A website for the serious amateur violin maker, restorer and tinkerer. A violin's front and back can be tuned using tap-tones. Measure the tap tones and plate weights and adjust them to get the best sound, the kind of sound you want, or make an instrument that is easy to bow.

This site can help if you are making a violin or you want to improve  a low cost violin or viola.

By tuning and weighing the top & back plates be confident that you will get a really good instrument that responds well and can sound like a $1500 instrument.

Like the best coffee ...  LATTE!

tapping belly 2 sml

Light-weight plates, &

  A is for Arching,

   TT is for Tap-tones, &

      E  is for Edge-work.

post-25136-1224022475 Strad back graduation V1.1 smll1
Violin plate Modes and Weights 1.1 smll

email: webmaster @platetuning.org

 Last updated:

1st.. Jan. 2021

Copyright  (C)



Plates for ‘Cellos

         It has been possible to use data that Carleen Hutchins, Dr. Nigel Harris and particularly John Osnes Violins (Anchorage, Alaska) have provided to estimate the Stiffness Figures required for ‘Cello plates too. Carleen strongly recommends that the plates have matching Mode 2’s, and they are ‘octave’ plates (Mode 5 = 2 x Mode 2) in the range: Mode 2 = 60 to 65 Hz, and Mode 5  120 to 130 Hz.



   Using Harris’ stiffness figures and not Davis’ work ....

          Not surprisingly the ‘cello Stiffness Figures are very similar to those for violin and viola plates. For normal ‘cello ‘Orchestral Tone’ the belly unvarnished but with ff’s and bassbar should  have a Stiffness Figure of 4.03E6 (4,030,000 ) and the back unvarnished 6.0E6. Varnished this rises to 4.44E6 for the ‘cello belly (note it is almost identical to the violin figure) and 6.16E6 for the ‘cello back, which is 19% less than for violins.

      You should change the Stiffness Figures say 5% lower to 15% lower for a ‘student’ tone (3.78E6 and 5.24E6) for easy bowing, or increase it by up to 15% for a ‘Solo’ tone (5.1E6 and 7.08E6). Note that plates still need to have matched Stiffness Figures, as for violins! This is summarised in this table: click on it ....Cello Plate Stiffnesses 1

      This will open with LibreOffice (best), OpenOfiice or with coaxing, MS Excel.

    I have drawn on data from John Ohnes’s work .... with many thanks to him.


       In the CAS Journal III there is a particularly interesting example of a ‘factory’ Mittenwald ‘cello that has been rethicknessed. Thomas King did the work under Carleen Hutchins’ supervision, and the article is here.


    I strongly recommend you get the full set of CAS articles. The ‘cello has a low but matching Mode 2 in front and back plates (57 Hz).

     The back has a standard ‘orchestral’ Stiffness Figure, but the belly is 20% low, assuming standard plate weights. The tone apparently is outstanding and is easy to bow.

      Alan Carruth published an article entitled ‘violin plate tunings’ but has some good ‘cello plate data in it too: have a look.