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Old 09-26-2021, 03:04 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: La Ferté Milon, France
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Originally Posted by radiofm74 View Post
Unsure I want to do that to my '38 DeLuxe although of course she was built to withstand a lot more… but she's 83 now… hmm…
Remember that most of the famous, ahem, luthier-quality concert violins were built for A=415Hz (or so) and were converted for A=440Hz (possibly more like 430-435 actually) in the early 19th century. Nowadays concert pitch keeps creeping up and these instruments still endure. Not suggesting that early 20thC guitar builders were in the same league as those Italian luthiers (Antonio & Co would be spinning in their graves), but the load increase from tuning up over half a tone PLUS using a much higher bridge is considerably more important than going from 12s to 13s.
On the other hand, instruments can react unexpectedly to changes in gauge (sound wise). My own mini jumbo is built for something like 11-54, definitely sounds better with a 12 E1. It lights up with 13s when using a (heavy/wooden) pick, but sounds muffled fingerpicked even with Retro 11s or Earthwood Silk & Steel Soft, to the player at least. But with the Thomastik AC111 it really opened up when fingerpicking, even for me as a player, and as far as I can tell it does sound louder from the listener position too. That was really unexpected because it doesn't appear to be particularly lightly built.

I saw mention somewhere that Martin Retros give a higher load while being more flexible aka easier to play. What's the math behind that? Copper is slightly heavier and denser than nickel, zinc (the other ingredient in brass) is considerably heavier but less dense than nickel. Monel can contain a bunch of other ingredients so I don't dare to predict which of the 2 alloys is the denser/heavier one...

BTW, I also saw a remark about an archtop being short-scale compared to a flattop (IIRC it applied to a Loar 6x0 or 700), suggesting that it requires a heavier gauge of strings to reach the same tension at tune. I thought the same about my resonator (635mm from saddle to nut) and it's probably true that the frets being closer to each other helps making higher tension strings more playable. Recently I realised that I forgot that the part of the string between saddle and stringholder is under the same tension as the part on the other side of the saddle, and thus contributes to the actual string tension.
Pickle: Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Dumbo: Seagull Performer CW mini-jumbo (Canada, 20??)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
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