(UpDated 7/9/2014)
...May I begin this section with a heart felt appology:
...I know professional violin makers who are rightfully proud of their accomplishments as instrument makers, they greatly value the time honored traditions of violin family instrument making. I know of at least one such gentleman who gets red in the face and is angry with me when I just say 'hello' at an instrument makers show. He says he does not appreciate the criticism and that he is satisfied with his traditional methods! You understand, that I had said nothing to him at all. It also suggests that either his friends and customers have mentioned the subject or that he himself had been reading this web site and perhaps was feeling some distant thought that perhaps he could be making a better instrument for his customers, dispite his prostations.
..I hope that by the time this latest 'Tap Tone Project' and 'Tap Tone Technology' sections are completed, violin makers will have the information and technique and tools to evaluate and decide what, if any, new skills they might bring to their making (keeping it to themselves as they wish).
...I ask no credit, only wishing that better instruments are being produced and classical music audiences' listening pleasure is enhanced in future years.
...Also, I want others to take this good start and to advance it to levels that I could not now imagine; all to the betterment of music.
(c) David Langsather at Salem, Oregon, USA 6/4/2014
...Now to the real subject of this article: Instrument making; doing it right the first time.
...When making a new violin, decisions are made continually along the process, the shaping of each part, eventually ending with the completed instrument. Before the bow is put to string for the first time, the success or failure of the instrument has already been determined.
..What is lacking in the current instrument making process is enough information on what tap tone goals exist for each part and how to adjust the individual part during the making proces to meet those necessary goals. Little extra effort is necessary when the techniques are understood and skills developed. There should be some satisfaction knowing the general level of instrument that is being produced, instead of hoping against hope that this insturment will turn out special (again, or for the first time).
...The current level of instrument making may be revealed by the VSA (Violin Society of America) instrument making competetion which is held every two years. Briefly there are two areas of judging; the beauty and correctness of the appearance, and secondly how well each instrument sounds when played by a professional. Each maker may only enter one instrument and it must have been make during the past two years. So you have the best makers from all over the world entering their best instrument from the past two years; the results: Only 5% of the instruments are judged to have a 'good' tone; another 5% have and 'honorable' tone. Put a different way, 90% of the violins made today do not sound good!
...Lets face it, that is not anything to be very proud of. I believe that can be reversed by the techniques and guides you can learn about in these pages.
...If anyone would like to put this technique to the test, I would be willing to accomodate, provided the test is scientific and the results freely and widely reported.