Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Hello looking for advanced violonist who’ve made the choice playing a cornerless violin? Why did you choose it and how would you say the soud is different, better than a normal violin..I ve met one of it 3 weeks ago and I m always thinking about it…

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

A friend plays one of those, a Chinese instrument, it sounds mellower than the usual Strad to me. She’s not "advanced" as a player, good luck finding one of those here who also happens to have one of these oddities. There’s a thread on Fiddle Hangout about these little bowed guitars, as I like to think of them: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/25178 I like them, as they’re interesting to look at.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

There are a few players in Scotland, Alasdair White of the Battlefield band being probably one of the most prominent.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard one that wasn’t plugged in, so can’t really comment on the sound, but I wouldn’t expect it to make much difference. A conventional fiddle has corner blocks that round off the corners internally, so the vibrating plates and internal airspace are exactly the same on both, the only thing that is missing from the cornerless models is solid lumps of wood.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Tho’ I am not posting on this site, this looks like what you want: http://www.timsviolins.co.uk/
I have played one and they are very nice indeed. Well made, nice sound. But as Dave Mann says (Clare’s father) there is a reason the design of a violin hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Are Tim’s fiddles gimmicks, designed to bring attention to a maker in a crowded field? A cornerless fiddle would be easier to make, I assume, than one with corner blocks and the extreme curves of a traditional fiddle.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

I had someone bring his new Tim Philips fiddle to my house to show me it. It sounds absolutely wonderful - he makes all sorts of shapes and they’re not gimmicks in my opinion, just beautiful instruments.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

"Tho’ I am not posting on this site, this looks like what you want: http://www.timsviolins.co.uk/
I have played one and they are very nice indeed. Well made, nice sound. But as Dave Mann says (Clare’s father) there is a reason the design of a violin hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Are Tim’s fiddles gimmicks, designed to bring attention to a maker in a crowded field? A cornerless fiddle would be easier to make, I assume, than one with corner blocks and the extreme curves of a traditional fiddle."

Yes, that. Plus I’d guess the corners are there to protect the body.

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Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

I would suspect it’s harder to make a ‘cornerless’ fiddle simply because the sides now have to be bent in one piece and there is less scope for letting the glue hide a multitude of sins. Though frankly once you’ve built a few of each I doubt there’s much in it.

As for the sound, I suspect we’ll get into concrete flute territory very quickly….

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Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

I’ve played quite a few cornerless violins (one by Tim Phillips, which sounded very good), however, I’m not at all convinced that the cornerless design by itself contributes to a better sound (or even a different sound).

Depending on the design, there is sometimes less room for bow clearance at the extremes of E string and G string bowing than a standard body shape, so maybe that should be a consideration in the choice as well.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

"Are Tim’s fiddles gimmicks, designed to bring attention to a maker in a crowded field?"

Yes - as are, say, different shapes of electric guitar. But it’s also just exercising creative freedom - and, perhaps, seeing how far you can go without compromising the sound of the instrument. Certain features of the traditional violin design are purely aesthetic, so why not try changing them? (I happen to prefer the traditional look, but ‘horses for courses’.) Granted, Tim Phillips’ instruments may not be truly *exceptional* in their sound, but I think they compare very favourably to other new handmade fiddles.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Ergo is right, violin design hasn’t changed for hundreds of years - Stradivari made cornerless violins, at least one of them still survives.

Making a cornerless model would be much quicker and easier than a conventional violin, there is a huge amount of work involved in the corners of a violin, just mitering the purfling can take hours. But looking at Tim Phillips’ other designs I’m sure he does it for purely aesthetic reasons. I’ve seen other makes that combine the cornerless shape with other labour saving (or corner cutting?) features like scroll-less heads. Those really do look like toys.

If you want a truly unusual fiddle, how about one by the C19 maker Rigat Rubus - he made violins with no edges: https://quinnsauction.hibid.com/lot/16748739/violin—1850

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

I’m not an advanced player but do have a cornerless fiddle. It’s a Chinese replica (Jin Yuan of Beijing, 2014) of a post war Italian job, with funky sound holes.

The fiddle itself is rather well made with a very good tone. The lack of corners don’t make any obvious difference to the tone. Its pretty damn loud, but I think this has more to do with the slightly wider body size and the setup than the absent corners.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Also - two factors in choosing the cornerless:

1. Pretty cheap. Workshop-made Chinese violins aren’t expensive anyway, but cornerless ones on eBay are even less because not so many people want the funny shape. I needed a practice fiddle so wasn’t fussed if it sounded a bit shite. I wasn’t planning on playing it in public, although these days I do.
2. Kinda looks cool. There are times when I’m playing in public and I wished I didn’t have such a distinctive looking fiddle, but when things go well the violin does sound pretty good and the looks don’t matter so much.

My teacher commented that I likely wouldn’t ever need to buy a new violin.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

CMO; electric guitars can be any shape at all, because the main effects of the body sound wise are to do with the mass and density of the wood, whereas a fiddle depends on the more complex acoustic resonance between the different materials of the body parts PLUS the movement of the air within the body cavity.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

@GP: Yes, I understand that. The point is, with the fiddle, there’s somewhat more of a challenge in altering the shape whilst conserving the acoustic properties. I have not done a systematic comparison of Tim Phillips’ cornerless vs. traditional (yes - he does make some) fiddles, so I cannot say whether he achieves that aim, but I suspect that there are many variables less obvious to the casual observer (e.g. tonewood choice, plate graduations, rib thickness, bridge weight, soundpost placing, brand of strings etc.) that would have an equal or greater effect on the sound than alterations to the external body shape.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

…The only reason I made a comparison to electric guitars is that, in both cases, the use of unconventional body shapes is a gimmick (something I think Tim Phillips would have no shame in admitting).

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Thanks for your comments.

When I tried the cornerless first I didnt take care with how it looks like. But the sounds was great!!! I tried just after about 10 classical violins but never as good as the cornerless…I ve seen 3 violins makers this month. Tried many violins only one make me dream but the price is higher that I can pay. I will try the cornerless next saturday with 3 others violins I ve choose. This day I hope I still will love the cornerless because he s so beautiful and original…

Sorry my english isnt very good. Hope you understand what i say.

Bye

Marion.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

The cornerless I tried is made in France by a violin maker (not chinese ) The violin can be exactly how I want: wood, color (but a natural colour) original purfling on the back, designed on the fingerboard. I will have to wait one year to have it because many people want his instrument (viole d amore, 5strings violins, strad violins…)I think he is a good violin maker….

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Until recently, Simone Lamsma played the cornerless Chanot Chandon Stradivari fiddle from 1718.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

THANKS FOR THE LINK!!! If I lived in England sure I would try a tim philips fiddle…But I dont..But I can be sure now that cornerless violin is a good choice for what I need to play. 4 days before i can play it again..Its just horrible to wait…I will say you of course what is my choice…Bye

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

@stringy Those are nuts! Thanks for posting the link.

The shape of the sound holes is also interesting, and this is also a visual as well as acoustic factor in violin design. The hole shape changed over the centuries and the smaller diameters increase the resonance frequency and acoustic output. More here:

http://taflab.berkeley.edu/acoustics-of-sound-holes-in-musical-instruments/

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

There is a Chinese maker that I bought many fiddles from,

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Copy-of-Violin-lab-Georges-Chanot-Paris-1819-6464-Rare-/361358686936?hash=item5422a7fad8

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Copy-of-4-4-Violin-lab-Georges-Chanot-Paris-1819-8588-Rare-/271970895076?hash=item3f52ba84e4

Both are the same workshop, and although they’re produced on a larger scale, the tone is still rather good for being so cheap. Don’t be afraid of Chinese fiddles, just buy from the right people.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

The same thing with 5 strings???It would be a great complement!!!Just cant wait 3 days again to play my favorite cornerless…

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

Ben Ross (Ross Violins http://rossviolins.co.uk) makes cornerless violins and does good setups, repairs and bow rehairs.

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

I ve tried again the cornerless today and it’s done, I will have mine in on year!!!So happy!!
It will be made by Daniel Ross (Ben Ross brother!!!)

Re: Does anyone play a cornerless fiddle?

A follow up question - did it come yet?

In the intervening year I picked up a regular cornered violin. It’s easier to play, so I did that for a few months.

Then when I went back to the cornerless, and I was amazed at how rich the cornerless violin sounds. Awesome 🙂