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  • Writer's pictureHannes Karpaty

Violin maker Karpati's secrets to making a really good sounding violin.

Introduction


Behind the making of each exceptionally good sounding violin is the skilled craftsmanship of an experienced violin maker. These craftsmen have a wealth of knowledge about the construction of the instrument, the science of acoustics and the secrets passed down through generations. In this article we explore the hidden secrets that violin maker Karpati uses to create violins with a truly exceptional sound.



Choice of material


The foundation of any good violin lies in the careful choice of wood.

Karpati begins by searching for woods with acoustic properties, usually with spruce for the top plate and maple for the back, sides, neck and shell. The selection process involves assessing factors such as the wood's density, grain and resonance. Karpati understands the importance of these characteristics and how they affect the tonal qualities of the instrument.


The wood that Karpati uses for his instruments is spruce from the alpine slopes of Italy and maple from Transylvania. On Karpati's most exclusive instruments, he uses woods that are from 80 to 150 years old precisely for their acoustic properties.







Thickness & Soundhole


One of the critical secrets lies in the gradation and thickness of the violin's plates. Karpati carefully cuts and shapes the top and back to create an optimal balance between flexibility and stiffness.

By carefully grading the plates, especially in the areas around the sound holes, Karpati achieves a desirable tonal response and enhances the instrument's resonance.


The design and placement of the sound holes (f-holes) are also crucial for Karpati's instruments. The F-holes contribute to several things: enhancing the instrument's resonance, controlling air flow, and allowing the violin to produce its characteristic timbre. Karpati uses precise measurements and variations in the shape, length and width of the sound holes to achieve specific tonal qualities and make the instrument sound even more.



Vaulting


The arching of the violin's plates is another secret weapon of violin maker Karpati.

The shape and curvature of the plates greatly affect the tonal properties of the instrument. Karpati carefully cuts the arch, to bring out tonal balance and response in the violin. The arching contributes to the violin's sound level and a warm, resonant and balanced tone.








Ambition


In addition to the technical aspects, one of the most important secrets lies in Karpati's ambition for craftsmanship. Years of experience, refined skills and understanding of the instrument help bring out really good sound and resonance in his violins. He has a deep connection to his craft and sees each instrument as a unique work of art. The material, the tools and the techniques are what separate the exceptional from the ordinary.







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