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How String Instruments Are Made & Tour of KRUTZ Strings

We invite you to learn more about how string instruments are made and take a tour of our workshop and warehouse (with Anton Krutz as your guide)! Below you will find a video to enjoy.

 

If you have any further questions OR are an orchestra teacher and would like to arrange a LIVE Q&A with Anton Krutz, please email: info@krutzstrings.com



STRINGS & CREATIVITY

 

Below is an additional video from Anton Krutz giving a presentation for Kansas Day to hundreds of teachers and students sharing his journey about how he became a Luthier and how he has found music and the arts (especially string instruments) to be vital in creativity, education and the future!

If you would like to arrange for Anton Krutz to personally talk to your class about creativity,

please email us at: info@krutzstrings.com

For more information on the topic of Strings & Creativity, visit our page Creativity Conquers.




Video Transcript:


I want to talk about how instruments are made, all with the idea of getting everyone comfortable with what's going on.


The scrolls are carved out of a block of wood. Here's a cello scroll. It was a block of wood, and this is in the process of being carved out. So that process hasn't changed for centuries. It's carved out of a block of wood, centuries ago, it's being guarded by a block of wood now.


The ribs are inside this mold, and you can even move them in and out of this form. These ribs are made in the form, and they have lower block, upper black corner blocks holding these ribs together. So they have lower bouts, sea bouts, and then upper bouts. These ribs are bent with heat into the shape you see. Here's a part where you have the rib structure, and it's glued onto the back, then you have a plate, and then you glue on the scroll. This is the basic concept of the instrument.


What I equate the instrument to, like these plates, is like a bell. It's thicker in the middle and gets thinner on the ends. A bell is thicker on top and gets thinner on the bottom, right? So that's why it rings. This is a bell in the shape of an instrument. So you have a lot of acoustic things going on. It's thicker and thinner, and same thing for the belly at the top. Even names are equated to people because we talk about voice. You have a back, ribs, a belly, head, like a little person. I always tell people they are missing some legs and arms, but it's like a little person. This gives you insight into the players that want to play a string instrument. They're attracted to this, there's a natural emotion and intuitive desire to play on these instruments.


In terms of the wood, another interesting aspect is why the woods are called tone woods. They have to be cut in the middle of winter, in a mountain, meters and meters of snow, and you have to go find a tree and cut it down. The reason is that all the sap is on, so that's why the tree doesn't have leaves. You have to cut it down in the middle of winter, dry it off the mountain, cut it into billets, and then dry it for like five, six years. The issue is that you can't dry it quickly, you can't try it with machines, you can't have kilns to dry because it'll have micro cracks in the wood. You could dry out wood that's used for woodwinds with machinery because it's thicker and more dense, but with the wood on a violin, you have to air dry it. So you gotta cut the wood in the middle of winter in a mountain, dry it for years, and then you make it. In that process, it's the same for centuries, same now, really hasn't changed. There's a lot that goes into making an instrument.


The reason it's also cut in the mountains is that the different wood gets a different density where it grows. Imagine you have two seeds, exactly the same seeds. One you plant at sea level and when you plant in the mountain, the tree that grows in the mountain is going to be a more dense, stronger tree than the one that grows at sea level. Equating it to people, somebody that goes through adversity has a stronger character, right? Somebody that had no adversity in their life, you met people like that who have a really weak character. Somebody that goes through adversity has a stronger character, even though it's a bummer to go through adversity, that's what builds character. So the same thing with the tree, it's going through adversity as it's growing in the mountains and it's going through no adversity at sea level, so it's a stronger, more dense tree, you know, that's coming from the mountains.


If you have a weaker tree, then you actually have to leave it thicker. So this thickness here has to be thicker, so you want a stronger tree in order to not have as much thickness, so it sounds. There's a lot of things that go into making sure that the instrument sounds good and all those aspects have been built into the violin-making tradition.


Inside of an instrument, we have what's called a bass bar on one side and if the bridge when it's played, it pushes on the base bar, the bass bar goes down and then pushes back up and then the bridge, which is this thing right here, goes back and forth. Then you have the other side where you have a sample which is in there just purely by friction. We'll go into the role of the sound post in just a little bit but basically when the bridge pushes on this side, the samples get pushed down pushes on the back, the back pushes back up and what's happening is the samples make the back act like a trampoline. This sound post changed everything about sound because before this they had the viola de morris, the gambas, they didn't have sam post, guitars that didn't have samples.


But this sound post is why this little violin can fill an entire concert hall because as the back is moving up and down it's sucking air in and pushing it out these little openings. So imagine this concept is like if you have a water hose and the water is just coming out you put your thumb covering the front of the water hose the water the water shoots out like 20 times further the same thing is happening. So if all the air is being pumped in and out of these little openings this air is being pushed out with incredible force. That's why you can have these huge guitars and they have like no power because they don't have a they don't have the samples and so these samples change everything.

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