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All the parts that are not really considered part of the instrument, like strings, chin rest, pegs, etc.

Making violas: reconciling size and sound

I came across this transcription of a talk given at Lutherie2006 Conference, Newark on Trent, 13 May 2006 by Helen Michetschläger. It is posted on her website here. It is a really good and useful description of her philosopy on viola design and the particular challenges the larger instrument poses. Good stuff!

I'm particularly pleased to have the opportunity to talk about one of my main areas of interest, making violas. This is going to be a practical rather than a theoretical talk, based on my experience of meeting and working with many viola players and teachers, discussing ideas with colleagues and trying things out at the workbench.

I think that making violas is one of the most interesting aspects of violin making today. Players demand powerful and responsive instruments in a size they can manage. As there are fewer good old violas than violins or cellos, viola players are often less conservative in their expectations. This gives us as makers a wonderful opportunity to be creative; to experiment and to test out ideas.


What every string player should know about pegs

This article is by Eric Meyer and appeared in Strings and it gives some good advice about pegs and how to maintain them. The original can be found here.

“Pegs don't get a lot of respect,” says Eric Meyer, a Portland, Oregon, craftsman whose handmade fittings grace some of the world’s great instruments. “People think of them kind of like tires. They wear out and you throw them away.”

Pegs may draw little attention when they do their job well, but there’s no ignoring them when they won’t turn, refuse to stop at the right place, or, worse yet, or let go altogether. And, like tires, if one pops at the wrong time—say in the middle of an audition—the results can be, well, spectacular, though not life-threatening.

Recalcitrant pegs are not only a vexing nuisance; left unattended they can lead to serious damage that will diminish the value of your instrument. Luckily, a little understanding will go a long way toward staying in tune.

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