X-ray scanner, which is normally used to detect cancers and injuries, is now used by a team of experts to create a 1704 Stradivarius violin. In 1988 Radiologist and violinist Steven Sirr made a CT scan of his violin out of curiosity and showed to his friend John waddle who is violin maker.
Since then the two men began their dream of replicating musical instrument. They scanned hundreds of guitars, mandolins and violins for getting a better understanding of their composition.
Eventually teaming up with another violin maker, Steve Rossow, they borrowed a Stradivarius from the US Library of Congress to precess creating three replicas.
They took 1000 CAT scan images and then converted the file to 3D CAD format.
"CT is useful in measuring wood density, size and shapes, thickness graduation and volume measurements," Dr. Sirr said. "It also provides detailed analysis of damage and repair."
The files were transmitted into a CNC machine. Copies of each part of the violin is carved out, including the back and front plates, neck etc using different woods to match the originals.
The final step was to assemble and varnish, which were done by hand.
"The copies are amazingly similar to originals in their sound quality," said Dr Sirr.
(photos credit: RSNA)
Dr Sirr hoped to make replicas for other antique instruments so students and musicians could have chances to access "nearly exact copies" of the originals.
For owners of authentic Stradivarius or other prized violins, CT imaging not only provides a definitive form of identification, it helps establish a pedigree that may increase the value of their investment.
Background of Stradivarius
Antonio Stradivari, Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harpsan, is regarded as history's greatest violin maker. Of the estimated 1,000 violins Stradivari made, about 650 still exist and are highly prized for their unique sound quality. The name "Stradivarius" has become a superlative often associated with excellence. Many factors influence a violin's sound, from the qualities of the wood to the instrument's shape, degree of arching and wood thickness.
A Stradivarius made in the 1680s, or during Stradivari's 'Long Pattern' period from 1690 to 1700, could be worth hundreds of thousands to several million U.S. dollars at today's prices. In 2011, his "Lady Blunt" violin from 1721, which is in pristine condition, was sold at Tarisio auctions for £9.8 million, or about $15.9 million.
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