Magnesium Bodied 4/4 Violin

Following the extremely kind gesture by Salzgitter Magnesium-Technologie GmbH, in Germany to provide sufficient magnesium sheet for two prototypes, one of which will be returned to them for their own testing, I have completed construction of the first one.
Both prototypes will be based on the same specifications, (where possible) as my 4/4 aluminium bodied violin, for a direct comparison of total weight and sound quality.
The overall measurements are from 'Juliet Barker', the contour templates are for a Sacconi Strad 1716 & the neck/scroll dimensions are from 'Strobel'.
The completed specifications of the first one are:
Body length  355mm                     Top/end of fingerboard to belly      21mm
Top bout      168mm                     Bridge centre height                      35mm
Middle bout  112mm                     E string height above fingerboard    3mm
Bottom bout 208mm                     G string height above fingerboard    5.5mm
Rib height 35-33mm                     Fingerboard to bridge                    54mm
Body stop     195mm                     Tailpiece saddle to bridge              44mm
Neck stop     130mm                     Saddle height above belly                4mm 
Fingerboard length 270mm 
Vibrating string length 325mm (standard 2:3 ratio
Total length from top of scroll to endpin, approx. 600mm 
Due to the difficulty of cold forming the magnesium sheet a small reduction in the arching's has been necessary, with a corresponding increase in rib height to 35mm, tapering to 33mm on the top bout, to maintain the correct internal air volume.
The arching now are:   top plate 12.5mm, back plate 11.5mm.

(Actual concavity: top plate 11.5mm, back plate 10.5mm.)            
with 1mm magnesium used for the plates and ribs.
As the magnesium can't be bent to sharp 90 degree angles without breaking  0.9mm aluminium was used for the bass bar and joining clips.
The neck is made from Sycamore, blocks from Spruce, sound post are made from fine grained Spruce, with ebony finger board, nut, end pins, pegs and tailpieces with aluminium saddle. 
The finished weight with chinrest attached is 614grams, 136grams lighter than the aluminium one.
(the weight of a normal 4/4 sized wooden violin is approx. 450grams.
The strings are:
E - D'Addaro Prelude J811 E-Mi 4/4 Polished Steel, Medium Tension.
A - D'Addaro Prelude J812 A-la  4/4 Aluminium Wound. Medium Tension
D - D'Addaro Prelude J813 D-Re 4/4 Nickel Wound, Medium Tension
G - D'Addaro Prelude J814 G-Sol 4/4 Nickel Wound, Medium Tension

Forming moulds marked with contour lines, prior to depth drilling & shaping.

Form to hold the material in place during the forming process.

Front plate with ff holes roughed out
(grey factory finish prior to polishing)

Sycamore neck in white before final fitting.

Sycamore neck, reversed view.

Front view


Side view

Peg box

In its case

On display at EuroBLECH 2004, in Hannover, Germany

Oblique view


Another photo taken in Germany  

This page was last updated  on 19 June 2006