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Posted Monday, January 18, 2010 9:31 PM
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Hello everyone. I would like to ask a question regarding corner blocks: having just two or even no corner blocks in an old violin is it always a proof of a low quality violin or are there well esteemed makers who have made violins with two or none of them? Is it just a different system of making? Does it depend on the type of mould that it is used? I would apreciate any comment about this subject. Thanks.
Post #2354
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 5:52 AM
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The difference is in the manufacturing process.  Violins without corner blocks are usually the result of outside molds.  Corner blocks, the product of inside molds. 

Inside molds are needed to hold  blocks as they are attached temporarily to the mold while the garland is constructed.  Outside molds don't require blocks as the joint is shoved into the mold.  Because of these two differences, outside molds usually have mitered joints, and inside molds lapped joints.  I have only seen a couple of violins with both mitered joints and four corner blocks.  Usually they have none or two blocks when the corners are mitered.  I have never seen a violin with lapped joints and no corner blocks.

The reason the outside mold evolved and was used for a brief time was to expedite construction.  The garland could be put together and the lining put on in one application instead of several.

Two-block construction is almost always simply cosmetic and the blocks do not, as a rule, extend all the way into the corner.  As these blocks are found in the lower corners they can be seen through the f holes while the upper corners not seen.  This gives the impression of four corner block construction while in reality it is not. 

Post #2359
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:55 AM
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Hello. Thank you very much for your clear and useful information. It is very encouraging for me to find someone who wants to share his knowledge with everybody.
Now I hope I won't tire you out with another question relating your answer: how can it be seen if one joint is mittered or lapped? I have tried to see in some violins but sometimes it is very difficult for my untrained eye to tell one from another.
Thanks again for your time and patience.
Post #2361
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 1:32 AM
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holo (1/18/2010)
Hello everyone. I would like to ask a question regarding corner blocks: having just two or even no corner blocks in an old violin is it always a proof of a low quality violin or are there well esteemed makers who have made violins with two or none of them? Is it just a different system of making? Does it depend on the type of mould that it is used? I would apreciate any comment about this subject. Thanks.

It is a documented fact that the Old Cremonese masters did not always use six interior blocks. For instance an exceptionally rare violoncello by Francesco Stradivari never had corner blocks. It is in the Great Russian State Collection. Moreover, xray and CT scans done in the recent past show that at least one well preserved Stradivarius (in a museum in Paris) does not have upper corner blocks and the neck root extends into the corpus.

An inside mould can easily be shaped to the exact outline needed for the c bout ribs to meet and join properly with the upper and lower ribs. The so called 'fake' corner block is nothing more than thin piece of spruce which upper and lower ends act as 'stabilisers' giving added gluing surfaces because of the hollow spaces created by the absence of blocks at the corners. No big deal.

In other words, the presence or absence of anything inside any Cremonese, Brescian, Mantuan, or Venetian masterpiece (or any other VSO )has absolutely nothing to do with the authenticity or 'quality' of same. Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarnerius would have been better off to not have used anything inside some of his instruments, as cobbled up as some interiors appear to be.  

It is the skill involved in the desgn/layout of the patterns and the arching/thicknessing of the plates that counts. (Not to mention the beautiful varnishes used by the old masters.)

Cheers!

Post #2364
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 10:41 AM
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Thank you very much! It seems so judicious to me. I can agree with you in that there must be some more important features in a violin to look for than merely the absence or presence of corner blocks. That was exactly the reason for my question.
Thanks again for your kind and useful contribution.
Any more comments?
Post #2365
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2012 2:38 PM
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liutaro (1/30/2010)
Moreover,xray and CT scans done in the recent past show that at least one well preserved Stradivarius (in a museum in Paris) does not have upper corner blocks and the neck root extends into the corpus.

Witch one?
Post #2888
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012 3:54 PM
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The violin dated 1708, citie museum.
christianbayon (11/25/2012)
[quote]liutaro (1/30/2010)
Moreover,xray and CT scans done in the recent past show that at least one well preserved Stradivarius (in a museum in Paris) does not have upper corner blocks and the neck root extends into the corpus.

Witch one?[/quote]
Post #2890
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