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Hi, I hope I'm in the right page.

 I'd like to make my first violin. I've been playing the banjo for a year now, I use to be a drummer so string instruments are stil difficult to play for me. I'd like my violin to be tuned like a banjo, to have 3 strings. D, G, B, then, I'd like to have frets (I don't know if it's possible) and then, because I'm handicaped, I can't hold it like a violin, it will have to be lower, maybe hold it like a guitar.

So, here are a lot of conditions.

First, I will need to know what is the radius of a violin.

Ted told me there are only nice guys here, in it Ted ? So if you can help, it would be great. Thanks !

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Well, here's where I'd start if it were me. This will give you a great start, for not a lot of money. Modifications can be made along the way as needed. 


It wont do. I'd really like to build it myself, out of partly junk, partly nice wood and machine heads. Then I will have to hold it in an other way...thanks anyway, this kit is really cheap.

I was interested in making a kit violin and then maybe fixing a worn out one of my daughter's ...that's why I joined with a violin avatar (it's actually one we purchased knowing it would take me forever and she did not want a cigar box).

One of the things that caught my interest was the 19th century Savart trapezoidal fiddle. It was made by a scientist who did some important research into electro-magnetic fields.

It's considered a decent sounding instrument, but is very odd...nearly flat body, and no soundpost, originally. It had some kind of diagonal sound bar instead. Most serious violinists despised it because it's an ugly duckling and just can't possibly play properly ;O).

All the more reason to embrace it!

There is a British book that has at least three instrument designs, violins and violas in a coupel sizes , maybe 3/4 and 4/4...I forget.

I'll get back with the title. It was kind of expensive in the US so I got it from a bookstore in the UK really cheap including postage...but it arrived really musty- almost moldy.

I am going to scan it and save the PDF file and resell the book described as musty...someone less sensitive may want it...but need to fix the PC first as it won't talk to the scanner! Welcome to my life, nothing is ever simple.

Meanwhile, I'll see what  I can find on the author and title. He hybridized the design so it does use a sound post, and also uses geared tuners like a guitar.

By the way, my daughter sometimes holds her violins like a guitar for brief thumb plucking (pizzicato).

I have a friend who is an award-winning luthier, as is his father who tried to build a Savart bass but was not satisfied with it.

I have another project from the above guy, a damaged 3/4 violin he cut the top & back off to try and make a picture frame out of. I am someday going to make a flat top & back from old cedar shakes from a neighbors house. Part of the fingerboard is gone and the neck is pretty high with no archtop...we'll see...

Hey, here is some old literature on the Savart violin. http://www.platetuning.org/Savart_Traezm_fiddle_-_Heron-Allen.pdf

Good luck reading the vintage language.

The British book is easier to read, although I'm challenged by the drawing - it might as well be a naval architect's drawing of a ship.

I think Diane From Chicago may have built a fiddle.

This is right up my alley too...http://www.platetuning.org/html/odd_shaped_violins.html

Here's a reference to the Ronald Roberts book I was trying to recall.


Regarding conventional violin top and back arch radii, there might be two different radii for the top and bottom bouts (the two halves), or one overall. The inside is typically scraped to a thickness pattern if one follows Stradivari or Amati. One supposedly went from thin to thick to thin from left to right, and the other reversed this.

That "odd-shaped violins" site  has some links to downloadable old texts.


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