Make your own violin
You will need a lot of spare time, a block of maple, a bandsaw, knives and any other tools you feel comfortable shaping wood with.
The storyboard shows you the order in which I cut and shape the instrument. (Save all my drawings on your harddisk and view them using the zoom-buttons. Most of them need not be fullsize, so they should present few problems.)
The photos serve only to add realism - or so I hope...You will have to decide on a great many details, but here is what I suggest:
Sketch the violin's profiles on faces 1 and 2 on a block of maple-wood, sized 40x40x550mm when planed on all sides.
Drill two 19mm holes from face 1, to help you shape the neck. Saw carefully on the outside of all lines. Drill from face 2 to prepare the hollowing of the body. The string-holder is four 1,5mm holes at a 60 degree angle through the head of the violin. Machineheads from Schaller demand four 10 mm holes drilled into face 1 and 3. Glue two blocks of maple on face 2 as shown. The spacing between them should be 5mm. This being the thickness of the bridge, which will be the last component you make. Shape the instrument using carving tools or other.
For the fingerboard use the hardest wood you can find. Ebony or rosewood will do.
Plans for cutting, and this may the hardest part: you will have to enlarge the drawing and end up with proper violin-dimensions. Total length: 560 mm. The bridge to nut-measurement is crucial: 327mm, all the others are open to your personal judgment. Use a photocopier and compare to an acoustic violin. Or better: make your own personal violin-design!
This is what happens in my violin: With your bow you start a string vibrating in a magnetic field thereby producing a small current in the string itself! You amplify this current and route it through a loudspeaker, and voila: music!
This is a sketch of the very simple electric circuit in my violin. Copy, enlarge and print.
In effect the four strings form one long wire connected to the trafo's primary. In this version it involves no balancing of individual strings, although this could be done with a few resistors in the right places. Get four powerful magnets + an audio-transformer, I choose Lundahl Transformer LL9206 with a turns ratio of 1:20. You may have to try different magnets and transformers for the best output. The magnets should be the block-type with poles on the larger sides. Experiment!
So the idea is this: You feed the current produced in this circuit from two points (the bridge ends of the G- and E-strings) into an audio-transformer and from there to the violin's output.
That simple, but still tricky in at least 3 respects:
1. The contact-points between string and body should be made to last. Every time you fit new strings they should automatically rest on contacts made of brass or other metal , which you will have to drill into its body before sanding and finishing. Minimal blocks of brass 2x4x4mm with a wire soldered into its base should fit exactly into the right place just behind the bridge for each of the G and E-strings and a block 2x4x12mm to short circuit the D- and A-strings.
You may find easier methods; if you do, send me a note.
2. You will have to find the proper audio-transformer. Turns ratio should be about 1:20. Other systems have been tried with succes, but mine is the transformer-type.
3. You should fit these components into the body of the instrument in a way that ensures good weight-distribution and durability.
And the shoulderrest?
Well, I have been experimenting for years, here are some suggestions:
Good luck! Mail me for any reason related to violinmaking.