i’m aware it doesn’t cause any weakness.

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

Thanks, Freddy. I googled "spalting" and immediately found several pages which talked about it being caused by fungi during the tree’s growth.

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

The spalting is indeed a fungi. It makes nice coloration and if it is not too late, the wood is still good. I have seen a lot of this in harwood samples. I think it comes from the fact that the tree tries to isolate the area with the fungus. The wall (the actual spalting) around this area blocks the nutrients and water going there and stop the fungi from spreading more into the wood. You can see an example of this under the following link (the last pictures):

http://www.enspec.com/articles/1/article1.htm

However, I brought the fiddle at work this morning and had a look at it under a binocular scope. The one growing ring in question is wider that average and has almost no late wood (dark part of the ring which is deposited at the end of the growing season). What I think happened, and this is just a guess, is that it was a good growing season that stopped very abruptly, maybe by an early frost event, and the tree stopped growing very quickly. Because of that traumatic event, the tree deposited a row of abnormal cells and you can see clearly under hight magnification that there is a small depression in the wood at that exact place. This depression is reflected in the varnish and you can see a line on the top of the fiddle.

Nothing like spalting, but still cool. I go for it, anyways if something happens, they will fix it or send it back…

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

I mean the rothfiddle, not the rothweiller!

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

there is a thing on violin toips called "runout"..it is a harlequin type of effect and is not desireable…

tops used to be hand split..that is that the split went along with the grain..then theyn started being cut with a saw, irregardless of grain…the saw cut through the natural grain line, bringing the grain to the surface and produceing "runout" when the top is finished…a top can be cut without producing runout, but it takes some talent to do this…better violins (and the old Roth and Markneukirchen instruments) were hand split tops…

it is arguable as to whether this effects tone…my opinion is that it does not, but I do think that runout detracts from the visual aspect of a violin.

Re: I am going to buy a German Roth

A few years ago, my luthier invited my to take home a pair
of identical violins exported by a small but earnest Romanian
shop on trial. Oddly, I chose the one with the small burl on
the table because it had a decidedly better sound than the
"clear" bellied twin. So—go by what you hear and feel inside.
ALSO—the Roth being brand new, it will undergo some serious voice change after a while due wood behavior. This is normal, simply reposition or reduce the soundpost and it will be happy again. Enjoy your Roth.

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