Hellmich Violins

About the

Sound research

More than craft

Art &

Violin making is more than craft; it combines physics, intuition, chemistry, geometry, passion and art.

The product of this symbiosis is an instrument that not only serves players and is intended to function, but an invisible work of sound art that touches, unites and moves people worldwide.

The basis for this is the basic material – individually hand-picked tone woods and accessories that meet the highest quality standards, combined with one of the prototype models:

  • Guarneri (powerful, direct, rough)
  • Amati (sweet, balanced, warm)
  • Stradivari (clear, direct, radiant)

With your ideas and my handwriting, a real unique piece is created that suits you.

In the following sections you will find out which considerations, details and working steps in the field of sound research are furthermore included in my work.

The science of

Frequency measurement

Nowadays, scientific measurements make it possible to very accurately represent the sound profiles of the most famous and sought-after instruments of all time.

Similarly, 3D laser scanners can measure each instrument to the nearest 100th of a millimeter, allowing certain similarities to be identified in empirical studies.

For the most part, a violin can now also be made by machine on the basis of this data, but an important aspect is then lost: each tonewood, even two pieces from the same tree, will never be 100% alike.

Density, weight, longitudinal and transverse stiffness, growth and sound conduction velocity, are essential to consider in machining to shape it to its full potential in construction.

To achieve this and to elicit the best sound characteristics from each piece is my passion.

The importance of

Material & Role model

This process begins with the choice of the model and the appropriate tonewood. To get as close as possible to the desired result, each wood is handpicked by me, so I can have a great influence on the final result, both visually and tonally.

The most exciting step for me, apart from giving the arch its outer shape and thus a certain sound character, is to work out and coordinate the thicknesses of the top and bottom plates. With my absolute ear and knowledge of the sound profiles of Italian master instruments, I can tune by ear, top and back, influencing the eigentones through the distribution of strengths.

Comparing CT scans of the old masters, certain similarities become apparent. Thus, the middle part is usually much stronger and thins out harmoniously towards the edges. But how these strengths are distributed and which measure for maximum and minimum strength is determined is very decisive for the sound and requires knowledge, sensitivity and various measuring techniques.

Every single part of the stringed instrument has an influence on the formation of sound, even those that at first glance seem to serve only a functional character (tailpiece, attachment string, chinrest, fingerboard, neck and scroll, etc.).

Bringing these individual resonance areas into balance is the art – and one of my core competencies.

At the same time, it is important to me to use materials that are as sustainable as possible and a gentle manufacturing process that is 100% handmade.

Lisa Hellmich in München mit Geige in der Hand

Own tones from

Ceiling &
Base plate

If a plate, such as the top or bottom of an instrument, is made to vibrate, it begins to oscillate in one of its acoustic modes, as a result of self-resonance.

The vibrations can be made visible by sprinkling the plate with, for example, dry black tea. When excited in different frequency ranges, the vibration causes the tea to collect at the nodes. In this way, the nodal lines of the standing waves that form on the plate become visible.

The phenomenon of Chladni sound figures was discovered by Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni in the 18th century.

Making the natural resonances of the ceiling and floor visible helps me to match the frequencies by working out the ceiling and floor as far as the wood will allow. To do this, I use the knowledge of the old masters by holding the ceiling and floor at one of the nodes of the different main modes, and by tapping to hear the frequencies.

Likewise, I can feel the stiffness of the wood by bending it slightly lengthwise and crosswise. Not only the ceiling and the floor for themselves can be matched in this way, but also the ratio of the two panels is crucial, as well as their weight.

This gives me a great influence on the sound formation of my instruments and guarantees an exceptionally good sound quality.

Want to learn more about my history as a luthier or my sustainability promise? Then I cordially invite you to do so further down the page.

Logo Geigenbau Hellmich

Lisa Hellmich, violin maker in Munich

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