Making Matters: New angles on an old problem

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David Burgess explains how he made a simple device for raising and lowering the tailpiece, to compare the differences in sound when adjusting the string angle and downforce on the bridge

There have been many theories and beliefs about neck projection and fingerboard height. One is that violins sound best with a spacing of 5–7mm between the upper edge of the top and the gluing surface of the neck/fingerboard (commonly called the ‘overstand’), and with a 27mm projection at the bridge, measured with a straightedge on the top of the fingerboard (see figures 1 and 2). These specifications have been passed down for at least two generations, and have a lot of experience to support them…

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