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Idea trading post for bowed instruments. Share photos and tips of fiddles and whatnot that you've built, acquired or seen.
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Looking at your mock up, and judging from some experience:
First, getting the angles and dimensions deemed "ideal" by some builders will require an extremely high bridge, which presents some of its own issues, beyond availability.
I would suggest focusing on playability, and the previously mentioned side clearance, its a big issue that many overlook on first builds.
While comparing action and setup to a common fiddle is useful, trying to match those angles and dimensions is very difficult with a flat topped box. And taking that further, the angle and downward pressure that is ideal for an arched, carved top fiddle may not relate directly to a flat box top.
All that said, options:
If that neck is not yet fully attached, you could shift it back toward the back of the box, reducing the distance between fingerboard and box top. Another alternative would be to lay the neck back a few degrees instead of what looks like a flat angle parallel to the box top.
Either would give you a little more of a relative angle and break over the bridge, which in turn would create a little more pressure on the top.
Whether this is a benefit or not is open for experimentation. What is fairly critical for a fiddle or cello may not be relevant for a cigar box bodied instrument. I have set up a few of both and am skeptical of the information translation between the two worlds.
Build it, play it and do another with what you have learned.
PS, an opinion for what its worth- The good "Dr." who presents himself as an authority on cigar box fiddles presents a nice set of instructions for building a "period correct" appearing civil war era instrument. But if you are looking for general tips on building a decent playing instrument, his information misses the target by a wide margin IMO.
If you don't know who I am alluding to, ignore it. If you have seen his stuff, you will know who I mean.
Thanks for the reply Jim. I'm using a standard bridge so I guess I'll keep working on the mock up, string it up and see how it works and sounds. I guess I'll shim the bridge up or sand for lower action.
Dave, I've built over 2 dozen cigar box and self made box fiddles and the neck angle has been different on each one. From about 4 deg. to 10 deg. They all work but you have to make adjustments on the bridge height. The higher angles/higher bridge allows for more clearance on the sides when bowing the outer strings. The lower angles I've used for my gourd fiddles with skin tops to try for less down pressure on the skin. I sometimes make my own bridges to the desired height but most often use a standard bridge with the top lowered and reshaped.
I'm trying my first violin build and am laying out the parts and comparing against all the angles and measurements I have found here and over the internet. I cant seem to get the 8 degree fingerboard angle with the right sting action and the bridge height. When I lay everything out, I seem to be around 5 degree fingerboard angle. Will the fingerboard angle at 5 degrees make it unplayable?
For those desiring to build your first cb fiddle, take a look at my album "Steps To Building A CB Fiddle" for some tips that might prove helpful. This was my second build, which corrected mistakes made on my first one.
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